Suitably refreshed we set off back along the canal to re-trace our steps. It is always good to do this as things look so different and there are different things to see that were missed on the way. The view below is a typical canalside scene with the barge, the canal workers cottage and the lift bridge.
We particularly noticed the remnants of ironwork and machinery once important to the working of the canal but their commercial uses are now long-gone. They are now used by barges as part of the new leisure industry, as canals are once again coming to life, and they create interesting patterns and shapes along the waterside for photographers to spot.
Half way back and a deserved break found us sitting on the stumps of coppiced Alders. This little coppice of Alders was alive and bustling with bird life. We heard their calls and songs and watched them flitting amongst the branches. Lots more Chiffchaff and Willow Warblers, Blue, Great and Long Tailed Tits. Their gentle songs were interrupted by the alarm calls of Blackbirds as Buzzards flew overhead. Those tiny songsters the Wrens sang with gusto as they moved rapidly low in the undergrowth. The real entertainers though were the two birds of the tree trunk, the Treecreeper and the Nuthatch. The little mouse-like Treecreeper flew between trees landing low down the trunks and climbed upwards searching the bark for insects, whereas the more burly and more colourful Nuthatch landed higher up and climbed downwards head first.
Wildlife today kept disappearing into holes. Blue Tits disappeared into their nest holes on the rotten branches of trees, Red Tailed Bees disappeared into holes in tree trunks low to the ground, Long Tailed Tits into the tiny holes in their neat spherical nests and squirrels into their dreys.
As we neared the end of our waterside walk we were startled by loud screechings emanating from the top of a clump of trees. The arrival of an adult Heron was all we needed to realise that this terrible cacophony was caused by hungry young Herons calling from their “rookery”.
On returning to the bridge nearest to the end of the trail the harshness of the light created dark shadows emphasising the beautiful curve of its arch.
From here on we kept coming across that wonderfully coloured butterfly the Brimstone in its bright yellow livery with a hint of lime green. these early adults were searching along the canal side and the hedges bordering the toll paths searching for the flowers of Dandelion and Cowslip. It was impossible to photograph one because they never stay still. They fidget and flit! But they glowed in the sun, such brilliance of colour.
The canal narrowed the closer we got towards the finish of our walk, as the reeds closed in on either side, leaving a narrow winding ribbon of water. This created interesting reflections of trees and fences on the opposite bank.
We caught sight of this rectangle of sheep’s wool caught on the fencing where a sheep must have been scratching to alleviate an itch.
We discovered a great place to walk and watch wildlife (we recorded 40 species of bird), to listen and appreciate the countryside of our home county, Shropshire. There are so many places still out there awaiting our discovery.