Swallows

swallowsswallowAt least a dozen swallows fly low over the pastures alongside the Balk, some of them nesting in the stables.

There’s a double yellow line of stonecrop in flower on a sunny, south-facing stretch of the concrete canal bank,
one line along the top of the bank, the other on the lower ledge.

stonecropThe green roof of an outbuilding in Netherton is covered in stonecrop but there it is showing predominantly the red of the succulent leaves rather than the yellow of the flowers.

song thrushTo judge by how many times we’ve heard them singing, it must have been a good year for song thrushes. I recognise them by their thrice repeated phrases. canalMany of these varied phrases sound familiar but I can’t quite place them as impressions of other birds. Sometimes they’ll insert an anxious mewing phrase that reminds me of a bird of prey.

Blackbirds and others are joining in a late afternoon chorus in a strip of hawthorns and trees alongside a canal cutting. The vertical wall of sandstone on the opposite bank adds resonance.

moorhenWe’re always listening for approaching bicycles on the towpath so we both automatically glance over our shoulders when we hear what sounds like a child’s hooter behind us; ‘pip, pip, pip, pi – peep!’. It’s a moorhen calling.

swanA moorhen swims alongside a mute swan nesting on a platform of vegetation at the edge of the canal. There’s no sign of cygnets this afternoon.

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