A worthwhile excursion

Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my much travelled friend Bruce.  No prizes for guessing where he was today.

GibraltarDropscone and I set out on a somewhat less glamorous journey than Bruce.  We were on our bicycles on the way to Gair and back after breakfast.  The roads were dry, the temperature was about 10°C and the wind was behind us.

Life was good.

Soon after we got going, we were joined by a local postman out for a spin and he chatted politely to us for a mile or so before pressing the pedals and disappearing into the distance in a disconcertingly short time.

Life was marginally less good as we contemplated the 25 year difference in age that let him go off so easily and which was gone for ever for us but we rose above it and completed our run in good spirits.  My spirits were raised even higher when I discovered that Dropscone had made treacle scones today.

I didn’t have time for a stroll round the garden or a stare out of the window after coffee and scones because Mrs Tootlepedal and I had decided on an outing and with the days shortening and the light fading by four o’clock from a photographic point of view,  you have to be out promptly to get any value from an excursion.

Our target was the Eskrigg Nature Reserve at Lockerbie which Sandy and I had visited with the ladies from our course on Saturday.  We had just touched the edges of the woods then and I wanted to see the pond that I had been told was further in.

It was well worth a visit.

Eskrigg nature reserveThe pond turns out to be an old curling pond but you would never know that now as it looks perfectly natural in its situation.  The Lockerbie Wildlife Trust have done a brilliant job in creating a little wildlife haven round the pond with as many different habitats as they could possibly squeeze into a small space.  Best of all for a couple of elderly bird watchers, there is a splendidly equipped hide with comfortable seats and lots to see.  A nuthatch arrived almost as soon as we did

Eskrigg nuthatch, We walked up to the far end of the pond and Mrs Tootlepedal, who had her binoculars with her, looked back towards the hide and saw a woodpecker.  We went back to the hide and were rewarded twice for a little patience.  A greater spotted on this side…..

Eskrigg woodpecker…and a greater spotted on that side.

Eskrigg woodpeckerWe had seen a red squirrel scampering away as we entered the woodland and we hoped that we might see another at the pond.  I was not disappointed.

Eskrigg red squirrelWe had a wander around some of the paths round the pond.  There was a feast of fungus to be seen.

Eskrigg fungusEskrigg fungusWe caught a glimpse of a wren but it didn’t stay to be snapped.

Eskrigg wrenNot all the animals and birds were shy.  This owl stared back at us unblinkingly.

Eskrigg carved owlThere is a pine wood, a larch plantation and some broad leaved trees as well.

Eskrigg treesThe reserve has been created with the needs of visitors kept well in mind.

Eskrigg boardwalkWe had a last look back at the pond…

Eskrigg nature reserve…and walked back though the woods back to the car.  We took some of the route that Sandy and I and the ladies had followed on Saturday.  The paths are beautiful.

EskriggAt one corner, we were stopped by a great twittering in the branches above our heads.  There were many little birds flitting about. We recognised blue tits, and great tits but wondered if anyone can help us with this tiny bird with  a sharp beak.  I know the pictures are bad but we wondered if they might be goldcrests.

mystery birdMrs Tootlepedal spotted a pair of fine fungi on a tree which we had noticed on Saturday.   I would have walked straight past them even though I knew that they were somewhere about.

Eskrigg fungusWe got back to the car very satisfied with our walk and resolved to come again in the not too distant future.  The whole afternoon worked out well as we had a very traffic free drive home and arrived in perfect time (four o’clock) for a cup of tea and a slice of Selkirk bannock (and with just enough light left to catch a flying bird).

For our evening meal, Mrs Tootlepedal had put some braised venison with a red wine and mushroom sauce into a casserole before we went out and it was cooked to a turn when we ate it, garnished with a good dollop of mixed mashed potatoes and bashed neeps.This was another of those occasions when kings and millionaires would have been hard pressed to eat better than us.

After that, we went off to our Langholm Sings weekly practice.  We battled to get our  musical director to play the tricky bits often enough for the tenors to learn them but enjoyed singing the easier pieces a lot.

That flying bird of the day was a chaffinch approaching the feeder at full bore.

flying chaffinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

27 thoughts on “A worthwhile excursion

  1. A worthwhile excursion indeed! It was nice to see some of the wildlife from Scotland that doesn’t show up in your backyard. 😉 The reserve was also a very pretty place, I do hope that you’ll return there from time to time.

  2. What a splendid day, the nature reserve sounds just the sort of thing there should be more of, I wish we had one like it in London. Well done for catching the squirrel, I loved the picture.

  3. The unknown bird looks very much like a Goldcrest. Their calls are very high-pitched and they are very vocal too. I loved the picture of the red squirrel.

  4. Very impressive guest photo today. What a wonderful little gem that nature reserve is. Love your woodpeckers! The red squirrel made me smile, as did the owl! 🙂

  5. I’ve just started a blog about my own walks in Australia and I must say it’s a contrast to your scenery. Lovely pics! I especially enjoy the birds. Keep enjoying your wanders through nature. 🙂

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