Covid on the Cut – May the 4th be with you

Covid on the Cut – May the 4th be with you

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Now into my forth edition. 8 Weeks of solid lock down.

I’ve grown tired of the whisky….

The thoughts of it’s aftertaste are no longer a comfort.

Fresh brood of signets. Grand Union - Stowehill.
Fresh brood of signets. Grand Union – Stowehill.
View across Nene Valley toward Flore from the Grand Union Canal
Freshly ploughed field. Nene Valley toward Flore from the Grand Union Canal.

Increase in wildlife on the canal during lockdown

Other areas of the UK urban and city are increasing in terms of returning wildlife, the following area’s of the cut are seeing a re-surgence.

Grand Union Canal - Stowehill Northants
Wild flowers on the Grand Union

The flowers.

Due to the fact there are no longer any boats, of a commercial or leisure variety, the Canal and River Trust has ceased mowing the canal towpath. A glut of wild flowers now occupy what would in the past have been mowed canal towpaths.

I pulled a small rabbit out of the canal just close to here. It had fallen in. Once the rabbits fall in, they find it very hard to climb out as the bank is 90deg. to the canal. I thought it was a rat swimming around, but as I drew closer, I saw it was a little rabbit. I put my hand in and pulled it out and threw it where the cow parsley is here. It made a kind of squeaking noise as it landed on the grass, looked for a second, then ran off into the hedge.

Bream on the Grand Union Canal
Sunning bream


With multiple boats passing every hour, the poor old fishies need to remain in deeper water so as not to get struck by a propeller or some such.
Even if they were there, it would be difficult to see them due to the condition of the water. The canal bed is basically mud and sediment in a constant state of flux due to passing boats.

That mud and sediment took about 3 weeks to settle properly.

The water now is less browny, and more green and transparent. Clear enough to see the odd fish… As I was cycling along the towpath, I saw a whole shoal of bream sunning themselves close to the surface. This is something that’s not happened before.

Ducks of death

Or prone to death, is closer to the truth.

Solitary duckling. Grand Union Canal.
Solitary duckling. Grand Union Canal.

During my cycling trips to other areas of the canal, the ducklings seem to be still in evidence. Some broods have slightly diminished, but the remaining ducklings have grown, and are growing.

In contrast to the ones that set-up here on the field opposite. In my last post, 12 ducklings lasted no longer than a week…

In my view. This is due to the exposed nature of the field.

Aerial predators swoop down and pick up the little chicks and there’s nothing the mother can do. Where there is more tree cover along the canal, there is plenty of evidence that these chicks are surviving and growing.

I don’t think it’s anything to do with predators in the water being able to feed on what they can see now and couldn’t see before lockdown.

Pike prefer tree cover, so I’m not with the evidence on from below…

Death is coming from above on this one….

Until my next installation. Enjoy your lockdown…

3 thoughts on “Covid on the Cut – May the 4th be with you

  1. Yes, perhaps you’re right about the ducklings and aerial predators. May the birds themselves be more adventurous with fewer boats going to & fro?

  2. love the idea of fish taking the sun…..wonderful environment! love the pics. I’m sur you’re rightabout the duckling predators. enjoy your water beauty.

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