February 13th – On the canal near Bentley Mill Way Aqueduct, a pair of swans feeding on canal-bottom greens, enjoying the company of each other and honking noisily.
They were far too busy browsing the algae to be disturbed by me, and they performed beautifully. You can say what you like, but a swan with only it’s arse sticking above the water is very amusing, and certainly not graceful. A lovely thing to watch.
But those feet too, though. Swan feet are fascinating, and they look almost pre-historic.
March 9th – The spring imperative seems to be afoot again – reports of frogspawn locally, and the Canada geese seem to be pairing up again, all the better to mug passing cyclists for treats.
I’m sure we see the same two on the the canal between Catshill Junction and the Black Cock Bridge every year. They are used to being obstructive and noisy until paid off with a tidbit.
I do love these rowdy, uncouth characters. It’s good to have them back!
March 20th – I cycled home in persistent rain, but with the wind behind me. As is usual in these conditions, I slid onto the canal towpath as soon as I could to avoid the madness of the traffic. Passing near Clayhanger Bridge, I was assailed by a pair of regular bandits.
This pair of Canada Geese – apparently inseparable – have been hanging around for about three weeks now. As time passes (and presumably, the chap’s fancy turns in springtime) the male is getting more and more bombastic. He jumps up off the water when he spots me, up onto the towpath, all open bill and hissing. I’ve started giving him titbits to placate him. He now expects the ‘toll’ before he lets me pass.
I am, effectively, being mugged by a goose. Has life really come to this?
May 28th – With most of the other local swan broods hatched, I’m thinking that possibly the pair at Catshill have had another unproductive year. I could be wrong, but the female seems to be losing interest, like she did last year. That time, they did actually have eggs, but they didn’t hatch; the is year, I can’t see anything in the nest at all.
I’ve been told that swan pairs do a dry run for a few seasons before they actually breed – does anyone know if this is true? I’m kind of attached to this couple, I’d love to see them with cygnets. Don’t think it’s going to happen this year, though.