Friday, 3 June 2016

Fly eating duck

Perhaps that should be "fly-eating duck". Or ducks. While we were tied up on the Oxford Canal just north of Braunston Turn we witnessed a spectacle we hadn't seen before.

A canal full of ducklings rushing about in the water and leaping to catch flies in their beaks.

It was difficult to press the shutter at exactly the right time - this is a fortunate snap.

Can you see the black specks to the right of the duckling below? Those are the flies.

Oh, here's another one I caught in the act.

The ducklings - and some bigger ducks - were zooming about making a lot of splashing noise.

The target fly is clearly visible in the photo below!

All right, that's enough jumping ducks.

This morning I cycled up the track leading away from the Admiral Nelson, past the farm and the house which does event marquees to the A45, then into Daventry. This was to get some supplies from Aldi. I usually get hot while cycling; today I didn't, despite wearing a jumper and a fleece. It's that cold June wind.

Back on board we set off down the remaining two locks of the Braunston flight and stopped at the Stop House for water. As it was Friday the Stop House was open, so I went in to tell CRT about the leaky top gates at Lock 2. I showed the person behind the desk my photo from yesterday.

I called in at Midland Chandlers to say that I would not be needing the new batteries after all; then we stopped at the first available mooring on the North Oxford Canal for lunch. This is where we saw those leaping ducks.

Where have all the boats come from? This is one busy canal! Perhaps things will calm down a bit when half-term is over. We came to Hillmorton Locks and stopped above them. The sign just said "mooring" (symbolically) with an arrow; it was only after tying up that we noticed another bollard in front which indicated that these are for long-term permit-holders only. Oops. By the time we'd had tea and been for a walk the moorings were full - of visiting boats like us.

Walking down the locks we saw the work being done to Lock 4 or 5: repairs to the lock wall.

The coping stones had been numbered so they could be put back in the right place.

Chris, Bradley and Jason have left their mark (and rubbish).

Before I go, one more photo. Sheep and crows at Braunston.

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