A canal walk, part 2

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A canal walk, part 2

Post by Horus » Sat Jun 12, 2010 8:51 pm

As I continued my stroll along the canal, I was particularly pleased to notice a couple of Lime trees that had established themselves and although they can be quite common in some towns as shade giving trees, they do not seem quite so common in the open countryside and of course they bear no relationship to the fruit of that name. Our American friends may know them as Linden or Basswood

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The light green narrow leaves in this picture are the equivalent of the flowers of this tree, or more correctly they are called Bracts (similar to the red leaves of a Poinsettia) and in a week or two there should be some little pea sized seeds within these bracts.
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Sycamore trees have already set their seeds and the clusters are already visible between the leaves, but they will take a while yet before they start to fall and spin like tiny helicopters to disperse themselves away from the parent tree.
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I had noticed that the Swallows were late arriving this year and I believe it is down to the volcanic ash that disrupted the air space over the UK. Not that the ash stops them flying, but rather the strong Northerly winds that kept the ash cloud over the UK was stopping them from flying up North from Africa. I did find an area with a water meadow adjacent to the canal and I stood for some time watching them fly in and swoop over the water catching insects. I could hear what seemed to be their call as they flew back and forth between the meadow and canal. It is difficult to describe, but was remarkably loud and seemed to have three parts to it. I do have a sound option on my camera but it is difficult to put it onto this forum, neither could I get a decent picture, they are just too fast unless you can set up a picture using a tripod. But for anyone interested you can view the bird and listen to the song by clicking Here and then clicking the sound icon below the picture. The last bit of sound on the clip is not a Swallow but the crow of a Cockerel :lol:

I did manage to get one blurred picture while I was taking a photo of a lock gate and realised that there was actually a Swallows nest directly under the small pedestrian bridge that sits above it, they certainly build in some strange places.

The Swallow is circled near the center and the nest is under the bridge steelwork on the left hand side.
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The nest (not very clear)
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Lots of wild flowers are starting to bloom, the usual Buttercups can be seen along the towpath with White and Red clover among the many grasses that can be found in the adjacent fields.
Common Buttercups
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Red & White Clover
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The Foxgloves are just starting to appear in the more shady parts of the walk and if you are really lucky you may just spot a rare albino one. Another one to look out for is the herb Comfrey which is also known by country folk as ‘Knitbone’ due to its medical properties, in sunny weather it can be seen covered in large Bumble bees drinking the nectar. The common Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) was the original source of herbal heart treatments and the whole plant is highly toxic.

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Albino Foxglove
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Comfrey (Knitbone)
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And finally for this section here is ‘Donald’ and he or she is another Albino as is really a Mallard, although it looks more like an Aylesbury duck. It is not a true Albino as it has black eyes, it is more likely to just be a genetic aberration.

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Post by LovelyLadyLux » Sat Jun 12, 2010 10:10 pm

AWWWWWW soooooooooo KEWL Horus! Terrific!!! Am enjoying your walk more than you methinks!

I have Foxglove in the garden, was aware of the medicinal properties but didn't realize the entire plant was toxic. Interesting. It is in full bloom right now, geums beside it are out as are the allium, asters bleeding hearts, japanese iris, flags and good old day lilies. Hollyhocks will be next! Love all your photos. Way cool and thank you for sharing you walk!

Where are you going to take us next? ;););)

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Post by Christine » Sat Jun 12, 2010 10:20 pm

Lovely, keep walking H :)
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Post by Horus » Sat Jun 12, 2010 10:50 pm

Glad that you are both enjoying the walk, I will finish this one first, then if you like, we can see where we can go that may be interesting. :)
In the meantime LLL here are a few more close up Foxglove pictures.
Wild variety
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Wild variety Albino
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Cultivated Garden variety
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Post by Goddess » Sun Jun 13, 2010 6:31 am

That white foxglove is gorgeous!

Keep walking H! :)
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Post by Grandad » Sun Jun 13, 2010 10:38 am

Keep walking Horus and telling us about it. :)

That dog of yours is sure getting some excersise....or is it him taking you? :)

I mentioned that I might have something to add to your first thread that is more along the lines of a bit of local history, taking up your canal and industrial revolution theme.

We don't have canals in the South East and I will hold off on my piece for the moment but just think 'First ever scheduled railway'. :?:
Grandad :gg:

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Post by A-Four » Sun Jun 13, 2010 11:25 am

Funny you should mention the railway Grandad. They tell me that the track near me that now goes to Docklands from the City, was the second to be built anywhere in the world after Newcastle. It is now used by DLR, but was first used, to get goods from the docks to the City.

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Post by jewel » Sun Jun 13, 2010 6:19 pm

Lovely pictures Horus.......I love canal walks we often go along the one near us, as for swallows there were loads of them in Greece - I did get a picture of a nest with a few hungry beaks which I will post if I can resize it!

As for the lime trees - we have a few in our garden they are a lovely shade of green, and a local poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge did write a poem about them "This lime tree bower my prison" but they have many medicinal uses, most interesting. Do keep writing up your delightful walks thank-you :D
I don't have a plan......so nothing can go wrong!

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