A tootle and a pedal (but not in that order).

Today’s picture is an improved view, taken by my sister Mary during a walk in better weather, of the magnolia at Kenwood.

Kenwood Mar 23rd 2012 002

We had yet another dry day here too but in contrast to yesterday, the sun didn’t make it through the clouds apart from an hour or so in the morning.  We are in the grip of some high pressure and the forecast for the next few days is excellent.  Mrs Tootlepedal is worried that we are going to get the same weather pattern as last year when we had a brilliant March and April and a very indifferent wet and gloomy summer to follow.  As a gardener, she would prefer more seasonable weather now and a better summer to follow.  As a cyclist, I just want glorious weather the whole year round.  I don’t ask for much.

Dropscone and I went round the morning run at a good pace in spite of meeting many cars, vans and tractors on the narrow back roads.  This often means that we have to stop and get off the road as we don’t care to argue with tractors whose wheels are twice as tall as us….especially when they are pulling trailers full of muck to spread on the fields.

All inconveniences were forgotten when coffee time came.  Once again Dropscone had been busy in the treacle mines and his treacle scones were sublime.  He has everything one needs in a cycling partner….a bike, good humour and a constant supply of scones.

In the garden, birds of all sorts were scarce today.  There were no siskins at all, few gold and greenfinches, one brambling and about half the normal quantity of chaffinches.  I had to take pictures of birds scuffling about on the ground.

brown bird
I am in some doubt as to whether this is a female blackbird or a thrush.

I did take a chaffinch in one of the rare sunny moments and as you can see it managed to get the shadow of the feeder across its face.

shady chaffinch
Nearly a good photo!

Deprived of birds, I went looking for colour in the garden.  Fresh flowers and foliage are coming to join the daffodils.

A lonely primula.
A euphorbia catches the scarce rays of the sun.
A small spirea glows gently.
grape hyacinth
The first of many grape hyacinths

Mrs Tootlepdal went to Carlisle on the bus to buy a walking foot for her quilt making.  It will let her use her new machine to quilt three layers without getting wrinkles.  While she was away, I mowed the middle lawn with the proper mower.  I can’t say that it is looking good yet but it is looking as though it may come good in a month or so and that is all you can ask at this time of year in our shady garden.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal embarked on another bout of shredding and I left her to it and went off to the Moorland Feeding Station to see if I could see a woodpecker.

On the hill behind me when I got there, the people who are trying to restore the grouse moor were busy setting fire to it.

The idea is to burn off the old heather and encourage new shoots.

There weren’t many birds at the feeders there either except for pheasants picking up fallen seed.


I did see a bird scurrying up the trunk of a tree and on closer examination it turned out to be a woodpecker.

woodpecker in tree

It was a bit too far away for a good shot but it obligingly came down to one of the feeders for me.

woodpecker on feeder
My informant tells me that this is a male.

There was not much else about so after half an hour or so, I gave up and went down to the Kilngreen where there is a reliable selection of birds.

black headed gull
A black headed gull cruised towards me.
black headed gull
And then turned to glide down the river.

There was a good deal of flying past me going on…

oyster catcher
An oyster catcher going down stream.
A mallard going up stream.

The mallard is a real tribute to the camera because it was fairly steaming along and I shot more in hope than expectation.  (I should point out that all the pictures on the blog will come out a bit larger if you click on them.)

One bird that was not rushing about was the heron.

It is not a bird for dashing all over the place.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal had disappeared a large mountain of clippings and was busy tidying up.  While she was doing this,  I sieved my daily bucket of compost and then we were joined by our neighbour Liz for a well earned cup of tea.  (Well earned by Mrs Tootlepedal in particular.)

While we were sipping tea, there was a short burst of chaffinch activity…

chaffinch activity

.. but nothing like the last few weeks.  If the fine weather keeps up as forecast, maybe we will see less birds in the garden from now on.

In the evening, Mike and Alison, the grandparents of the NZ sock puller, came round as is customary on a Friday and Alison and I had a very enjoyable play.  We have been sticking to quite a small selection of pieces recently and this concentration has lead to a great improvement in our playing together.  As I may have said to young Luke, my flute pupil, practice makes perfect.  In our case we fall somewhere short of perfection of course but we are a lot closer to it than we were.

Quite surprisingly, today’s chaffinch is the heron which obliged with a short leisurely flight just for me.

flying heron



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

16 thoughts on “A tootle and a pedal (but not in that order).

    1. It’s the sole purpose for their presence. The estates hand rear them and put them out for gangs of shooters and beaters. They can survive if the shooters miss them but I don’t know if they breed in the wild up here.

  1. Wonderful birds in flight especially the mallard and the heron. Your Spring garden looks very colourful, well done the gardening team.

    I as also glad to read about the satisfactory cycling and am very glad we met Dropscone last year.

  2. Great flying mallard and heron shots!, and very clever to be able to enlarge the pictures by clicking on them.

  3. Another nice visit. I am becoming very attached to oyster catchers but I must say the heron stole the show today. Serves the chaffinch right for missing his mark and landing in the shadow.

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