BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘goslings’

#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 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 It may not be obvious

May 19th – It was a weary run out – Through Shenstone, Weeford, Hints, Tamworth, then up the canal to Hopwas, Whittington and home via Wall and Lichfield. Not a long run, and on a grey, warm afternoon that always seemed to be just on the verge of rain.

It was nice, but I wasn’t feeling the love. My stomach was grumbling and I was tired.

But as usual, a combination of the things I found, the quirkiness of the the country I live in and the beauty of thriving nature around me perked me up.

I’m still chucking about the warning of troops training. That’s so Monty Python and utterly British. And sadly, there was no sign of the cat. I like to think it was called ‘Fluffy’ or some such.

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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 19th – Returning from work I noted the Catshill Canada goose commune which appears to consist of two inseparable families was thriving. They don’t seem to have lost any of the goslings, and the older set are developing apace now, losing their mousey fluff and growing adult plumage, and the first wing feathers.

They have healthy appetites and are healthy, busy birds.

I noticed not far up the bank Mrs. Mallard with her newly hatched brood, which may well be her second set of the summer.

She was very proud and relaxed. I love to follow these little families on the canal.

June 8th – Passing Catshill Junction on my way to Brownhills High Street on my return home, I noticed the Canada goose family was resting near to Chandlers Keep, on the unused side of the bridge.

Curiously, there’s still two broods there mixed together, with three young chicks than the main group, but they’re all growing now, but clearly not to large to form a cuddle puddle for warmth and safety.

I’m fascinated by their tiny, nascent wings. It’s never really occurred to me before, but it’s some months before waterfowl can fly – and I’ve never seen geese or swans learning to do so. That must be a thing worth watching…

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.

May 9th – A terrible, hurried phone photo, but I noticed that the Canada geese had hatched a new brood in the last 24 hours near Catshill Junction. In the dawn light they were resting, and dad was stood guard nearby, whilst mum had the rest of her clutch under her right wing.

Canada geese get such a hard time from wildlife purists but they’re fascinating creatures. With a very tough day ahead, the sight of this new family really brightened my day.

June 5th – Over to Middleton Hall for cake, and a weary return through Tamworth up the canal. Although it was a gloriously hot day, I just wasn’t feeling it and my energy was low, but the scenery really perked me up.

Everything is so green at the moment – from the barley in the fields to the gorgeous limpid canals – and that view of Middleton over the fields never gets old.

A lovely ride, even if I was knackered!