BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘wildlife’

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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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#365daysofbiking Hard of herring

September 26th – Crossing the Parade in Brownhills near the Fullelove Memorial Shelter, there had been oddly enough, a landing of herring gulls, presumably on their way between local water and one of the several landfills where they feed.

These really are huge birds, and quite aggressive in appearance.

It’s hard not to associate these surprisingly complex birds with the sea – but with abundant food locally and planty of water, this one has probably never seen the sea.

An odd feature of local wildlife.

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#365daysofbiking Duck deluxe

September 6th – It’s easy to overlook the ubiquitous, humble mallard duck, but they are most beautiful birds if one looks closely.

This female spotted at Clayhanger overflow lives perfectly happily on the canal, and is usually seen loafing with others in a loose social grouping.

The plumage is actually really detailed complete with the underwing blue stripe.

I’m convinced that were they not so common, we’d cherish these affable, indolent birds a lot more than we do.

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#365daysofbiking Oh, balls!


September 3rd – Good to see the fungus starting to kick off for the autumn, I adore the mycology.

These earth balls have appeared on Clayhanger Common, and although not prime specimens, they’re the start of a season of wonders of the fungi world that’ll fascinate me for weeks if not months.

These will grow, then ripen until ready, whence they’ll burst upon contact with some passing animal, spreading their spores for another season – and the cycle will continue.

One great thing about the autumn for sure.

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#365daysofbiking Sugar me

September 2nd – Another product of wayside roses that’s beautiful but dare I say it, a little more mundane: The sugar-laden rosehips.

Rosehips are loved by jam, syrup and wine makers and, of course, many birds who devour the energy laden confections to fatten up for winter – and thankfully there seems to be a good crop this year.

They are beautiful colours, too…

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#365daysofbiking Interdependence


September 2nd – The Darlaston Robins Pincushion Galls are looking really amazing right now – the one on the main ‘trunk’ (stalk? Branch?) of the wild rose is the largest I’ve ever seen, and still growing – now the size of a tennis ball, but elongated. On the outer leaves, the one that clearly misfired across multiple leaf nodes is causing odd, isolated patches of gall growth on leaves and twigs that look almost tumourous in nature.

This is an absolutely fascinating thing and I make no apologies for regularly featuring it. This is part of the wasp gall’s lifecycle and it’s absolutely stunning that such a tiny insect should co-opt and corrupt the growth of a plant to create such a host for its larva.

Amazing stuff.

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#365daysofbiking Slider rule

August 27th – Oh gosh, a local celebrity. On the half-shell.

This yellow belly slider turtle has been living in the canal for years – I’ve seen a few of them in my time; there was one at Chasewater for years and several on the Black Country canals.

They are all discarded pets that are now illegal; they are normally southern US residents but survive fine in our climate, but won’t breed.

I’ve had fleeting glimpses of this one before near Clayhanger, but today, I caught it enjoying the sun at the edge of the canal.

It’s large, healthy, and apparently content. And boy, can it move fast: One whiff of danger and it retreated back to the water at top speed.

A fascinating curiosity.

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#365daysofbiking Arc of a diver

August 27th – The local cygnets are doing well, and are now the size of their parents.

I’m fascinated how they have their own personalities. This one is always dawdling being it’s family group, diving enthusiastically for green treats at the bottom of the canal.

So enthusiastic, it’s often wearing a wreath of reeds around it’s neck.

Ah well, no time for finesse when it comes to the grub…

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#365daysofbiking Opportunism

August 24th – It would appear that herons will eat not only fish and amphibians, but small rodents too.

Home Farm at Sandhills were getting their wheat in – watched carefully by an undaunted heron, who was clearly hoping for something squeaky and furry for tea.

I never knew herons did this, but apparently it’s fairly common. Remarkable birds.

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