Today’s picture, taken on a hill walk by my recorder playing friend Susan, reflects the chilly scenes around Langholm at the moment.
And it was another chilly, clear, dry day again today. We’ve almost forgotten what rain is like but the ground isn’t drying out because it is too cold and when the thaw comes, it will be as wet as ever. The temperature was just about zero and there was a strong and nippy wind that proved too inhospitable even for Dropscone to have a pedal.
Fortunately this didn’t stop him coming round for coffee with a batch of the traditional Friday treacle scones. As well as the scones and coffee we enjoyed a lively debate starting at the European Union and travelling through many other areas of contention as we went. When it comes to political matters Dropscone and I are fairly far apart which means we can have endless discussions. It’s fun.
(Warning: If you don’t care for bird pictures, now is the time to turn away.)
When he left, the birds were also having vigorous discussions.
Dropscone is going off to the north for an important golf administration meeting this weekend and we hope that the snow will not come and spoil his journey. There was snow to the south and the east of us today but we were not troubled by it at all.
In fact the weather was pleasant enough to tempt Mrs Tootlepedal to come up to the Moorland site to help me fill the bird feeders. After they were filled, I got out the camera and was able to walk up very close to a fearless siskin nibbling on the niger seed.
Then Mrs Tootlepedal sat in the car while I peered through the hide. We had placed the car so that she could have a good view of any woodpeckers on their usual feeder but in the way that such things go, the woodpecker came to a different feeder today where she couldn’t see it.
It was, however, right in front of me.
And it was hungry enough to stay there for long enough for me to take many pictures. I have nobly limited myself to the one above. After it went off, either another one appeared or else it returned for more peanuts. I find it hard to tell one woodpecker from another. It waited on a tree trunk until it had checked that the coast was clear….
In general, the birds were well puffed up and although it is not a very good shot, I have included this robin just so that I could say that it looks very much like a round robin to me.
A second woodpecker appeared at the far end of the feeders, this time hanging on to a seed feeder.
And then, just to prove that there were indeed two different birds about, they did formation tree climbing.
I returned home for lunch very satisfied with my bird watching and Mrs Tootlepedal had enjoyed listening to the radio in the car while I had sat outside. After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal retired to her sewing room to polish up her embroidery skills (she is improving her appliqué techniques) while I went for a walk round the Kilngreen and the new path as it was still far too cold in the brisk wind for cycling with any pleasure. I paused for a moment before I set off to check was was happening in the garden.
At the Kilngreen, my old friend was on hand.
And a flight of perfectly synchronised gulls passed me by.
Beside the heron, a little wagtail perched on a rock.
I walked on round the new path and when I got to the opposite bank of the river, the heron obliged with a stately fly past.
The heron’s claws look purposeful and I was struck by the roots of a tree which I passed shortly afterwards. They too had the look of a purposeful grip about them.
Near the Jubilee bridge, a large branch sweeps down towards the ground before lifting itself up again. This is one of those branches which seem to defy the laws of gravity. How the tree has the strength to keep it attached is a mystery of natural engineering to me.
I got home just in time for a nice cup of tea and after a little professional time wasting, I sat down to add another minute or so to the talk. I am now confident that it will be finished in time for the occasion where it is to be delivered. Phew.
In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and Alison and I played pieces by Daniel Purcell, Marcello, Telemann and Vivaldi and a Division upon a Ground. This was a nice mixed bag and rounded off an excellent day very well.
Although the flying heron could have been flying bird of the day, I didn’t want to forsake my regular customers.