Archive for Oct, 2012

Today’s picture shows a bridge in Christchurch,  NZ, a much battered city.  It came to me from Maisie’s mother by way of Maisie’s grandparent.  I like the comment on the bottom of the picture.

Christchurch Bridge

It was so wet and windy today that there was no thought of cycling.  Mrs Tootlepedal went off to work and I practised mounting photos with a different colour of mount card until Dropscone, Arthur and Bruce joined me for a cup of coffee.    We were snug and comfortable in the kitchen, while outside conditions were not so easy for the birds.

Chaffinch in plum tree

This chaffinch couldn’t bear to look at us having fun indoors.

Mind you, with a little help from PhotoPlus, I can make the weather look a lot better.


Taken a minute later.   If it only worked in real life too!

After the coffee drinkers left, there was not much to do on the photo front except to see how high I could catch a raindrop bouncing off the car roof.

car roof

Quite high.

I did try to get some pictures that showed the day as it was.

a coal tit in the gloom

A coal tit in the gloom

A chaffinch facing the elements

A chaffinch facing the elements


Another thinking sad thoughts about the rain

Mrs Tootlepedal returned for lunch and afterwards we put the newly framed pictures up on the kitchen wall.

Kitchen gallery

The new mounts definitely chime in with the wall colour better.

The plan is to have a constantly changing set of photos in the frames and mounts as time goes by.

With the rain and wind, it wasn’t a busy day at the feeders.  On top of that I had caught a couple of glimpses of flashing wings whipping across the feeder and past the kitchen window during the morning.  I took these to be a sparrowhawk keeping birds well out of my photographic range.  While I was eating my lunch, there was a third flicker of light and a feather floated down outside the window.

“Another visit from the sparrowhawk,” I said to Mrs Tootlepedal.

“Yes,” she replied, “and it’s sitting on the hedge.”

I leapt to my feet with unaccustomed alacrity, snatched up the camera, which was for once in exactly the right place, and took four quick shots before it flew of, its prey in its claw.

Here is one of the pictures.


I don’t suppose that I will get many more chances like that.   I have sent a copy of one of the shots to our local paper and another to a national paper that shows reader’s pictures as well.  I will have to wait and see what they make of it.

Meanwhile, I tiddled about in PhotoPlus to see what I could do.  I was limited by the settings I had had on the camera when I picked it up.  That and the pouring rain were not conducive to sharp pictures but I quite like the painterly quality I got with this.

sparrowhawk head

Recovering from the excitement, I put another week of the newspaper index into the database and the gloomy weather and shorter days that are now upon us mean that doing this is less of a grind than it is doing it during brighter times when I might be out and about having fun.

I did step out of the house in a lull in the rain to see if the rivers had risen enough to make a good picture but they hadn’t.  As I trudged home, I caught the eye of our neighbour’s dog.   I know how he was feeling about life.


I saw when I got in that a clematis was still in flower outside the dining room window.  I was surprised that I hadn’t noticed it before but it is hanging down behind a hedge.


I’ll try to get a better shot of it tomorrow when it isn’t raining.

In the evening, I went with Jean and Sandy to the Archive centre where we worked away as usual and then repaired with them to the Douglas for a ginger beer.  Sandy came in for a hot chocolate on his way home and had the (compulsory) opportunity to see the mounted photos.  He felt that the purchase of the mount cutter was going prove to be worthwhile.

No final bird picture today as I thought that I couldn’t top the sparrowhawk.

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Today’s picture, a moody shot of Dubrovnik, comes from my sister Susan’s recent travels in Croatia.


Dropscone appeared a little early today as he had to take his daughter Susan to the station as the first step of her journey to Abu Dhabi for the next Formula 1 motor race.   She has been all over the world watching the racing but Dropscone and I had to content ourselves with a trip to Paddockhole and back, a mere 21 miles.  By dint of bursting into tears when he went too fast, I managed to restrain Dropscone’s racing instincts and we had a pleasant ride with the wind behind us as we returned, always a bonus.

He had no time for scones but he left us a couple of slices of the delicious cake he had made for his wife’s recent birthday.  Bicycling with a retired baker has many benefits.

Our daylight is down to about 9 hours per diem and chances for photography are fading away with the light unless I get up early and the weather is fine.  It was very grey with occasional rain today after being quite nice for the cycling so I didn’t even try to take sharp pictures, contenting myself with shots out of the kitchen window.

The birds’ motto seemed to be, ‘Head’s down.’

Great tit

A great tit has a look at what is going on below.


A siskin in characteristic pose on the peanuts.


A chaffinch looks before leaping

There were always little gatherings on the plum tree to look at.


Chaffinch city

greenfinch gathering

Greenfinches to the fore

As always, the coal tits were busy flitting on and off the feeders.

coal tit

A starling peered about to check on a free seat.


In general, things were much as usual so I oput the camera down and went off to add another week of the newspaper index to the database while Mrs Tootlepedal visited the hairdressers.  She has decided that the colours of the mounts that I used for the photos for the kitchen wall don’t suit the colour scheme so I will have to have another go with a different board.  This is all good practice as I am going to have to mount three photos for a competition shortly and they will need to be well done.

The newspaper edition had a larger than usual number of entries and this took me up till lunch time.  After lunch Mrs Tootlepedal went off to work yet again and I sat and watched news coverage of the ravages of Storm Sandy in the US.  Several bloggers that I follow may have been affected and I am hoping that they won’t have been too badly hit.  It may be some time before I find out as there have been a lot of power failures.

The only good thing that may come out of the chaos is that people may begin to make a connection between warm seas and heavy storms and thus realise that climate change might need to be thought about seriously.  Of course the rich always envisage that they will be able to buy their way out of any trouble and as it is they who have their hands on the levers of power, they are not much inclined to worry about what might happen to the rest of us, especially if it is going to cost them money.

I roused myself to go out in a dry moment to look at Pool Corner.  When we had cycled round it in the morning, Dropscone and I had been struck by the wonderful colour of the larch trees.  Although the light wasn’t so good by the time I went out in the afternoon, I thought that they might still be worth a look.

Pool Corner

Approaching the corner.

The bank behind the corner was felled a few years ago and is now covered with young larch trees.

Larch trees at Pool corner

When the light is right, they look likes candles.

Larch trees at Pool corner

They are an impressive sight, clothing the bank in green and  gold.

The older larches are not so vivid now.

Old larches

But still quite decorative

When I got home, a robin was feeding on the ground outside the window.


Giving me the full frontal look


And the over the shoulder glance.

During the afternoon, I had been rung up by our choir leader who was not feeling very well and he asked me to take the choir in the evening.  I was sad that he wasn’t well but delighted to get the opportunity to do some more conducting.  I ran a short music reading session before the choir began and then took the choir for two hours.  For one reason or another, only thirteen members were present but they were evenly balanced between the parts so we able to have a good sing. Not surprisingly, I was quite jiggered by the time we finished  as standing up for two hours is hard work without having to wave my arms about too but I was tired and happy.  Luckily, our accompanist is most accomplished which makes the task of taking the choir much easier than it might have been.

I did manage just to find a flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch











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Today’s photograph is an obliging fieldfare posing for Bruce on Sunday.  This was one of a large flock.


I was one of a small flock (two) of cyclists going to Waterbeck this morning.  Dropscone had brought his speedy bike and was in determined mood with the result that we went round the run eight minutes faster than we did on Friday in much the same conditions.  My Little Book of Rheumatism for Beginners says, ‘You may find that you are a bit tired in the morning.’  They didn’t know the half of it.  Still I wasn’t so tired that I couldn’t eat the excellent scones on offer with the coffee.

After coffee, while the energetic Dropscone went off to play golf, I tried to put the lessons from last night into practice and get some really sharp photos.  I would have been better off trying to play golf.  I had taken the fat ball fortress off in an effort to attract starlings.  That succeeded but they wouldn’t stand still long enough for me.  Maybe I’ll try a spot of glue on the twig next time.


I did get a very sharp shot but sadly it was of the peanut holder but not of the bird eating the peanuts.

blue tit and peanuts

Still, it does show that the birds can winkle the nuts out of the narrow mesh.

I gave up and settled for shooting blurry chaffinches for fun.

Chaffinch landing

Euphorbias stay much stiller than birds.


Mrs Tootlepedal had been at work again in the morning, covering for a colleague who is poorly and when she came back, we had lunch and then went up to the Moorland Feeders.  Gavin had come in with some raffle tickets in the morning and he had told me that there was a new flat feeder on show there and I was keen to see it.

Flat feeder

It was already attracting birds but they were only the same ones that use the hanging feeders.  I will have to return to see if more unusual species discover it.  It was rather cold and grey so I didn’t linger long and the only worthwhile picture I took was this one of a house across the valley on our way home.


The length that the power companies go to put wires across every possible view is truly amazing.

I was rather grumpy at my failure to take any good bird pictures and when we got home, Mrs Tootlepedal prepared to go back to work and I stomped off for a walk.  It didn’t take long for my mood to lighten as there was still plenty of autumn colour about, even after the recent snow and rain.  A lot of leaves have fallen but a lot have not.

Beechy Plain

These are the Beechy Plains in the woods beside the Esk

Once out into the open on the fields of the Murtholm, there were fine views in every direction.  Here is a sample.

contrast in colour

Part of the pleasure is in the contrasts between the bare trees, the evergreens and the deciduous.

colour contrast 2

Especially when set against the surrounding hills.

Trees and hiils

Where the track came near to the river, I stopped to watch a little colony of ducks on a small stony island.


On the opposite bank there was a vivid splash of white flowers.


On my way back, I discovered  that they were daisies.


Mrs Tootlepedal says that they make a show every year.

Eventually, I came to the main road at Skipper’s Bridge.  Mrs Tootlepedal and Sandy had pointed out that there was a set of steps beside the bridge that lead down to the river.  I had never noticed them before but I made use of them now to get down to the very edge of the water.  I had both my Nikon and sandycam with me and I tried them both on the view down river from the bridge.

Esk NIkon

This is the Nikon shot

sandycam Esk

This is sandycam at work

I went back up to the bridge, crossed it and went down to the bank on the other side of the river.  I put sandycam to work.

Skippers Bridge

And a closer look at the old distillery building.


I was walking past the distillery on my way home when I met my flute pupil Luke’s grandfather who lives there. We had some useful conversation about Luke’s progress and Arthur revealed that he had bought a bass recorder to enable him to play duets with Luke when he had mastered how to play it.   I thought that this showed the right spirit.   Looking back from where we were talking, I felt that even a road junction with traffic lights looked very presentable at this time of year.


Further on my way home, I looked back across the river towards the woods that I had walked through earlier.

Riverbank woods

It’s funny how the eye can ignore the bare trees in the left foreground when contemplating this scene but the camera picks them out unerringly.

I got home a lot more cheerful than when I had left and my mood was improved even more by young Luke at his lesson where once again he showed continued improvement.  The cheeriness was doubly enhanced by a plate of mince and potatoes for my tea and a most enjoyable evening of sonatas by Telemman, Loeillet and Schickhardt with Mike and Isabel on cello and piano.  I am spoiled for music just now with three recorder playing sessions and a choir each week.  By the end of the day I was completly cured of glumness regarding the failure to take sharp bird pictures.  Try, try, try again will be my motto.

The flying bird of the day is a greenfinch and may be seen in the top right hand corner of this view of the busy feeders at the Moorland Station.

moorland feeders

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Today’s picture, taken by the husband of Hilary, Dropscone’s niece, shows something interesting in Central Park, NY last week.

NYC fall

It was a wet, miserable Sunday and I spent all but five minutes (out getting a Sunday paper) of the day in the house doing nothing very much.  I might characterise it as heavy resting on medical advice but it was really nothing more than total idleness.

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir as usual and while she was away, I mounted and framed one of the woodpecker pictures which I took on Friday.  The mount cutter is straightforward to use and I had the picture ready for her return.

Framed woodpecker

I was quite pleased with it but when Mrs Tootlepedal looked at it, she she said, ‘Very nice but don’t you think it would look better if it was portrait and not landscape?’  Of course she was right so I went back and put the original back into the photo editor, reprinted it, cut a new mount and re-framed it.

Portrait woodpecker

Now I’ll have to go back to the Moorland Feeders and try to get a sharper picture and then I really will have the finished article.

In the rain, which continued throughout the daylight hours and only stopped in the dark of the evening, I tried to take a few kitchen window shots.  I liked this one in spite of the rather fuzzy picture quality.

chaffinch reflection

Two reflective chaffinches.  Quite a coincidence.


Greenfinch in tree

A greenfinch found a few matching leaves left on the plum tree to pose in front of.

Chaffinch in plum tree

A chaffinch preferred a bare branch.


I have got so used to seeing goldfinches that I sometimes forget how pretty they are (even if they often look a bit grumpy).

I was able to get reasonable shots, considering the gloomy day, of a couple of flying birds as they slowed up before hitting the feeder.


A goldfinch keeping its head nice and still.

chaffinch with wings back

A chaffinch braking at the last minute.

After coffee, Mrs Tootlepedal, who is made of sterner stuff than me, put on her coat and went for a watery walk round the Murtholm.  She took her camera with her but since she didn’t show me any pictures when she got back, I presume she didn’t use it.

And that was my day.  For the rest of it I did sitting and thinking and sometimes just sitting.

Things looked up a lot in the evening though.  We went along to the Buccleuch Centre to see an illustrated lecture by our favourite photographer,  Laurie Campbell.  (If you visit his website, click on the ‘recent work’ tab to see some of the pictures he showed us tonight.  If you like bird photography, you should visit his website.)  He showed us some pictures whoch he had taken on a visit to the Langholm Moor last year and a whole series which he has recently taken on Harris in the Outer Hebrides.

His work is terrific and his accompanying commentary is charming, informative and somewhat terrifying.  I say terrifying because he occasionally reveals how he got a shot.  For instance, he might have sat in a three foot by three foot by three foot hide for 36 hours at a time on several occasions for the sake of a very special golden eagle shot.  His patience is incredible.

His first advice to would-be wild life photographers is to get a hide but I would be pushed to sit still for three hours let alone thirty six.  It was a magical couple of hours, immersed in his world and seeing it through his eyes.  From time to time, he helpfully dispenses technical tips as he goes through the pictures, telling you what exposure, what lens or what ISO he used.  The main thing that I learned was that I must use my tripod a lot more and that will allow me to get sharper pictures at longer exposures.

It is a moot point as to whether he has filled me with enthusiasm for taking better pictures or despair because I know that they will never be as good as his.  Perhaps a bit of both.  After all, he is talking about quality good enough for a full page glossy magazine photo and I am only aiming for a nice picture on a computer screen which is not quite the same thing.

Anyway, I am still going to post a perching bird of the day regardless.  It is a greenfinch, well puffed up against a nasty day.








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Today’s picture, courtesy of Jennifer in Western Australia again, is a pardalote, one of the peep wren family  (as if you don’t know that already).


Here we were greeted by the lightest possible snowfall…

first snow

…and temperatures just high enough to leave a flower or two in business.


The last of the dam side potentillas.

I was pleased to see a tit tucking into the home made sunflower seeds.

Sunflower seeds

They are not being eaten with the same gusto as the shop bought sunflower hearts but they are going down a bit.  I shall knock a few more seeds out of the heads in the greenhouse soon.

We had got up late as we had nothing in the diary to do and after breakfast, we idled the morning away until we got the urge for action and Mrs Tootlepedal suggested a drive to Hawick for a little shopping and a return by the a scenic route.   I was thinking of a cycle ride but the thought of a nice warm car won me over and we were soon on our way to Hawick with Mrs Tootlepedal at the wheel.

Being in the passenger seat gave me the chance to see whether sandycam could take a good shot through the car windscreen.


The road to Hawick. It was a great day for a drive.  I am more used to cycling than driving up this road.

We got to Hawick, had a light lunch and did our shopping.  Business over, we left Hawick on the road to Newcastleon and were soon out in the country on a well surfaced, quiet road.  I was driving now and stopped from time to admire the view.

Shankend viaduct

A good viaduct is hard to beat. This one is on the old Waverley line at Shankend.

We went over the summit at Whitrope and wound down the hill beside the Whitrope Burn.  The road crosses the burn on handsome bridges.

Top bridge over Whitrope burn

The first bridge.

Bridge over Whitrope Burn

The second bridge

I have driven and cycled over this one many times without realising that it has its own waterfall attached.

Bridge over Whitrope Burn

At Hermitage Hall we turned right to go over the hill towards Fiddleton Toll.  We didn’t have to go far before a photo opportunity appeared.

Hermitage Castle

Hermitage Castle, a stern border fortress.

It is an uncompromising building which seems to sit very well in the austere country around it.

Hermitage Castle

We headed past the castle, following Hermitage Water.  The gentle contours of the valley rather mask the hard life which the people who have lived here have led over the years.

Hermitage Water

As we climbed the hill and crossed the county boundary, we saw a group of hunt enthusiasts waiting for the hounds to appear but we passed them and stopped a little further on to enjoy the fine views offered by Carewoodrig.


You can see the road ahead winding along the ridge.

I took a couple of panoramic shots with sandycam and here are two short cuts from them.  First looking to the left…

Panorama from Carewoodrig

…and then to the right with the sun catching the autumn grass.

panorama from Carewoodrig

Where the sun hadn’t touched the slopes, a little snow showed how cold it still was in spite of the sun.

Carewoodrig snow

The slopes of Carlin Tooth.

We pottered slowly and carefully down the hill and stopped once more, a  mile from the A7.

The hills of the Ewes valley ahead.

The hills of the Ewes valley ahead.

Soon, we were back on the main road and whizzing home to Langholm.  As we approached the town, we could see the first clouds in the west which herald a change to slightly warmer and a lot wetter weather tomorrow.

I dropped off at the Scholars’ Field to take in a little of a game of football which was taking place there.  Langholm have been recently promoted and are struggling a bit in the slightly higher class of football they are meeting now.  It was a lively game though…

football match 27 October

with plenty of action at both ends…

goalmouth incidents

The Langholm goalie couldn’t get anywhere near this thunderbolt from outside the area which left them staring defeat in the face.


We have been able to make the most of a rare week of good weather and can only hope that the fact that the clocks go back tonight is not going to see the end of the sun until next year.  The long, dark nights are bad enough without a lot of rain too.

The perching bird of the day is a chaffinch in the almost leafless plum tree.


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Today’s picture of a willy wagtail from Western Australia was kindly sent to me by a reader called Jennifer in return for a copy of Susan’s nice picture.  This is a very fine picture and  a very nice gesture.

Willy Wagtail

The question this morning was, ‘Would it be warm enough for a pedal?’  The thermometer said 3.5°C when I looked at it first but a cup of tea later saw it rise to 3.6°  and not long afterwards, it hit 3.7° so things were looking good.   Dropscone arrived and we compared the number of layers that we were wearing.  I won with three on my bottom half, four on my top half and two under my helmet.  Combined with a buff, good gloves and overshoes, I felt ready to face the day.  It was hard to walk with all the stuff I had on but once on the bike, I was fairly mobile.

We went up the Wauchope road with a steady wind behind us and were quite comfortable until our turning point at Waterbeck.  From there until we got home, we were facing a really chilly north wind and I was grateful for every scrap of material that I had on.  We arrived in pretty god form and, as it was Friday, there were treacle scones to go with the coffee so all in all, it was a good ride for the first really cold pedal of the year for me.

The birds were feeling the chill too judging by some very puffed up greenfinches on the feeder.


After coffee, I went up to the town, dropping some sales money for the Archive Group off at Nancy’s on the way.  It is nearly our year end and we will have to arrange an AGM next month.  The AGM used to last two minutes but now we are a registered charity, we have to do things by the book and it takes a bit longer.   While I was on the High Street, I negotiated a good deal for bulk bird seed that will save me a trip out of town to buy it.

A robin and a brambling brought some colour to the garden when I got home.

robin and brambling

We had a pair of high wire artistes too.

blackbird and starling

The flowers are still doing their best.

Japanese Anemones and marigold

A pair of Japanese anemones and a marigold

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal once again went off to work and I had time on my hands so I packed my camera gear in the car and drove up to the Moorland Feeder Station to try the wireless gizmo out again.

Sadly, even the wireless gizmo can’t magically make the sun shine on the opposite side of the trees so I had to place the camera in the best position I could find without shooting directly into the light.  Having set it it up, I retired behind the screen and sat and waited.   Any number of tits visited the feeder that I was focussing on and the odd chaffinch too.

chaffinch and great tit

I was clicking away when a movement just in front of me caught my eye.  The powers that be were having a laugh at my expense.  A woodpecker was at a feeder right in front of me.  I snatched up sandycam which I had with me, turned it on and watched in dismay as the battery dead sign came up and the screen went black.  Still I had several entertaining minutes watching the young bird pecking away and chuckling under its breath.

I waited for about 20 minutes and finally a woodpecker appeared near my selected feeder.  I think it was unsettled by either the click of the mirror on the camera or else the focussing ray that it uses, because although it circled the feeder, in the end it went away without visiting.  It was pretty chilly in spite of the sunshine and I was beginning to think about going home when another woodpecker appeared and after doing some more circling about,  finally landed on the spot marked X.


I thought it was worth waiting for.

It flew away quite quickly and I had to make do with a perky pair of coal and great tits.

coal and great tit

It wasn’t long though until another woodpecker arrived and sat for the camera.

Woodpecker on tree

Or possibly the same one again. My woodpecker recognition skills are not great.

After an hour, I packed up because I wanted to get out into the open while the bright sun was still shining.  It has been rare this year.

I drove back to the town and paused to replenish my cheese stocks at the deli and collect a full battery for sandycam from home.  Then I drove up to the White Yett and walked up to the monument.   There was more than one photo opportunity up there.  For some I used my Nikon.

Looking back up Ewes from the track as I climbed towards the monument.

Looking back up Ewes from the track as I climbed towards the monument.

Old Langholm

The Old Town of Langholm tucked very neatly into the valley below me with the valley of the Wauchope stretching out beyond it.


To the west, the sun was reflecting brilliantly from the waters of the Solway Firth.


The view over Castle Hill and up Eskdale was magnificent.


As I walked back down from the top of the hill, I could see the farm of Terrona below me.

I used Sandycam to take a couple of panoramas of the hills.  I have had to cut them down a bit to fit the confines of the blog.  (Clicking on them will provide a bigger picture.)

Castle Hill

Looking Northwest


Looking north

I am going to have fun printing one of these out.

Dappled hills

I liked the dappled cloud and sun on the Ewes hills as I walked back down the hill.

Just before I got back to the car, I used sandycam to show the McDiarmid memorial, glowing in the low sunshine.

McDiarmid memorial

I got home just before Mrs Tootlepedal returned from work and we enjoyed a slice or two from a loaf of tasty bread which had jumped off a shelf into my bag while I was buying cheese.  I never buy bread but I was glad that I had made an exception in this case as it had a most interesting flavour.

It wasn’t long before looking out of the bedroom window I could see a portent of a chilly night and frosty morning to come.

Moon over Whita

The upright in the middle of the picture is the aerial for the emergency services communications.

I felt that I had made the best possible use of a fine day.  By the time that Alison and Mike joined us for music and conversation in the evening, a light sprinkling of snow had fallen.  We all felt that it was really much too early for snow but it has been a funny year from start to finish so who knows what to expect from now on.

A flying coal tit is Scottish bird of the day though it can’t compare with the fine Australian wagtail.

coal tit








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Today’s picture is another from one of my brother Andrew’s walks with his wife, Catherine.  It shows a set of stepping stones in the river Dove. He bravely walked across them.Dove

Dropscone was off visiting Glasgow but the day was fair and I had every opportunity to go for a pedal by myself.  I spurned all of them in view of a strong, cold northerly wind and legs that were less than perky.   Rather than do anything useful, I stared out of the window…


A very badly painted goldfinch indeed. I think this must be a youthful  product of a very late brood.

… and walked round the garden.  A loud bird cry made me look round the corner of the house.


It was a starling shouting at the world.

On my way back inside, I recorded this nasturtium growing in the near permanent shade of the house by the back door.


I took sandycam out for a sedum close up.  They are not very easy to photograph but I was quite pleased with this effort.  The tiny white specks that look like dust or pixillation are in fact the tips of the petals.


Once back in side, no sooner was breakfast finished than it seemed to be time for coffee.  Mrs Tootlepedal and I certainly live life in the fast lane.

After coffee, I went to a meeting at the Langholm Initiative regarding the Moorland Education Project’s bird feeder station.  The birds are eating so much seed there that there is a financial crisis looming and we were trying to find an answer.  Gavin proposed that we should use that fund raising standby, a raffle and that is going to go ahead.  Bird photographs may be among the prizes.  It was also suggested that local people might like to sponsor a week of bird food and to that end, if any local reader of the blog would be interested in helping the project out, please contact me, Gavin or the Langholm Initiative.  We think that £25 would be enough to get your name in lights at the site for a week.  If you think that that is too steep, find a friend and share the pain.  Dr Barlow says that she uses the site for at least 80% of her work with schoolchildren so it is a valuable resource.

On my way home, I looked down Charlotte Street.

Charlotte Street

This is not a street to rush down as there is a river between the end of the street and the trees beyond.

I came home to find my own feeders quite busy as usual..

Blue tit

I went round the garden to check on the surviving flowers and was delighted to see the yellow rose was still in business, even if it was a bit bedraggled.

yellow rose

Our frost free days are coming to an end if the forecast is to be believed so the bud behind it really is unlikely to make it.

Pink rose

Lilian Austin is surprising me more every day. This flower is nearly perfect.

Mrs Tootlepdal loves the colour of this grass and is going to plant more for next year.


Mrs Tootlepedal was busy in the garden and spent some time getting the wormery in order.

Before I went in for my lunch, I shook some sunflower seeds from the dried heads that Mrs Tootlepedal has preserved in the greenhouse and found a spare feeder to put them in.  I hung it on the plum tree and set the camera up on the tripod with the new wireless gizmo attached.  Then I went inside and tried it out.  It worked.

coal tit

A coal tit tries the home grown sunflower seeds.

I was very excited.

I took a standard picture through the window as well.   It was busy, busy, busy.

feeder action

I had a cheese toastie for my lunch, spiked a bit more of the middle lawn and then went off with Sandy to try the wireless gizmos out at the Moorland Feeders.

We set the cameras up and retired behind the willow screen.

camera set up

The cameras in place.

My camera was pointed at the woodpeckers’ favourite feeder but although a woodpecker appeared, it didn’t come to a feeder and I had to catch it at a distance with sandycam.


Even if the woodpecker wouldn’t co-operate, the camera did and I took a lot of pictures of birds from much closer than I would be able to get usually.  Here are just two of them.

tits at the Moorland feeder


I am very hopeful that the woodpecker will get used to seeing the camera and I will be able to get good close ups in time.

Sandy suffered from the birds deliberately annoying him.  When he put the camera to focus on a popular branch, the birds instantly deserted it.  When he moved it elsewhere, the birds promptly came back.  That’s life.

After a while, we packed up and drove a little further on to have a walk along the riverside.  We were surprised to find that the leaves had come off the trees in this sheltered spot before the leaves nearer the town and there was not a great to catch our eye as we walked.

Mossy wall at tarras

This mossy wall has been overtaken by time and bracken.

Once again, the fates were laughing at us and the sun came out just as we finished out walk…

Tarras valley

…and we drove home in beautiful weather.

Sandy is going away for a few day’s holiday and I hope to dazzle him with fine wireless pictures when he comes back.
In the evening, Susan drove me to Carlisle and we enjoyed another good evening’s playing.  For one reason or another, we seem to be playing well at the moment which always makes the music more enjoyable.

The perching bird of the day is a very finely drawn robin.






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