Gems on the Thames

The Lone Kayaker has always loved the River Thames. On a hot June day it is buzzing with wildlife and  paddling along the smooth backwaters around Oxford is effortless because there is so much to look at and take in.

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Oxford backwater

Everything , apart from earwigs and pale creatures with no eyes that live in caves, seems to love the sun. Mother and offspring Mallard relax on a sun-drenched bank:

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Mallard

and the strong light brings out the colours on the beak of a Moorhen. Although it’s a common bird  its attractive colour scheme is often overlooked as it creeps about in dense riverside vegetation. Its beak is complemented by a pair of bright green legs and feet.

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Moorhen

Even the centre of oxford was looking smart today.

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Thames through Oxford

Red Kites floated overhead, right in the middle of Town.

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Kite

Godstow meadow was a melee of Greylag geese which are feral, and noisy, and messy, but likeable nonetheless. Of course everyone loves a tiny gosling.

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Greylag Geese
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Its exhausting being a tiny goose with all that noisy eating going on all around.

At a muddy shore there were a load of Housemartins zipping about collecting mud for their nests. I used to very much take these birds for granted but not any more. Virtually all avian insect-eating summer visitors have crashed in numbers over the last couple of decades so to hear the cheerful ‘dreep’ of a Housemartin, the classic sound of a summers day in a town, is something to be savoured.

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Housemartins
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Housemartin with mud for nest

The best wildlife action of the day was saved till I was nearly back at the car. I saw a stooped grey bundle of feathers near the bank and a concerned couple on the other side of the river asked me to investigate. They thought that it was a Heron that was caught up in some fishing line or suchlike.

Fortunately it turned out to be a perfectly healthy Heron building up the energy to have a bit of a bath, with some major ruffling of feathers. It was also very tame so I could get some good pics, although I looked away politely every so often when it gave me a bit of a glare.

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Heron having a ruffle and a shuffle
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Getting stuck in

video (complete with urban sounds e.g helicopter)

 

3 thoughts on “Gems on the Thames

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