Not at home

Today’s picture is of a bird in New Zealand sent to my sister Susan by a friend.


It looks quite chilly there.  It was fairly warm but overcast here and at breakfast time, Sandy rang me up and asked if I wanted to visit a sand martin nest site.  As the forecast was for rain later, I agreed and we set out in his car for our starting point on the river side at Broomholm but not before I had taken a moment to nip round the garden with camera in hand.

Oriental poppy
A shy, retiring poppy.
The rhododendrons have lasted very well this year. They are inclined to go over quite quickly usually.
bee on allium
There are a few bees about now but too late to pollinate some of the apples.
The first rose of summer is developing nicely.

I couldn’t catch a flying chaffinch so this one will have to do for now.

chaffinch in plum tree

We put on our walking boots when we got out of the car and started along the riverside.  You can get a clue to why Broomholm is so called from this picture perhaps.


The riverside walk through broad leafed woods was tranquil and picturesque.  We soon got a glimpse of the Broomholm Island bridge.

Broomholm Bridge

We could have spent many hours sitting and looking and taking pictures of the river like this…

The Esk

…but the sand martins called us and we moved on along our path.


After passing through a couple of fields having come out of the woods, we arrived at the sand bank where Sandy and his wife had seen scores of sand martins nesting in a previous year.

sand bank

There were no sand martins.  Such is life.  The beautiful walk along the river bank had put us in such a good mood that we didn’t mind too much and stopped to take some pictures of the birds that were there.

oyster catcher and sand piper
I think that that is a sand piper in front of the oyster catcher.

The oyster catchers, of which there were many on the river bank, gave us a flying display.

flying oyster catchers

Though one stayed resolutely paddling in the stream when all the others had flown away.

paddling oyster catcher

I have often walked along both the Esk and the Tarras but this was the first time that I had seen the point where they joined forces.

Tarras and Esk
This is looking down the Tarras to the Esk

This was a particularly beautiful spot.  Here is the view up the Tarras.


It was very clear and running brown with peat from the recent rain.


Sandy had a little sit down to contemplate his photographs so far.

Sandy seated
I look forward to seeing the results.

We were surrounded by flies but fortunately not of the biting variety.

Here is just one of the crowd that was around us.

After a rest, we walked uphill away from the Esk, crossed the old railway and arrived at the Roman camp which I visited not long ago with Mike Tinker and Mrs Tootlepedal.  From there, it was a walk down the road and back to the car.  It is a sad mark of the times that this 2.7 mile walk was hard work by the end of it for both Sandy and myself and we were very pleased to sink into the seats of his car when we got to it.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been on a visit to the manure mine while we were out and had acquired some straw for our strawberries as well so she had not wasted the morning either.  She managed to tear herself away from the garden for long enough to make me a cheese toastie for my lunch and then she went back out to the garden while I retired upstairs for my siesta….having taken a picture of a blue tit on the way.

blue tit

blue tit

After my siesta, I came downstairs and did a bit of work on the computer as someone wanted a picture from the Langholm Archive collection to use in a blog.  As always, it is very pleasing when our archiving work fills a need.  I was tapping away when I was summoned outside to see the five ducklings walking up Wauchope Street in line astern.  I was too slow and by the time I and my camera had got outside, they were swimming on the dam.


At the other end of the dam, a blackbird was enjoying a wash and brush up in a shallow bit.

blackbird in dam

I had carelessly lost my cycling helmet somewhere on our recent holiday and I don’t feel comfortable without one so I went to Longtown to get a new one and get some more bird food at the same time.  Mrs Tootlepedal came with me to give herself a break from gardening.  She had put the straw down for the strawberries and tidied up several beds by this time.

Then it started to rain and didn’t stop for the rest of the day.  I retired inside and put a week of E and L data into the index.  That took me until tea time after which, I went out again with Sandy and Jean to do some work at the Archive Centre.  We got quite a bit done and you can see our ongoing work on our website if you have time to spare.

We retired to the Douglas for (modest) refreshment and then made our way home feeling that we had had a full day.

The flying bird of the day is a faceless siskin.





Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

5 thoughts on “Not at home

  1. What a beautiful bit of the world you live in.
    I know I’ve said this before but I cannot get over how much you can pack into one single day – it amazes me!

  2. Lovely river pictures with or without sandmartins. Liked the blue tit too but missed any birds on the plum tree.

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