Dropscone and I were delighted to welcome a new member onto the morning ride team. Like Dropscone, Chuck Muir had been a rugby referee so I was on my best behaviour in case I got sent off. It was a pleasure to have an extra rider with us, because it lets me hide behind someone else from the wind for two thirds of the journey instead of only half. Chuck started off at a great speed so as not to slow us regulars down but we soon got him steadied up to a speed that we could keep up with. In the end we had a good ride in very pleasant weather and achieved a more than respectable time. We hope to see Chuck again but he works shifts as a school janitor so it may be some time before he joins us.
I was hoping to see the waxwings again and in the end some did turn up. One of our neighbours told me that they had completely stripped his rowan tree of berries yesterday so there was not much left for them to eat today. By the time they came the weather had turned very dull and wet so there wasn’t much of an opportunity for classy snapshots and this was the best I could get.
However, as a consolation, the goldfinches and friends were out in force before the weather got too grey and I was able to catch one or two on the feeder. One of the things I like about them is that they are very tidy eaters and don’t throw seed about as though there was no tomorrow.
Usually they seem to like the niger seeds but today the peanuts were the food of choice. I would like to have enough knowledge to know what makes the birds behave the way they do but I still get a lot of pleasure looking at their little ways. My friend Mr Gill was at Caerlaverock today looking at birds and he said that there were a lot of siskins there so perhaps we can expect some over here soon.
For example on the knowledge front, why were there no sparrows on this feeder today at all when there are usually lots of them fighting among themselves for a peck at the nuts? There were one or two blue tits and the goldfinches are very relaxed about sharing a feeder with them.
If you think I spend a lot of time watching birds, it wouldn’t be quite true. I leave the camera up on a tripod at the window and have a quick peek every time I pass through. Often there is nothing of interest but if there is, I take a picture. At the end of the day (and I mean that literally not metaphorically) I throw ten times as many away as I keep.
In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went out to give a lecture to the Langholm Ladies’ Burns club on “Stump Work”, which is a form of embroidery and I went to the Archive Centre to do some work on the E&L index, followed by a refreshing pint in the Douglas. In a rather charming mistake, the powers that be put the Langholm Town Hall clock back a week early so Langholm has been behind the time all week. It doesn’t seem to have made much difference for some reason.