BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘swan’

#365daysofbiking Dem feet tho


July 5th – Riding through Aldridge on the canal down through Longwood and Park Hall, the water life was busy and the canal limpid and green.

What interested me most were the water birds: I was once again reminded how very odd swan feet are – by a cygnet in this case – it’s foot tucked up on it’s back in rest position. They odd leathery texture – and those claws!

There was a gorgeously aloof, elderly heron too – who was active and looked in good health, except when he walked off I noticed a curious growth on his foot.

It wasn’t affecting his walk at all and he didn’t seem to bother him at all. I found myself wondering if it was some kind of ganglion like humans get.

Strange.

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#365daysofbiking Rainy day bandits

June 11th – The rain continued throughout Tuesday and everything was sodden.  Squelching my way home I hit the canal back to Brownhills, again avoiding the mad wet-weather traffic, and met these guys near the Pelsall Road.

It’s nice to see the Watermead swan family – such attentive parents they hatched just 3 this year, but these cheeky little bandits who immediately came over for treats are healthy and full of beans.

I didn’t realise it was possible for swans to look so wet, but they did. I wonder what they think of this endless rain?

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#365daysofbiking Chilled out

May 18th – On a quiet afternoon following the busy and better than expected Brownhills canal festival (pictures on my main blog here) I slipped out for a circuit of Brownhills after some mechanical fine tuning.

It was grey, but warm and pleasant with little wind. My favourite tree at Home Farm, Sandhills visible as a landmark across the fields from Catshill is in blossom. Such a joy to see. Bet there will be a good crop of conkers this year.

Further up, the mystery family of swans that appear to have nested beyond public sight near Freeth Bridge, Newtown were resting in a canalside garden – family of 8 clearly doing well. Lovely.

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#365daysofbiking Way out west

May 6th – It wasn’t a bad day, really, and thanks to some emergency help from a doctor, I had some good medication and felt much, much better.

So I did what I always do when improving: Get on my bike.

This season I want to expand my horizons a bit. I want to explore places I’ve not been in years. So I thought I’d make a start by heading west rather than north or east.

West is difficult from Brownhills. Beyond Great Wyrley is miles of lovely, rolling countryside, but sadly, Great Wyrley and Cannock are in the way. When the motorway and bypasses came through, it left few peaceful, viable paths to the countryside of the west, meaning getting to it is a chore.

But as I reminded myself today with a 52 mile bimble, it’s actually gorgeous when you make the effort. So I will. Far more often.

I went via Norton, Washbrook, then into Wyrley, Landywood and Shareshill. Up through Hilton Park, Saredon to Four Ashes, then on to the canal north to Penkridge, Acton Trussell and Milford, and from there down the main roads to Rugeley and back over Red Hill and Chorley.

A really fine ride, sadly in mostly grey, cold weather but the scenery – and lack of discomfort – more than made up for it.

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#365daysofbiking A disturbed nap

April 13th – Was going to be busy all day with family things so nipped out early to get the ride it. It was bright but cold, and on a fast run to Chasewater I came across this napping swan by Anglesey Wharf.

It tolerated me but was clearly giving me it’s undivided attention.

I bid it good morning and made a gentle exit.

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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 Thats one heck of a goose grumble going on

March 4th – You need to turn the sound up for this one.

I was returning from work early for me, before it was dark. Passing the new pond in Clayhanger, a couple of swans landed out of sight on the water, then took flight again. The geese, mallards and other waterfowl were clearly not happy about something.

There even seems to be what I think might be an owl shouting to them to keep the noise down!

I love the sounds of birds like this. The only loud birds we heard here as a kid were crows.

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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 A bit Woody:

September 5th – Good to see the singular Walsall Wood cygnet christened Woody has survived and thrived. This couple haven’t historically had large clutches of eggs and I was concerned this year to see just the one chick, late in the season.

It has however thrived and is now nearly the size of it’s parents, and they remain a tight family group.

A wonderful thing to see.