BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘wildlife’

#365daysofbiking The kindness of strangers

December 2nd – Again on the far side of Hortonwood in Telford, I was returning from a meeting using the Silkin Way national Cycle Route 81 that runs along the A518 between Trench and the massive industrial park I had visited.

On a cycleway that I would have thought might have been almost forgotten, and some way from houses or nearby factories, a makeshift bird table at the side of the track, apropos of nothing.

On it, a selection of fruit and seed – all fresh with a nearby audience I’d disturbed of birds and squirrels.

Someone tends this lovingly, regularly. It’s well kept. It’s a thing of dedication, love and kindness for them.

Stranger, I have no idea who you might be, but for looking after a small corner of your world so beautifully, I wish you the very best my friend.

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#365daysofbiking Cleaning the equipment

November 23rd – Despite the wet, I had the urge to pop down the Fly Bay track to the north heath. It wasn’t luck, I think my innate deer magnet pulled me that way.

And there they were – a handsome, young stag and his harem mud bathing. He had clay on his antlers that he cleaned off on a bush, the pleasure this gave evident in the stag’s expression.

Within minutes the ladies were on the move, and he drifted after them – a lovely sight on a wet, grey afternoon.

My companion and I were transfixed, and these are not my photos – but I was stood right there when they were taken…

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#365daysofbiking Unkind cuts

November 17th – The Canal and River Trust are still doing their best to piss me off, their talent for which is so prodigious I doubt they actually have to try.

After grumbling a couple of weeks ago at pointless towpath grass cutting up on the Anglesey Branch on the way to Chasewater, I see they’ve been up on the canal through Brownhills too.

They are cutting grass that the hungry waterfowl would have grazed overwinter. a colony of earthstar fungus has been destroyed. Grass mulch now is all over the paths, bunging up the bike and folk’s shoes. Parts of the grass that were formerly lush and verdant are now a cropped mud bath.

Why? Who the hell cuts grass in winter? This is sheer, pointless, piss-poor grounds management, and an utter waste of desperately needed cash.

Please stop!

A canal towpath is a wild place. That’s it’s charm – a rough cut twice a year would be more than enough.

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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 Staying focused

November 5th – On the way to work I hit the canal between Brownhills and the Black Cock Bridge, and through the copse alongside the towpath, I could see a group of female red deer in the field between me and Clayhanger.

Sadly, there were just too many trees in the way and the deer were remarkably nervous today, so my attempts to  focus on them beyond the trees were thwarted.

I must get faster at that. Far too ham fisted at the moment.

Also fascinated by the zoom compression of the houses in the background, which aren’t anywhere near as close as that in real life.

Nice to see the ladies about though…

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#365daysofbiking Deer in the mist

 

November 3rd – Sunday meant an afternoon trip over to Burntwood to help a relative with a job, which on such a dull, overcast and periodically rainy afternoon was a welcome diversion.

Returning as night fell, my attention was snagged by a very localised, patchy inversion, leading to a trapped cloud on mist on the secondary pitches at Chasetown Rugby Club.

And who was luring by the goal in the murk? Possibly Englands new front line, corvine-style…

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#365daysofbiking It doe matter

October 27th – It’s nice to note the rabbit population on the dam at Chasewater seems to be booming again. They were here and down in the basin for years, but myxomatosis swept through a couple of years ago and the warrens dwindled to nothing.

Now, the bunnies are back and I watched this apparently elderly doe feed for a while. He companions scarpered, but she was made of sterner stuff, keeping an eye on me but not being distracted from cropping the turf.

Can’t help wondering what they might be doing for the structure of Chasewater’s largely earth dam, though…

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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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#365daysofbiking Default browser

October 5th – And then, in the scrub at the top of Chasewater dam, between Pool Road, the bypass and rugby club, this fine solo lady was browsing the scrub and posing for photos.

With the rut starting now and the old herds regrouping, odd to see a lady on her own, but she was in good condition and her coat was sleek and beautiful.

Always a fine sight and one I’ll never quite get used to.

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#365daysofbiking A small bimble

October 2nd – I was recovering after the hospital appointment, but fresh air called and I took a spin out in the afternoon, enjoying the sun for a circuit of Brownhills, Walsall Wood, Pelsall and Clayhanger.

Slow and leisurely, I wanted to see if I was up to riding. Thankfull I felt no ill effects.

At Clayhanger Bridge I met the Watermead family, all now large birds, having a communal preen by the canalside. They tolerated me, and only went for my ankles a couple of times.

Beautiful, adorable birds.

To my surprise, Mr. Miyagi the turtle was basking too, but slid back in the water before I had my camera. Didn’t expect to see him out so late, but always nice to see.

The fresh air improved my mood and it was nice to find my riding wasn’t impeded.

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