BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Goose’

#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 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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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!

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.

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.

March 11th – A ride out to a farmer’s market then on tho Middleton Hall for cake, and back via Hints and the A5. The day wasn’t the best of weathers, but is was pretty good, and I didn’t get rained on until very late in the ride.

I noticed the animals on this ride particularly: the first spring lambs up at Barracks Lane; the goose at Middleton Hall. But what stole it were the cats: the lovely chap drinking from the canal at Catshill Junction; the weary, wary looking farm cat at Raikes Lane; the black tiny one in Fazeley.

Spring must be coming, the cats are starting to emerge.

October 6th – For all my (uncharacteristic) shoe-gazing, there was brightness; in the nasturtiums growing from a pavement fissure near a cellar hatch; in the flowers of the River Gardens and it’s rather cheeky robin, and in the swans and their goose-pal napping where once rowing boats were hired. 

The love-lock restriction amused, as you’d need a seriously large one to clamp on the Jubilee Bridge, and the cleverly named coffeeshop made me double take. 

It was an afternoon as English as tuppence, really, and I did rather enjoy the self-indulgent introspection of it.