Minute improvement

Today’s picture shows the first wallflower to raise its head for this year.


It was another grey, windy day but once again Dropscone arrived promptly for the morning pedal and we made it round without any unusual excitement and pleasingly, in a minute less than we did yesterday.  Any improvement is welcome.  There were no treacle scones today as the treacle well has run dry but the normal girdle scones were very good with a bit of blackcurrant jam on them.

My bafflement in the face of bird behaviour continues.  After the complete absence of siskins yesterday, they were back again today.

early siskin
An early arrival

Questions come to mind. If these were the same siskins that were here in great numbers on Sunday, where were they yesterday? If these are new siskins, where did they come from?  And, apart from me, who cares anyway?

Old or new, they behaved much as siskins normally do..

shouting at chaffinches

The chaffinches held up their hands in surrender.

hands up

Given half a chance when the siskins took a break from the feeders, the chaffinches got stuck in.

chaffinch action

And in response to the arrival of the siskins, the bramblings disappeared.  Curiouser and curiouser.

I was pleased to see one infrequent visitor back in the garden.

A lone redpoll in the plum tree
It ventured down to the seed feeder but didn't stay long.

After a grey start to the day, the clouds rolled away and it turned into a lovely morning.  I went out to the pond to see if any frogs were about.

Potential frogs

The answer was hundreds of tadpoles but no frogs in sight.   It was really quite warm and the daffodils are beginning to come out in force.  Our garden is quite shady in the winter and our daffodils are by no means the first to come out in the town but they are still very welcome when they do appear.

golden daffodil
That really is a golden daffodil.

The sun brought out the vivid greens in the garden too.


We went to the Buccleuch Centre for lunch to hear a talk by two professional gardeners who have a garden centre near Edinburgh where our friends Mike and Alison’s daughter works.  They talked about their own garden, which is about the same size as ours, and it was interesting to see professionals talking about a small garden as mostly when you see gardens on the telly, they are huge.

After the talk, Mrs Tootlepedal and Jean went off to Newcastleton for an embroiderers’ meeting and I went home and sieved another bucket of compost before going off to have another look for the goosanders on the river.  They weren’t there of course.

I did see another large dog.

large dog
This is Bowman in a completely un-posed shot.

Nearby was a very gnarly tree.

gnarly tree

It was a beautiful day by now and although I didn’t see any goosanders, I didn’t mind as the riverside walk which I followed was quite pretty enough.

riverside walk

I could see and hear oyster catchers everywhere I looked…

oyster catchers
Flying over the cricket pitch
oystercatcher on pos
Perched on a post.
Oyster catcher on the river
...and flying down the Ewes

I looked under the sawmill brig…

sawmill brig

…to see if I could spot a dipper but it wasn’t there today so I pottered slowly home in the sunshine.

Back home again, Mrs Tootlepedal, who had enjoyed a good gossip with her fellow embroiderers, noticed another visitor to the feeder.

great tit
This was one of a pair of great tits which she spotted. They have not been here at all lately.

Because it said on my medicine that I shouldn’t drive until I was sure that it was alright to do so, Susan kindly drove us to Carlisle for an evening of recorder playing.  I am not sure how you find out if it is alright to drive without actually driving but time will tell.  We enjoyed the playing apart from one or two moments when our tuning was a bit adrift.  We played a couple of the pieces really well by our standards which always gives particular pleasure…as the did the Jaffa cakes with our post playing cup of tea.

Today’s chaffinch is a siskin.





Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

13 thoughts on “Minute improvement

  1. And a pouncing siskin at that. I have to agree that you have an exceptional tree collection. They look almost like trees in a rain forest. I would like to follow that riverside walk and see some oyster catchers. (What are they doing hanging around the river anyway? Or is oyster catcher a fanciful name?)

  2. The final oyster catcher picture was splendid, I showed to some people here in the hotel, they were impressed!

  3. I love your photos. Especially the ones of the flying birds. They look amazing. 🙂

    Do you have to take continuous shots then select the best ones? I always end up with blurry ones – I should maybe try with a faster shutter speed.

    1. I use a highish ISO unless the light is very good. I take single shots but of course I have to discard many, many failures. I take pictures of birds with steady flight patterns to make it easier to catch them. You need to use the fastest shutter speed you can squeeze out of the camera. The chaffinches and siskins are very close to my kitchen window which makes it easier as well.

      1. Thank you for sharing! That was going to be my next question. If you had the camera in your hands or if it was propped on something stable.

        I’m growing a small garden on our balcony and once we have more insects and (hopefully) birds visiting us, I might setup a tripod outside and sit patiently indoors with my remote control shutter in hand.

      2. It’s just in my hand. I try to rest my elbows if I can. It would be good to use a tripod but not so easy to catch quickly moving targets.

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