Lock up the birds!
Part way through our ablutions this morning a boat came past us headed for the two locks leading up to Stoke Bruerne museum and the Blisowrth tunnel so we dropped (nearly) everything and tagged along to share the locks. Our hope of sharing the locks at Whilton later in the day evaporated as after leaving the tunnel they steamed off at a rate of knots and we never saw them again. However when we did get to Whilton (two rainstorms later) we were able to pair up with nb Valerie which we have been seeing around for quite a time.
In the penultimate lock we were joined by a mother duck and eight tiny ducklets* who proceeded to swim down the side of the boats. Distressed mum went after them and had some difficulty being many times their size. By moving the boats carefully and splashing the chicks with a sitck we managed to usher them to the back of the lock so we could fill it very slowly.
They made their escape either side of the boats once we opened the top gates.
Before we started on the locks we passed nb Farne on its way to The Nene: we had not seen each other since the BCN Explorer Cruise in June 2009.
*For my non-native English speaking readers I should point out thet the correct word or young ducks is ducklings not ducklets.