Death on the Canal


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.


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.


28 Jan, 2011
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
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
bonkersbon said:

Lovely area David have visited Kinlochleven on way to Glencoe and Fort William 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
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
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
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
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
littlewren said:

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

30 Jan, 2011
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
bulbaholic said:

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

30 Jan, 2011
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
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
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
jane said:

You had it hard again David..glad the snow didnt stay. What a long wonder all waiting for spring !!!

8 Feb, 2011
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
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
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

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.

Leave a comment

You need to be logged in to comment

Featured on

birding days out

Related posts

"Chick Flicks"

Claythorpe Mill


Hot House Slimbridge

Ospreys at Loch DOON

22 Hides and Nature Trails.....

Pelicans in St James's park

What I see when walking my Dog!

Missed opportunities!

My recent canal walk in Stoke on Trent

An urban landscape teeming with amazing wildlife

Taking Toil

A Favourite Place

A bus ride to Coltishall

visit to new galloway forest


Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park

A Tail from the Riverbank

814 Photos!!

The Thames at low tide

Seabirds at Bempton Cliffs RSPB Reserve , East Yorks.

A Trip Along The Basinstoke Canal

Six hours to wait for a train...what to do???

Walk in the Culbins

A winters day at Westport Lake

My first bird hide visit of 2011

Nostalgic photos for Bonkersbon

Two days with the Herons, both less than 15 minutes from home.

Lunch at Martin Mere.

Early February with the Herons at Verulamium

A walk round Stover park.

Stanborough Lakes 16 Feb 2011

Chance to watch Herons

RSPB Reserve Fairburn Ings , Yorkshire.

Birds of Prey centre.

"Lay, Lady, Lay"

Martin Mere Wildlife Photography Course

Martin Mere -= Red Crested Pochard

Upton Warren N.R., Wychbold, North Worcs.

Shelducks in Flight

Day Out

Me & Mikes day out

Middleton Lakes Nature Reserve

Middleton Lakes RSPB Reserve.

Birds on the Norfolk broads

Upton Warren Flashes again

Some Birds from yesterdays trip with Alan

Alan has a day out in Anglesea

Gannet City - Troup Head

Upton Warren, The Moors Pool.

Little Walk

Titchfield Haven,Hill Head,Hampshire.24-06-11

White Crowned Sparrow

Titchfield Haven.29-06-11

Tameside Nature Reserve,Tamworth.

Adventures in Birding

Our time has come !

A day out - if you fancy it

Martin Mere day out July 23rd

Westport lake

This weekend day out

"Escape from the Jungle"

How about a few Owls and friend

Visit to Berry Head

Waders galore at Blacktoftsands Hi

Borrowpit Lake.

Best time for waders at Blacktoft sands.

Whitby,North Yorkshire.

RSPB Cymru Reserves Roadtrip (22nd-24th July 2011) Part One

RSPB Cymru Reserves Roadtrip (22nd-24th July 2011) Part Two

PART TWO OF Westport - a Dull Day

Tardibigge Locks

"The Egret has landed"

Upton Warren Nature Reserve

Egrets R Us


RSPB Cymru Reserves Roadtrip (22nd-24th July 2011) Part Three

Upton Warren-Water Rail Hide

"A good day at the old jetty"

Yesterday at Doxey

frampton marsh

Upton Warren-Water Rail Hide

Patience IS a virtue!!

Hillers Farm Shop/ Garden Center

Bank Holiday Birding in Exeter, August 27-30th 2011

Birding in Burnham

August bank holiday 2011

The Red Kite Feeding and Rehabilitation Centre.

Knypersley reservoir [what's left of it!]

Kenfig Nature Reserve Visit 23/09/2011

Marsh Harrier at Marshside

A day out at Kingsbury Water Park

Snettisham Lagoons

Martin Mere October 1st - Red Crested Pochard

Our Day Out

A grand day out

Just a few more from Martin Mere Trip - A range I guess.

PEACE in the camp

"The old shingle jetty again".

Upton Warren-Water Rail Hide

Shapwick Heath

Geese in flight

Coming in to Roost at Martin Mere

Forest Farm 17/10/2011

Hillers Farm Shop/ Garden Center

A good day for obliging birds ?

A tantalising glimpse

Trip to Ireland

Martin Mere 30 Oct 2011

"Baffins Pond & Eastney Beach"

"It's that man again" not Tommy Handley from I.T.M.A."

"Yet more Pompey pics"

Hillers Garden Centre, Alcester, Warks.

Photo session in Gloucestershire

Slimbridge WWT Visit

Slimbridge Wetlands Centre

Farlington Marshes.

A look back over the year

Purple Sandies 18/12/2011

Walk out

A Day at Barnes

A trip out

Belvide Reservoir, Brewood, Staffs.

A day at the Mere , Scarborough

Upton Warren 26th and 27th December 2011 - Cetti's Warbler again!

Middleton RSPB-Revisited....Again!

Boxing Day at Blashford

Thanks to the ISB communiuty and a day out in Northumberland.

Slapton Ley Devon.


Wat Tyler Country park, Essex

Hillers in January

Whitacre Heath Nature Reserve, North Warks.

Fishers Green Lee Valley

More from Sunny Martin Mere

Happy New Year to you ALL

The Canadian Regiment at The Battle of Upton Warren 2012.

Martin Mere

Two hours at Hillers

A brilliant birding Sunday

Just a few more fill ins from that Martin Mere trip

West Hagley Falconry

A Morning at Arne

Icy Saturday at Abberton Reservoir

Wonderful mooch around Whitacre Heath reserve

Martin Mere with Psilo 19/02/12

Martin Mere Saturday 25th

More Martin Mere

Not only swans fly at Martin Mere

26th February 2012 - Rousse and Grande Havre, Guernsey


The family, Black swan

A rare sunny day - part one - "Never shy"

A rare sunny day - part 2 "Once Bittern"

Lady luck and the Golden plovers

Seabird Cities - A Day Out with Guillemots at St Abbs Head

Hillers - South Midlands

On "Seafari"

Easter Date with a Grand Old Lady

A Very Grey Day At Upton Warren

More from Upton Warren

New reserve.

"Langstone Harbour"

A place to go

Upton Warren in the wind and rain.

Chiffs n' Willows

Greylake 12 Apr 2012

Middleton RSPB

Getting bigger

Return to Upton Warren to check the Grebe nest.

A good day out

Hares looking at you...

A must if you are close by

The First Ever RSPB Scottish Birdfair : Part 1

The First Ever RSPB Scottish Birdfair : Part 2

Upton Warren Flashes

Stover park.

Trip to the Yorkshire dales

The Beach (Pt 1 – Offshore)

The Beach (Pt 2 – Onshore)

A must to visit

"Jewel of the Forth"; The Isle of May:- Part One - "Treasure or Terror Island?"

"Jewel of the Forth"; The Isle of May:- Part Two - A Picnic with Puffins

"Jewel of the Forth"; The Isle of May:- Part Three - "In the Court of the Cliffdwellers"

change of habitat

Argaty Airshow

The Eyes have It

Trip to the coast

New Hide at Upton Warren

Upton Warren

This little Pinkie went to Martin Mere.

They're Back!

Spinnies Bird Hide Bangor

A Rare Sight

Upton Warren

WWT Arundel

Water Rail

Kestrel at Croxall Nature Reserve.


A day in the woods (Pt I)

A day in the woods (Pt II)

High Tide at RSPB Marshside (Southport)

Not really Siberia

A good week

Hold on to your hats

Deeping Nature Reserve

The eagle has landed

Message for Mr Potter

Gorse Hill Nature Reserve, West Lancs

Middleton RSPB ......Again!

Deeping Nature reserve last Sunday

Rainham Marsh RSPB

Farlington Marshes

Hayling oysterbeds

A walk in Picardy

A wet morning at Rainham Marshes.

Le Teich, Gironde

Milvus milvus - A feast

EEL !!! regret meeting this bird

York Falconry centre

Farlington Marshes

Big Waters Nature Reserve.

Rising Sun Nature Reserve

Come walk with me

Come walk again

Come walk a little more

NORTH CAVE (YWT) Gravel Pits 1-Apr

Liked by

  • Bird watching with friends since
    14 May, 2010

  • Bird watching with friends since
    14 May, 2010

  • Bird watching with friends since
    19 May, 2010

  • Bird watching with friends since
    17 Aug, 2010

  • Bird watching with friends since
    30 Oct, 2010