Well it’s been a bit quiet on the blog this week but I feel it’s now time to catch up with the last few days. It’s been a rather nice week now the cold wind has disappeared. Buddy and I have been to Stockton Cuttings once or twice a day on the search for emerging Grizzled and Dingy skippers. No joy at all and we also met up with one of the Warwickshire recorders who hadn’t seen any either.
On our visit there on Friday I met a flower girl – actually a lady a lot older than me - who is into wild flowers. I took the opportunity to find out a few things including the differences between Oxslips and Cowslips, and also the differences between Wild Strawberries and Barren Strawberries.
|Oxslips are a hybrid between Primrose and Cowslip and the flowers hang all round the top of the stem|
Whereas Cowslip flowers hang one side of the stem
Grizzled Skipper caterpillars feed on Wild and Barren Strawberries and (obvious really), Barren Strawberries don’t bear fruit. She also explained that the petals are separate on the Barren Strawberry. It turned out she has lived on a working boat nearly all her life as well as being a botanist. She and her husband used to have a butty – an engineless boat that used to be towed by the working boat to carry extra freight on a boat journey. The plan had been to restore the butty and as soon as it was done they would travel the canal system together on both the boats; unfortunately he died just before their great adventure so she has sold the butty but remains living on the working boat.
A lot of butterflies were on the wing during the week and I saw our first female Orange Tip of the year. Amazing camouflage on the underwings.
|Underside of Orange Tip|
About ½ mile from where we have been moored is a country store which has a Victorian post box still in use. I checked on the Waymarking Geocaching site and it was one that hadn’t been recorded before in their list of Queen Victoria letter boxes so I wrote an entry for them and got it accepted.- sad eh?
|VR post box in near doorway|
On Saturday it was time to move home as we had been in the same spot for 14 days. We cruised to Stockton and moored outside The Boat Inn.
|Boat Inn on left. We are furthest boat on right in front of a Kiwi couple who also liveaboard|
We took the opportunity to visit Stockton Cutting and we were fortunate this time – Karen spotted a Dingy Skipper first and then found this mating pair.
|Mating Dingy Skippers - first day of adult lfe as well!|
We found seven in all and one Grizzled Skipper. We couldn’t get a decent picture of the Grizzled.
|Karen photographing the copulators whilst Buddy sleeps|
|Freshly emerged Dingy Skipper|
|Dingy Skipper with outstretched wings|
We reported the sightings to the Warwickshire recorder who was really pleased with our finds.
We have noticed that Buddy is finding the heat a bit wearing compared to previous years – maybe he’s just getting older and more sensible and realises that running around just makes him hotter.
We got back from our butterflying and had lunch before setting off down the Stockton flight. As we were casting off a couple passed us on nb Fullerdreams (their surname is Fuller) and we agreed to lock down together. They were a pleasant couple who moor in Uxbridge for the winter and cruise for six months of the year. They kept laughing at Buddy lying down at each lock.
|Poor Buddy seems to have forgotten how to cope with heat|
We took on water at a water point out in the middle of nowhere near the hamlet of Bascote. It was so peaceful that we reversed back after filling up and decided to make this our next mooring spot for a while. It is now less than 10 miles for Karen to drive to work which is good too.
These are the ten locks we went down today.