A tale of two herons

Today’s picture is from a recent day trip my sisters, Susan and Mary made to Paris.  It shows Mary and a friend, Gill in artistic surroundings.Mary and Gill, Paris

With regard to yesterday’s picture of minor earthquake damage in New Zealand, my brother has sent me this note:  ‘Apparently it was the worst for 20 years.  But reading some blogs of people who panicked in public places, like shops, and who then realised that they were the only one so doing, made me feel less of a wimp!’

Mrs Tootlepedal wasn’t feeling very well today and stayed in bed for a while.  As a result, I had a lie in too as she didn’t feel like a cup of tea or any breakfast.

I eventually got up and had a very late breakfast and then peered out at a rather gloomy day.  The temperature was 2C and it remained at that for most of the day.  Strangely, there was no sign of frost about but I wasn’t going to cycle at that temperature and with Mrs Tootlepedal not well.

The birds seem unruffled by the conditions.

chaffinch and greenfinch go nuts
A chaffinch and greenfinch go for the peanuts
goldfinches head to head
Up above the goldfinches go head to head
goldfinch merry go round
The greenfinch keeps calm as the goldfinches fly off in all directions

On the other feeders, a female (I think) greenfinch takes her time.

greenfinch (2)

On the plum tree, all is goldfinch harmony.

goldfinches go to seed

As I have watched birds over the past couple of years, a thing that I never did before, it has been born in on me that people who can recognise all sorts of birds and who are knowledgeable about bird behaviour must spend a lot more time watching them than I do.  Their behaviour is still a complete mystery to me.  It is constantly interesting though.

blackbird and bread
I put out a little bread for the blackbirds and one came and took some.

I was having a cup of tea when I looked out of the window and saw this….


It was a heavy shower of sleet. It didn’t settle in the garden but when I went up stairs to tell Mrs Tootlepedal about it, I noticed that it had pretty well shrouded Whita Hill and the golf course below.

snow on whita

Things looked rather wintery for a bit but, as suddenly as it had started, the sleet stopped and Mrs Tootlepedal drew my attention to the roof of our neighbour’s bungalow.

heron on roof
A heron is not something we usually, or ever, see from our window

We wondered whether it was getting a warm up from Florrie’s central heating.

heron in steam

I was much taken by its ability to stand on one leg but look in both directions.

heron looking left

It didn’t seem to upset the small birds at the feeders at all.

21 birds in the plum tree
I think I can count 21 birds in the plum tree

The heron put down a second leg and this was the signal for it to depart.

heron on two legs

I thought that it looked very like my friend from the Kilngreen which I have photographed many times.  It seemed to flap lazily off in that direction.

While my attention had been on the heron, I hadn’t noticed a siskin arriving at the nyjer seed feeder.  The siskin is a small bird with a big heart and isn’t afraid to say what it thinks to anyone.

shouty siskin
Here it sees off a goldfinch
siskin and goldfinch
..and another one.
quiet siskin
It doesn't look very fierce
exit siskin
In the end it got its cards
female siskin
The male siskins are bright yellow. This is a female in the plum tree.
coal tit and siskin
Here is a male sharing a seed with a coal tit


Mrs Tootlepedal recovered enough to sip at a cup of tea and I took the opportunity to go through the tedious process of putting on enough layers to pedal in the cold and wet.  It certainly leaves me looking pretty elegant, I think you will agree.

Ready to go on the slow bike. The ski mask is great for cold winds.

My plan was to pedal gently about avoiding any icy patches and take occasional pictures as I went.  It worked well.  The roads were wet rather than icy and I made a little diversion off the Wauchope road to get a view.

Looking down from above Bloch Farm
Looking down from above Bloch Farm

I went back down to Wauchope Schoolhouse and then continued on to the lower slopes of Callister.  The small gain in height meant that slush was lying on the road here so I turned for home.

Looking back down the hill at Callister

As you can see by the snow on the fence posts, the wind was behind me on my way home and I felt so cheerful when I got back that I went round the town and set off up the A7 to Ewes Kirk.  As I had come into the town past Pool Corner, I noticed a heron.  It looked very like the one I had seen earlier in the day.

Heron at Pool Corner

I was therefore rather surprised as I cycled past the Kilngreen on my way out of town again to see this.

Heron on Kilngreen

Was it a second heron? Had the Pool corner bird beaten me to it and reappeared?  Was there a third heron on the roof this morning?  I ignored all these problems and pedalled on up the road until I got to Ewes Kirk.

Ewes Kirk

I had pushed my luck a bit by going this far and had to cycle home into some light but chilly rain.  Still, I had pedalled 20 miles which was 20 miles further than I thought I would be pedalling when I saw the sleet coming down earlier in the day.

It was very gloomy by the time I got back so I drew the curtains and watched Glasgow playing rugby on the telly.  It was about the worst game I have ever watched and it ended in a draw which neither team deserved.  In a strange way, I enjoyed watching it, thinking things must improve some time.

I rounded off what had turned out to be an interesting day by cooking a pan of venison mince for my tea.

I finish with a picture of a bird using the bird bath which Mrs Tootlepedal considerately bought for them some months ago.






Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

14 thoughts on “A tale of two herons

  1. I’ve been away in Toronto for a few days and it was lovely to get home and catch up with the news and views of Mr. Tootlepedal! The bird photographs are most interesting as always. I hope the bad weather at the tree-lighting wasn’t what made Mrs; T sick. Hope she is feeling better now.

    1. Thank you for pointing me to this wonderful site. I now have a lifetime’s work to see if I can break all of the rules in a single year. I particularly enjoyed the musical interlude.

      There are no cars round here. It’s a cycling paradise.

  2. Rachel and I both enjoyed the heron and wish Mrs Tootlepedal a speedy recovery. Rachel enjoyed looking at the wintry pictures from the comfort of my spare bed where she is riding out a nasty virus which descended on her while she was staying for the weekend.

  3. Mrs TP probably got a chill from the carol singing. No wonder she felt a bit peaky. Lovely picture of Whita. I like your heron (I think there’s only one and he’s following you around) – he’s got ‘tude.

  4. It looks like it was a good day for the slow bike. I am totally in slow bike mode now and I am already missing my road bikes.

    I like the heron photos. Years ago, when I was still living on the coast, I spotted a heron in a tree as I hiked around the cliffs. When I mentioned this to my relatives they thought said “herring”. This resulted in a very confusing conversation.

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