Today’s picture shows the rather brilliant moon that greeted me when I looked out of the window as I got up.
It was a lovely day with little or no wind but sadly with the temperature dangling in that dangerous area around 2° which makes it seem possible to go out but also all too possible to hit icy patches. Discretion got the better part of valour and Dropscone and I arranged to have coffee instead of cycling. We were joined by Arthur and a sociable time was had by all. If you can’t go cycling, a cup of good coffee, conversation and some of Dropscone’s girdle scones are a very good way of taking your mind off your loss.
Once the again the birds were in very short supply in the garden with only this robin on the go early on.
The sight of the sparrow hawk perching on the bird feeder provided a clue. It only stopped for a second and once again flew off and lurked in a dense part of the walnut tree making it difficult to photograph.
If it is going to scare off my feathered friends, the least it could do would be to pose for the camera.
Seventeen minutes later a goldfinch appeared. They seem to be the readiest to return after the sparrowhawk has left. Perhaps they know why it isn’t called a goldfinchhawk.
This one was very fierce in its own right and kept off all comers so vigorously that in disgust one of the others lowered itself to nibble peanuts instead of niger seed.
It stayed as king of the castle for a good few minutes. The finch on the right is going backwards, not forwards.
By the time we had finished our coffee, things on the feeder were back to normal.
There have been no new visitors lately at the feeders. I caught a glimpse of a brambling in the walnut tree…
…but it didn’t venture down. Even though we have had a few siskins, we haven’t had anything the like the flocks we had last year yet.
A few chaffinches arrived at lunch time and here they are under the supervsion of a blackbird.
I was just saying to Mrs Tootlepedal that the sparrowhawk seemed to have scared off all the sparrows, when this fellow appeared. He was the only sparrow that I saw all day.
The leeks in the vegetable garden have done very well this year and I was able to dig up a couple to make leek and potato soup for lunch.
After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to do some work at the Health Centre and since the temperature had now reached 4°, I got the slow bike out and pedalled off towards Callister. This was uphill and into a breeze and my breathing showed how wise I had been to stick to flat routes at the weekend.
I opted to go at a slow rate rather than hurt my chest and I stopped at the Bigholms to watch an infernal machine at work.
This wonderful machine picks up trees and spits them out in pieces. For those with time to waste, I took a half minute video of the machine in operation.
Dropscone told me that he had difficulty in playing the videos on the blog. You won’t be able to see them if you are reading this in your mail program. You will need to open it in a dedicated browser page. You may still have scripts blocked.
I was not sure how far to go as rain looked a possibility but it held off and I went over the top of Callister and on to Grange Quarry at ten miles. From the top of Callister I could look down to the Solway and see the chimneys of Chapelcross Nuclear Power Station (deceased) silhouetted against the water in a patch of hazy sunshine.
At the quarry, it started to rain lightly, so I took the hint and turned for home. The rain stopped and the wind blew gently from behind and everything was all right with the world.
In the evening, I had a short lesson with Luke, my flute pupil, because he was going on to a school concert. I thought that he was very good to come at all under the circumstances and I was encouraged that he had not made this an excuse to miss the lesson. He continues to make progress. If he goes on like this, soon he will need a proper teacher.
As Mrs Tootlepedal had bought breakfast food for the B&B visitors who never came last week, I helped out by having bacon, eggs and fried bread for my tea. I felt very sinful.