Ups and downs

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

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

7 thoughts on “Ups and downs

  1. The Beechy Plains and Distillery… such beautiful places. And the greenfinch is a nice shot. I’m beginning to be sorry we don’t have such picturesque landscapes where I life.

  2. I think the starling photo is quite sharp. The chaffinch recedes into the misty background in a pleasing manner, leaving the focus on a bird I never in all my life thought I would care to look at. I live and learn.

    The last of the autumn foliage is gorgeous against the evergreens and in both the Nikon and the Sandycam shots at the bridge. (That Sandycam is just right for going out and about. I covet it.)

    You will practice the way Luke does, and will master tripod, sharpshooting and for all I know scone making once you hit your stride. I will trot along behind, enjoying whatever you show us and trying not to fall in the river.

  3. Lovely, lovely fall colours. Our leaves are all but gone, so it’s a treat to take a peek at yours. I’d like to walk down the lane in your shot of the Beechy Plains.

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