A flurry of activity or The Trail of the Lonesome pine

Today’s picture shows the famous clipper Cutty Sark perched rather uncomfortably on top of a new visitor centre at Greenwich.  It was seen by my sister Mary who took advantage of a little sunshine to take a boat trip down the Thames today.

Cutty Sark

We too had a little sunshine but we had to look very carefully to see it among the frequent snow flurries.


I took one look at this and when Mrs Tootlepedal went off to work, I retired to bed again as I am feeling a bit tired at the moment.  I rose gracefully just in time to offer Sandy a cup of coffee and a biscuit.  (Mrs Tootlepedal has considerately acquired another three hundred of the little Belgian caramelised biscuits that she gave me for my birthday as the first consignment have finally disappeared.   This is the gift that keeps on having to be given.)

While we sipped and nibbled, a positive blizzard arrived and in minutes the garden was covered in a white sheet of snow.  By the time we had finished our coffee, the blizzard had passed, the birds were back on the feeder and the garden was back to its normal greenness.  The weather is very odd at the moment.  Dropscone rang me in the evening to say that only thirty miles to the west, he had been driving through snowdrifts as high as his car.

The chaffinches were in good order in spite of the conditions and obliged with a little formation flying to entertain the crowds (Sandy and me).

chaffinch formation flying

After coffee, I went to pay my bill at the corner shop and on my way home saw that the mallards were about on the dam.

Two hopeful males
The reason for their presence.

The residents further along the dam have created the charming little waterfall you can see in the picture above to provide the sound of running water to accompany their al fresco meals in the garden.

The greenfinches are not nearly so numerous now as they have been but one or two visit every day.


We still have plenty of bramblings about.

Mrs Tootlepedal arrived home from work at lunchtime and after we had eaten, she suggested a bike ride.  The snow had stopped and the wind was not too strong so I agreed and we went along the Langfauld to Potholm.  Our five and a half mile  route took us along a forest track for part of the way…

forest track

…and we were sheltered from the winds by the trees and the hill behind them.  We passed a lonesome pine but the ridges were not blue.


As you can see, there was more than a hint of blue sky about but by the time we had crossed the river and turned for home, the weather had changed yet again…

whita through light snow

…and snow had started to fall.  We felt really sorry for the tiny lambs who have just been born into these unforgiving conditions.


They can probably stand the cold as long as they don’t get wet as well but they could really do with some sun on their backs and some grass for their mothers to eat.

We got home safely as the snow didn’t amount to much in the end and I was enjoying a sit down when Sandy rang and suggested a quick trip to the Moorland bird feeders.   Always keen to shoot a woodpecker or a pheasant, I picked up a camera and got a lift from him up to the site.

The feeders were empty when we got there so we spent a moment or two filling them up and by the time we had finished, another blizzard had arrived and we were forced to sit in the car to see out the storm.  Once again, it didn’t last long and we were soon out and sitting behind the hide.   I don’t think that I have ever experienced so many days with snow falling and seen so little snow on the ground at the same time.

You wouldn’t think that it had been snowing like the clappers a few minutes earlier.

The birds didn’t take long to get back to business.

great tit


As always, there were a lot of pheasants creeping about under the feeders picking up fallen seed and I took pictures of a male and a female which I have put together here.


(A click will bring you an enlarged version of a picture.)

The pheasants are learning new tricks and after seeing a female on a perching feeder recently, we saw a male on the same feeder today, looking definitely out of scale.

pheasant on feeder.

We hadn’t put any fresh seed on that feeder and he didn’t stop long before trying to find a better place.

diving pheasant

There were the usual woodpeckers to be spotted.

A sample.

We didn’t stay long because even though the snow had stopped, it was extremely chilly sitting still.  We were able to catch a glimpse of more snowy conditions in England to our south before we left.

snowy hills

Sandy dropped me off and we ate our respective teas before meeting up again to pick up Jean and go to the Archive Centre.  For some reason we weren’t able to access our database tonight so Jean and I had a turn at taking the information off a microfiche of the newspaper and recording it for later entering into the database.  This is hard work and I should say more often than I do to the people who do it on a weekly basis how much I admire their industry.

After our work, we broke with tradition and retired to the Eskdale Hotel for our post-archiving refreshment.  It was very comfortable and quite a bit cheaper than our usual haunt.  We may be going to found a new tradition.

I  noticed during the day that several bird pictures seemed to have a vertical theme so I have combined pictures from the garden and the Moorland feeders into a little unhinged triptych.

vertical birds

A change is as good as a rest as they say.

The pheasant nearly made flying bird of the day but I thought it was more diving than flying while this chaffinch was certainly doing its best.

flying chaffinch




Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

12 thoughts on “A flurry of activity or The Trail of the Lonesome pine

  1. Very strange weather, but glad you managed a pedal nonetheless. I liked the triptych. Hope you have warmer temps soon.

  2. The Cutty Sark definitely looks odd from that angle – my OH reckons they did a much better job with the SS Great Britain, as they have used glass with a ripple effect to look like water AND the dry dock is at ground level so it looks like it is sitting in water (if you see what I mean) as you approach the ship.

    Love the ‘banner’ style photos you did and for a female bird, I have to say that the female pheasant looks stunning on your picture.

  3. Looking at your blog in an airport lounge at Singapore, the bird pictures were particularly good I thought. Glad you managed a cycle ride despite the weather.

  4. Another great set of photos. How I envy your photographic skills and your views! At the moment my bird station is visited by a few chaffinches and house sparrows, a dunnock, robin and the odd blackbird or two. Two Magpies often appear in the late afternoon and my lone Collared Dove, sadly there were two, visits daily. I did have Long Tailed Tits up to recently, I think they breed elsewhere.The blue and great tits visit in smaller numbers now, they love black sunflower seeds.

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