BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Canada’

#365daysofbiking A tense situation

May 21st – Not many people realise, but one of the reasons we see so many herons on local waterways at this time of year is that these large grey dishevelled fishers will also take young waterfowl chicks – moorhen, coot, ducklings, hatchling cygnets and goslings.

It’s not nice to think about, but herons have to eat too, and it’s why waterfowl have large clutches after all.

Today, in Pleck, Walsall I watched from the towpath as a tense situation developed: A pair of Canada geese with three goslings were heading into the path of the watchful eye of a heron, who was clearly looking for lunch.

The heron stayed put, statuesque, but the parents had spotted it. They halted their progress, and after what seemed like a silent debate between the parents, Dad honked loudly and aggressively at the heron. Heron was clearly irritated by the attention and took flight – the geese shouting what must have been abuse after it.

But, being a heron it landed again, a mere 100 yards down the canal.

Poor goslings have to be lucky all the time, the heron? Only once.

Nature, red in tooth and claw.

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#365daysofbiking Goosed

March 16th – A genuinely foul day, at least weather-wise. There were very strong, blustery winds and near constant rain, so I was limited to a short journey into Brownhills to get some shopping.

It was wet, cold and muddy, and really not a great day to be out.

In fact, the only souls I actually saw outside at all were the Canada geese. Even the mallards seemed to be in hiding.

Here’s hoping this grim spell passes soon.

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#365daysofbiking Unusual visitors

March 9th – Nipping over to Great Wyrley on an errand, I hopped onto the canal at Silver Street which was, quite frankly a mistake – the towpaths were waterlogged and muddy.

However, I was pleased to spot at the marina just by Tesco a goosander pair who seemed quite at home with the Canada geese watching on.

These fish eating birds are fascinating, beautiful and hard to photograph as they move and dive quickly.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen any in this spot before.

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#365daysofbiking Thats one heck of a goose grumble going on

March 4th – You need to turn the sound up for this one.

I was returning from work early for me, before it was dark. Passing the new pond in Clayhanger, a couple of swans landed out of sight on the water, then took flight again. The geese, mallards and other waterfowl were clearly not happy about something.

There even seems to be what I think might be an owl shouting to them to keep the noise down!

I love the sounds of birds like this. The only loud birds we heard here as a kid were crows.

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June 13th – One of the more fascinating things about the commonly derided and scorned Canada goes is their propensity to social support between families.

On the way home from work this evening, four adults (one dallying out of shot) and two broods of goslings numbering a dizzying total of 12 youngsters in two distinct stages of growth indicated that two families were hanging out together and probably sharing childminding and security duties.

Can’t think of any other wild birds that do this.

Lovely to see, and I got hissed at in quadrophonic!

June 8th – On the local canals, it’s still multiplication time, and I was pleased to note in passing that the swans nesting in the Walsall Wood canalside garden had hatched a single cygnet. This pair have never had big broods, and last year hatched a pair.

Good to see the little grey ball of fluff and nice to see how attentive the parents are. I look forward to watching this wee one grow.

Meanwhile the Canada geese continue to promenade in their lines, share chick-care duties with other mums and hiss aggressively at observers.

This is always such a lovely, busy time on the canals.

May 3rd – Nearby, in Pleck, a sight curiously not seen often, which is odd considering the proliferation of Canada geese: A nest being sat by a parent. Interestingly, unlike a swan nest, I could see no obvious partner nearby. 

The sitter seemed comfortable, but the nest was much smaller than that of a swan. 

It’s be interesting to see when the new arrivals make an appearance. I’d guess they’ll be hatching soon.

March 30th – A day of rest, with a journey up to Tesco in the late afternoon. The rain seems to be settled upon us for the weekend, which is a bit of a blow, but the forecast clearly isn’t as bad as many had predicted with a return to snow and ice.

I guess I should stop moaning, really; at this time in 2013 there was still lying snow around and it was very cold. And we are more prone to white eEasters than white Christmases in this country. But it feels like I’m missing out.

In Brownhills, the waterfowl didn’t seem to mind. One swan partner of the nesting pair just up around the bend was idling, and came over, hoping for food, and was grumpy when none was forthcoming. The Canada geese, however, were just loafing, and paid me little heed. We stood for a while together, just listening to the rain on the water.

There had better be a decent summer after this…

March 23rd – lAte at night, I needed to pay a call in Brownhills and found the High Street and Silver Street canalside deserted. The night was still, there was little traffic but I was surprised to note even at a late, dark hour Canada geese were active on the canal bank.

I hope they’re keeping their wits about them – I also saw a large, male urban fox in the High Street and he’ll soon have mouths to feed too.