Death on the Canal

By

Sorry, but, unlike Bulbaholic, cannot report from the Nile, hence the title! :-)

On Sunday, following a great couple of hours at RSPB Vane Farm, on the shores of Loch Leven, in neighbouring Kinross-shire, I walked along part of the adjoining Loch Leven Heritage Trail, and found a spot favoured by herons.

View westward from the carpark

View eastward from the carpark

Because it was a Sunday, however, there were many walkers, mostly accompanied by dogs and children,, who scared off the birds before I could get an even half-decent pic (Bless them, though, as so nice to see families and pets out and about again, following the severe weather, and enjoying the walks and birds, too)

This morning, I dropped my own children off at school and, 20 mins later, arrived back here, to see if any herons were out and about, in search of breakfast.

Was pleased to see that several were!

The canal, which is actually part of the River Leven, was created during the Industrial Revolution, to power flax. linen, and now, paper, mills, farther down the River Leven, in neighbouring Fife.

The canal, near its source

I enjoyed watching the herons at work, as well as my walk, which led me through a birch wood (Levenmouth Wood) with much birdsong and sightings.

Chaffinch

There are several benches along the walk, with inscriptions, such as………….

Birchwoods, boys, are quite humungous,
full of magic brands of fungus!

This is very true, as I saw several on this walk.

Whooper swans and Pink-footed geese occasionally passed above me, heading for the nearby loch.

All too soon, it was time to head back to the carpark. From the footbridge over the canal, I spotted something protruding from the exposed roots of an old tree. I climbed down the steep banking to have a closer look.

This heron, it seems, had, from being a hunter, become the hunted, its body dragged in here for consumption and/or storage.

There was no sign of its head, just a few feathers and bones in the space under the tree roots.

The legs, like that one wing, were outside the roots, and I was able to get a close look at a heron’s toes.

On the opposite bank, another heron was watching me intently.

As I climbed back up the banking to the footpath, something else caught my eye – a solitary, male Goldeneye, which seemed to be playing a game with the fast-flowing canal, swimming upstream for a short distance, then letting the current sweep it back downstream. It repeated this time and time again.

It was a very interesting walk, and hope to return soon, perhaps extending it farther round the loch-side.

Comments

28 Jan, 2011
Wren_nest_building_edited_2
littlewren said:

better than any Agatha Christie that one David and it was lovely to travel with you ....a beautiful area indeed.......

28 Jan, 2011
Dipper
david said:

Thanks, Lw! :-)

Have added the trail's website to My Favourites, for future reference. The whole walk is over 8 miles long, but can be done in sections, with many good birdwatching spots.

28 Jan, 2011
P1220732
bonkersbon said:

Lovely area David have visited Kinlochleven on way to Glencoe and Fort William ..as you know did get across to Fife too.Wonderful to have such an area nearby .Such a shame about the heron but little wasted in nature and it s death may be helping others survive.

My one and only siting of a Crossbill was in Scotland .. what a vivid colour makes a bullfinch look pale by comparison.

28 Jan, 2011
Dipper
david said:

I just knew that I would cause confusion here, Bb, as soon as I typed "Loch Leven". There are 2 lochs with this name in Scotland. Kinlochleven is, as you say, in a marvellous setting on Loch Leven in the Highlands. I'd love to go back there. Loch Leven, in neighbouring Perth and Kinross county, is a National Nature Reserve (RSPB Vane Farm is on its southern shore). For me, only 20mins drive from home. Lots of walks/trails through a variety of habitats round the whole loch, so looking forward to many lovely days out.

Undoubtedly, this poor heron played its part in the great chain of survival.

Oh, will add "Crossbill" to my wishlist! :-))

I remember you saying that you once stayed at Ladybank. Left you a comment earlier under yours re LN(E)R, to say that Birnie Loch LNR, which is my favourite local spot, is onbly a mile from there "as the crow flies". :-))

29 Jan, 2011
P1150022_1
jane said:

Wow David,what a wonderful spot ! Thoroughly enjoyed accompanying you on your walk and taking in all the sights ! Even the partly concealed herons body...intriguing ! Wonder who the culprit was....?? Maybe a fox....
Loved the "humungous " bench too !!! So many weird and wonderful fungi....or is it funguses..lol
The view westwards from the carpark is simply breathtaking....and as you say..good to get out and about again coming towards the end (hopefully) of this harsh winter !!

29 Jan, 2011
Fulmar_cropped
bulbaholic said:

Nice blog, David, and lovely pictures of the heron. One of these days we really will have to give ourselves much more time when driving down to Edinburgh and visit Vane Farm.

29 Jan, 2011
Wren_nest_building_edited_2
littlewren said:

Once had a week in perthshire fantastic and would love to go back
stayed in the Kenmore hotel right on loch tay.......so beautiful

30 Jan, 2011
Dipper
david said:

I thought a fox, too, Jane. But who knows what lurks out there in the dead of night? "Shivers me timbers!", lol! Scary to see that most of the water surface in, even, our larger lochs, are still largely frozen over. :-(

Wonder if the word "humungous" is recognised, generally???? Seems a bit Scotttish, to me. Defo "fungi", btw! :-)) Aren't those toes fantastic? Still having to de-ice the car every morning, but daytime temps getting more Spring-like! Snowdrops, even, daff shoots, now appearing in the grounds at work - but not at home, yet. :-))

Vane Farm covers quite a large area, Bulbaholic (Thank Goodness you both visted the Nile before the current unrest). With the wetland areas by the loch shore, then the wooded lower slopes of the hills behind, giving access to heath /moorland, all under the guardianship of the RSPB, local landowners, and other charities such as SWT, etc. - amazing! Will the SRGC have a presence at Gardening Scotland this year? And, will you and MG be there? Will be sure to get along, and call in to say "Hello!" So good of you to give us an insight into your Nile cruise!:-))

Kenmore is a downright fave place with me, Lw!!!!!!!! Can be there in about an hour, but have stayed for a long weekend a few times, always at the Timeshare complex, courtesy of parents-in-law. So much to see and do outdoors around there, isn't there? The Crannog Centre, Birks o' Aberfeldy, the ancient Fortingall Yew tree, and the little beach on Loch Tay, so great to see filled with sunbathers and watersport enthusiasts on a (rare) hot August day. Love the churchyard, with the grave of the infant son of an Indian Maharajah and Maharani. You just have to climb the hill to get your own pic of Kenmore as it appears in so many postcards. I did, and Kenmore features in one of my past blogs over on GOY.

You really struck a chord with me. there!! :-D)

30 Jan, 2011
Fulmar_cropped
bulbaholic said:

Yes, we will all be at Gardening Scotland again this year, David, Insha'Allah.

30 Jan, 2011
Dipper
david said:

Alhamdulilah! Are you still down there on the Nile? :-D)
Glad that you got there when you did!
Am in the process of fnding, online, the dates of all the events I want to visit this year, and putting them in my diary. Gardening Scotland a "must", of course. Will see you there, no doubt.

5 Feb, 2011
P1150022_1
jane said:

Hi David...Hope youve survived the high winds just lately !! One fence panel down here this morning and numerous twigs in the pond but fixed now !! Wonder what is due our way next ?? Cant say life is dull though..heavy rain here tonight and plans for tomorrow probably have to be shelved as set to continue !! Que sera ! Lol

7 Feb, 2011
Dipper
david said:

Hi Jane. Yes, have survived the latest weather instalment. :-))

Not much rain over the weekend, but is snowing here, today (again). :-((. Haven't had much free time in recent days, so only got to a local park yesterday.

8 Feb, 2011
P1150022_1
jane said:

You had it hard again David..glad the snow didnt stay. What a long haul...no wonder all waiting for spring !!!

8 Feb, 2011
Dipper
david said:

Planning another walk round part of Loch Leven in the morning, Jane, with several habitats. Heavy frost tonight, but daytime today quite Spring-like, so hope for a nice day tomorrow. Hope you can re-schedule your plans for last Sunday. You may well say "Que sera, sera", LOL! I just say "Bring it On!":-D)

8 Feb, 2011
P1150022_1
jane said:

LOL David !! Whatever !! Looking forward to your next postings from Lake Leven..sorry but still "Que sera"...anything possible!! Lol..

8 Feb, 2011
Dipper
david said:

"It's Impossible......"(another classic title!), lol! Will just have to wait and see what I wake up to. LAKE Leven, btw? We dinnae hae lakes at a', here!! An', we dinnae hae rivers nor streams, either - these are ca'ed "burns"! X

12 Mar, 2012
This_tom

Lovely pictures, I'd love to know what ate the heron. Do you have mink up there yet as we have them down here on the Thames . First time I heard the word dinnae was when I joined the RAF. I thought the bloke was on about his dinner.
Enjoyed reading your blog.

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