As we cruise along the Canals and Rivers of Southern England we see a large variety of birds, trees, wild flowers and insects. For avid bird watchers it is a great way to watch nature at its best as we travel along.
We have been so lucky this year with the amount of Kingfishers we have seen on all the canals and rivers. We can still remember the vivid colours against the back drop of the trees and the speed that they fly. We even managed to get one posing on a branch to allow us to take a photo.
At Caversham there are a couple of Black Swans which are always around as well as all the other swans and signets on the network. Canada Geese, Brent and Egyptian geese can be seen, the latter two mainly on the River Thames. Cormorants dive into the water, ducks bask in the sunshine, moor hens eat at the edge of the water and great crested grebes enjoy the tranquility of the water.
This year there has been an abundance of Red Kites, mainly on the Grand Union Canal and River Thames around Henley. They are very noticeable for the V- shape of their tail feathers. We have tried to get a good close up of them in flight but have only managed long distance shots.
We did however get a good photo of a Mandarin duck on the Regents Canal in London with its vibrant colours of orange, green, white etc. Why is it that the male species are the most striking?
Around Kingston and Hampton Court, Parakeets can be seen and heard, very noisy with a loud screeching call and a vivid green colour.
We pass hundreds of different varieties of trees but a noticeable one this year has been the Horse Chestnut tree with its brown speckled leaves. They are still producing the conkers but quite obviously have a disease of some sort.
The wild flowers have been as colourful as ever. There are diverse varieties of plants and bushes, ranging from peaceful, serene environments to the busy hub hub of towns and cities. Many grow near built up areas as well as in fields along the British waterways.
Along many of the canals we are now able to pick blackberries. This year they seem to be plentiful and we look forward to bramble and apple crumble…. One of Dorenda’s specials!