BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

Posts tagged ‘algae’

#365daysofbiking Inhaling green:

Wednesday, September 16th 2020 – While I’ve been away the canals have continued as they ever were, with small changes. They got very busy with pedestrians and cyclists for a while, a product of fair weather and lockdown, so the towpaths were well worn, and the cessation in mowing gave my beloved orchids a sporting chance this year. But the waterfowl, plants and colours were broadly as ever.

Reassuringly, beautifully, peacefully as ever.

The one change that’s been interesting is the azolla bloom that dominated the water surface in 2019 has largely faded, and in its death left sporadic patches of more traditional clumping algae, which must be a pain for waterfowl and boaters alike.

There are still traces of azolla, which was a surface invasive surviving a mild winter, but it was non-stringy and readily parted for birds and watercraft, but it’s mostly gone.

On a dull, grey autumn afternoon, the green and peace here were so welcome, I felt like I was inhaling them.

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#365daysofbiking An ever present weevil

March 21st – Saturday morning seemed brighter. A quick spin up the canal on an errand, and I noticed the azolla bloom – the green scum that’s been on the surface of the canal all winter – was finally breaking up as it’s prey weevil attacked it. This is normal for the lifecycle of this invasive growth and hopefully the weevils will finish the job.

That made me feel a bit better.

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#365daysofbiking Unusual colour

February 2nd – The Azolla bloom in the local canal, and as it matures patches of the waterway have turned a deep red.

Azolla is a small but populous growth that although strange and invasive, does little harm – it will disappear in spring as the weevils gorge on it. Winter normally sees its death, but after a very favourable summer, the winter has not been cold enough to kill it.

It’s not stringy and parts easily for passing boats and waterfowl.

But it does look very unusual.

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#365daysofbiking Clear waters rising


August 12th – Further back up the canal, on the way home, it’s pleasing to note that the thick mat of algae we’ve had all summer on the local canals is finally naturally receding.

I guess conditions have been perfect for it, so it flourished, but it has been an unsightly rubbish trap for a while now.

Of course, all that green matter is goodness and as it breaks down will be good for the waterlife – and below, the water is crystal clear now.

I’ve never seen a season like if for surface growth.

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#365daysofbiking A place of safety

July 22nd – In the middle of the canal at Catshill Junction, in the midst of the algae mat, a mother proudly sits on a nest. A nest built upon driftwood flotsam trapped in the algae.

I’ve been watching her a few days. You can see trails in the surface from her partner coming to feed her, or take his shift sitting.

Safe from foxes and other land predators, this moorhen mum’s got a relatively secure nest.

It’ll be interesting to see how this develops!

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#365daysofbiking Sea of green


June 21st – Crossing the canal on the Silver Street Bridge, a gang of always-hungry Canada geese could clearly smell my curry.

I told them that they wouldn’t like it, and anyway, they hadn’t finished their algae yet.

That was slightly unfair as there’s more this year for some strange reason than I’ve seen for years. Hopefully the coming hot weather will clear it off…

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#365daysofbiking Now clear and still

May 16th – The green aura continues along the canal, with only blossom puncturing the seamless, endless bright emerald green copses and hedgerows between Walsall Wood and Brownhills.

I’m glad to note, however, that one patch of green seems to be fading and dissipating – the algal bloom that’s been present on the Brownhills canal for months.

It was perfectly natural, and is totally organic in nature – but it did look ugly, I must say. Now dying back, today Catshill Junction was fairly clear and millpond still – whereas for the past weeks it’s been like a bright green, unpleasant soup.

Nice to see clear water again.

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#365daysofbiking Scum

May 2nd – There are many reasons why the local canals develop an organic, natural scum throughout the year. From pollens to seeds, from tree-mast to algae, all kinds of unpleasant looking but natural detritus develops and dissipates throughout the seasons.

Due to the early spring warmth and extended spring, at the moment there’s a very heavy scum  on much of the local canal, but particularly in the wind-traps around Walsall Wood and Clayhanger. At he moment it’s mostly appearing to be a combination of reedmace detritus, algae, sallow seeds, disintegrated hazel, alder and birch catkins and hawthorn blossom petals. I’ve never seen a scum so heavy at this time of year.

Given time and sun it should dissipate and fade away. but for the moment, it’s quite ugly but perfectly natural.

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