Day 3 and one of my favourite walks with the hound. This evening I am joined by The Girl who supplied some of the photographs.
The disused railway line which runs from Pelsall to Brownhills and forms part of the National Cycle Network, is one of our favourite routes. The landscape changes so much in the mile or so along the line and by the time you get to Ryders Mere you could be in the depths of the Countryside.
The development and status of Clayhanger Marshes SSSI is well-known and documented locally having been visited by the rare Hoopoe in recent years. But it’s the ordinary stuff that I like here. There are so many Oak trees along the route that I lost count and many, many small birds diving in and out of the hedge row. I always see a Blackbird or two along here and today was no exception. The brambles are heavy with blossom promising a bountiful harvest come September.
Once you get to Ryders Mere, the noise of the Gulls is great. If you were to close your eyes, you would be forgiven for thinking you were in a Cornish fishing village and not the heart of the Midlands! You couldn’t be further from the sea. The Black Headed Gulls all lined up on the posts were a sight to raise a smile, until they caught wind of the dog! Having walked this route with local birder Chaz, I know there is a rich variety of water birds here, not in the least the Oystercatcher who was not impressed by our presence and circled above us calling until we were well clear of the area. I know we also saw Swans, Canada Geese, Mallards and the Heron, but also several pairs of Tufted Ducks and I think Goosander.
Scores of circling Swifts accompanied us on our return along the railway line diving and wheeling to catch the midges heavy in the air. No sign of any bats this evening, although we were a little early I think. Another time.