Despite the Black Country's urban sprawl there are still plenty of green pockets to enjoy where, especially at this time of the year, you can witness the flora and fauna of spring in action, whether it's a carpet of bluebells recently seen at Wychbury Hill, or one of Britain's most loved garden birds busily catching food for newly hatched nestlings.
On a recent visit to the Saltwells Nature Reserve, the Bugle cameraman wanted to discover weather the wild weather of April had done much damage in the wooded areas, and to see if the normally mild-natured Black Brook and Mousesweet Brooks had changed character and turned into angry torrents. Within a ten minute walk of Bugle House the wander through the nature reserve quickly revealed a sizeable tree uprooted by the high winds and many branches brought down at crazy angles, some of which had crashed to the ground whilst others remained wedged high up in the canopy. The streams were flowing fast and every so often cascaded down a small waterfall producing plenty of white water.
Mallards in the reserve are commonplace, finding safe havens in the small pools and reed beds and occasionally swimming the brooks. But a commotion in the long grass suddenly alerted the cameraman as two drakes were giving chase to a single duck.
Oblivious of their surroundings the mallards were following their instincts and came quite close, before the female did a quick shimmy and started back into the long grass, again pursued by the two drakes who were in no mood to give up the chase.
The muddied path was almost impassable in places where the rain water had collected, but the noise of cascading water led to a small bridge over the Black Brook and then at least half an hour was spent in the company of some very busy parent robins.
The comings and goings of the robins was captivating; a flash of red caught the eye as they left the nest, which was out of sight but located on the bank of the Black Brook; then another flash of red but a brief pause on a nearby branch or other suitable perch before the coast was clear to swoop under some over hanging grass to feed the hungry chicks.