The Mad Old Baggage

The Mad Old Baggage

More ramblings.....

8 notes

brownhillsbob:

August 30th - I don’t go to Shire Oak Park nearly enough. This Local Nature Reserve, which was once a sand and gravel quarry exploiting the bunter sandstone ridge on the crest of Shire Oak Hill, is a wonderful and rare place. It’s teaming with wildlife, from rabbits to amphibians, mustelids to owls. In this sandy, sheltered enclave, deciduous trees like oaks and birch (and even the odd maple) are thriving, and the outside world seems a long way away.

The reserve is maintained by Walsall Council and on this dull Saturday afternoon, it struck me how clean and litter free the place was. Like all such spots, there’s occasional nuisance from ASB and the odd idiot, but this is a lovely, little known place.

The heather in bloom is gorgeous here, but as with everywhere else, the oaks have had a bad year, with leaf miners and a lack of acorns startlingly evident. Also, I was puzzled by the white appearance of the unrecognised shrub I spotted by the main steps. Can anyone help? Is this disease, pest or normal?

6 notes

brownhillsbob:

August 31st - It was a gorgeous afternoon - sunny, warm, with only a light wind. Sadly, I missed most of it due to being unwell. I finally left for a gentle spin at 5pm, and spun up the canal to Aldridge, then over Lazy Hill and back up the Chester Road over Shire Oak into Brownhills.

I had no energy at all. But it was a lovely ride, and I stopped to photograph the view at the top of Lazy Hill and at Shire Oak. I’m astounded how far you can see from Shire Oak on a clear day - those cooling towers are the derelict ones at Willington; inbetween, Burton and the huge Argos warehouse at Barton.

Note also the wind turbine at Whittington Hurst, seemingly very close in the shot of prospect house.

A great, short ride.

13 notes

brownhillsbob:

August 27th - A run out mid afternoon on an errand. I headed up the canal from Pelsall Road to Silver Street bridge, then over Clayhanger Common and the new pond to Walsall Wood. 

The herons are getting really, really confident; this one was on the canal by the Watermead estate. He wasn’t a bit bothered by what was going on around him.

The Swan family were grazing by the embankment restoration near the Black Cock Bridge. The seven young I’ve followed since hatching are adult-sized now, and the first hints of adult, white plumage are beginning to show. I don’t know what the bank works have disturbed, but these graceful birds were very engaged with eating it!

9 notes

brownhillsbob:

August 22nd - The sun came out, and whilst riding over Anchor Bridge I’d noticed the swan family were headed off up the canal at a determined pace. I snatched a frankly awful picture, then went on my way. My mission in Brownhills aborted, I doubled back to get some better pictures, and quickly found the swans in a morass of at least 200 Canada Geese on the canal between Catshill Junction and Silver Street. 

The swans are in fine fettle - I had been concerned last week after not seeing them awhile, and there had been a surplus of white feathers on the water near the bridge, but it turned out volunteers had been ringing them. According to reports, they spent a couple of days sulking in Aldridge, then came back.

Quite what’s attracting the numbers of geese here, I have no idea. I note there’s some outrage about Sandwell having undertaken a cull recently, but with few predators, goose numbers are skyrocketing, which increases pressure on food supplies. It’s a tricky question I guess.

After all, one does get so attached to these birds…

6 notes

balltobuild:

Sunday 14th August 2014

" Round Rutland "

This trip was initially scheduled for last weekend ! but the wet weather put a stop to that, so even though this weekends weather forecast wasn’t great we took a chance and headed up there for a ride around Rutland.

We were greeted with fierce winds and an overcast day, but pleasantly warm, we opted for the full 23ml circuit which was to take in the peninsula trail as well. Regular followers of the blog will know that we usually take in a rest stop at one of the local pubs ! todays hosts were the Horse & Jockey at Manton, nice food but awful lager ( flat & lifeless )

All in all a nice ride, although some of the inclines were hard work, but just reward with downhill freewheeling to make up for them. A nice mix of tarmac path / loose gravel / & woodland trails.

6 notes

balltobuild:

Sunday 14th August 2014

" Round Rutland the other bits "

Just a few more snaps from Sundays cycle ride around Rutland water reservoir, this was a 150 mile round trip for us, but certainly worth the effort.

Another one for the to do again list !

46 notes

brownhillsbob:

July 20th - A day coloured mainly by the sad news of the loss of a good man, but as I rode the canal mid-afternoon, taking it gentle, I reflected on life. I noted a family of 4 cygnets and mum - dad seems to be gone - doing well up in Walsall Wood. I think they’re from up the canal in Pelsall. They are healthy birds, clearly getting by just fine.

Further down the water at Catshill Junction, the swans from Catshill still numbered seven youngsters and two parents. Nature is cruel, but the cycle of life continues.

I’ve grown very attached to these birds, have many of the local residents. It’s odd that we take such beautiful but grumpy and obstreperous characters to our hearts, but we do.

We feel great sadness at the toll of nature, and predators. But that’s the roll of nature’s dice, and it was ever thus.

And life continues, as it always has.