Sunday, July 12, 2015

Boats & Bikes

Moored back out on the 'cut' once more and Dee and I have spent a lot of time cycling the towpath and back lanes of Warwickshire and Northamptonshire, in particular some of the Unclassified County Roads, or 'E' Roads. A real diversity of habitat with rolling meadows, hedgerow and even at this time of year the bounty of a newly ploughed field, although having said that I've yet to spot anything noteworthy! Although Hare's, Red-legged Partridge, Common Buzzard, Skylarks and many Corvids are always a pleasure to watch.

Redundant St. Peters at Wolfhampcote, a National Heritage site.
Swifts have been a feature while sitting sky-watching at the mooring, with a constant passage, including a group of around 50+ passing through late evening yesterday. A Tern Sp. caught the eye flying at speed across the adjacent fields, turning out to be a common but the ground it covered in such a short time was amazing. Bats continue to enthrall us at dusk and a plop in the water which got us excited turned out to be a Brown Rat! Haven't seen a Water Vole along this stretch in a few years now! Ashby Canal is the place for these.

White Admiral - A towpath first!
A first for me on the towpath on Friday was the above White Admiral, which took the eye as I cycled past a small copse. Small TortoiseshellMeadow Browns, Ringlets and increasing numbers of Gatekeepers, along with Large Skippers and the occasional Speckled Wood and Comma are the most abundant butterflies.

Black-tailed Skimmer
Finally one or two Common Darter dragonflies are beginning to appear and a Black-tailed Skimmer was noted.

Eerie Mammatus clouds over Warwickshire!

On Friday evening some amazing formations of Mammatus clouds over our mooring. Composed primarily of ice, these cloud pouches can extend hundreds of miles in any direction, remaining visible in the sky for perhaps 10 or 15 minutes at a time.