BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘wildlife’

#365daysofbiking The angler

May 20th – Wednesday was better. Things are easing up and I can see light in the darkness, and hopefully, a path back to work, and hopefully a little normality.

Out earlier than usual, I was held up by an angler on the towpath. Nothing unusual about that – one often has to stop and wait for a rod to be lifted or some gear to be be pulled in – but this one was lightly equipped.

I just couldn’t bring myself to disturb it, and it wasn’t being moved by anyone.

I’m more used to herons now – there are so many about, especially in hatchling season – that seeing them is no longer a shock and reach for the camera moment. But seeing one this confident and reluctant to move was a real treat.

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#365daysofbiking Down the tracks

May 17th – At the other end of Brownhills, since the weather has dried out, the McLean Way is looking and riding rather well at the moment, I must say.

This is the new trail created by volunteers on the trackbed of the defunct South Staffordshire Railway that ran from Walsall to Lichfield.

It’s alive with wild flowers like vetch, birdsfoot trefoil, buttercups and all manner of rarities. There are birds from wrens to buzzards, and you even get foxes and deer down here.

With people taking exercise during lockdown, it can get quite busy but when you do catch it quiet, it’s a lovely spot.

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#365daysofbiking A prickly customer

May 14th – One of the animals that wakes up at twilight is the humble and much-loved hedgehog.

Now in sharp decline due to traffic and destruction of habitat, it was good to find this busy character searching the grass on Clayhanger Common for worms and other tasty morsels.

Large and healthy, I hope the reduction in traffic from lockdown will give this unassuming but essential creature a bit of a much needed break.

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#365daysofbiking Slim slow slider

May 8th – It’s always nice to welcome seasonal characters back into one’s life and none more so than the local canal’s resident reptile, Mr. Miyagi, the yellow-bellied slider.

Clearly a discarded pet, many canals and pools in the UK are home to these gentle, but surprisingly speedy vegetarians. The will live happily in our climate although being native to the Americas, but will not breed, even if they managed to find a mate. These turtles were popular a while back and sold as small animals, many were set free as they grew.

Mr. Miyagi is the size of a dinner plate, and likes to sun himself on the bank or any suitably buoyant drifting debris he can find on warm days, and his statuesque, head raised posture marks him as a real sun worshipper.

However, get a bit close or make a sudden movement – as I did today by sneezing – and he darts into the water with remarkable acuity.

I thought last year someone may interfere and ‘rescue’ the dear old soul, but he remains, reactions as sharp as ever and it was good to note his presence for another season.

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#365daysofbiking Family values

May 7th – It may be just me spending more time by the canal this year, but we seem to have a larger number than usual of waterfowl chicks about. It’s lovely and heart warming to see – and let’s face it, we all need a bit of cute and heartwarming at the moment.

The Canada geese have been particularly prolific, and everywhere I go on local canals I see gorgeous balls of fluff bobbing along between proud, defensive parents, or I meet hissing, protective aggression that requires careful negotiation.

A beautiful and very positive reminder that life goes on.

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#365daysofbiking Cut both ways

May 5th – The art of the daily exercise ride is quite weird. Used to normally commuting for my daily bike fix, the ride for the sake of it is, I’m ashamed to say, usually short and local.

It has, however, enabled me to get a grip back on what’s wonderful about the place I love and call home.

Here at Ogley Junction, standing on the cast iron footbridge as I have many, many times, on this warm evening it was hard not to be filled with pleasure at the sight of the peaceful canal, the only movement being languid waterfowl and birds swooping for bugs.

Such rides are measured by weight, not distance.

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#365daysofbiking – You shall not pass!

April 26th – Second attempt to sort the noisy bottom bracket appears to have worked. It’s true what they say, you’re never alone with a square taper chainset…

On a test run, I encountered this female mallard. Not a happy bird, it had settled on Coopers Bridge and was defying me to pass.

Unusual for mallards, as whilst fearsomely vicious to other ducks, and occasionally their own clutches, they are generally affable to anything else.

There was a bit of a Mexican standoff. Then she clearly remembered she was a duck, and flapped and honked her way back to the water, leaving the confused cyclist wondering what that was all about…

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#365daysofbiking – Multiplication

April 24th – A short exercise ride, still working from home, mostly. Despite the strangeness in everyday human society, the natural world continues as normal.

Nice to see the moorhens pairing off to mate. Such humble, unassuming little birds.

I keep saying it, but it’s the normal, beautiful events of spring that are keeping me going day to day at the moment.

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#365daysofbiking In the meadow

April 22nd – With this working from home malarkey (I still cannot get used to it) I’ve not been seeing some familiar places this spring, much if at all.

Jockey Meadows is one such place.

Usually one of the last places to show signs of spring, when I took my exercise ride today it was beautifully green, almost verdant. A real feast for the senses with bird and wildlife clearly happy and getting on with life in a way we can’t.

Hello old friend. Happy spring!

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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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