Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The Big One (3-4)

Wednesday 18th April 2012

Castleford Visitor Moorings.

The rain started at about 5pm last night - it has continued ever since. From time to time it gets heavy but for most of the time it is just a steady downpour. Hopefully this will bring some respite to various wildlife centres that are reporting low water levels, levels that are are having a knock on for the breeding season.

More and more plants are starting to come into flower. The first flush of Bluebells we saw a week ago on the Huddersfield Broad Canal. We are seeing more and more of them. They will soon be followed by wild garlic and a plethora of others. Many trees, shrubs and bushes are also well into flower. So far we have seen Apple, Blackthorn and Cherry putting on a good display. Missing so far are Sand Martins they are usually the first to arrive.However, they are noticeable by their absence. The Sand Martins are usually followed by the arrival of House martins, Swallows and Swifts.

We have a couple of very opportunistic Carrion Crows that are visiting the boat. Each time we give Abbey or Poppy a Bonio to eat - the Crows come along later to clear up whatever gets left over. The only real wildlife we are seeing in the rain are Comorants of which there seem to be a good number. In the UK there are two species, one essentially a marine bird, the other is found on all kinds of water including inland rivers.

The Cormorant is the bogey bird for many fisherman. Often accused of clearing fish stocks from many lakes and rivers. Yet in reality, whilst the birds do take some fish. The bird is only one predator amongst many that will catch and eat fish. When fish breed, they lay many tens of thousands of eggs. That's their strategy to counteract the large numbers of different predators. The small fry get mopped up in the main by other fish, a shoal of Perch for instance, can clear up large numbers in a short time. 

As the fish grow larger and become to big for Perch to manage, then the main predator species will change to a larger fish such as a Pike for instance. As  the fish grow their numbers fall, so to do the actual number of fish within a predatory species. This is brought about by big pike taking and eating smaller pike and perch. The fewer but larger Pike becomes the top predator. Nature has its own way of bringing about a natural balance in the number of prey and predator species.

Only one boat, Nb Smudge, crewed by a couple of hardy, brave and very wet people was observed on the move today.We decided that it was a much better option to wait out the bad weather. A couple of commercial  barges (Fossdale and Battlestone) carrying loads of aggregates have also passed during the day.

Daily Total

Miles: 0

Locks: 0
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 0.0

Accumulated Totals
Miles: 628.8
Locks: 641
Swing / Lift Bridges: 104
Tunnels: 6
Pump Outs: 8
Engine Hours: 2068.1


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