Sunday, May 17, 2009

Barnsley Boundary Walk resumed

No big surprise that the new job is curtailing my leisure activities. I don't resent that, though, as the job is bringing lots of other new experiences and challenges. The lousy weather recently is also making me focus on other things that need doing - you don't mind getting on with the practical and mundane tasks quite so much when there is little prospect of pleasant sunny walks.
Last week, I resumed the Barnsley Boundary Walk - leg 7 and a bit of leg 8, from Elsecar to High Green. Very little of it was new as the first part duplicated one of Rob's walks, and the latter part a section of the Penistone line walk in reverse. It was a fine but gusty day and there was not a lot of bird or animal interest. I saw goldfinches in Elsecar park, but there was not a great deal wildlife on or around the res unless you count fishermen. There was also a warbler of some kind, but no idea which one, and a thrush which I managed a photo of (see flikr). Again, don't know whether it was song or mistle. The books are really not helpful. Yes, one is bigger than the other, but just try getting them to stand side by side for comparison!! A pied wagtail in St Peter's churchyard, but not even a kestrel at Tankersley. Surprisingly, saw quite a few butterflies: peacock, small tortoiseshell, orange tips and quite a lot of speckled wood. The real triumph was the profusion of wild flowers: bluebells, of course, pink purslane, speedwell, forget-me-not, honesty, cuckoo flower, vetch (bitter vetchling?) herb robert, violet, yellow archangel, white dead nettle, and wild garlic in such profusion it was breathtaking (the photo really doesn't do this patch justice).
Close to home this week, saw a jay from the window, swifts earlier in the week, and housemartins. The tits (mainly coal and blue) and blackbirds are keeping busy and a pair of house sparrows are regular visitors to the feeders. Haven't spotted any robins or bullfinches for a little while.
In the garden, the beans, courgettes and squash are getting planted out today. There doesn't seem much point in holding off. The forecast is not good - lots more rain on the way, but at least the roots will get a chance to take off - if they aren't washeded away! A bit of pricking out and salad sowing under the cover of the greenhouse is in order, then maybe a bit of sewing, sketching and, as a last resort, ironing later. Next weekend, the extra day off will be an incentive to get out and about at least once. The next leg of BBW will take me through some great woodland towards Oughtibridge. I'm off to Northampton and Swindon during the week, so perhaps a bit of birwatching from the train.

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