Another hiding

Today’s guest picture is a zebra spotted by my daughter while visiting Claridges.  It is a beautifully finished rocking zebra.

zebra rocking horseIn an exciting development on the construction front, the wall growers came round today and laid some concrete for the foundation for the new wall.  It was not exciting from a photographic point of view so you will just have to take my word for it.  The new wall should start its elevation on Thursday.

The concrete laying meant that there were no birds in the garden for me to stare at before it was time for me to drive off to Dumfries to complete the formalities of selling the wrecked Kangoo.  On the way, I stopped at the bike shop in Longtown and picked up my speedy bike which has been given a new tyre and brakes and some general care.

I am looking forward to a pleasantly warm day with a light breeze to give it a go.  Looking at the forecast, I may have to wait for a day or two.

The sale of the old car went well and I was soon on my way home on a bright and sunny day.  As my route took me through Lockerbie, it seemed like a good idea to stop off and visit the Eskrigg Nature Reverse while I was there.

They have a well established hide there.

Eskrigg HideI was hoping that I might see some interesting things and I had not even taken my coat off before my eye was drawn to a splash of colour to my right.

Eskrigg red squirrelThere are red squirrels round Langholm but they are shy and hard to see so this was a treat.

Eskrigg red squirrelThis one was very calm and even let me open the hide window while it busied itself at the feeder.  Then, I made a move too many and it took its leave.

Eskdrigg red squirrelAt the other end of the hide there was a fleeting view of a greater spotted woodpecker…

Eskrigg woodpecker…but it was more sensitive than the squirrel and was off as soon as it heard the click of the camera shutter.  This time it was a disadvantage to be so close to the subject.

There was a lot to watch from the hide which is set on the edge of an old curling pond.

Eskrigg pondThere were ducks…

moorhen…moorhens…

geese…two geese…

eskrigg tits…and lots of great and coal tits.

I was just settling down for a good wait and watch when the door opened and a mother and three toddlers appeared.  They were very well behaved but still quite noisy so I left them to watch the ducks and took a walk round the pond to search for some peace and quiet.  I was intending to go to the second hide to look out for squirrels but as I approached it, I saw a well equipped photographer had beaten me to it and was sitting on the step outside the hide taking the occasional picture.

I seemed quite relaxed so I walked up to him as quietly as I could, intending to go into the hut and keep out of his way.  He looked up as I drew near and pointed. I followed his direction and saw what he was watching.

Eskrigg red squirrelAnother squirrel was placidly munching on some peanuts a few yards away from him.    We sat and watched it as it wandered around the clearing.

Eskrigg red squirrelThe photographer told me that a lady had scattered the peanuts that had attracted the squirrel and it was certainly much more interested in the nuts than us.  After a while the photographer got up and went off to take pictures of the ducks.  This didn’t disturb the squirrel at all and I sat and watched it for some time.

Eskrigg red squirrelOnce again, a couple of parties of adults and small children coming quietly along the path ended my fun and the squirrel moved away.  I am sure that it would have come back but I had many more pictures than I could use already so I took just one more..

eskrigg pond…and walked back through the woods to the car and drove home in a very contented state of mind.

Although the children interrupted my pleasure, I don’t hold any hard feelings about them.  The reserve, with its well laid paths and many things to see, is a wonderful place for little children to come and learn to love nature.

Another visit is definitely on the cards when the weather permits.

It was cloudy but dry in Langholm so after a late lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal and I wrapped up well against a very nipping and eager wind and set off to cycle the six and a bit miles to Wauchope School and back.  Mrs Tootlepedal has been doing regular sessions for a month on her bike to nowhere amounting to several hundred notional miles but cycling in the real world, especially into a brisk wind, is a very different thing than spinning the legs in the warmth of indoors and the six miles was quite enough for us.

I took a picture of one of my favourite little cascades on the Wauchope near the school…

wauchope cascadeThe tree felling has completely changed to feel of this place as you can see from this picture which I took last May  when it was a much darker and more sombre scene.

WauchopeWhile I was taking the river picture, Mrs Tootlepedal flashed by, going far too fast for me to capture properly.

Mrs THer training is paying off.

I was expecting to go to Carlisle with Susan in the evening to play with our recorder group but she is a bit under the weather so we cancelled the trip.  This was a pity but an early night will do me no harm as life seems to have been quite busy lately.

I was happy to find that Eskrigg as well as having squirrels also has a chaffinch for flying bird of the day..

flying chaffinch Eskrigg

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

40 thoughts on “Another hiding

  1. How wonderful that you saw a red squirrel today and then recorded the encounter with your usual amazing photography….very envious!

  2. What a treat it must have been to see those red squirrels, I don’t remember ever seeing one other than in photographs. I liked the cascade too in its different lights. Very exciting to have the wall foundations laid.

  3. What a treat to see a red squirrel at such close quarters. Thanks for sharing the experience with us!

  4. I think this is the first time I have gasped out loud at any of your photos. Just keep the grey squirrels at bay!

  5. The red squirrel pictures are lovely! Their ears look so pointy and hairy compared to other pictures I’ve seen. What a great idea those hides are. I’d like them in some of our reserves here as it can be difficult to views birds and other wildlife close up. Good on Mrs Tootlepedal for her cycling progress. I enjoy cycling here too, although the streets in my local area are not particularly safe because there is a bit of an anti-cycling culture. You do live quite an active lifestyle!

  6. That picture of Mrs Tootlepedal zooming past made me laugh my head off. Love the squirrels – we don’t have them here – just zillions of rabbits.

  7. Red Squirrels are lovely and much smaller than the Grey ones. I see them when I go to Loch of the Lowes near Dunkeld.

    The borders railway will be opening soon so I’m looking forward top some Borders cycling again.

    Mrs Tootlepedal was fairly flying along on her bike. You will need to keep in shape to keep up with her!

  8. I love those red squirrels! When I used to go to north Norfolk on my holidays as a girl there were still reds there but only a very few.They soon died out. The only place I have seen them was in north Germany where they are like our greys and wandered about the streets of the town we stayed in.

  9. What cute red squirrels! They look quite different from ours, much more “red” and with much longer, pointy ears. I’m also charmed by your greater spotted woodpecker.

    That rocking zebra was really something! I imagine the price tag was as well. 🙂

    1. The American grey squirrel has been responsible for wiping out the majority of our native red squirrels by carrying a squirrel pox which they can cope with but which is fatal for reds.

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