Today’s dog walk turned out to be a real surprise. I parked in one of those grotty out of town shopping areas that we don’t seem to be able to avoid and we strolled down a path we’ve taken before. As I walked I got to thinking how I used to walk nearby when I was a child. Back then there were old Devon lanes that led to miles of fields, but less than a mile and a half from the city centre. Wildflowers were abundant in those lanes, and vehicles were rare.
Then came the 1990’s and the growth of out of town monsters, an increase in major roads as the city expanded and ‘developed’.
The lane where once the only sound was birdsong, has since been widened, homes have been built that virtually fill the gap to the shops. Today’s walk began noisily as I briefly walked parallel to the dual carriageway, but I caught i flash of something out of the corner of my eye and followed it.
Soon it’s friends were fluttering around me,
They didn’t really want to pose for me, they had nectar to gather.
As they followed me down the path, I opened my eyes and stopped listening to the roar of traffic and I was pleasantly surprised.
So, twenty years on from the ‘superstore’ being built, nature was reclaiming her land. Habitats had reformed, diverse ones at that. I know there are foxes in the area, I’ve seen them late at night, climbing up the railway embankment, and the dogs can smell them and lots more things they would like to chase and sniff out.
I like the idea of the footbridge being walked by all sorts of creatures at night, to cross the busy roads safely. From here,
until they reach here.
I learnt even more today, as I stopped to taste the blackberries, the dogs were sniffing under some young oak trees. There were fresh young acorns and oak apples beside them. I leant in close with my phone to capture them and saw the strangest thing.
Apparently they are Knopper Galls, a sort of chemical reaction resulting from the gall wasp laying its eggs on a the developing acorns. They vary quite a bit in colour and form and if you were to cut inside them, the larvae can be seen.
I suppose I was vaguely aware that oak apples were something similar but as little brown balls, they aren’t something I’ve given much thought to!
That isn’t all, when I photographed wild rose hips I wondered what this plant was attached to,
then the dogs were getting into mischief so had to dash. Well, this is a gall too, one that forms on a dog rose, called Robin’s Pincushion. I hope I’m not the last person on the planet to know about Galls!
All in all this was a very good day.I tried to use Mesh but failed dismally and had to give up before I lost my cool – it wasted way too much time, sorry WordPress and Automattic.
I’m not sure if you will manage a Monday walk post this week Jo, but here you are anyway.