I took the afternoon off today. It was such a nice day and I didn't want to waste it. Jack and I went on a long walk along the canal and the river Kelvin. It is our usual walk, we do it several times a week. I like going on the same walk regularly at this time of year. The landscape is changing so fast, it doesn't get boring. The walk is out and back with a loop to turn around. I am always surprised how different the same spot looks from opposite directions. Jack likes to check out his usual haunts. He is a creature of habits, just like me.
Our resident heron was in its usual spot, hunting for fish in the canal. I noticed that the big bare nest nearby was padded out with some rhododendron leaves. I am not sure if it is the herons.
There have been some unusual ducks on the canal lately. I am not actually sure if they are truly unusual, they just aren't usually on this part of the canal. This male (?) is quite petite and very pretty. He didn't like posing for a photo and swam away quickly. He doesn't seem to have a mate.
The cormorant was on his usual lookout, too. There are several old bridge pillars in the Kelvin where it likes to sit and watch the world go by. I wonder what happened to his pal. There are usually two sharing a spot in the sun.
This big fat pigeon was a little shy as it was searching for food in the undergrowth. It had such a pretty neck but would not stay still for a photo. It was still searching nearly an hour later when we passed the same spot on our way back.
There are a lot of bridges along our walk. This is the aqueduct under which we pass. The walk takes us both over it, and under it. I like the aqueduct from both perspectives. If you are on top, walking along the canal, it is hard to believe that you are at least 20 metres above the ground.
Isn't this stem beautiful? It is part of the much paler shrub and I have no idea why it is such a gorgeous shade of rust. It almost looks grafted on but who would bother in the 'wilderness', and why?
The railway bridge is really really high. I love its majestic arches. The middle arch is the widest, spanning the river and footpath.
The sky was an amazing shade of blue. I love the deep blue, it is a very soothing view. It was freezing cold but the the trees are beginning to look like they are expecting spring any day now. You can already see the leave buds on the photo below. Isn't it amazing how every spring trees produce new foliage?
The rickety fence along the river is not really holding anyone wishing to swim or fish back. It does stop toddler and small children. There are plenty of holes along for small dogs to go and explore the riverbank. Jack loves watching the river. He is not so keen on swimming.
This curling fern is growing out of an old wall along the river. I think the dead leaves are even prettier than the lush green fern in the summer. Not quite as pretty as the unfurling fern in later in the spring.
I was pleased to see these mysterious plants break the surface of the soil. I do watch them emerge every year, with wonder. They are huge, the size of a dogs paw and they seem connected with some kind of fat rhizome. Every year I hope they will turn into something beautiful. Alas, fully grown the look like large dull rhubarb leaves and I have never spotted any flowers at all, not even teeny tiny ones.
Jack went down the step bank of the canal to say hello but the ducks were not impressed. Jack was not expecting to sink on the dead reeds and didn't like it much. He does look a little grumpy, doesn't he? The scramble back up the bank was very undignified, it is not easy to get a good foothold with short legs like Jack's.
Finally, the snowdrops in our front garden are back. The clumps are bigger than last year, a fact that makes me hop with joy.