23 July 2006

Napton and Ufton - neglected corners

My local patch is basically defined by two waterways - the River Leam which snakes first north and then east from my home, and the Grand Union Canal, which runs directly east. Along the river to the north are some familar villages, such as Offchurch and Cubbington, and also the great Warwickshire woodlands of Princethorpe, Wappenbury and Ryton. The canal route makes its more direct route towards two outlying and much neglected treasures in my patch - Napton Reservoir and Ufton Fields.

Napton today was alive with fishermen, perhaps a dozen in all around this small body of water. Coot and Mallards aplenty were to be found, along with eight Great Crested Grebe and a couple of Common Terns - firsts for the patch. My favourite bird of the morning (a 6am start no less) was a Common Sandpiper which flew low from bank to bank, doing its best to avoid me but still proving unmistakeable, even at distance.

Ufton is a funny place, often quiet and yet so full of potential. Today there were few birds - some Mallards, a couple of Coot and Moorhen, but finally three Bullfinch and a Green Woodpecker to enliven the walk. But what magnificent dragonflies the place has - brilliant blue and huge like birds. The picture is a cheat - it's of an Emporer Dragonfly and I haven't got a clue if they have these at Ufton. But it looks right, and it certainly conveys the beauty of these creatures. Posted by Picasa

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