Today’s guest picture was taken by my brother on his recent skiing trip. It was sent to me by my sister Susan because it shows Mt Taranki in NZ under whose imposing slopes she lived for several years.
Our unusual spell of dry September weather (the driest for fifty years they say) continued today and Dropscone and I set out on the morning pedal to Gair in good heart. This serene sentiment lasted for seven miles until Dropscone drew to a halt with his second puncture in three days. The MTRS was called out and he turned to trudge back up the hill while I continued for the rest the ride.
When we met for coffee and scones, he revealed that the day between the two punctures had been spent playing golf as badly as he has ever played so it has not been a good start to the week for him. The punctures are a bit of a puzzle as he recently bought some supposedly puncture proof tyres. Still, things can only get better.
I am currently the Wednesday volunteer for refilling the Moorland Project bird feeders so after a shower, I drove up to Broomholmshiels, accompanied by Mrs Tootlepedal who was hoping to do some constructive raptor watching while we were there.
We filled the feeders but there was a marked absence of interesting birds of any sort to watch. I snapped a great tit just for the sake of it…
The garden was more rewarding.
While I was getting my lunch ready, I got a phone call from fellow camera club member Mel inviting me to come up and see her new hide which she has set up to photographs birds at her feeders. She lives just out of town and promised me a steady supply of nuthatches.
This sounded exciting so I had my lunch, cycled up to her house, greeted Maggie….
…and settled down on a stool in her shelter. This was an economically priced shell shaped wind breaker with a modest camouflage netting draped over the front. Mel assured me that the birds would not be put off by it and she was quite right. There was a steady stream of visitors to her feeders.
I was using my 200mm zoom lens which shows how close the hide is to the feeders.
Being in the country and surrounded by fields, Mel has more to see than just birds….
…though not everything that passed by was peaceful.
I spent a happy couple of hours watching birds, roaming around the grounds and being entertained to cups of tea and slices of two sorts of cake. Mel has extended an invitation to me to go up again and I will certainly take this up. It is surprising to find how different the visitors to feeders are in the middle of the town and in the country only a mile or so away.
When I got home, the bee and butterfly population in the garden again attracted my camera lens.
After tea, we went off to a practice for Langholm Sings, our community choir. We are singing three songs in the middle of a concert in the church on Friday and we have not had enough time to practice new material so we polished up two old friends and are doing our best with the Chorus of Hebrew Slaves from Nabucco for the third item.
It is the date of the referendum for Scottish independence tomorrow so depending on the result, this chorus may have special resonance when we sing it on Friday.
The result seems finely balanced according to the pollsters and considering that every national UK newspaper and all their Scottish editions have been campaigning for a no vote and only one Scottish newspaper, a Sunday heavy, has come out for the Yes side, it is a remarkable tribute to the Yes campaign that things are so exciting. I personally will be voting yes as I think this might be a real opportunity to escape from a moribund political system for something better.
One of Mel’s nuthatches doing a ‘Look Ma, no hands’ routine is flying bird of the day.