Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Weaver wildlife

The valley is rich in all sorts of wildlife, and I tried, with limited success, to catch some on camera today as we cruised from Acton Bridge to Barnton Cut.

First thing this morning, after a blustery, showery night.SAM_9380


We topped off the water tank and disposed of the rubbish at the bridge before we left. There used to be an elsan disposal here too, useful as there’s only one other on the river. It was closed a couple of years ago, when it was realised that it was dumping straight into the river. It turns out that it started life as the bridge-keeper’s convenience, and it wasn’t considered to matter that much then…

Lots of ducklings around now

I love this one… “come on kids, away from the nasty boat…”SAM_9390

Heron eyeing up the possibility of a duckling for lunch.SAM_9411
You normally think of these patient birds sitting hunched over looking into the water for fish. But they’re opportunist feeders, and will take mammals, voles, frogs, and ducklings if they’re small enough.

Another predator, this time a male kestrel
Grey clouds had started to build towards lunchtime, but we only had a few spots of rain.

I spotted buzzards and a kingfisher, but the former were too far away, and the latter just too fast!

Back to the waterfowl, and we’ve got a blurry tufted duck…SAM_9398

…and a blurry coot in flight. (strictly speaking this guy’s a rail, not fowl).SAM_9399

I just had to include a swan, as there’s lots of them about. This one is one of last years, looking at the plumage. Not paired up yet.

Ian, the lockie at Saltersford, had the gates open as we arrived.

Saltersford LocksSAM_9403

Picking up the bow line from Mags

The grills at water level protect the sluices from floating debrisSAM_9406

Does the water run out of the lock through large iron pipes? It’s not clear from a photo taken through the grill.

We watched a cormorant wing over the lock while we were filling, and it landed above the lock. But I wasn’t quick enough to catch it as we came out…

That blur, yes on the right at water level, that’s a cormorant…SAM_9409

And a mallard on the lockside.

We stopped on Barnton Cut, not on the popular length with a good edge, nor on the shorter bit around the corner we sometimes use. No, we pulled onto the “Billy No Mates” mooring further round still. Just room for one boat here.

All being well, we’ll be meeting up with Lesley and Joe and the boys off NB Yarwood tomorrow.

Locks 1, miles 2½

1 comment:

Adam said...

I think it was a Saltersford lock that they were refurbishing the sluices last year (when we spent all of three hours on the Weaver). One of those big drums was up on the lock side, and the lock keeper said the paddles a like big bath plugs, letting the water in an out. Needs more research, I think!