Today’s picture is another from my brother’s recent visit to MadameTussauds. Here my sister-in-law’s nephew has an audience of a sort. He might have taken his hands out of his pocket.
It was freezing hard and the sun was out when we woke up. Dropscone was away on family business again and I had an appointment with a bird. Cat Barlow was ringing birds up at the Moorland Feeder Station and had kindly invited me up for a photo opportunity. It was decidedly chilly when I got there but I was well wrapped up and I had a flask of coffee to help me keep warm. Cat does all the delicate work of getting the birds out of the nets, weighing and measuring them and checking their ages with no gloves on at all. After three hours I would be crying but she manages without any complaints at all (except when savage blue tits peck her).
Bird ringing is one of the few outdoor activities where sun is not very welcome.
Fortunately not all birds have a great deal of sense and a steady stream managed to bump into the nets, however visible they were..
Here Daniel, who made the bench for us elderly bird watchers, watches Cat at work at the net. Talking of stupid birds, one coal tit managed to get caught three times in two hours in the same net. A visit to the optician may be needed.
There was a wonderful light on the surrounding hillsides and in the gaps while we were waiting for more birds to arrive, we could admire the views.
Once again to our south the Solway was wreathed in mist.
After a slow start with nothing but coal tits and chaffinches, a better class of bird started to arrive in all colours of the rainbow.
These were enough of a treat but we also caught a glimpse of a nuthatch in a tree nearby…
…and luckily for me, it was not one of the brighter birds. It turned out to have been ringed before. This was the icing on the cake.
And another shot of the nuthatch because I like them so much.
These are undoubtedly the sharpest bird pictures that I have ever taken and the credit for that goes to the brilliant sandycam (Fujifilm X10) in macro mode.
While Cat was taking birds out of the nets, other more savvy birds were nonchalantly nibbling away on feeders that were not more than five yards away.
Talking of cold blood, I had to give up after a couple of hours or so because I was beginning to feel the chill. This was the ice in a puddle beside the car.
When I got home, the plum tree was as busy as usual but the difference between the birds in the bush and the birds in the hand is clear to see from a photographic point of view.
Here are some our garden birds in a bush as it were.
I did manage to catch a brambling in flight.
Mrs Tootlepedal went off to work after lunch having made a start on the final painting job on the kitchen. I was tempted by the sunny weather to go for a walk in the afternoon but good sense broke out and I gave my weary legs a rest and found something to do indoors. I have had a good run of exercise since December began and I didn’t want to spoil it by doing too much and having to lay off for some days to recover.
In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went to the choir. I was expecting to sing for the first half and conduct for the second but our musical director turned up only to say that he was going away again so I didn’t get to do any warbling. To my dismay he also told us that the pianist wasn’t coming either and as a result, we had an unscheduled evening of unaccompanied singing with an occasional one finger piano support for parts in difficulty. The choir took to it very well and we enjoyed ourselves. Always wanting to be seasonally appropriate, we finished with a rendering of All in the April Evening.
During the day, I had to cut some more stamens off Mrs Tootlepedal’s birthday lilies but I took a quick snap before I snipped.
You can see that I was onto elliptical cropping today. On the opposite windowsill some more birthday flowers were giving the lilies stiff competition.
It’s a poor thing compared with a hand held bird but here’s a flying chaffinch of the day.