Sitting doing nothing

Today’s picture, sent by my friend and neighbour Bruce,  shows a young blackbird having a splash in the bird bath in his garden.


We could all have done with a bit of a splash today as it was very warm and rather close too.  After averaging 20 miles day for the first half of the month on the bicycle, I took a much needed rest in the morning.  Meg, our Australian guest went out for a walk after breakfast and Mrs Tootlepedal went off to work.  Sandy came round for coffee and we chose a picture of the area to print out and give to Meg as a parting gift.

Then I took Meg’s bag up to the town and saw it and her both safely onto the bus back north.  It was very kind of her to take the trouble to visit us and we hope her granddaughter’s wedding goes smoothly.

I didn’t have long after the bus left to get organised but I managed to mow the middle lawn and take a picture of a new clematis, hidden behind a bush…


…and another new flower just out…

Stachys Lanata or lamb's Ear
Stachys Lanata or lamb’s Ear

… before going off to do my stint in the tourist information point.  Even on such a lovely day, no tourist required any information but I was entertained by locals popping in for a chat.

As I shut up, Sandy appeared by prior arrangement and we went off in the hope of seeing a hen harrier or two.  We parked the car in a convenient spot on the moor, got out the chairs, set up the equipment and looked for hen harriers.  We sat for the best part of an hour and  we saw plenty of bog cotton, both in the distance…..

bog cotton

…and near at hand….

bog cotton
There was a nice cooling breeze on the hill.

…we saw wild flowers….

moorland flowers

…and even a cyclist with a trailer….

cyclist with trailer

…but we didn’t see any hen harriers.  I couldn’t stay too long as I was due to cook the tea with Mrs Tootlepedal being at work so we folded up the chairs, packed up the scope and put the camera away and Sandy turned round and said, “There’s one.”

And so there was.

hen harrier

An adult female came over the hill.  It dropped to the ground and we thought that that might be the end of it but a few moments later, she lifted off into the sky and gave us a splendid flying display.

harrier flying

She even hovered for a moment and then plunged to the ground and came up with prey in her claw.  She settled down to eat and my camera couldn’t pick her out from the background so I had to wait until she took off with some food still in her claw.

harrier flying

She obliged with some more aerial display and  took some time out to send three ravens packing…

One of the ravens.

…and after a while, she sank back over the hill top.  Our wait had been worthwhile.  My photographs are the best I can take until the birds take it into their heads to fly much closer to us or someone builds a useful hide nearer the nest site as I cannot afford the £15,000 for a lens big enough to get a better shot.  The harrier nest is a protected site and I cannot creep any nearer to it than the road.  Still, even if the photos aren’t great, it is a pleasure to watch these birds in the air as they are very graceful fliers.  Once again, I was grateful for Sandy’s sharp eyes.

Once home, I checked on the mildewed rose…

Getting better every day.

..and went into cook tea.

After tea, I set off for Carlisle with Susan to play with our recorder group.  It was still pretty warm and our concentration wasn’t as great as it might have been but, as always, we had a good time.

I didn’t have time to catch a flying bird in the garden today so a distant harrier will have to do.

hen harrier

Note: I have found a lot of genuine comments parked by WordPress in the spam bucket.  This is a new departure and I apologise to those affected.  Your comments should have appeared now.  I will check more often in future.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

16 thoughts on “Sitting doing nothing

  1. I would say that your photos of the harrier are very good given their style of flight and the distance away from you they were.I too love watching them in flight, as they are very acrobatic for a bird of their size.

  2. My mother has rung me twice now about meeting you and Mrs Tootlepedal. Thanks so much for looking after her – as you can imagine, I am envious not to meet you in person.

  3. The photos ARE great and I’m glad I finally got caught up to them. That;s quite a bit of detail you managed with the harrier. And thanks for including the Raven, a bird I rarely see. I know what you mean about those huge expensive lenses but my thought is even if I could afford one, I’d also have to be able to afford someone to carry it for me!

  4. You were lucky with the harrier. Usually, when I’m waiting for something to photograph it waits until I’ve out my camera away and walked off before putting in an appearance 🙂 great photos

  5. Great hawk shots. So glad it was obliging.
    I have never seen the cotton stuff before. Interesting. I made another comment as I looked through, writing it as I thought of it, but when I got to the bottom it had disappeared even without posting. WP is getting really sneaky!

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