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.
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.
We had a pair of high wire artistes too.
The flowers are still doing their best.
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.
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.
It flew away quite quickly and I had to make do with a perky pair of coal and great tits.
It wasn’t long though until another woodpecker arrived and sat for the camera.
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.
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.)
I am going to have fun printing one of these out.
Just before I got back to the car, I used sandycam to show the McDiarmid memorial, glowing in the low sunshine.
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.
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.