Today’s picture shows that spring has come to the Lodge Walks at last.
Once again, Dropscone and I were on the early shift and we were back from going round the morning run in beautiful sunshine before we would normally have started. We are considering making the early start a more regular occurrence as it leaves the rest of the day free. However we won’t always be able to guarantee lovely sunshine and the prospect of getting up early to go out in the rain is not so attractive.
The wind was both stronger and from a more awkward direction today and I was determined not to go too fast after finding yesterday’s run made me more tired than was worthwhile. As a result, Dropscone had to wait for me a lot and we took eight minutes longer. Still, the traditional Friday treacle scones were a great consolation to me.
The early pedal left me with plenty of time to wander round the garden. Mrs Tootlepedal’s experience with wallflowers in recent years has been disappointing as the alterations in our weather patterns don’t seem to suit them at all but she has got one or two doing their best.
Different tulips keep appearing.
And some red ones were looking very perky in the good morning light.
The morning sun set off a flowering currant and a dicentra well.
Mrs Tootlepedal went off to the Co-op to sell raffle tickets with our neighbour Liz lending a hand and as the day was still quite fine, I got out the belt bike and pedalled up the Lodge Walks (looking very springlike as you can see from the picture at the top of the post) on a nuthatch hunt. The results were quite pleasing. I saw two birds at their nesting hole during my first stop….
I take this to be one partner bringing food for the other who is sitting on the nest.
After I had waited some time in vain for another visit, I set off to a second site. Once again, I saw a nuthatch. This time it was a solo appearance – first just a glimpse of a bird high in the tree, then a flash as it flitted down towards the nest and finally a blur as it squeezed through the narrow entrance.
Once again, I waited in vain for a re-appearance and in the end I got back on the bike and pedalled down to the Kilngreen. I was hoping to see a dipper but I was entertained by a wagtail instead.
After making sure that I had got a good shot, it flitted about from rock to rock.
Meanwhile, I was able to keep an eye out for a passing swallow whizzing by….
…and the inevitable black headed gull cruising along.
Flying birds on all sides.
Compared with my usual bird watching outings, it was quite a productive morning.
When I got a home, a goldfinch put on a flawless flying display for me…
…and a siskin gestured to the nearly empty feeder in a pointed way and I hurriedly filled it up again.
I had a little rest in the afternoon until I was summoned out into the garden by Mrs Tootlepedal.
Warning: You are entering a heavy handed humour zone.
We have frequently been visited by the sparrow hawk in pursuit of sparrows but today we had a chicken hawk on the prowl and we suffered the loss of a treasured cockerel. Here it is on the right behind the tulips in a recent photograph.
And here is the scene after the depredations of the chicken hawk.
And here is a rare shot of the chicken hawk at work.
You are now leaving the heavy handed humour zone.
Mrs Tootlepedal had hoped to transplant the topiary bird but the effort required to get it out of the ground was enormous and the prospect of replanting it was daunting so she has now decided to start again with a new plant. The removal of the topiary is intended to improve the view of the plants along the new back fence.
The great hole left by all this work needed some manure so we had a quick trip to the manure mountain to get fresh stocks.
Then I caught up with some neglected correspondence and did some professional grade resting after the excitements of the day.
In the evening, we were roused by the sound of the big drum. The pipe and the town bands were out leading the townsfolk to the Buccleuch Centre for the election of a young man to be cornet who will to carry the town’s standard on Common Riding Day.
After the raucous music of pipes and brass outdoors, the evening took a more genteel turn when Alison and Mike arrived and Alison and I played some indoor music for flute or recorder and keyboard. In spite of quite a long gap since we last played (because Mike and Alison have been visiting Maisie in New Zealand) we were able to get through some pieces in a satisfactory way.
In a day of many possible choices, the wagtail got the nod as the flying bird of the day.