BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘pleck’

#365daysofbiking Look closer

June 5th – On the wasteland, long unused at the junction of Bentley Mill Way and the Walsall Road at Darlaston, unexpected beauty.

Look once, and it’s a patch of unremarkable, but lush green scrub with gorse flower and a variety of trees – doing well despite last year’s grassfires here.

But look closer.

Lupins. Loads and loads of them. In the full colour range from creamy white to deep, deep purple.

I know this journal is all about the flowers at the moment, but with beauty such as this everyday just waiting to be found, how can it not be?

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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 Canal dreams

April 10th – Returning home late as the sun set I turned into Scarborough Road, Pleck, and caught the sun over the Walsall Canal to the west.

You wouldn’t;t think you were in the heart of a densely populated, down at heel urban area.

Our canals are like green veins in our towns and cities. They are wonderful, and part of me.

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#365daysofbiking Waiting peacefully

April 9th – A run on the canal through Pleck and Bentley Bridge to check on the nesting swan couple at the former Anson Arm. I needn’t have worried. She was fast asleep in comfort and he was on patrol, threatening to peck my feet on the opposite bank.

This pair usually have small clutches. When the long wait is over, it’ll be interesting to watch them develop this year, as ever.

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#365daysofbiking Proud defender

 

 

February 19th – The feisty little robin that a spotted a couple of weeks ago in the treetops near the embankment by Scarborough Road canal bridge in Pleck, Walsall is still singing his heart out and battling for his territory.

I love how determined he is. Nothing stops him singing for long. He’s on a mission.

I hope he finds a mate soon, because he’s certainly earned one!

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#365daysofbiking Lining up the cast

February 13th – A ride into work on a pleasant, sunny and mild morning saw me take to the canal from Walsall to Darlaston, mainly to check on swan couple Arnold and Flossie, who had enchanted me last week.

They’re still around, still very much a couple and were just loafing, grazing the canal bottom and green shoots of reedmace. They seem in rude health and only looked cross when they realised I had no treats for them.

Looking on carefully was an enemy they may need to watch out for if they hatch a brood: Grey herons won’t bother a grown swan, but they will take hatchlings. They’ll need to be vigilant.

And so, slowly, the spring sets up it’s cast and characters…

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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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#365daysofbiking Of course – gorse!

January 31st – on the way to work on a grim, cold morning, the familiar sight of gorse flowers on waste ground near Bentley Mill Way surprised and delighted me. I’m never really sure of the difference between gorse and broom, but the bright yellow flowers – in bloom before Christmas – seem to be around forever and smell pleasingly of coconut.

Such a lovely sight on a cold, grey day.

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#365daysofbiking Not forgotten:

December 6th – In an otherwise unremarkable, workaday wall  on a main road in Place, Walsall, one of the UK’s many hundreds of industrial memorials to the lost employees in the Great War.

The fourteen lost souls listed on the memorial worked for the Cyclops Foundry which was near where the plaque is now, and has long since passed into history – but the original memorial was saved and restored by the NHS, who operate Walsall Manor Hospital, opposite, not once, but twice: They refurbished the memorial in 1989, and replaced it totally in 2002.

I’m glad it survived and still stands today, bearing witness to those lives lost, and it’s good to see that 100 years on, people still place crosses here to remember them.