5 Jul 2017

Rain and Cake

Newport Canal - Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The week since we visited has flown by. 

My attempt to do this report last night was thwarted by a Windows update so now during a brief interlude between getting up and preparing for our outing to Apley Woods here, in an attempt to avoid yet another "multiple-header" report of our recent activities, is a brief account of our visit to this site.

Five of us met in the car park.

It was raining but quite lightly.

We walked to the canal from the car park, down the tow path to the west.

Lunch was taken at a picnic table. Cake to celebrate my impending birthday was consumed.

We walked a bit further, turned around and walked back to the cars and went home.

Here's a picture of the canal

That's it in a nutshell. O yes, I almost forgot - we looked at the flora and fauna.

Here's another picture of the canal.

Time to get ready for our next outing.

Ah! I have a little more time so I can provide detail and pictures.

After a little confusion about which car park to use we made our way to the canal. We spent quite a while in the area shown above. Firstly as it was raining and we did not want to go too far in case we decided it was too wet and secondly we were waiting for a (planned) late arrival. 

Just to the right of the second picture above was an area that looked extremely interesting but it was fenced off and we could only peer in.

Eventually we moved on coming to the first lock just before the canal goes under the main road that runs through Newport. Here a Flowering rush was in flower.

As the canal goes under the bridge its width is reduced to a narrow channel

They must have used very narrow boats on this canal!

This fly was caught. It was photographed in the glass pot in case it flew away.

Photograph: David Williams

At the time we had no idea what it was, but some considered research later identified it as a soldier fly Oplodontha viridula which has been allocated the common name "Common green colonel" - who makes up these names?

One less welcome sight was a dead rat

Photograph: Les Hughes
Our meander down the canal towpath continue, as did the light rain.

Our observations included a blue-tailed damselfly

Photograph: Jim Cresswell
A longhorn beetle Leptura quadrifasciata

Photograph: David Williams
A bur-reed

Photograph: Jim Cresswell
And a Vapourer moth larva

Photograph: Jim Cresswell
We were also finding quite a number of a second soldier fly Oxycera rara

Photograph: David Williams
This fly is "commonly" named a four-barred major. 

Lunch was taken at a convenient but wet picnic table. As mentioned above, birthday cakes were provided and consumed. All of this was under the glare of a mute swan and begging calls of cygnets.

As we consumed our lunch, bravely ignoring the swans' pleas, a local resident appeared and put our a bowl of grain which the cygnets set about consuming. He then threw in lots of bread that the adult swans feasted upon!

Our meander continued. I cannot recall if it was still raining.

An early spot after lunch was a common darter

Photograph: Jim Cresswell
In this part of the canal there was quite a lot of bindweed and many of their flowers were being fed upon by the hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus.

This fly has been assigned the common name "Marmalade fly" which is a little more understandable than the others mentioned above.

(Am I ranting? Why? I use common names more often than not. Did the ones I use arise through common usage - or are they just the fantasy of some person sitting over a pint with nothing else to do which have worked there way into common usage? I am very inconsistent!)

On with the walk.

We reached the next lock

The decision to turn back was made.

But not before we had taken a look just a little bit further on.

Our persistence was rewarded with sightings of very young Parent bug instars packed together on birch leaves with an adult nearby.

Photograph: David Williams
Here is a close up of one of the leaves

Photograph: David Williams
Just above these were mating Birch catkin bugs with an onlooker in very close attendance!

Photograph: Jim Cresswell
As we left this part of the site we noticed a wasp nest on a fence post. Bravely photographers queued up to take a snap!!

Photograph: Jim Cresswell

Photograph: David Williams
Note: No animal or photographer was harmed in taking these photographs.

My thanks to Natural England for granting us permission to do what we enjoy doing on this excellent site and to the photographers Jim Cresswell, David Williams and Les Hughes for letting me use their photographs to illuminate this report.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to comment on this post...