A winter wander

Today’s picture shows a siskin on the peanut feeder.


It gets pride of place because the peanut situation has had to be rethought.  I had noticed very little traffic on the peanut feeders of late and when I came to think about the matter, I realised that because the peanuts in the feeders were going so slowly, they had in fact now been purchased a long time ago.  I checked them out and found signs of mould so I threw them away and went up to the town to buy some fresh ones.  The peanut seller told me that he had had very slow take up of his peanuts in his backyard but that when he turned to a different supplier, the birds had returned with relish.  I have bought some of his new peanuts and await with interest to see if there is renewed activity on our feeders.

The seed feeders continue to do brisk business.

chaffinch and goldfinch
I don't know how the camera has recorded such a marked difference in size between these two birds.

It was another beautiful, sunny day but once again the near zero temperatures put me off the idea of cycling so after lunch,  while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to a meeting of the Embroiderers’ Guild, I packed my camera and set off for a walk.

I went through the town and along a walk that runs along the lower slopes of Whita Hill.  It is a good walking track through the woods at the start.


The views through the sunlit woodland were delightful.

Whita woods

Finally the track leaves the woods for more open country.  This is the last wooded section.

The gully

As I climbed up this little gully, I heard my name being called and looking over the ridge on the right, I saw Mrs Bell, an indefatigable walker and a work colleague of Mrs Tootlepedal.

Mrs Bell

Leaving the woods, I walked briskly along to Broomholmshiels and then turned up the road to the moorland bird feeders. I knew that Dr Barlow was not well and wondered if the feeders might need filling.  On my way I saw a buzzard fly up to perch high on a pylon.

buzzard on pylon
Seeing a buzzard perched there makes you realise just how big these structures are.

When I got to the feeders, they did indeed need filling but there was no spare seed in the bins so I was only able to top up the peanut feeders.  They were soon very busy.

Three greenfinches and a blue tit
blue and great tit
A blue and a great tit. The blue tit has a ring on its right leg.
coal tit
A coal tit

To my great delight a woodpecker landed on a tree.

woodpecker on tree

It backed slowly down the tree trunk and then hopped nimbly onto the feeder.

woodpecker on feeder
This bird doesn't seem to be ringed


I was even more delighted when a second woodpecker put in an appearance.

two woodpeckers
It used the same approach of landing on a tree first


woodpecker on feeder

I was just looking forward to having a fine time shooting double pecker activity when a car drew up and a voice shouted, “Hello Tom.”  Rather too late, he added, “Oh, were you taking photographs?”

“I was,” I said, “but I am not now.”

Just as the birds began to return, a sparrowhawk flew across in front of me and scattered them again so I gave up and walked home.

I passed Broomholmshiels farmhouse with Whita in the background.


I walked down the road until I came to a dismantled railway bridge where I was able to walk for a short while along the old railway.

old railway

From there I was soon back at Skippers Bridge.  I am impressed by the skill of the scaffolders who have covered the old distillery building with their work.

Distillery with scaffolding

I was able to walk home along the river bank because the recent landslip has been efficiently cleared away.  I arrived home exactly as Mrs Tootlepedal returned from her meeting.

The rest of the day was spent making bread in the bread machine (preparation time 2 minutes) and tea cakes to a recipe from the book that my daughter Annie recently sent us (preparation time 3 hours).  Will the tea cakes be 90 times tastier than the bread?

They look alright.

Tea cakes
I may have been a bit heavy on the currants.

Preliminary taste testing seems to show that the preparation time was well spent.  The crucial test will be how they taste when they have been toasted tomorrow.  Toasted tea cakes with  lashings of butter…life hasn’t anything to show more fair.

I had a good time watching two hours of Danish political drama on the telly in the later evening.  Chachun a son gout as they say.



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

5 thoughts on “A winter wander

  1. I read with interest some news items concerning an independence vote in your neck of the woods. I must say your photos do not indicate any strong degree of revolutionary fervor near The Borders.

    1. Being only eight miles from the border, we can see the practical, on the ground difficulties fairly clearly. I personally am much in favour of independence. Our UK leaders are caught in a bind. At the same time as they are saying that it is very bad for Britain to be swamped by Europe they are saying that it is very good for Scotland to be swamped by England and that it is even more important for everyone in Britain to suck up to the Americans. If you are going to be messed about by government, which you certainly are, I would prefer to be messed about by people who at least know where I live. Home rule for Langholm!

  2. I believe I’ve solved the bird-size puzzle posed by photo 2. The bird that appears to be a goldfinch is really an exotic Shrinking Violet. Very rare.

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