Getting a hiding

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.

Mt TaranakiOur 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…

great tit…and we came home.

The garden was more rewarding.

My favourite Fuchsia is going great guns.
The garden is full of insects
The garden is full of insects.  Every flower seems to have a friend.
The good weather is getting the butterflies to settle a bit instead of endlessly flitting about.
peacock butterfly
This peacock butterfly has lost a chunk of its lower right wing.
peacock butterfly
And this one has lost the tip of its left wing.

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….

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.

blue tits
Blue tits
coal tits
Coal tits

And yes…..


I was using my 200mm zoom lens which shows how close the hide is to the feeders.

blue titMel has a bird table with bread and coconuts as well as the seed feeder and this attracted a passing robin.

robinI put my 2x teleconverter onto the 200mm zoom to try to get a more intimate portrait of a nuthatch.

nuthatchThey are beautiful birds.

Being in the country and surrounded by fields, Mel has more to see than just birds….

black rabbit
I hope it is lucky to have my path crossed by a black rabbit

…though not everything that passed by was peaceful.

A tree hopping Hercules military transport plane.

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.

peacock butterfly
A peacock butterfly with a full set of wings.
Red admiral butterfly
A red admiral butterfly with an attendant bee
astrantia with insect
A bug eyed monster enjoying a feed on an astrantia

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.

flying nuthatch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

44 thoughts on “Getting a hiding

  1. ‘Look Ma, no hands’ Hahaha.

    The nuthatch looks like a common bird here called “benteveo” perhaps belong to the same family.

  2. I’ve never seen a black rabbit before either! Interesting that you saw a Hercules today – so did I, from my perch on the ladder while painting the second storey. I doubt it was the same one though!

  3. What kind of Robin is that? Experian different from the one we have here in North America. Also, love that black bunny. Never seen one before.

  4. I meant “looks” different. Not “experience.” That’s what happens when I use Siri to talk into my iPad. heh.

  5. C’mon Scotland! Feel very emotional this morning at the opportunity the country has for peaceful democratic change, especially, as you say, in the face of a barrage of relentless ‘no’ campaigning from the media and the establishment. I understand that’s why the latter ARE the establishment of course, but hoped for better from the former. Whatever the result I hope the electorate, in Scotland (and the rest of the UK), remember the feeling of having politicians grovel, panic and attempt to bribe them and realise that a vote can be a powerful thing.

    Nice photos too, I love the black rabbit.

    1. The sight of London politicians having to come to Scotland and eat their words in public has been very entertaining. It would have been even more entertaining if they had shown even a scintilla of shame about the whole charade. Their impertinence is impermeable.

  6. Thank you for using that guest picture, it made me go all misty eyed. You show a splendid stream of birds from the hide in your friend’s garden and I, like you, am very fond of fuchsias which I have learnt to spell at last. I await tomorrow’s result with some trepidation.

  7. Aren’t macro lenses fun to play with? The flowers and butterflies are beautiful, but my favorite is the bug eyed monster, because with a macro lens, we can see what the naked eye can’t. I’ve never seen a black rabbit before, so that was pretty cool too.

    I hope that the vote goes your way tomorrow, and that Dropscone gets his money back from the puncture proof tires that aren’t puncture proof.

    1. He found a small thorn embedded in the tyre. Riding past recently cut hawthorn hedges is a challenge for any tyre.

      Macro lenses are fun just as you say. I have seen things that I never imagined.

  8. I write as part Scottish and a strong supporter of Labour. Referendum “Yes”: are you sure? We have just commemorated the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I. The referendum has eclipsed commemoration of the 70th anniversary of World War II’s operation Market Garden. These events and sacrifices were to counter nationalism. National identity is laudable but possible disaggregation of the UK has already encouraged others to clamour for regionalism. At a time when dark forces elsewhere call for greater unity to repel their appalling aims. The 1707 Act of Union was supposed to be for ever. How will Scotland fund itself not for 20 or 30 years but for centuries? If I am to be condemned to a permanent Tory government how am I supposed to view the 2 million or so Scots who vote for Yes and so cede what 64 million others currently possess – never mind the resentment that will be set in Scotland?

    1. Todays referendum is only the answer to the 300 years of contemptuousness, abasement and utilisation of the north as just another colony of England.
      I surely do hope, Scotland will come to a decision that will guarantee its further welfare and self-determination.

  9. Such pleasantly filled days you have, Tom. If I didn’t know about grass being greener on the blindside of another person’s hedge, I might be quite jealous. As always, though, life is all about how you live it. I hope life continues to blossom for you and your dearest.

    1. You are most kind Mike. My days are indeed generally pleasantly filled not least by looking at your ever interesting photographs. Your grass looks pretty green too.

  10. Love the little birds and I’d like to think that it is super lucky to have your path crossed by a black rabbit. Maybe it’s an omen for the yes and no vote but which one? Happy days to you and yours 🙂

  11. I have completely run out of sensible superlatives to use after looking at your photos and I fear you might just get “the big head” if I continue to blather on continually about how wonderful they are so today I will simply say – SUPERB! 🙂 Glad you had an enjoyable couple of hours in the bird blind. You are definitely going to have some winners for the next photo contest you enter!

    Here in our humble abode we have been anxiously awaiting the results of your referendum. Mark and I have taken quite an interest in it. I always find it interesting, all the dire predictions that take wing during these kinds of times, most of which never materialize. (Thinking Greece, here. Wasn’t it just a couple of years ago that the world was going to fall apart because they were broke? And yet life has gone on.) Best wishes for you and your country.

    1. We are told that the financial markets require stability and that was why we should vote No. I might have been more inclined to pay some attention to the wishes of the financial markets if they were able to bring themselves to provide a little stability for everyone else.

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