Today’s picture shows just how fast herons can fly, as here it is today in London stalking my daughter Annie as she walked through a park.
Mrs Tootlepedal was better today and the weather was worse.
I was pleased to see a properly dressed dog going down the road.
The temperature was above freezing and I expected that the snow would have melted away by lunchtime. Meantime, I set up a coffee break with Dropscone without having a pedal first. This was very relaxing.
When I got downstairs and looked out of the window, I enjoyed the rather decorative effect of the snow on the fatball fortress.
As you can see, the existing snow was being added to but only lightly and the birds didn’t seem to mind it at all. What they did mind was a sparrow-hawk swooping across the garden too rapidly for me to catch in a photograph. This cleared the feeders in double quick time, though I don’t think there were any casualties. Strangely to me, the goldfinches regrouped on the very top of the walnut tree which seemed to be very exposed but I daresay they know best.
The next time that I looked out of the window, I saw this.
The birds slowly returned after the sparrow-hawk scare and soon it was business as usual.
The heavy snowfall didn’t last long and I was soon able to go out with the snow shovel and clear the pavement outside the house. I was still expecting quite a rapid thaw as everything was gently dripping.
After an early lunch of leek and potato soup, I opted to go for a walk in the absence of cycling possibilities. The snow showed no sign of melting at all so I put on my wellies and set out.
Dropsone had forbidden me to go down to the Kilngreen to see the heron yet again, so I went through the Buccleuch Park and along Easton’s Walk beside the river. Kindly people have erected three wildlife signs along the walk so that I can read about all the birds and animals that are there but which I never actually see.
That’s why I like my kitchen window. I do actually see birds through it.
Once again, I didn’t see or indeed hear any birds as I walked along the path but I did meet Dr Barlow walking her dog and I didn’t mind as the path itself is very soothing to the spirit.
At the end of the walk, I turned up the hill to the Stubholm and looked back over the town from the top of the escarpment.
I followed the track round Stubholm and went along Gaskell’s walk. This was extensively damaged by the clear felling of the wood it ran through but has been admirably restored and was quite safe to walk along in the snowy conditions. Before I dropped down the hill, I shared a moment of repose with some hardy sheep.
Because the leaves are now off the trees, I was able to get a good look at the Becks Burn as it joins the Wauchope.
Mrs Tootlepedal hates to see all that energy wasted and thinks we should have a micro hydro electric scheme running here.
I came out onto the road that I cycled up yesterday and it didn’t look too bad…
…but this is in a sheltered spot and the road steadily gains height as it leaves the town so I will be waiting for a good thaw before I go along it on a bike. I fell off last year while cycling in slush so I don’t want to try that again.
These belted Galloways looked rather sad beside an empty feeder up to their knees in mud.
Mind you, cows always look a bit mournful.
When I got home I was pleased to see that a redpoll had joined the gang on the niger seed feeder.
If you look closely at the picture, you can seed a niger seed falling off the left hand edge of the tray and the snow below shows just how much seed hits the ground underneath.
I spent some time putting a week of the E and L into the database and dealing with a couple of the small but steady stream of enquiries from researchers that the group receives through the internet.
In the evening my flute pupil Luke showed the results of hard practice and for the first time was able to play through a couple of tunes without making any mistakes at all. As I didn’t manage this myself until I was about 63, I am very pleased with him.
A varied day was rounded off with a plate of venison mince and tatties.
My daughter Annie also sent me a striking picture of the Houses of Parliament which she passed on her walk through London.
You can buy programs that will straighten up the leaning towers that little cameras create but I am too mean to do that and I rather like the slightly Alice in Wonderland effect that the distortion creates. I would like to thank everyone who sent me pictures following my recent appeal. I got so many that I can’t use them all. I am always interested in pictures and I always look at them so keep sending them in and don’t cry if I don’t use them.