#365daysofbiking Spot on:
October 12th – On the way to work in the season of the storm living up to it’s name: torrential, driving rain and a bastard of a headwind forged on satan’s back step.
I took the canal at my earliest opportunity to avoid the madness of the traffic, and as I passed the bank where the fly agaric normally grow in large numbers but has been barren so far this season, a glint of bright red caught my eye.
The size of a dinner plate, it must be the largest, most perfect specimen I’ve ever seen.
Despite the rain, there was brightness. There always is, if you keep an eye open for it.
#365daysofbiking Hi deer:
September 30th – after a barren period of hardly seeing any, it was ace to meet the deer at Chasewater, just by the picnic area.
They expressed mild interest in me, but were not overly bothered by my presence.
It doesn’t matter how much I see of these guys – they’ll always be magical to me.
April 28th – I wasn’t riding a bike, but returning from an early evening meal, I spotted deer from the car on the north of Holland Park by Brownhills School. We pulled over and went to look.
Against the odds the sunset was surprisingly good and the large herd of red deer – numbering between 17-20 – were skittish but curious.
Sometimes, all you need to improve your day are good food, good company, the people you love, a decent sunset and some wildlife.
April 18th – Last week I found the lovely pieris flowers I didn’t recognise in Wednesbury, even though as readers Susan Marie Ward, Linda Mason and others pointed out, I’d posted them here before.
The reason I hadn’t recognised them was because I’m used to seeing them with the beautiful bright red foliage they normally develop in early spring, but this year seems very late, and last week there was no hint of it.
Well, now it’s arrived and the result is truly stunning. Pieris – sometimes called fetterbush, rather delightfully – is grown a lot in gardens and in beds on industrial estates and parks.
Little things like this make spring such a wonderful time, I’m so glad it’s finally here.
March 17th – I’ll be honest here, I can only fit ten pictures in a post so I include two more shots of the deer. But the other two are of the spillway at Chasewater, fulfilling it’s purpose. With the main reservoir overflowing with rain and meltwater, the surplus has formed a stead river along the spillway and ins flowing into the 1980s era storm drain under the Victorian brick-lined overflow. The new system conducts the flow into the crane brook, a tributary of the Footherley/Black/Bourne Brook, itself a feeder of the Tame.
The storm system is documented in this post on my main blog here.
It will be interesting to see how long this situation is allowed to continue, as the reservoir owners Staffordshire County Council are currently at odds with the Canal and River Trust, who expect access to the water it contains for maintaining the level of the local canals.
I must try and get to the Crane Brook downstream and see what the flow is like before it stops.
March 17t – Up at Chasewater on a bitterly cold late March afternoon, snow was periodically falling, but my discomfort was sidelined by the antics of two groups of red deer.
I first saw a small group of five coming from the gorse scrub by Anglesey Basin, from where they trotted along the towpath to the dam cottage garden. Here I left them, but something spooked four and they ran back to the scrub, leaving just the one stag contentedly eating plants in the cottage garden.
As I explored the spillway, I noticed the rest of the herd loafing at the north end of the dam, so I ambled up. They drilled over Pool Road, leaping the fece and mooched over to the scrub around the derelict house.
Not once did they appear nervous of me, more curious as to my behaviour. These deer – I’m sure it’s the group that have been around this spot for weeks. now – seem to be regarding me as a familiar now.
A splendid, cheering sight on an otherwise grim afternoon.