Keeping my pecker up.

Today’s picture from my brother Andrew shows a bridge across the Otaki River in New Zealand.  It is not a bridge that I will be crossing under any circumstances.


It was intermittently a better day today and at one stage, we even saw the sun.  It was still very windy and with the continual possibility of rain, I didn’t consider it a good morning for cycling.   Instead, after a disgracefully late breakfast, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went up to refill the bird feeders at the moorland feeding station.   We managed to find a beautifully sunny moment to do this.

The general trend of the weather can been seen from this picture which I took while we up there.


It was just as well that we went up as the feeders were well down and it took us some time to get them topped up.  When we had finished,  Mrs Tootlepedal retired to the car to get out of the piercing wind while I lurked behind the rather skimpy hide, camera in hand.

The first bird I saw after I had taken up my position was a sparrowhawk which flew briskly along the whole line of feeders far too quickly for me to get a picture.  I thought that this would have put paid to my chance of seeing any other birds at all but within minutes, the feeders were busy with chaffinches and various tits.

coal tit
A coal tit visits the peanuts within yards of the hide

I switched my attention to a peanut feeder on the opposite side of the clearing where a number of different tits were sharing in a companionable way.

coal tit and blue tit

Then my attention wandered a bit as tits are quite common and when I looked back, I saw something completely different.

strange object

This was, of course, a woodpecker.

woodpecker in the distance

Although they are bigger than the tits and chaffinches, these particular woodpeckers are not very large birds.

But they are very striking.

woodpecker back

woodpecker from the side

woodpecker from the other side

At this stage, it started raining and so I made my excuses and left.

As we had been driving up the hill to get to the feeders, we had come up behind a cyclist who was braving the weather and I was tempted to change into my gear when we got home.  A really heavy shower of sleety rain and further gusts of wind soon put some sense into my head and I found simple tasks to do indoors instead.

There were a mass of birds in our garden all morning and at one time I was able to count at least 40 chaffinches on the go.

nine chaffinches
This was a typical scene at the flat feeder

Other birds were available.

blackbird, brambling and chaffinch
A mixed bag of blackbird, brambling and chaffinch

At the niger seeder feeder, things were busy too.

goldfinches and siskin
Goldfinches see off a siskin
The siskins return undeterred
Siskins and goldfinch
Now a siskin sees off another siskin


chaffinch, goldfinch, siskins
And finally even a chaffinch gets in on the snarling act

In the afternoon, I was just about to take a picture of two bramblings on the ground under the kitchen window when a mighty rushing of wings heralded another flying visit of a sparrowhawk and an associated bird explosion.  The small birds flew off in safety and the hawk shot off into a bush with no posing this time and then circled round the garden high in the sky before pushing off to find gardens with less nippy birds in them.

In the early evening, we decided on an outing.  Things didn’t go well.  We started by visiting the chemist to pick up a prescription which it eventually turned out that I had picked up several days earlier.  That was embarrassing.  Then we went to Gretna to see the starlings and parked in a place where we didn’t see any.  That was annoying.  Then we didn’t go into the Gretna Gateway shopping centre which was the chief point of the trip in the first place.  That was simply laziness.

I said to Mrs Tootlepedal, as we drove home, “Well at least we have had a nice outing.” “No, we haven’t,” she replied.  That was the truth.

Things got better when I went off to the Archive Centre with Jean and Sandy for our usual Thursday evening’s work session.  This was followed by a visit to the Douglas for a session of refreshment and community moaning about the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.  We felt better and went home.




Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

3 thoughts on “Keeping my pecker up.

  1. Your blog made me laugh out loud at Mrs Tootlepedal’s riposte to your idea that you had had a nice outing!

    Wonderful woodpecker pictures though.

  2. I was intrigued by the title of today’s post. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered the subject was birds. Still, the pictures (as always) were great and I see that Mrs. Tootlepedal provides you the same sort of tactful assessments that my sainted wife gives me.

    1. It’s a common phrase here, or at least it was when I was a boy. We also talk of giving someone a peck on the cheek when we mean a brief kiss. I thought it was an appropriate phrase for an occasional bird watcher in a gloomy spell of weather. Both the sunshine and the bird sighting cheered me up.

      It is very helpful to have a realistic helpmeet. It keeps you right.

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