BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘mating’

#365daysofbiking Cleaning the equipment

November 23rd – Despite the wet, I had the urge to pop down the Fly Bay track to the north heath. It wasn’t luck, I think my innate deer magnet pulled me that way.

And there they were – a handsome, young stag and his harem mud bathing. He had clay on his antlers that he cleaned off on a bush, the pleasure this gave evident in the stag’s expression.

Within minutes the ladies were on the move, and he drifted after them – a lovely sight on a wet, grey afternoon.

My companion and I were transfixed, and these are not my photos – but I was stood right there when they were taken…

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#365daysofbiking Hog wild

June 18th – I’d been alerted by the works security system in the night to movement in the yard on CCTV. When I checked it out, two large hedgehogs were courting in the back near the grass where we have a park bench and some grass for time out and the smokers. I watched them with interest as I didn’t know we had hogs at work.

Coincidentally, at work later the groundsmen came to trim the scrub back behind the premises and disturbed this young hoglet, clearly not one of the lovers from the night before.

Cat treats were sought, and the little prickly one ate a large hearty meal before retreating back to the quiet end of the scrub.

Nice to see them about considering the way the population of these charming creatures is suffering of recent years.

Drivers and workers now have signs and instructions to watch for hogs crossing!

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#365daysofbiking Bees do it

 

May 31st – Spotted purely by chance negotiating the new gate off the canal at Chase Road, Brownhills, a pair of bees apparently mating.

I did wonder at their size and apparerntly different species but no, they are most likely tree bumblebees making more tree bumblebees, bless them.

I left them in peace, the bees need all the chance to multipoly they can get.

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#365daysofbiking Reconstruction time again

March 23rd – On a short late afternoon ride out on a cold, windy afternoon, I noticed the Watermead swan couple were making preparations for another family, just by the canal basin and houses around the canal bend from the canoe centre.

These two birds have raised many cygnets to maturity in recent years and it’s good to see them back.

However, the mail is somewhat formidable and canoeists, kayakers, passing dogs and waterfowl will need to be careful: This lad protects his family aggressively.

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#365daysofbiking Snoozing it out

February 7th – I have a new pair of pals and I’ve called them Arnold and Flossie.

This pair of young swan mates have been hanging about the canal at Bentley Bridge, between Pleck and Darlaston for a few weeks now and are surprisingly tolerant of human company.

I suspect they may well nest this year, which would be nice to see.

On this windy but otherwise pleasant, sunny morning they were both dozing on the towpath, out sheltering out of the wind when I stopped. They both listened while I talked to them and they allowed me to take photos without too much grumping.

I look forward top seeing more of these gorgeous characters in coming months.

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November 12th – It was a remarkable day. On Penkridge Bank, I saw something I was very privileged to see that I have only seen twice before in my entire life, and never with such close proximity and clarity: A fallow deer rut.

A victorious male, with the unique combination of pomposity and stupidity only male deer can truly demonstrate, was protecting and attempting to serve his largely disinterested harem. He called repeatedly, paced around and nuzzled his companions. He was a big lad, in good condition. There were probably upward of 30 animals in his group, scattered in a copse dappled with soft autumnal sunlight.

This was a splendid sight and one I was very lucky to see.

April 23rd – In the sun, it was warm, but otherwise another cold, quite windy day with very bright sunshine. I headed out on a beautiful St George’s day and found the English countryside at it’s springtime peak. Trees verdant, coconut-smelling gorse lined lanes; bluebell woods were a carpet of strident violet and orange tip butterflies mated in the hedgerows.

Even the oak plum galls growing in profusion near Hilton were sort of beautiful, in the slightly unnerving way only  these parasite generated growths can be.

Again, I’d appreciate a bit more warmth, but not a bad day at all, and a lovely ride.

February 15th – The day had been warm for the time of year, and the morning commute grey and foreboding but dry. During the day it rained, and on my late return in darkness, it was on a warm, April-like wet night after the rain.

The journey was unremarkable until I came across this fellow on the canal towpath near Silver Street. A large, healthy looking frog, clearly on the move.

Awakened by the warmth and seasonal imperative, it will be off to the water to mate, then another year of avoiding herons and other predators whilst doing little more than eating. Not a bad life, really.

Pretty soon, the roads and paths at night will be full of frogs and toads on the move, and there will sadly be carnage as many are lost under vehicle wheels. But I shall have my eagle eye out, and like this one, I will assist any I find to a place of safety.

It’s coming on spring. The snowdrops know it. The crocuses know it. The light knows it. My heart knows it, too.

I stop for amphibians. And occasionally, for no perceptible reason whatsoever.

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October 15th – Terrible photos and video taken hurriedly and in poor light, but something remarkable. I was heading back to Brownhills from an errand in Walsall Wood, and cut through by the new pond at Clayhanger. Dusk was falling and in the gathering gloom, a herd of maybe 12 red deer, split into two groups; three hinds with a stag by the treeline near the pond and the rest of the hinds 20 yards away, browsing the meadow.

I think there was some mating behaviour going on, as the male was standing his ground, and calling constantly. I’ve never seen this in person before, and it was a fascinating, mournful noise he was making (the video clip should be played with the sound up).

I wished I caught it earlier in better light, and made a better fist of the video, but who ever would have thought this ind of thing would be on our doorsteps?

June 21st – It may be the solstice, but the mating behaviour continues on the canal. With many mallards now on second broods, I noticed this industrious moorhen building a huge nest on the canal at Pleck.

She was very busy and the structure contains some interesting items. I’ll be intrigued to see if she uses it.