Messing about on the river.

I felt compelled to share this with you all. My husband and I have witnessed many marvels of nature during our time on the British inland waterways.  There have been numerous occasions when we have observed the sweetest evidence of new life.

A few weeks ago, we set off for a four- day round trip from our mooring on the absolute best Marina ever ‘ Mercia Marina’, towards one of our favourite little villages along the canal, ‘Alrewas’ in Staffordshire. Our journey took us through the picturesque countryside where we decided to moor overnight by Branston Waterpark.

The following morning, while sipping our tea, we glanced across to the opposite side of the towpath, where we spied a moorhen sat serenely on her nest.  Very quietly we opened the side hatch doors of our boat and gently threw small morsels of five seed grain bread out onto the gentle ripples of the water. Sure enough, mother hen and her six newborn chicks swam towards the bread. The chicks were tiny bundles of black fluff. Amongst the uncontrolled sticky out fluffy feathers, bright red and yellow beaks dazzled in the early morning sunshine. A vivid shade of red that contrasted brightly against the murky grey water of the cut.

What happened next was the sweetest of sights. The mother collected the small pieces of bread and one piece at a time she re -dipped the bread into the water then popped it into the beak of the first chick that was in line. She then proceeded to repeat this process for each chick. Without having any food herself, she ushered the chicks back to the safety of the nest, where she promptly sat on them to keep them warm, after their early morning swim.Satisfied they were safe, imagine our delight when she returned for her own share of the food, which we promptly provided.

Our journey continued taking us along a small section of the River Trent, towards Alrewas. Approaching the village, I jumped off the boat to open the lock that we were approaching. As I walked along the towpath, windless in hand, my husband called to inform me that a Pidgeon was stuck in the water and struggling to get out. As the Pidgeon flapped and struggled towards the bank, I knelt down on the grassy bank, reached out as far as I was able to stretch and gently hooked the windless underneath its belly, slowly pulling the bird close enough to the bank for me to lift out of the water. The Pidgeon was ringed, suggesting ownership. Immediately on terra firma, it hopped towards the hedgerow to rest and dry out.

I’d like to think that it was able to complete its journey, whatever the destination, as we completed ours, later that day.

Do you have fun messing about on the river?  Do tell.