A song and a smile

Today’s guest picture shows seasonal fun in Leicester Square, London.  It was enjoyed by my sister Mary.


It was a much better day today with a lot of sunshine and less tooth trouble.  On the down side it was only just above freezing and actually getting colder as the sun came up so Dropscone and I settled for an unearned coffee and scone session.

A picture of the feeder taken at ten o’clock against the background of a frosty lawn gives an idea of the chilly nature of the morning.

chilly chaffinch

By the time we had finished coffee, things were a bit brighter and a robin  appeared as if on cue.


The feeder was kept steadily busy and I liked the chaffinch on the top left in the picture below who didn’t let the absence of a perch deter it from getting well stuck in.

headless chaffinch

Further out from the house, the sunshine lit the fat ball feeder and attracted a jackdaw.


Starlings are notorious for being able to copy sounds of other birds and things they hear about the garden.   A weird collection of clicks, whistles and buzzes directed my attention to this one.


The sun finally reached the sunflower heart feeder at midday and a blue tit took advantage of a lull in the chaffinch storm to pick up a seed and make off again.

blue tit

For some reason, the goldfinches like to perch on the very top twigs of the plum tree when it is sunny and it was no different today.


Between doing the crossword and eating scones with Dropscone, I had an unproductive but enjoyable morning and I was just thinking of going for a walk when Sandy rang up.  He hadn’t had his lunch so I delayed going out until he arrived.  In the interim an ominous bank of clouds appeared out a blue sky and I could even see a rainbow to the north of the town.  I feared that once again our magical ability to make it rain was going to be in evidence.  However, in response to my cheery mood, the clouds took the hint and pushed off and  Sandy and I had a sunny outing.

We went up to the Moorland bird feeders first where a small flock of greenfinches put on a display of bad temper combined with aerial acrobatics.




You will notice that just as in human life, there is always one on the sidelines egging the other two on.

There was a visit from a woodpecker to enjoy.


And a coal tit visited my little pile of seed on a pole for a quick takeaway.

coal tit

As you can see from the many rings on display, a lot of these birds are regular visitors to the Moorland feeders.

It was pretty chilly sitting around and the sun was sinking all the time so we didn’t stay too long and soon drove on down to the banks of the Esk beside Hollows Tower.   The tower was looking very fine in the low sunlight and I took many excellent pictures with my big camera which I am sure you would have admired immensely if I hadn’t managed, in a moment of madness, to delete them all from the camera card before I got them onto the computer.

Luckily, I had Pocketcam with me so at least I have a record of our visit.

Hollows Tower
The tower on the banks of the Esk
Hollows Tower
The tower and the holiday cottage beside it.

As we walked back along the riverside, we were impressed by the amount of ivy clothing one of the river bank trees.

Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that this is very mature ivy.

With a glance back at a fine single tree….

tree at Hollows

…we got in the car and drove home for a nice cup of tea and a biscuit.

We are only two weeks and a bit off the shortest day now and although we don’t have anything like the months long night of the northern countries, the days seem to be over almost before they have started.  I see from the BBC’s weather page that we got seven and a half hours of daylight today but it seemed much less.

In the dark of the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went off to our choir.  We have three performances to give over the next three weeks, starting on Saturday with a guest appearance with the Langholm Town Band at their Christmas concert.  The band secretary told me that apart from the sheer pleasure in hearing us sing, the invitation was based on a hope that we might add a few more people to the concert audience with our presence…..so if any local reader is likely to be kicking their heels at home on Saturday night, come and give us some support instead and hear the band too.  Tickets are very reasonably priced.

The choir practice went pretty well, considering that our conductor Sean has only just come out of hospital after a hernia operation and was far from well.  I took on a bit more conducting than usual as a result and thoroughly enjoyed myself.  Bearing in mind that we are a choir that takes all comers without auditions, there are moments when we sound really good and I wish that I had had an opportunity like this years ago as it turns out that I like singing.  Whether the people sitting near me enjoy it as much is quite another question.  Mrs Tootlepedal and the sopranos were in great voice tonight,  giving the full treatment to the descants in the carols.

For the flying bird of the day, I caught another chaffinch in the air just before it landed.




Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

22 thoughts on “A song and a smile

  1. Your bird photography hit a new high today, I loved the robin and the goldfinch. The walk along the river was enjoyable to follow too. Glad your tooth has calmed down. Good luck with all those concerts, I would come like a shot if I lived nearer.

  2. A friend went to the Galapagos. Took many carefully composed photos. For some she even lay down on the ground to get the best angle of wildlife. Then she accidentally deleted them from the memory card. You can imagine the woe.

  3. Splendid starling picture, and I always enjoy seeing a robin. Glad the tooth trouble is better than it was and that the sun came out. Great that you are enjoying the choir so much.

  4. ¡Magníficas fotos! El pájaro carpintero es mi favorito.

    Great photos! The woodpecker is my favorite.

  5. Brilliant photos. Loved the Starling caught in mid warble and the Goldfinch and Robin and really, all of the photos. It is a very warm day here in Albany WA today and we are sheltering inside out of the midday sun 😀

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