As you, gentle reader will be aware, I walk along the canal towpath most days. What won’t be so obvious, to those who know me as a surly old curmudgeon, is that I have many a happy word for those I pass.
Generally folk will greet each other and me with a fairly cheery “Hi” or comment on the weather. Some will pause with a comment, often about my camera or something they’ve seen that they think was worthy of a snap. Added bonus is meeting people walking dogs. Much fuss can be made of our four legged friends.
I know quite a few anglers because they are often at or near the same place on so many occasions. My usual greeting to them is “Doin’ owt?”. This usually brings either a lament: “Nar, it’s rubbish. They’re not bitin’.” or “Just lost a big ‘un.” or, quite rarely, “Great – twelve in t’ last hour.”
Cyclists are a different kettle of fish. Most are OK – tingling their bells at a reasonable distance and thanking you as they pass. Some just sneak up, the first you know is their tyres hissing on the gravel as they near your heels.
It’s a sign of the times that single women usually pass in silence often with eyes cast down. Can’t blame ’em – there’s a whole load of yobs round here and nothing to mark me as an exception.
On with the pics. Oh yes! I’m trying to be a tad more informative in the captions. (bet that doesn’t last!) Anyone with corrections to my identifications, please comment.
As usual you can see the pics bigger by clicking ’em.
Monandæg Fifteoða Liðe se ærra
(Monday Fifteenth June [earlier mildness])
Second day of the week, Old English mondæg, monandæg “Monday”, literally “day of the moon”.
Hee, back to the Old English headers.
Blue green algae
On the nest
The wren (Troglodytes troglodytes
isn’t that a lovely name?) was on a wall fifteen feet from my front door. There’s notices warning of the dangers of swimming in blue green algae (Cyanobacteria
) at several places round the pond. I don’t believe I’d ever heard of chiffchaffs (Phylloscopus collybita
) before about two years ago but they’re one of the commonest birds around the west end of the pond. Our great crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus
) pair still have their nest in the reeds.
Bee on hawthorn leaf
Nbs Robin Hood & Maid Marion at the lock keeper
Flowering weed in the Ryton
Wasp on cow parsley
Clover with bee
The fat bees are bumblebees (Bombus
), but which particular bombus I don’t know. The wasp isn’t a wasp – it’s a honeybee (Apis mellifera
). Not very often you see Robin Hood with Maid Marion – they’re two narrowboats hired from West Stockwith – not done bad to get this far since Saturday. The River Ryton has loads of weed which is currently flowering profusely – no idea what it’s called, either popularly or scientifically.
Marsh or pyramid orchid?
Hugin of, mostly, sky.
Blue tailed damselfly
The purple flower, just below Stret Lock, is one of the few orchids I’ve seen around here – think it’s a pyramid (Anacamptis pyramidalis
) although it might be a marsh (Dactylorhiza purpurella
). There’s loads of orchids up at Shireoaks Woodlands though)
Playing with panoramas still, I do like ‘cloudscapes’. Red admirals (Vanessa atalanta
) have been rather rare this year whereas blue tailed damselflies (Ischnura elegans
) are possibly the commonest.
Third day of the week, Old English tiwesdæg, from Tiwes, genitive of Tiw “Tiu,” from Proto-Germanic *Tiwaz “god of the sky,” the original supreme deity of ancient Germanic mythology.
Molly the dog with ducks
Great crested grebe
After the fight
Molly is a small Westy that I often see with her owner. Grebe! Pair of blackbirds (Turdus merula
) having a falling out – the loser departing with alacrity. ‘Turdus’ = thrush – of which the blackbird is one.
Heron looking around
Heron Doin’ The Buggerin Off
… and away …
The heron (Ardea cinerea
) was in one of its favourite places at the West end of the pond until disturbed, when it D
Grebes have swapped over
Grebes take turns sitting on the eggs – taking time out to feed, here they’ve just changed over.
Painted lady …
… on thistle
Dog roses (Rosa canina
) are quite beautiful. They are the most common wild rose. Dunno what the pink/white flowers are but they’re rather nice. The one painted lady (Vanessa cardui
) I’ve seen this year (or any?) on a thistle flower.
Silver ground carpet moth
… the male of the species
The moth is a silver ground carpet moth (Xanthorhoe montanata
). I’m seeing a lot more moths this year. One of the aforementioned chiffchaffs DTBO. The swallow (Hirundo rustica
) is doing Bird on the Wire
impressions. A male, you can tell by the dark line of ‘scent cells’ across the forewings, small skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris
) on a grass stem.
Fourth day of the week, Old English Wodnesdæg “Woden’s day”.
A rather narrowboatish day.
Duck in a flap
Nb Wumpus at Worksop cricket ground
Nb Whio at the Lock Keeper
Ducks (Anas platyrhynchos) often splash around and then stand up and spread wings. Two narrowboats, one (Wumpus) at the cricket ground, the other (Whio) at the Lock Keeper.
A trio of moorhen (Gallinula chloropus
) chicks on the canal.
Grebes swapping over
Nb Hieronymous Bosch leaving Morse Lock
The police helicopter is a regular visitor over Worksop. It’s apparently Cambridgeshire’s chopper – if I’m reading its number correctly as G-CMBS. The grebes changing over and having a chat. Narrowboat Hieronymous Bosch had just left Morse Lock as I passed on the pond.
Fifth day of the week, Old English Þurresdæg, a contraction of þunresdæg, literally “Thor’s day,” from Þunre, genitive of Þunor “Thor”.
‘Þ‘ is ‘thorn’, the Old English (and modern Icelandic) ‘TH’ sound as in the.
A sunset and another Hugin panorama of the pond. The chiffchaff sang merrily from this particular twig for days. Their song goes “tchiff tchaff …
” repeatedly. The goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis
) was another high songster.
Once again the heron was standing in the shallow west end of the pond until it was disturbed.
Moss on metal
Mosses make miniature landscapes – this is on a stretch of metal mooring east of Woodend, Rhodesia.
Teasel’s insect trap
On Shireoaks Woodlands, as the old mine tip is now known, the growth is quite lush. Hoverflies (Syrphidae
) are common and often mistaken for wasps (and vice versa). Teasel plants (Dipsacus fullonum
) are very common.The genus name is derived from the word for thirst of water and refers to the cup-like formation made where sessile leaves merge at the stem. Rain water can collect in this receptacle; this may perform the function of preventing sap-sucking insects such as aphids from climbing the stem. A recent experiment has shown that adding dead insects to these cups increases the seedset of teasels (but not their height), implying partial carnivory.Wikipedia
. Bees also take advantage of the flowers. Large areas of the Woodlands are being cultivated as meadows – mowing in late autumn and removing the cuttings to encourage flower growth. White oxeye daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare
) and yellow bird’s foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus
) cover large areas among the varied grasses.
Bee orchids (Ophrys apifera
) are scattered around all over the lower slopes. To attract the pollinating bees, the plant has evolved bee-like flowers; drawing them in with the promise of love, the bees are naturally attracted to the flowers and fly in to attempt a mating. As they land on the velvet-textured lip of the flower, the pollen is transferred and the poor bee is left frustrated. Sadly, the right species of bee doesn’t occur in the UK, so Bee Orchids are self-pollinated here.Wildlife Trust
Adding to the white and yellow of the meadow plants are numbers of purple marsh orchids. There’s also lots of pyramid orchids not so far away so they might be interbreeding(?). A tiny red-pink flower is the scarlet pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis
) – quite prolific where the grass is short – rabbit nibbled?
Back down the canal There’s a family grouping of moorhens – not parent and children but a survivor from an earlier brood caring for younger siblings, this seems to be quite common among moorhens.
(Saturday Twentieth – it seems that Friday was a ‘stay in’ day)
Another Hugin of the pond
Mini moss landscape
Gulls on the rooftop
Nb Tir na nÓg at the Lock Keeper
Nb Arathorn approaching Tir na nÓg
A ‘ponderama’, then a mini panorama of a moss on the canal bank. The black headed gulls (Larus ridibundus
) would, on closer examination, be termed ‘dark brown headed’. They are without a doubt the commonest gulls around; increasing numbers on the pond are often harbingers of bad weather to come. This pair were on the roof just below Sandy Lane bridge. Above Stret Lock Narrowboat Tir na nÓg
was moored. In Irish mythology and folklore, Tír na nÓg (“Land of the Young”) or Tír na hÓige (“Land of Youth”) is one of the names for the Otherworld.Wikipedia
. I’ve seen a couple of narrowboats with this or similar names. Nb Arathorn
was leaving Deep lock, bound eastward. Arathorn (Lord-eagle) is the name of two Chieftains of the Dúnedain – Tolkien, Lord of the Rings.
The purple flower is quite common along the towpath and in fields but I’ve no idea what ’tis. An angler I see most weekends is Pete – an ex mineworker. He rarely fishes more than a few hundred yards from Sandy Lane bridge but, after a few poor days, will give Shireoaks or Bracebridge a try. He’s always willing to show off his catch as he packs up. Judging by the droppings there’s dozens of rabbits around – not often seen though.
Bowlers can be quite acrobatic when delivering the ball. Back at the pond sunset and the crescent moon closed the day.
(Sunday 21st – no info on OE ’21st’)
Small skipper female
Female small skipper
Common blue and aphids on vetch
Male skipper on vech
Loads o’ Hugin panos of the pond today. Two views of a small skipper female on a grass stalk, a common blue butterfly (Polyommatus icarus
) on tufted vetch (Vicia cracca
) with some unidentified aphids. A male small skipper on vetch.
A Ringlet butterfly, at the time I said it was the first I’d seen this year – seems a little improbable. Another ponderama! Does every variety of insect have a ‘common blue’? This is a damselfly. Very dim afternoon moon.
Pond, canal, pond
Canal, pond, canal
Three more Hugins; the first two use the same set of fourteen individual pictures, taken in a full circle to cover both pond and canal and ‘started’ from different places. The third, only of the pond, is just ten pics. Just to finish the week, a snap of ‘Gimpy’ the handicapped tufty – he’s still soldiering on.