Suggested by a group member this was a new location, and although we didn’t see much wildlife the day proved a great success. Amongst the tall willow trees in the car park thirteen of us gathered – two members had come prepared with their artists’ materials and set about painting the local scene whilst the remainder walked west along the towpath. As usual much chatter ensued and the sight of a kestrel hunting and catching its prey in an adjacent field was almost missed.
The kingfishers, often seen here, eluded us but the canal was alive with colourful damsel and dragonflies that displayed their blues, reds and browns but typically didn’t remain still long enough to identify. The canal side provided a variety of flowers we don’t normally see including water mint and amphibious bistort. We pondered for a long time discussing a flower that was most likely one of the stitchworts but as it was flowering months later than its usual flowering time we weren’t confident to positively identify it.
It was a hot calm day and the shade and relaxation of sitting in the waterside café late morning was welcome. We enjoyed coffee and cake and for some a light (but substantial) lunch. It was a good opportunity for group members to chat, something we can’t do easily in the bird hides, and also an opportunity for the two new members to get to know us, and us them. After refreshments five members walked east where, on a small section of the canal, the sight of many swallows flying low and feeding were seen, but little else.
Birds: Chiffchaff, Swallow, Wood Pigeon, Blue Tit, Robin, Moorhen, Crow, Cormorant, Mallard, Mute Swan, Pheasant, Kestrel
Butterflies/Insects: Small white, seven-spot ladybird, Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Common Carder Bee, Wasp
Flowers: Great Willowherb, Great Plantain, Dandelion, Smooth Sowthistle, Prickly Sowthistle, Comfrey (white), White Deadnettle, Field Bindweed, Great Reedmace, Stinging Nettle, Creeping Thistle, Spear thistle, Amphibious Bistort, Persicaria, Knotgrass, Yarrow, Mallow, Hop, Water Mint