BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Walsall Wood’

#365daysofbiking Well spotted

July 17th – Near Jockey Meadows on the way home, I stopped to take a call on the phone, and whilst mooching around on handsfree, I noticed this 10 spot ladybird in the adjacent hedge.

It appears to be native and not a an invasive harlequin, and yes, 10 spot ladybirds often have 12 spots apparently! There’s a similar yellowish harlequin but the pattern is markedly different and there’s no tell-tale dimple on the rear of the wing cases on this one.

I guess I must have done but I don’t recall seeing one this yellow before. A rather charming and endearing find – and the client who called me had no idea what I was doing.

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#365daysofbiking Chirrup, it’s Monday morning

June 24th – When I left for work on a decent but grey Monday, I took to the canal with a heavy heart.

It wasn’t long though before something cheered me up – the Walsall Wood swan family, chirruping to each other as they begged for treats in Walsall Wood.

Such a cheerful, delightful family, always under the watchful eye of mum and dad.

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#365daysofbiking A taste of honey

June 6th – On the way home, I noticed the handsome, sprawling honeysuckle that grows along the railings on the southern flank of the Black Cock Bridge in Walsall Wood are in full bloom now.

Sadly, someone will be along to clip this back like a hedge soon, they always do when in flower and that always puzzles me.

It remains lovely though, and it tumbles down the embankment in the pasture below, a haven for bees, bugs and passing cyclists who adore the scent.

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#365daysofbiking Purple haze

June 4th – The orchid season is upon us, and two spotted miles apart: The tall purple one (about 12 inches high) is the one spotted in the patch by the canal in Walsall Wood last week: It’s developed beautifully.

The second is a random lone soldier spotted beside the cycleway at Telford station: In the lovely pink-purple colour you can really see the gorgeous patterns on the petals.

Both seem to be northern marsh orchids but I’m certainly no expert.

Beautiful flowers and some of my favourites – only here for a few short weeks so if you want to find some, get out now.

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#365daysofbiking Borstin orchid

May 30th – One of my favourite times of summer is when the orchids come into bloom.

There are many species of orchid in the UKL and none are particularly common – those we see around the canals and marshes of the local area now are a recent thing and a delight to see.

Varying in shade from a sort of lavender blue to very deep purple, the marsh orchids by the canal and over CLayhanger Common are just beautiful.

Let’s hope the mowers of the Canal and River Trust are held off until they’ve finished their lovely display for another year.

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#365daysofbiking In the meadow

May 14th – Spring generally comes late to Jockey Meadow, the site of special scientific interest between Walsall Wood and Shelfield.

This year however, it’s looking very green and lush in the water meadows and farmed fields either side of Green Lane.

You wouldn’t think you were surrounded by heavy industry and urban development here, just peace, quiet and birdsong.

A lovely, under-appreciated bit of local greenery.

Wonder if the coos will be here this year?

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#365daysofbiking Scum

May 2nd – There are many reasons why the local canals develop an organic, natural scum throughout the year. From pollens to seeds, from tree-mast to algae, all kinds of unpleasant looking but natural detritus develops and dissipates throughout the seasons.

Due to the early spring warmth and extended spring, at the moment there’s a very heavy scum  on much of the local canal, but particularly in the wind-traps around Walsall Wood and Clayhanger. At he moment it’s mostly appearing to be a combination of reedmace detritus, algae, sallow seeds, disintegrated hazel, alder and birch catkins and hawthorn blossom petals. I’ve never seen a scum so heavy at this time of year.

Given time and sun it should dissipate and fade away. but for the moment, it’s quite ugly but perfectly natural.

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#365daysofbiking The remains of the day

April 17th – An absolutely gorgeous day and the first jacketless commute of the year didn’t come a day too soon.

Sadly I was indoors all day, but riding home in the still warm golden hour, I caught the sun throug the canalside trees near the Black Cock Bridge and the remnants of the sunny day were precious.

It’s good to have the warm days back again. I hope they stick around.

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#365daysofbiking Waiting for a fluff explosion


April 17th – On the way to work near Greern Lane, Shelfield, I notice the sallows are flowering now, and this is one of the more interesting blooms of springtime.

Sallow or goat willow is a member of the wider willow family, and grows profusely hereabouts. After the initial pretty male catkins have passed – pussy willows – then come the female catkins that were so well on show today. Once these peculiar green flowers pollinate, they generate wind-borne seeds in a few weeks: these evolve in the form of a large cloud of fluff that for a few days will coat the canal, towpaths, woodland paths, verges and road margins.

For now though in the spring sunshine of a warm, lovely morning – they look like something prehistoric, and in reality, probably are.

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