A little bit extra

Today’s picture from my brother Andrew shows an impressive glacier at the Homer Tunnel in New Zealand’s South Island which he visited a couple of weeks ago..

The Glacier at the Homer Tunnel

Although we had to get up an hour earlier because of the clock change, it was brilliantly sunny so we noticed no difference in the light.  The birds enjoyed the early morning sun as well.

siskins and chaffinch
Two siskins and a chaffinch improving their tans.
Two chaffinches
Two male chaffinches

The bright sun couldn’t make up for the fact that it was below zero though and while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir, I retired back to bed until the day warmed up enough to cycle.

I felt that I needed to have a pedal because my spreadsheet told me that I still had twenty miles to go to get to the 300 miles for the month which is my minimum target.  I was a bit surprised because I thought that I had already reached the target but a computer cannot lie, especially when it is a spreadsheet.  By 11 o’clock the temperature had reached 3° and I put on as many layers as I could and set out to pedal round the morning run.  The east wind had sunk a bit to the south and I reckoned this was the most wind friendly ride that I could find.

The council have been busy filling in many of the potholes on the route and the worst bit of road has been resurfaced.  This, added to the dry weather, made the roads quite agreeable to cycle along and I enjoyed myself although my legs complained every time I hit a bit of steep uphill.

When I revisited my spreadsheet to add the mileage to it, I discovered that I had failed to change the number of days that it was adding up from the 28 in February to the 31 in March and that I had already exceeded the 300 miles before I set out today.  Garbage in, garbage out as they say of computers.  I didn’t regret going for the ride though and if my legs had felt better, the conditions would have been pleasant enough for a longer trip.

While I had been out, Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy in the gardening fulfilling a long felt need to tidy up a border outside the kitchen window.

Gardener's tools

She was pleased to have done something that had been on her mind for some time.  I admired the work and the hordes of birds which descended on the feeder as soon she had come inside.


brambling mania

mixed bag of birds

mixed bag of birds

This was a fairly typical scene as long as there was any seed in the feeder.   The seed goes down at an alarming rate and if we don’t get some warmer weather to encourage growth in the fields, trees and hedges, I will have to win the lottery.

I was very pleased to see a rare visitor to the garden.


This is the first thrush that I have photographed in the garden since I started three years ago.  I am not saying that there hasn’t been a thrush in the garden in that time because they are fairly common round here but this is certainly the first one that has come to the feeders while I have been watching them.


It came under the feeder and picked up a little food but didn’t linger.

There was a very puffed up chaffinch there too.

It always amazes me when they actually fly off.

After lunch, I went into the garden to sieve some more compost.  I have nearly emptied one of our compost bays and this will give me the chance to turn the other two bays.  I did a moderate amount of sieving and then went and spiked a bit more of the front lawn.  This is nearly finished too but will need top dressing.

I rationed myself to a short period of gardening as last time out, I did too much and had to take more time than I wanted to recover.

I did take the opportunity to look at the crocuses which were making a good show in the sunshine.



They come in various shades of blue.

Mrs Tootlepedal purchased and planted out  50 winter aconites and they have taken well.

winter aconites

We can only hope that some at least will come up next year as they are hard to establish.

I spent the rest of the afternoon making bread in the bread maker (preparation time: 2 minutes, cooking time 2 hours) and some tea cakes by traditional methods (preparation time: three hours, cooking time 13 minutes).    You can see why I usually use the bread maker.  It makes very nice bread too.

We were visited by a stately wood pigeon in the late afternoon.

wood pigeon

I took several flying birds during the day.

flying chaffinch

Photographic note: I took this at f8 which gives a bit more depth to the picture but didn’t let me get it as sharp as I would like.


This one was at f6.3

The flying bird of the day though was a chaffinch showing that it can get a seed from the feeder without stopping at all.

flying chaffinch with seed



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

21 thoughts on “A little bit extra

  1. Glad to see you’ve had a bit of sun – we’ve had snow this evening hence the indoor shots 🙂

  2. Wonderful colours in the garden, splendid thrush and the final flying bird a real show stopper. Glad you exceeded your cycling milage for the month even if your legs did complain, well done!

  3. The last picture is like a beautiful work of art. The sharp tail feathers against blurred green purple background. Blow it up, frame and hang it on the wall! Happy Easter ending!

  4. Splendid photographs as always, both birds and flowers. I particularly liked the very smart thrush and the chaffinch pretending to be a robin. Well done for bicycling in such cold weather.

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