BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘swans’

#365daysofbiking A likely story


Wednesday February 17th 2021 – On the canal at Walsall Wood, a familiar pair of beaky chancers come towards me hoping for food.

They make out they haven’t eaten for weeks, that they’re starving to death, and also they’ll feed my body to the pike if I don’t cough up a treat.

But unluckily for them, I’m empty handed, my usual small bag of corn left in the garage after filling; fortunately they seem in a rudeness of health that matches their people skills, and despite their menace, only hiss at me and scud off, to browse the canal bottom for tasty green goo.

Waterfowl can’t half turn on the sob story…

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#365daysofbiking Atmospheric pressure

Sunday November 29th 2020 – The weather was still awful, but resolved to make a better time of it, I set out with a good friend to try and capture the mist and light as best we could.

Sometimes, on the greyest, most horrible nights magic happens, and tonight, it did just that.

Mist and electric light can make the most industrial places look stunning – those swans are on a thin ribbon of canal between a waste transfer station and a scrapyard.

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#365daysofbiking Hiding in the dark

Monday November 2nd 2020 – A windy, wet day with little to commend it. I took this photo from Catshill Junction bridge in the pitch dark on a long exposure and it’s not great, but does show the movement in the skyline well.

It was a foul, wet night – it’s rare I leave the towpath to hit the High Street due to mud and slipperiness but I did tonight.

But one thing redeemed the shot: I never realised the swan family were there, hiding in the dark.

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#365daysofbiking Supervision

April 17th – Near Newtown, just near the A5 bridge on the canal, another wonderful sign of spring on a grey afternoon: The swans are nesting here.

This is the first nest I’ve seen in this spot and I think it’s probably the mystery couple from last year who suddenly seemed to appear with hatched chicks, which I think had been incubated in a nest out of sight behind a moored boat.

I noted one bird was supervising while the other did the work. I have no doubt that if the one watching could have folded its wings, it would have done…

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#365daysofbiking Obtrusive

April 6th – Working from home when I can means shorter exercise rides, so I try to make them quite challenging in the short time I’m out, mindful of the busybodies who currently seem to be revelling in their mantel as self-appointed lockdown police.

I hammered a fast, offroad circuit of Brownhills, and up around the track that runs around the new pond at Clayhanger. The heavily rutted, drying out trails are quite fun and I enjoyed the sight of swans pairing off on the water below.

Lots of people who formerly wouldn’t walk are doing so now; taking advantage of their daily exercise allowance. This is making me feel quite obtrusive: Quiet routes and trails that were usually mine alone I now share with those new to them.

I’m surprised nobody has got lost on the common yet…

Adapting to all this will take a while.

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#365daysofbiking Always a disappointment

February 13th – And on the canal further on, the usual characters are regrouping for the spring rituals. Soon, shady aggressive beggars like this lad will be building nests and chasing off any unwelcome visitors.

For now he was grumpy with me because I had no food.

He glared and honked at me from the water, his contempt at my lack of largesse painfully clear.

To swans, I will always be a disappointment.

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#365daysofbiking Please avenge my death if necessary

February 1st – Later, returning with some shopping and wheeling my bike up the canalside on Silver Street, I met these aggressive beggars.

True, I had a bag of shopping which included a French loaf. I guess they know what a human with food looks like. They thought I’d come to feed them.

They were wrong. There was a bit of a standoff, lots of hissing and a fair bit of irritated swearing. By me, not the geese, it has to be said.

Thankfully, I found some emergency corn in my coat pocket, and that distracted the hungry assailants.

If by chance one day I do not survive one of these encounters with the Canada geese, I expect readers of this journal to avenge my death if necessary.

Thank you.

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#365daysofbiking Getting the bird

November 17th – Another rain sodden day. I know this is getting repetitive if you read these posts in series, but this is seriously what life here is like at the moment. It’s been so wet for weeks now that I’ve stopped grumbling at having to go out in it; it’s just a sort of a new normal.

The state of this is weird.

Down in Brownhills on a shopping trip, a wander over to the canalised for a loop over to Walsall Wood. The birds here – gulls, mallards, swans, geese and more – didn’t seem as tired of the rain as me, but they did seem a bit fractious. Maybe they were missing human feeding, which on a normal Sunday would be almost constant here.

I notice the goose with the white feathers on it’s head is still around. It’ll be interesting to track it over the winter, and see if it mates or if the colour discrepancy renders it an outsider…

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#365daysofbiking The colours of the night

November 3rd – I was hoping the inversion had settled on Chasewater, as that can be stunningly beautiful – but sadly, it was as clear as a bell, and the same went for Brownhills too.

My companion and I busied ourselves with long exposure shots of the beautiful, deep sunset, which was sadly short lived but enchantingly purple, and of the skyline and clouds which were really quite pronounce at times.

Returning down the Black Path through Holland Park, the sodium lights there mixed beautifully with the autumn colours to make a very isolated, spooky place hauntingly beautiful.

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#365daysofbiking Completing the circle

October 17th – One of the things that makes me happy in autumn is the parting of ways of that year’s cygnets and their parents. Gradually, as winter closes in, that year’s clutch are gradually pushed away by the parents who still keep a loose family group but won’t tolerate the young too close.

This gradual transition into adulthood is visible about now as you meet lone cygnets like this one, hustling for treats on the canal in walsall, a few hundred yards from its parents.

For once I had some corn and it ate like they always do, like tit had never had food before.

Soon, it’ll join the main local flocks and will spend a few years socialising before pairing off and the family cycle continuing.

Another successful year for the local swans.

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