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Nature Watch

Our own 'Naturewatch' goes on almost every day whilst cruising the navigable British inland waterways.

We will be, hopefully with your help, developing the Nature Watch section which is to be a comprehensive register of the many and varied flora and fauna around the British canal system. We will feature where to find, how to identify and the appreciation of all aspects of nature in and around the canals.

Over fifty five species of animals, birds and fish live either in, on or close by the waterways of the UK. Just about everyone is familiar with the ducks, geese, herons and swans but the joy of seeing a kingfisher, otter or water vole cannot be measured.

We are so lucky to be able to see so many live things as we move about the waterways.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI's)

Whixall Moss NNR / SSSI - Llangollen Canal - When we visited in early June (2007) we walked the trails and saw nesting Terns, Cuckoo, Buzzards, Kestrel, Bullfinches and many other more common birds.

Country Parks and Wildlife Reserves that abut navigable Rivers and Canals

Watermead Country Park

Wildflower Meadows

Birds - Native and migratory

Many of Britain's birds can be found either on or near the canal system. Nature Watch will describe and identify birds from the regal heron to the diminutive wren.

Great Crested Grebe - Podiceps cristatusGreat Crested Grebe - Podiceps cristatus - The adult Great Crested Grebe are really unmistakable, with their black crest with 'horns' and ruddy cheeks in summer

Kingfishers - Alcedo atthis in the Family of Kingfishers (Alcedinidae) - Alcedo atthis, is The Common Kingfisher, also known as Eurasian Kingfisher or River Kingfisher

Little Grebe (or Dabchick) - Tachybaptus ruficollis - This small water bird reaches a size between 23 to 29 cm in length. A member of the grebe family of water birds.

The Mandarin Duck - Aix galericulata, or just Mandarin, is a medium-sized perching duck, closely related to the North American Wood Duck. The Mandarin Duck is between 41 and 49 cm long with a 65 to 75 cm wingspan.

The Pochard or Common Pochard (Latin name: Aythya ferina) is a medium-sized but stocky diving duck smaller than a mallard, with a red eye, brownish neck and headThe Pochard or Common Pochard (Latin name: Aythya ferina) is a medium-sized but stocky diving duck smaller than a mallard, with a red eye, brownish neck and head in the same family as swans, ducks and geese.

Fishes and Molluscs - Native and introduced

These wonderful creatures are fighting pollution at every turn and many are rarely seen. Nature watch will be introducing you to some surprising creatures, generally unseen just a few feet away from the towpath.

Zander - also known as the pikeperch is now an established UK freshwater fish species.

Amphibians - Native and discarded exotic pets

Frogs, Newts and Toads. Some a lot bigger than the common frog!

Animals

Native wild, captive bred escapees and domesticated stock. From otters to wild boar. Nature Watch will tell you where to find them found around the system.

Ferns and Grasses

The amazing variety that survive in the weirdest of places.

Insects and invertebrates - Water borne and terrestrial. From water spiders to dragon flies. Our waterways and their environs are a haven for thousands of species of insects - We hope to show you some of the weird and wonderful:

Stag Beetle - Lucanus cervus - This creature looks like it belongs in ancient Egypt not within a stones throw of Uxbridge!

Grizzled Skipper Butterfly - Pyrgus-malvae

Plants and Herbs

There are hundreds of species around the canals. Nature watch will help you identify many of them.

The Snake’s Head Fritillary, a bulbous plant in the family Liliaceae to be found at Wheaton Aston on the Shropshire Union Canal

Reptiles

This is one area of nature where the UK has a definite shortfall. With just a hand full of snakes and lizards to our name. Hopefully we will be able to photograph and report back on these illusive critters.

European Grass Snake

Trees and Shrubs

Black Poplar Tree - Radford Meadows - Staffs and Worcs Canal

The wealth of standing timber across the country.

We will be, hopefully with your help, developing the Nature Watch section. A comprehensive register of the many and varied flora and fauna around the British canal system. Where to find, how to identify and the appreciation of all aspects of nature in and around the canals. We are so lucky to be able to see so many live things as we move about the waterways. We are looking forward to accepting your naturewatching photographs and information.

We are looking forward to accepting your naturewatching photographs and information. Please do not hesitate to contribute.