BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

Posts tagged ‘new pond’

#365daysofbiking From tiny acorns grow


August 1st – The various varieties of wasp gall that form on oak trees are necessarily seasonal. Rosy, marble and apple galls form from wasp eggs injected into leaf notes, so grown from them in spring and early summer, and by now are largely vacated and spent.

Knopper and artichoke galls form from eggs laid in acorn buds, corrupting the fruit into a gall from the crop, so don’t start appearing until late summer. Right now they’re developing well, forming a protective, curiously shaped home for the wasp larva to hatch in and develop.

Galls are fascinating things for sure, and are markers of the passing year.

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#365daysofbiking A bitter harvest coming

June 18th – Looks like another good season for pears at Clayhanger: This solitary tree is growing by the new pond, just need the orchids and it laden with nascent fruit.

The tend to be hard and inedible, and usually are enjoyed by birds who can tolerate the acid fruit.

In many seasons this tree suffers problems with blight and parasites but this year seems very healthy, which is nice to see.

If even half of these fruit make it it’s bee a very good harvest for the birds.

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#365daysofbiking Keep an eye out

June 17th – For some reason later than the canalside ones, the orchids in the grass on the bank from the canal to the new pond at Clayhanger are now coming out.

Thankfully unharmed by the Canal and River Trust mower, these lovely purple flowers are hard to spot at first amongst the tall grass, vetch and other wildflowers but they’re there – being beautiful and trying to get noticed.

If you go for a look, wear wellies or long trousers as the grass is full of cuckoo spit…

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#365daysofbiking Kidney at stake:

June 7th – Kidney vetch is an odd little wildflower, which consists of tiny yellow flowers cluster around a fluffy, downy head. I always imagine it’s a plant of late summer for some reason, and it’s appearance in midsummer always surprises me.

It grows profusely on the grass around the top of the new pond embankment at Clayhanger, one of the few places I know it exist, yet every year, like the orchids, it’s cut down by Canal and River Trust’s mowing team who insist on obliterating anything in their path.

I preferred canals when they were more unkempt, if I’m honest.

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#365daysofbiking Lupin the loop

May 14th – On Monday I said there were new wildflowers every day now. As if to confirm it on the way home, by the new pond in Clayhanger, the first of the season’s lupins, which have been growing wild here since I was a kid.

Ironically I searched in vain for one of these yesterday in the same area, so the growth must be coming on fast now.

I love these beautiful, deeply coloured purple blooms; there are also a pink variety here that flower later.

Soon be time for the orchids, too…

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365daysofbiking Buttered up:

October 5th – I said a good few weeks ago now that butter and eggs, or toadflax is one of the harbingers of summer’s end: When it comes into flower, you know the season is at an end.

Still going strong in early October, it’s one of the few things still in flower, resolutely brightening the canal towpaths, edgelands and hedgerows.

A beautiful, but sad flower.

June 12th – Passing the embankment of the new pond at Clayhanger I noticed that the kidney vetch is showing well this year. One of only two places I can think of that it grows locally, this plant, once thought to be good for healing wounds, is profuse in the sandy soil of the embankment.

Consisting of individual flowers on a fluffy, down covered flower head, it’s a storage and very beautiful wayside delight at this time of year.

May 31st – A very poor photo with lousy focus, but another first for the season: My beloved beauties the orchids are coming into bloom.

They don’t last long, so keep an eye out on canal embankments, meadows and wetlands. We have a number of varieties, and these mall flowers are always tiny perfection.

The slug seemed to be enjoying them too – this example was on the bank of the new pond at Clayhanger.

May 2nd – Further up the canal, at the new pond in Clayhanger, the pear blossom is very strong and fulsome this year – since we’re now hopefully too late for a frost, we might have a decent crop this year.

The canal itself is beautiful at the moment in shades of bright green – with the rare glimpse of blue sky and such gorgeous blossom it’s possible to convince yourself that this morning had to be the last of the bad weather and summer might finally be coming…

January 17th – It was a nice day on the canal, and as I came past Lathams Bridge on the way home, I couldn’t resist a couple of peaceful shots of the waterway. The marina doesn’t seem very busy at the moment, I must say, but the view is as lovely and serene as ever. You wouldn’t think you were only tens of metres from a busy, large marl pit and a bustling chemical waste transfer and treatment facility.

The new pond at Clayhanger, this year will be thirty years mature and no longer new is looking stark but beautiful, with the last of the previous night’s snow still hanging on on the shaded bank. I wonder how many times I’ve parked my bike and sat on that bench over the years? At least ten different bikes and it must be hundreds of times. Looking at the rot, I don’t think it’ll stand many more…