On Wednesday my employer (RHS) informed all the staff that it has to cut costs and this could result in the loss of 100 permanent jobs throughout the Society. The proposed restructuring and advice of whose job is ‘at risk’ within The Plant Centre will not be communicated for another two weeks, at which time I will be travelling to Jersey (Channel Islands) for a family holiday!
In order to clear the brain of all negative thoughts I took a stroll before work on Thursday morning at Ripley. Leaving the car there was a Pied Wagtail perched on a rooftop; both Carrion Crows, Starlings and Jackdaws were calling as they flew overhead; Wren, Robin and Chaffinch singing from within the hedgerows. I headed towards Walsham Lock on the River Wey Navigation and the path took me past fields of yellow. Tranquil views around Walsham (lock) Gates. This is the last remaining 'turf sided' lock (built in 1653) on the Wey Navigation.
At the sluice walkway I spied a Grey Wagtail perched on a rope and captured his double in the water.
I heard the ‘kik’ ‘kik’ call of a Great Spotted Woodpecker as it emerged from a nearby tree and then disappeared downstream. The trees around the lock house were alive with young Blue and Great Tits actively feeding and talking to one another. A Common Whitethroat was very vocal on the other side of the water with its scratchy song but eluded my camera.
Further along the towpath was a male Blackcap heartily singing but flew further away as I approached his perch. A barge passed by and I acknowledged the occupants with a wave. Next up was mother Mallard with seven ducklings in tow. (Click to enlarge)On reaching my position she back paddled to maintain station and kept an eye on her charges and the “Early Birder” who was obviously no threat!
All along the towpath were lots of Banded Demoiselles, a single Speckled Wood butterfly
and this slightly tatty Painted Lady.
Back at Walsham Gates I had another view of a Grey Wagtail feeding and a distant view of a Mute Swan. A quiet and uninterrupted return walk to the car via the grassland area popular with dog walkers covered with masses yellow Spearwort.