BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘canal’

#365daysofbiking An only child

August 16th – There’s a small family hanging around Catshill Junction at the moment. The pair of Canada geese who often mug me on the towpath back toward Clayhanger this year had a second clutch, and just one gosling survives.

It’s doing well, however, and is now a large, healthy and undaunted bird, getting its feathers through and generally being doted on by mum and dad.

They were especially tolerant of me today – I think they know me by now – and there was minimal hissing and head-bobbing. Junior was undisturbed and seemed happy enough to pose for me.

A lovely little family – I hope this chicks parents can keep it safe.

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#365daysofbiking De-stressing

August 13th – On the way back, it was still sunny and having got through my appointment quickly, I had time to dawdle on my way back. I’m glad I did, as near Bently Bridge on the Walsall Canal, I met another family of happy, content mallards being charming.

They weren’t bothered about me, and mama was happy to mind her loose group of developing ducklings from a relative distance as they dozed and chattered to each other in the sun.

Such a delightful little family. Just wthe kind of thing you need after a stressful task.

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#365daysofbiking I know it’s under here somewhere

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August 13th – Spotted at lunchtime on an excursion from work to the hospital, a heron loafing on a wall in one of the most urban, industrial bits of Walsall: Pleck.

I adore herons for their impressive fishing ability, their shabby, almost mad appearance and their raw, appreciable character and individuality. They are endlessly entertaining to watch.

This large adult bird was preening, being slow, methodical, and thorough. It paid me scant attention as it picked at whatever underwing irritation was troubling it, but for all the world it looked like it was searching for a misplaced wallet or pair of glasses.

A welcome distraction on a lovely day.

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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 Lily-white

August 12th – On the canal near Silver Street, Brownhills, the perfection of waterlilies. I love how they’re always a bit grubby, or host to insects. Like brightness in extenuating circumstances.

When I was young, we never had these on the canal at all. They are absolutely gorgeous – and clearly keep the pollinating overflies busy.

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#365daysofbiking Duckling and diving

August 10th – I’d not been well overnight, and ventured out in the afternoon for a gentle bimble. On the canalside near the Pier Street Bridge, I came across mama mallard and her second brood, still doing well, snuggled together in the grass.

Their patient tolerance and perceptible pride made a welcome change from the constant haranguing of the cCanada Geese and swans when trying to get photos.

A lovely little family that cheered me no end.

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#365daysofbiking A new posse


August 3rd – I’ve always loved how the growing Canada geese clutches move into adulthood and still stay in loose family groups as they mature.

I encountered this particular group of beaky blinders at Ogley Junction, but they hatched near Catshill Junction and have been pottering around the local canals ever since. They are notable for being particularly intimidating, with mum (or dad, I never thought to ask) once leaping on my back as I was riding and pecking my head furiously.

This aggression has been passed to the next generation and one or two always take a lunge and hiss defensively at passers by, whatever their mode of transport.

Now in adult plumage, I’m fascinated by the one that appears to be suffering premature greyness and wonder if I should get it a bottle of Grecian 2000 or maybe just a black sharpie pen…

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#365daysofbiking From tiny acorns grow

 

August 1st – The various varieties of wasp gall that form on oak trees are necessarily seasonal. Rosy, marble and apple galls form from wasp eggs injected into leaf notes, so grown from them in spring and early summer, and by now are largely vacated and spent.

Knopper and artichoke galls form from eggs laid in acorn buds, corrupting the fruit into a gall from the crop, so don’t start appearing until late summer. Right now they’re developing well, forming a protective, curiously shaped home for the wasp larva to hatch in and develop.

Galls are fascinating things for sure, and are markers of the passing year.

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#365daysofbiking Playing pontoon

July 31st – Returning home via the canal at Silver Street, I noticed that the Pier Street Bridge had pontoons and scaffold beneath – it seems to be being repainted, which I’m pleased to see.

It was painted in 2014 and a lot of the paint flaked off, but I had thought with current austerity measures there would not be the money to sort it out. I’m glad to note I was wrong.

I hope they return the support arches to their original white – they looked much more impressive in the original colour scheme.

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#365daysofbiking Browsing

July 26th – I’ve lost track of most of the local swan families in Walsall this year – there were a fair few and they’ve all been quite mobile and most have suffered attrition from predators, so I’m not sure which family I’m seeing where now.

These hungry characters were feeding near the old copper works, just west of the motorway flyover at James Bridge, on the Walsall – Darlaston border.

They look healthy and well, but I’ve no idea if this is the family that hatched just a little way up the canal from here or another family.

Never mind, it’s all good…

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