BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘chicks’

#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 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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#365daysofbiking A pair of characters

July 20th – Many of the ducks and smaller waterfowl are on second and in some cases I suspect – third clutches of the season. Up by Middleton Bridge I spotted momma and two ducklings.

The bond between the two chicks was very strong and they were characters and entertained me for some time.

One thing that occurs to me is I’ve never seen waterfowl – flightless until quite old – learning to fly I bet that’s something to witness.

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#365daysofbiking Nursery tales

June 8th – The weather cleared, so I left the fair and headed up to Honey Hill, No Mans Heath, Netherseal, Coton in the Elms, Walton and over to Barton for coffee – but from the rickety Walton Bridge, I watched a fascinating drama unfold.

Four adult Canada geese were shepherding their clutches as one group along the reedbeds at the edge of the Trent, foraging for food. It’s not uncommon for these geese to team up on parenting duties or mind each other’s chicks, but this group of nearly 30 is one of the largest I’ve ever witnessed. It was stunning – not least for the control exerted by the parents.

They guided the goslings upstream to an inlet to the west. I watched as they processed one by one and two by two into the side brook.

Then, a splash and a flash of red fur – a fox was waiting. There was a commotion, and Reynard fled empty mouthed, and the geese herded their young back into the main river. They appeared to be counting as they gathered the young birds into a tight, safe circle.

Fox had gone, his lunch thwarted by eagle eyed parents – or maybe goose eyed – and then normal business resumed as a human with food was spotted on the eastern bank.

I’ve never seen anything like it and had I not ventured out on a wet, miserable Saturday, I probably never would have.

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#365daysofbiking Just like mum

May 29th – Encountered just by Clayhanger Bridge, the Watermead swan family are growing fast, and the youngsters are growing in confidence and pottered over to see if I had treats, under the stern, watchful eye of dad.

Mum was grazing the bottom of the canal, pulling up choice strings of algae and offering them to her chicks – who obliged by attempting to copy her. This is obviously ja learning exercise only, as the tiny birds can’t yet reach the bottom.

Lovely to see the family growing and developing so well.

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#365daysofbiking Passengers

May 4th – Another marker of the advancing spring is they waterfowl chicks on local canals. On a gorgeous evening near Middleton Bridge, Brownhills, my first cygnets of the year.

This clutch of what appeared to be at least six – several of whom were riding on momma’s back – are a bit of a mystery: The pair at Barrow Close Walsall Wood are still sitting and at the Watermead, she’s apparently hatched three this year.

So where this lady has been nesting I have no idea. But lovely to see.

Sorry for poor image and video quality: The light was fading.

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#365daysofbiking Full time mum

April 15th – Always nice to spot the first mallard chicks of the season and these today were spotted near Bently Bridge in Darlaston.

Clearly new hatchlings, these energetic and busy little ducklings followed mum as she puttered in the reeds. There seemed to be 12 in total, but it was difficult to keep count with several stragglers!

You know it’s spring when the ducklings arrive…

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May 24th – It’s not often you see a proud swan momma doing the Hokey Cokey to entertain her cygnets, but it’s a longstanding tradition, in my head.

This wonderful sight of the mother watching over young, sleepy hatchlings was at Stubbers Green, mid-morning, and an absolute joy to the heart.

This pic was taken from the road, and the nest’s proximity to the traffic is my only worry.

May 14th – At Bentley Bridge, a proud new family – mum and dad and five cute goslings.

The parents hissed at me to be careful, but were tolerant as I greeted and watched the brood they were clearly very proud of. The goslings just acted like I wasn’t there.

A delightful encounter on an urban, industrial Black Country canal bank, and one of the reasons this place is so dear to me.