BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘waterfowl’

#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 Getting some greens

June 27th – The Watermead swan brood now are growing fast, and the chicks are getting quite a size, with them now in the lanky, scruffy stage of their development.

It’s more common now to see lone cygnets browsing and feeding away from the parent group and this busy forager was feeding on one side of Catshill Junction while his mum and 2 siblings were snoozing on the grass by the narrows on the Walsall Wood side.

With plenty of water greens to keep them healthy they’ll soon be adult-sized birds.

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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 Family values

June 23rd – Another cheering sight was the swan family resting up en masse in a canalside garden near Wharf Bridge. Sadly slightly depleted in number now due to predation, the six remaining birds were content and sleeping – along with a cheeky mallard that clearly decided to join them.

What a lovely thing to have in your garden!

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#365daysofbiking Sea of green


June 21st – Crossing the canal on the Silver Street Bridge, a gang of always-hungry Canada geese could clearly smell my curry.

I told them that they wouldn’t like it, and anyway, they hadn’t finished their algae yet.

That was slightly unfair as there’s more this year for some strange reason than I’ve seen for years. Hopefully the coming hot weather will clear it off…

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#365daysofbiking Come and have a go

June 9th – To the Canada geese with young, I remain their biggest enemy.

This momma was separated with 2 chicks from her parter and was anxious to rejoin the main brood.

I loved the little guy peering out from behind her.

It would be nice to be able to potter about the canal without being hissed at and pecked for a change…

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#365daysofbiking Grebious

May 24th – Spotted on an evening spin out to Chasewater on a test ride following some essential, pre long ride maintenance – great crested grebes on the canal near Wharf Lane.

Unusual to get a shot of these handsome creatures without them diving at the critical moment.

What I’m curious about is despite the huge amount of fish in the canal (and it is alive with fry at the moment) I hardly ever see grebes upon it. Wonder why? Plenty on the main lake at Chasewater, though.

A mystery.

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#365daysofbiking A tense situation

May 21st – Not many people realise, but one of the reasons we see so many herons on local waterways at this time of year is that these large grey dishevelled fishers will also take young waterfowl chicks – moorhen, coot, ducklings, hatchling cygnets and goslings.

It’s not nice to think about, but herons have to eat too, and it’s why waterfowl have large clutches after all.

Today, in Pleck, Walsall I watched from the towpath as a tense situation developed: A pair of Canada geese with three goslings were heading into the path of the watchful eye of a heron, who was clearly looking for lunch.

The heron stayed put, statuesque, but the parents had spotted it. They halted their progress, and after what seemed like a silent debate between the parents, Dad honked loudly and aggressively at the heron. Heron was clearly irritated by the attention and took flight – the geese shouting what must have been abuse after it.

But, being a heron it landed again, a mere 100 yards down the canal.

Poor goslings have to be lucky all the time, the heron? Only once.

Nature, red in tooth and claw.

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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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