Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Monday 8th June 2015 Canal walk to Claverton Pumping Station: Leader Phillip Delve

Claverton Weir

Accompanied by birdsong from trees and bushes close by 13 of us met in the George Inn car park at Bathampton for a 9.30 a.m. start. We took a short cut through the wooded churchyard towards the canal, listening to Wren, Blackbird, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and a single Song Thrush. We then walked slowly along the canal towpath towards Claverton Pumping Station in bright sunshine.

Several birds were seen well along the towpath. An active Reed Warbler singing from a small patch of reeds, a Chiff Chaff alternately chasing insects over umbellifer plants, then taking cover in the hedge-line. Blackcaps, a singing male on a hedge, a female with young deep in a Hawthorne bush. A young and vocal Great Spotted Woodpecker that was found at the base of a willow tree and exchanging calls with a hidden parent. Keener eyes spotted a distant Sparrowhawk on the skyline and a few Buzzards floated high above. Unseen Whitethroat and Greenfinch were heard.

We stopped to look at a few insects and plants: on buttercups a beetle with thick thighs Oedemera noblis
Beetle Oedemera noblis

Beautiful Demoiselle,
Blue-tailed Damselfly 
Blue-tailed Damselfly and a large Hornet.
We compared umbellifer plants, Hogweed, Hemlock and Hemlock Water Dropwort. Other plants included Welted Thistle, Red Campion, Reedmace, Yellow Iris and Figwort.


Hemlock Water Droplet

Welted Thistle


Diverting down a short lane and crossing a railway brought us to Claverton Pumping Station. While Terry Doman explained the workings of the historic pumping station, we looked for dragonfly species by the pump house pool, recording Large Red, Blue-tailed and Azure Damselflies as well as Banded Demoiselle. From here it is only a short walk over a field to the Claverton Weir on the River Avon. Here a Mistle Thrush was singing in the distance and a Green Woodpecker made a short “Yaffle” call. Blooming by the weir was a Common spotted Orchid. Then while a couple of men walked over the weir and began to swim, a kingfisher flew up from the river and away over the field behind us. Having walked slowly here, we returned at a quicker pace by the same route, finishing our walk about 1.30 p.m.

Phillip Delve

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