The first and probably the last day of summer.

Today’s picture shows a sunlit Ewes valley.

Ewes May 2013

The day was like this from the very start.  Dropscone told me later that he had done 25 miles on the bike before breakfast.  I had a blood test so I couldn’t start out until that had been done.  At about ten o’clock, I went round the morning run, starting very cautiously until my knees had got well warmed up but going quite hard after that.  With the sun on my back and no wind for once, I was able to get round in my fastest time of the year and at the end of it, the knees seemed to be a bit better for the exercise.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy in the garden when I returned and the rise in temperatures has made a difference, particularly to the tulips.  I have taken too many tulip pictures today because with strong winds and rain forecast for the end of the week, this may be the only chance to see them at their best.


red tulip close up

They come in various shapes and colours.


Mrs Tootlepedal particularly likes this dark variety.

dark tulip

They come in big clumps….


…and single spies.

red and yellow tulip

The birds look less colourful than usual when set against the bright flowers but they are still fun to watch.

A perching siskin just for my sister Susan who likes to see birds in the tree.
determined goldfinch
A determined goldfinch sees off a ringed siskin.
chaffinch and goldfinch
A chaffinch shows that good weather doesn’t bring good manners.

The chaffinch in this picture was one of the few about today.  The chaffinches have become quite thin on the ground.  Perhaps they are all off nesting or maybe the gangs of siskins and redpolls have driven them away.

The new ground crew.

There are other flowers in the garden but they are not so obvious as the tulips.  Here is a fritillary.


And I was pleased to  be able to catch a white drumstick primula on such a sunny day.

drumstick primula

After lunch, when I had recovered from the efforts of pedalling and Mrs Tootlepedal had gone off to work, I went in search of a nuthatch again. I was given one brief glimpse…


…but that was all.  I pedalled back home again looking about as I went.

rugby perspective
A lesson in perspective on the rugby pitch.
leafy tree
More leaf progress
A shiny mallard

I had an excellent Pelosi’s ice cream on the Kilngreen where the van was doing good business.

When I got home I had another wander round the garden and added a dogs-tooth violet to my collection.

dog'stooth violet

It was such a nice day hat I thought that I would see of I could spot a harrier on the moor.  Other people had had the same thought.

harrier watchers

I stood and listened to the larks singing their hearts out.  I saw a buzzard being dive bombed by a what was probably a merlin.


And this bird resting on the wind coming up over the ridge was probably a hen harrier….

hen harrier
It was quite far away.

In the end I looked for bigger targets…

Tinnis Hill
No green showing up here yet.

…and went home.

In the evening, Susan drove me to Carlisle and we enjoyed another entertaining evening of recorder playing with our group.  It was nice to drive home with still a trace of light in the sky.

It was actually warm today for the first time this year.  People were walking around in shock.  I hope we get a few more like it in the summer.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch.


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

17 thoughts on “The first and probably the last day of summer.

  1. Pretty posture on the nuthatch. The fritillary and the drumstick primula were also especially pretty. Glad you got several pretty days to get out and cycle as well as cutting the lawn.

  2. Glad to hear you managed a pedal and hope there are no ill-effects. Well done for capturing the nuthatch so expertly.

  3. All the chaffinches are up here with us, we have loads today. Not yet seen a redpoll in our garden though, send some up to us would you?

  4. Beautiful post. The weather is certainly changeable everywhere, apparently, it’s hard to tell what season we are in. Luckily the plants and birds are keeping track. Wonderful pictures, thanks so much!

  5. Very envious of your bird photos. I have a total inability to capture birds on film. Glad you had some sun 🙂

      1. Most of mine are taken with the iPhone believe it or not. Works brilliantly with flowers and views but not so much with birds. I actually get better pictures than with my fancy camera, possibly because you can just point and click click click then choose the best one later. Even my son, who is an ex photography student has to admit it is a great little camera and, being rather elderly and not in the least technical it is just right for his mum.

  6. Tom, I love the composition of your “one brief glimpse” of nuthatch. Not so colorful as the other photographs in your series today, but oh so graceful!

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