Cold nose

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








Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

18 thoughts on “Cold nose

  1. Oh dear, snow already. I’m due in Dumfries and Galloway next month and hope for a little sunshine, doesn’t have to be warm though. Perhaps the Woodpeckers will get used to your gizmo but so far the shots are super. The Australian Wagtail is a fine and fat specimen!

  2. What, snow before we have even had a flake! In fact it was a balmy 21c here today but it isn’t ‘ going to last. There is a mammoth storm heading up in our direction and we might need an ark by the middle of next week.
    Beautiful views in the blog today

    1. I hope the storm take a little wrinkle in its path and passes you by.

      I’m thinking of sending the view pictures to the D&G tourist board and asking them if they didn’t think it might be worth giving this lovely area a little boost in their publicity instead of ignoring it entirely. It looks quite inviting to me.

  3. It never gets that cold here of course so it is difficult for me to imagine. That woodpecker is spectacular. We have dozens of willy wagtails here. They dive bomb me if I go near any of their nests but I love their call.

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