Up before the beak

Today’s picture is a view taken from the highest point of Torwoodlee Golf Course near Galashiels. It was sent by Dropscone who was doing a bit of course assessment there.Torwoodlee

In the absence of Dropscone at work, I was intending to do a longer morning ride than usual but I was overcome by idleness and in the end I went out for just the customary morning ride at 11 o’clock, having been up and dressed for cycling for two hours previously. I put it partly down to natural sloth and partly down to the opportunity to take some bird photographs in good light and with the birds in calm mood.

siskin head

siskin head 2


female chaffinch

female chaffinch
We are still waiting for new flowers to appear but some of the ones that have featured before on these pages are looking really great.

white lilac

Among the flashy rhododendrons, there is a rather discreet number hidden among other plants. It is called Fred Peste. Not a name that would naturally make you think of a lovely plant.

Fred Peste

And as you know, I find it very hard to walk past an azalea without the shutter finger impulsively contracting.


I was interrupted in my contemplation of birds and flowers by an invasion of border terriers accompanied by our neighbours, Bruce and Lesley. As previous owners of a border terrier ourselves, it is pleasant to be reminded of him.


The birds were busy feeding themselves and their young.

siskin dropped seed
"Dash, dropped my sunflower seed," says the siskin
sparrows on the fence
A mother and child contemplate life from the fence
sparrows feeding
Down to business

It wasn’t all peace and quiet…

 flying siskin

In the end, I managed to tear myself away and get out on the speedy bike. The wind was still blowing strongly but I went round at over 15 mph so I was pleased. I picked up most of the speed in a mad dash down the last 3 miles with the wind behind at well over 20 mph. There has got to be something good about the persistently strong winds we have had for the past week or so.

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to work after lunch and I ate my standard lunch of soup and bread and cheese while doing the crossword. This took me some time but the birds were still about when I had finished. They were busy nipping onto the feeder and hanging on for dear life in the strengthening breeze.

chaffinch winging it
A female chaffinch shows style

chaffinch winging it
A male goes for a more flamboyant gesture

 chaffinch winging it
There's only room for one

I managed to find time to put a week of the E&L into the database which brought the target of catching up with the indexers very near. I needed a cup of coffee after that and a restorative wander round the garden.

A second poppy has come out. They are not retiring flowers.

They make a contrast to the irises which Mrs Tootlepedal grows in many parts of the garden. These are in the back border among the bluebells and alliums.

irises back border

iris in sun

I am looking forward to the arrival of the roses.

 potential rose

As you can see, although it was windy, the sun shone for most of the day and when Mrs Tootlepedal got back from work, she shot out up to Wauchope Schoolhouse and back on her bike, braving the breeze. She should just about be ready for the 2012 Olympics at this rate.

In the evening, I went to the Archive Centre with Sandy and Jean and with Jean’s help, I finally caught up with the indexers. I was a little depressed to find that they have been working like the clappers this week and have done a mound of work. Ah well, a couple of pints of Deuchars in the Douglas eased the pain.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

3 thoughts on “Up before the beak

  1. A wonderful selection of birds and flowers including some splendid bird closeups, you are clever and patient.

    Sorry the indexers have been working so hard but am sure the beer helped to ease the pain.

  2. You’re really showing off with your bird photos now!! Absolutely super. But if you want to come up and photograph the Pied Flycatcher that has appeared and the Woodpecker you’re more than welcome.

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