October 2nd – Spotted on the canal in the during the morning commute, both the Walsall Wood swan family and the Walsall group. All in rude health and maturing to adulthood.
Woody the single cygnet at Walsall Wood this year is clearly thriving and he was happily browsing the weed with his parents never far way, his white plumage really coming on now.
More advanced, and loafing at the back of the factories on Pleck Road, the large Walsall family were having a communal chill out and preen session.
It never ceases to amaze me the positions swans are comfortable to get their legs into…
#365daysofbiking Swanning around
August 28th – Oh hello guys, not seen you for a while.
Just at Bentley Mill Way aqueduct, the swan family seem to come from Moxley were determinedly heading towards Walsall – mum dad and five cygnets, now nearing adulthood. They were in a perfect line and a wonderful thing to see,
It’s nice to see another generation maturing.
August 5th – Rding over to Screwfix in Walsall Wood, I passed the swan family who were loafing on the canal near the rear of Lindon Drive but clearly vaguely heading somewhere.
I suppose soon they’ll move into the main flock on Chasewater until next season when they return to breed again.
I haven’t seen much of the family this year, out paths haven’t crossed much, but it’s so nice to see them.
We never had this locally when I was a kid. It still amazes me.
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!
August 16th – Riding to work down Green Lane, Shelfield on a bright sunny morning, and something gently reminded me of my grandfather.
The harvest at Grange Farm has been ongoing, and the road had been treated to a generous sprinkling of spilled cereal kernels – probably wheat. This grain, spilled by machinery and trailers as they lurch from field to barn is a feature of rural and peri-rural areas at this time of year, and is what the old man called ‘gleanings’.
Locally, ordinary folk were allowed to collect the seed lost on the roads and lanes for their own use. Few would use it for food, but many fed it to pets and livestock. Grandad said that you traditionally fed pets you kept for pleasure, not profit on the gleanings, fancy birds like guineafowl.
Guineafowl were locally called Gleanies from this practice.
I well remember the farm opposite where the old man lived until a ripe old age having guineafowl, which are noisy, shrieking birds. ‘Gleanies am off again, the buggers!’ he’d curse every morning.
On a side note, watch out for the gleanings as they’re slippery and soapy, and steal wheels and grip, particularly when wet.
A warm memory on a warm, late summer morning.
July 29th – I met the Watermead swan family who were making fair speed along the canal back from Chasewater towards Brownhills, but old habits die hard and they drifted from their central course to see me, just in case I had food. I didn’t, and they were visibly irritated.
The five youngsters are now pretty much the size of their parents and their adult, white plumage is starting to come through.
Another successful brood for these experienced parents marks out another good year for local swans. But where are the youngsters going every year?
June 26th – the weather was grey and overcast on the way home and it had been raining, but I managed to just miss the showers. At Walsall Wood, momma mallard was inexplicably stewarding her new brood through a clump of water lilies.
The ducklings, confused, were endlessly entertaining as they tried to stand on the foliage and invariably failed. Their mother seemed to be enjoying the spectacle and there seemed to be plenty of food in the clump too.
A lovely entertaining thing to see – and those waterlines are gorgeous.
May 24th – Sorry for the surfeit of wildfowl chick photos, but the families are fascinating me more than usual this year, and they make a lovely distraction from some of the awful events in the human world.
The Canada goose family at Catshill Junction is thriving, with the goslings growing every time I see them. This week they have very nearly doubled in size, and as they grow larger, they’ll be out of prey range for most predators. This group have fared well, and still number 12 chicks.
I love to see this little guys dozing. You can’t not adore them.