August 20th – One of the sad but beautiful signs of a closing summer is toadflax, otherwise known as butter and eggs. This beautiful plant, in shades of yellow, white and orange will be common now in hedges and on towpath fringes until October.
It’;s a lovely thing but it does make me sad for a season passed.
September 17th – By the time I arrived at Shenstone 30 minutes later, the rain and skies had cleared and there was a beautiful violet sunset, which lit my muse of Shenstone Station beautifully in the dusk.
Riding back to Brownhills, I screeched to a half to avoid someone in the road – a full grown, large adult toad, who was healthy and obstinate in the way that gets so many of these unfortunate creatures run over by vehicles.
I pulled out a tissue, and despite his protestations and jet of defensive urine, popped him to safety in the grass verge.
I stop for toads, great sunsets and often for no apparent reason whatsoever…
March 27th – Despite the start of British summer time and the lighter nights, I still returned in darkness. Passing through Chasewater gave me chance for some classic local night shots – but best of all was the wee toad, sat on the canal towpath. I severed to avoid squishing it on the way back. Thankfully, I missed…
Spring is definitely here. Is it safe to take the winter tyres off the bike yet?
August 29th – My apologies to the toad-phobics, but I had to share this wee fellow. He looks bloody angry and he had a right to be: I was a shade from running him over in the dark on the towpath near Pelsall Road, but a last minute swerve just missed him.
I picked him up and popped him in the grass, annoying him further.
In true laissez-faire toad fashion, he never moved a millimetre on his own.
August 12th – As I rode along the dark canal towpath, my light kept picking out bright spots in the dark, and dark lumps. They were toads, out for the evening to catch supper and take the air. Toads of all ages from the old and grumpy-looking to the youngsters just in their prime.
Toads are wonderfully tolerant, and will be picked up quite happily (but they may well pee on you if alarmed). I’m fascinated by these little characters and finding them made my ride, I must say.
March 21st – Despite the cold, spring is well underway now, and nothing will stop it. The early crops are emerald green, the blackthorn is in blossom, the swans are doing the nesting thing, and the local amphibians have been spawning in the small pool at Shire Oak Park.
Soon, the clocks will be forward and the darkness will be behind me for another year. Winter wasn’t too bad this year… And now, the promise of a new season.
July 25th – I nearly squished him (I assume it’s a he), but this common toad was quite happy in the middle of the towpath and wasn’t moving for anyone. I lit him carefully with my bike light, and I think the results aren’t too bad.
I love frogs and toads. So full of character.
March 16th – I was unhappy with yesterday’s frog pictures, so I thought I’d return today to Shire Oak Park and play around with the camera some more. The frog frenzy had calmed, now, and the frogs and toads that remained loafed on the surface croaking occasionally. I love these misunderstood creatures; they fascinate me. Their life is one of relative indolence; mating done for the year, they have the season ahead to eat, lounge around and prepare for hibernation. And avoid predators, or course.
I loved the little yearling on the twig, he was quite brave and didn’t hop away until I got very close.