Today’s picture is another from Bruce’s recent visit to the Isle of Arran.
We had another lovely shirtsleeve day today. I didn’t cycle as I had tasks to do including taking the car to the garage to see if they could see what was keeping one of the doors permanently locked. They could but they can’t fix it until Friday at least so I took the car back again.
The lack of cycling gave me plenty of time to try out the new lens. The very good light helps but it is giving me the sort of shots that I hoped it would. (As always, clicking on a picture will give you a larger version.)
I didn’t neglect the kit lens and took that round the flower beds.
The little pompom azalea is good fun.
The flower on the right is the first of this year’s philadelphus to arrive.
The first foxglove gets solo billing.
I like the aquilegias which are still putting on a fine show.
Mrs Tootlepedal sometimes glances round the garden on these beautiful sunlit days, looks at the abundance of flowers and says gloomily, “It’ll all be over soon.” I think that there’s quite a bit more to come.
The strawberry crop is well protected now and looking good. I think that cream will have to be purchased quite shortly if the sun stays out.
Mrs Tootlepedal felt that we were losing the battle with the gooseberry sawflies and has resorted to chemical warfare to good effect. The invaders are gone and a reasonable crop of gooseberries is in the offing.
One of the competitions in the forthcoming camera club season is simply titled ‘Blue’ so I am looking for blue subjects. This might be an entry.
I went to check on the photo exhibition and found that all was being well looked after. We haven’t been flooded with visitors yet so if you are a local reader, don’t delay. Come and see what’s on offer.
Sandy was the afternoon curator and I had a chat with him and then pedalled off up to the Moorland feeders. He had filled the feeders earlier in the day so I knew that there would be a good numbers of birds about. I settled down behind the screen with the new lens and teleconverter in place. I was warming up on some near at hand birds…
…when a flash of colour caught my eye. A jay had dived into the grass under one of the feeders. They are shy birds and I thought that that would be the last that I would see of it before it flashed off again. I was to be surprised.
I have never seen a jay do this before. It didn’t stop long and glided off into the trees.
It was soon replaced by the usual crowd of woodpeckers.
The woodpeckers were bickering a bit among themselves when suddenly the jay reappeared and drove one of them off the feeder.
This was far too exciting for me so I paused for a moment to take a poor picture of a passing reed bunting…
…and went down to pick up the car and see how Sandy was getting on. We agreed to go on a hen harrier hunting expedition when the gallery closed and we were soon in place up on the moor. It would be hard to find a more peaceful and pleasant occupation than sitting up on Langholm Moor in a camping chair in weather that was exactly at the right temperature. We were just beginning to wonder if we would see any harriers when Cat drove past and assured us that they were feeding their young more or less every hour. She went on her way and we sat on in more confident mood.
Sandy’s sharp eyes soon spotted a harrier but it was too far away even for the new lens to be any good. In fact I think the first picture of the four below is a buzzard and not a hen harrier at all. The other three are definitely of a harrier. Sandy spotted a food pass but it was over before I could catch it. I put the pictures in just as a record that we went to see hen harriers and we saw them.
I had a choir practice to go to so we couldn’t wait for the next feeding session and we drove home in a very contented mood. Sandy went off to spend some more time at the Moorland feeders and I had tea and went off to the singing practice with Mrs Tootlepedal. We have got the programme for our concerts next weekend finalised and remarkably, I think that it is going to be the shortest choir concert in history. This, I may say, is a very good thing indeed. Public reaction to our four songs at the Neil Armstrong event last week seems to have been one of pleasant surprise. This is encouraging.
The flying bird of the day is a redpoll just checking to see of the camera is on him.