High Hopes

We had high hopes on the kingfisher front since seeing one land on another boat’s tiller, albeit briefly, yesterday. Of course when you have the doors closed you can’t actually see the tiller so if one landed on ours we would never know. It was too cold to sit with the door open. 

At any rate, there were lots of other birds to observe in the morning: blackbirds thrushes, great tits blue tits and lots of long-tailed tits were in the trees opposite. Plus there were other birds I didn’t identify. While we were watching them we did see a kingfisher fly past us and land nearby. We realised that a boat was approaching and that is what had made it fly, so although it was sitting near, it would not stay, and sure enough, it flew again as the boat got nearer.

We took a walk to see if the water marked in the map was nearby. I thought here was water next to a jetty,  but the jetty was marked “keep off”. Someone came to ask if we were looking for water and confirmed that it was water but pointed to the sign, but he informed us that water was available for £2 at the boatyard opposite. It is unusual to charge for water, and especially odd that there was a tap there that we seemed to be barred from using, for no apparent reason. When we returned to the boat we could see that we were not all that low in water and there are other places we can get it later. We just went a short way to charge the batteries up, but hoping to just get water further on.

It was sunny and I decided to sit out the front. We had lots of trees on one side and reeds on the other.

Two different banks

I remembered seeing a tiny nest in reeds on this stretch before. Laced round three reeds to keep it high off the water but the reeds are very straight and I am amazed it can just sit there, supporting the birds.

Suspended nest in the reeds

 Later, I saw a less complete nest in the reeds, a bit straggly looking. I thought it looked like it had sheep’s wool in it and there were sheep in a nearby field.

 I thought I saw a flash of kingfisher flying and shortly after I could see it on a branch. It was facing towards us, displaying it’s russet breast. Often they sit on a low branch near the water but this one was high up.

Kingfisher on a high perch

We haven’t seen many herons lately, so I was pleased to see one hiding in the reeds at the side. As usual it flew off as we approached, flapping overhead with dangling legs.

Heron fleeing

I was amused to see a squirrel jump across from one tree to another across the canal. It landed safely then ran down to drink at the water’s edge. It looked over at me as we passed. 

Soon we were back at our previous spot, at a junction, and there had been no sign of another  water point, as marked on the map. They seem to be harder to find than kingfishers these days!

Still I got a glimpse of a Gruffalo made of wood and this rather oddly placed lighthouse at the nearby Hanbury Wharf.

Lighthouse by the canal
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