Saturday, 7 May 2016

The Dawn Chorus

Saturday 7th May, 2016 at Streethay, near Lichfield.
This is the best time of the year to hear the dawn chorus. M was keen to hear it in all its glory and, being totally mad, got up at 4:15 and sat on the stern deck with a cup of tea as dawn broke.
It was cool enough to need a hat and scarf but such a joy to savour every moment of the bird song. To her surprise, there were still bats abroad, at least a dozen flew round her in the half light. The chorus is at its best for about thirty minutes (in this case from 4:30 to 5:00am - sunrise being at 5:21 today). To M's surprise, a lady walked by on the towpath at 5:00am!
It was a little cloudy, so there was no clear sunrise but M is resolved to do it again another day when a clear sky is forecast.
Note: R did not arise for this experience but M did record it on her phone so he could listen to it from the comfort of his bed!
This is a lovely mooring and we will make a point of stopping here whenever we pass through.
Wood End Lock (through the bridge) is in a pretty location miles from anywhere and is one of our favourites.
The stretch of canal from here to Fradley is very sylvan (although very sadly somewhat under threat from HS2).
We were pleased to see a C&RT volunteer at the two locks before Fradley Junction; we remembered the lady (Marie) from last year, and she remembered us. Her husband, Mark, was on duty at the third lock. We turned right on to the Coventry Canal before the third lock, and at the junction was a magnificent double flowering cherry tree in full bloom.
The "double" blooms are even more spectacular close up; they truly are a marvel to behold.
The local arable farmers were busy preparing the ground for seed. Very harrowing!
Four years ago, at the Caen Hill flight of locks on the K&A, we met up with a lovely lady called Angela on her boat "Red Geranium". We have always stayed in touch and today we heard from her that she would be in the area looking at another boat to buy - she sold Red Geranium a while ago.
We arranged to meet her and soon saw her walking on the towpath with her dog Ruftie.
We spent a few very happy hours on board, having lunch and a good catch up. The weather had grown increasingly heavy and humid all afternoon and, not surprisingly, around teatime there was a small thunderstorm. As the rain eased off, R walked with Angela and Ruftie back to their car at Streethay.
It was wonderful to spend time with Angela and Ruftie. We await news of a boat purchase! 
Today: 7 miles, 3 locks and 3.7 hours.
Trip: 24 miles, 7 locks and 12.5 hours.

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