Paying the price

Today’s guest picture comes from my restless friend Bruce, who is currently sampling café life in Tallinn in Estonia.


As is customary on a Friday, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to visit the world’s greatest baby and as she takes the car for the first part of the journey, I was left to cycle up to the Moorland bird feeders where I am acting a a relief feeder filler on Fridays.   After yesterday’s pedal, the two miles up to Broomholmshiels seemed quite like hard work.

I filled the feeders and was disappointed to see nothing better than a few hungry chaffinches.  I turned to go home and my eye was caught by some movement on the hillside behind me.   A pair of birds soared into the sky.


It was two hen harriers hunting over the ground.

hen harriers

Unusually, one even came near enough to get a reasonable picture.

hen harrier

This was an unexpected treat and I would have stayed a bit longer but I had arranged to eat treacle scones with Dropscone so I had to leave.

Dropscone had pedalled round the morning run before he arrived bearing the scones and was pleased to have very nearly reached 100 miles for the week.

After he left, I had a walk round the garden.  The Shirley poppies were a magnet for insects.  Every one had a visitor…

Shirley poppy

…or two.

Shirley poppy

The Icelandic poppies were also in demand.

poppy and insect

After a period when they seemed to have gone elsewhere, blackbirds are back.


Sadly, the cycling of yesterday had been too much for my hip and I was back to feeling pretty sore so I spent some restful time making sour dough bread and checking out the sparrows auditioning for flying bird of the day….

flying sparrow

flying sparrow

…before having lunch and going off to do my stint at the Tourist Information Point.

The forecast said that the weather would be dry at two o’clock, very wet at three o’clock and dry again at four o’clock so I risked going by bicycle.  I had a visitor at two o’clock and another at four o’clock and none in between.  This was probably because the forecast was exactly right and there was a tremendous rainstorm with accompanying thunder for the intervening period.

I went down to the Kilngreen when I had locked up to see how the birds felt about the rain.   Mr Grumpy was grumpy.


But it was fine weather for the family of ducklings which are growing apace.


Just a bit further upstream, a dipper was energetically living up to its name but it paused long enough for me to get a picture.


Even further up, a grey wagtail was perched on a rock but it was too far away for a good shot so I didn’t take one.

grey wagtail

Once home, I turned my hand to making rice pudding as a treat for Mrs Tootlepedal when she got back from Edinburgh and then made macaroni cheese for my tea.  This used up some of the surplus milk that we had collected in the fridge as the result of being out cycling yesterday instead of being at home drinking tea and coffee.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and Alison and I caused some more rumbling by making several composers turn in their graves as we murdered their music.  We have had more successful nights of playing but it was very enjoyable all the same.

Just after I had posted the blog last night, we were able to watch the International Space Station trundle over Langholm as the clouds parted at exactly the right moment.  We had hoped to see it again tonight but the clouds did not co-operate.

In spite of the best efforts of the sparrows, the flying of the day is a black headed gull on the Kilngreen.


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

20 thoughts on “Paying the price

  1. The bird shots are all fantastic, but your flying bird of the day tops them all! And of course you had to mention rice pudding, one of my favorite treats, so naturally I’ll need to cook some up tomorrow! ~SueBee

  2. All your photos are great, but I especially liked the ones from the Kilngreen, as the species of birds you got are some of my favorites. I still say that Mr. Grumpy is a far better looking heron than ours on this side of the pond.

  3. So sorry the cycling has mucked up your hip again, hope the easier day has helped. It was nice to see Mr. Grumpy again and the hen harriers were a treat.

  4. Sorry the hip is playing up again. Some excellent pictures of the poppies, and also of the hen harrier among other winners.

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