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.

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:


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.


Even the centre of oxford was looking smart today.

Thames through Oxford

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


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.

Greylag Geese
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.

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.

Heron having a ruffle and a shuffle
Getting stuck in

video (complete with urban sounds e.g helicopter)