When out walking, it’s so noticeable how Himalayan balsam is colonising our open spaces, not just the edges of paths but across uncultivated fields and partly dried up streams. Pretty enough, there’s just too much of it. It is far more prolific than rosebay willowherb and may be driving out more familiar plants, affecting diversity. It’s creeping up Nelly’s Clough like a nasty rash. (I’d better explain: Nelly’s Clough is a path that weaves past the golf course and farm land near the end of my road and not an elderly woman with a sexual health problem!)
Despite this intrusion, Nelly is looking good at the moment with hawthorn, elder, blackberry brambles full of fruit and nettles, dock, rosebay willowherb, vetch and ragwort lining the edges of the path. On the slope down to the stream there are crab apple trees and a couple of splendid fuchsias that must have seeded years ago from a nearby garden.
I saw a heron at Wallsuches alongside coots, Canada geese and mallards.There are more butterflies about than last year. I saw peacocks, spotted woods, small coppers and small tortoiseshells along the way. At Wallsuches five peacocks lay sunning themselves on the path till I disturbed them. I also came across some exotic breeds. Two brown and patchy long horn goats (I think they were goats!) grazed in a field near Brinks Row, while a couple of Lamas relaxed in the sun at the top of Green Lane.
In the garden we have seen plenty of goldfinches and sparrows, though not too many sightings of greenfinches at the moment. Earlier I peered in the sunken blue bowl and saw the frog peeping up from the murky rain water. I then made the mistake of saying ‘hello’. The frog jumped. I jumped. It jumped some more and then hid out for a while behind the flower pots. If it’s the same frog that was in there last year it sure has grown.