Flying visit

Today’s picture is another from my sister Mary’s walk yesterday.  I think it was taken in Kew Gardens.

Richmond to Ham House and Kew June 2012 034

That’s a bit more impressive than our pond, though if it keeps on raining like it did today, we may be able to match it soon.  It is a pity that my sister Susan, who is paying us a flying visit, should be greeted by such horrible weather.  I must say that she has been keeping very cheery under the circumstances and has been a model guest.

We have a lot of young birds around at the moment…

young bird and siskin

This one is keeping very calm while being threatened by a siskin.  I don’t really know what it is but I suspect that it is a sparrow.  I certainly know what our next unexpected visitor is.  It popped in while we were having coffee so luckily I was sitting looking out of the window when it arrived.

woodpecker

I tried to creep up on it to get a better picture but it was wise to me and flew off.  As this was the second visit in recent weeks, we hope that it has got a taste for our peanuts and will be back again.

The rain hadn’t put the small birds off and we had a very busy moment or two after coffee.

young bird
Another young bird

greenfinch

I like a busy time at the feeder as it gets the birds who are waiting for a perch to be free to arrive more slowly and give me a chance to catch them in flight like this greenfinch.

Sometimes it is just too busy for a clear shot.

plie up

Then, three minutes later, all the siskins, greenfinches and sparrows had gone off, leaving a rather stubby looking chaffinch to eat seeds in peace.

chaffinch

I had to stop looking at birds and go up to the town to collect the key of the gallery for the photo exhibition.  We all went up and while I was in the gallery, Susan and Mrs Tootlepedal went to visit the Archive Centre and sneak a look at Sandy’s photos which he has temporarily stored there.   Susan had hoped to see the whole exhibition but a change of dates in the availability of the gallery has scuppered that plan so she was pleased to see a small sample of the show.

We then went home and had a much more splendid lunch than our usual efforts.  My sister had brought up some asparagus and strawberries, so we had a three course lunch of asparagus, followed by home made cream of mushroom soup and strawberries and cream, the whole thing topped off with a selection of good cheeses.  It’s lucky she is not here more often or we would all get very stout.

I took a minute after lunch to do the crossword, rest and stare out of the window.

goldfinch
A goldfinch considering life in a cold climate.
blue tit
A blue tit has a bit of a fat ball for its lunch

I have noticed that as far as our sparrows go, it is the fathers who seem to be doing most of the feeding of the young.  I don’t know if this is the normal practice or whether it is just a coincidence that I see it so many times.

sparrows
A father and child

You can see the gusty wind ruffling their feathers.

Mrs Tootlepedal had noticed some ducks in the morning so in a gap between showers, I went out for a duckling check.  There were no mothers to be seen.

single duckling
I think this must be the single duckling. I am pleased that it has survived.

A few feet away there was a heap of other ducklings.

duckling heap
I daresay that they were huddling together for a bit of warmth.

It was hard to count but I think that there are four in the pile and you can just see another one in the top of the picture so that would make the group of five that have survived from the original family of twelve.

We felt that we should get out in spite of the rain so we went up to the Moorland Feeder Station in the car.  The ladies wisely remained in the car but I got out with the camera and a big umbrella.  It was chucking it down.

feeder station
You can see Dr Barlow’s furled ringing nets among the rain drops.

Two woodpeckers flew away as I got out of the car but I waited for a while, seeing the occasional pheasant stalking through the long grass…

pheasant

…and one of the woodpeckers came back.  Unfortunately it chose a tree that was too far away from me in the gloomy conditions for a satisfactory shot.

woodpecker
It didn’t stop me having a go though.

The conditions brightened up for a moment so we went on down the road to see if the wild irises had come out yet.  There were more than before…

irises
…but not as many as we had hoped.

We drove back past the feeder station, where we saw a family of four kestrels flying away, and on to the Claygate road.   We took a short tour down to the Hollows Bridge and home by the A7.  The river Esk was quite full after the rain so we went on to the Kilngreen when we got back to Langholm to see what the rivers looked like there.

The Ewes Water
Full but not flooding. The Ewes Water and Sawmill Brig.

Then we retired home for a fairy cake and a cup of tea.  While we were drinking our tea, a flash of grey outside the window indicated the arrival of a sparrowhawk looking for its tea.  It stopped for a second or two in the plum tree but was off again before I could get the camera into action.

The rain stopped for a while so I went out to take a picture of my favourite lupins.

lupins
I like the delicate colour combination.

Then before we knew it, it was time to go out for a meal at the Douglas.  This was excellent and rounded of a day of good food and good company which, at least in part, made up for the foul weather.

The flying bird of the day is a greenfinch in the rain.

greenfinch

 

My sister goes home tomorrow so we are expecting better weather.

 

 

 

 

 

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

5 thoughts on “Flying visit

  1. I hope you haven’t offended your sister with that last remark – ha!
    Your photos of the birds in action always bring me delight – thank you.

  2. Sorry about all the rain, but great pictures all the same. Hope exhibition goes well and weather improves!

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