I didn’t mean to do it.

Today’s frightening guest picture comes from a visit to the gardens at Alnwick by my Newcastle correspondent.  What lies behind the gate?  We can only wonder. Feral primroses perhaps?

AlnwickWe had another fairly chilly, grey day today but at least the wind had dropped so as soon as I could manage after breakfast, I got the fairly speedy bike out and set off towards Callister.  There was just a hint of rain in the air so I left my route plans flexible with the option of turning and running for home in the event of a deluge.

garmin 17 Mar 15The light wind and an absence of rain encouraged me up and over Callister and down the other side as far as Gair.  Once there, I weighed up my options.  I could turn and go back for a dull 22 miles or I could go on and take the back road to Chapelknowe for a circular 25 miles.  I sniffed the air and decided to go on for the circular ride.

I was a bit miffed therefore when I got to the junction with the back road to Chapelknowe to find that it was closed for several weeks.

Going back looked like a very dull choice now so I pressed on again and went home via Kirkpatrick Fleming and Canonbie.  Luckily this is an undemanding route as far as any hills go and I was able to manage the extra miles without too much bother,  The final total of 31 miles was a new best distance for my knee.

The chaffinches were busy at the feeder in the garden when I got home…..

chaffinches….but I was more interested in having a relaxing bath than standing at the window trying to hold a camera steady so I didn’t watch the birds for long.  I did put some chopped up suet balls out on the lawn and they attracted a good crowd almost immediately…

jackdaws and rooks…with some high quality bickering among the rooks.

rooksThe suet was soon gone and the rooks followed.

rooksAfter my bath, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to a meeting and I took a very leisurely walk to the Kilngreen and the Castleholm.

Although the light wasn’t very good, I was hoping to see goosanders, oyster catchers, dippers, nuthatches and tree creepers.  I like to travel hopefully.

I didn’t see any goosanders but the mallards  made up for that.

mallardmallardThey even staged a fly past for me.

mallardI did see a dipper but before I could get my camera out,  it flew a bit further down the stream and did some vigorous dipping there.

dipperI didn’t see a nuthatch but I did see a tree creeper as I came to the Jubilee bridge.  By their nature they are quite hard to spot as they creep up trees, well camouflaged against the trunk.

tree creeperAs I walked along the banks of the Esk, there were lots of catkins to admire…

catkins…and I now know enough to look for the female flowers that hide shyly in the background.

hazelThe light was too poor for either of my cameras to do these delicate flowers justice.

hazelI was pretty tired when I got home but a short rest and a nourishing meal got me ready to go to Carlisle with Susan for our recorder group’s weekly get together.  There were only four of us this week and we had a steady evening of playing fugues by Mozart and Bach, fantasias by Purcell, Ludo and Byrd and several other pieces which I can’t remember owing to old age.  We ended with a Thomas Morley song and a set of Farnaby tunes so you can see that a good time was had by all.

I did see an oyster catcher too on my walk and it appears as flying bird of the day.

oyster catcher

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

31 thoughts on “I didn’t mean to do it.

  1. I sure would like to see what’s behind that gate. Probably a lot of foxglove, aconite and belladonna.
    Just seeing a female hazel flower is difficult enough, so getting a photo of one makes any day a good day.
    Nice shots of the mallards too!

    1. The poison garden doesn’t open until late March but the garden was still worth a visit. Entrance fees are pretty steep so make a day of it if you are going! Alnwick itself is also worth a visit, especially Barter books in the old station.

  2. Lots of great flying action shots here. I particularly liked the interesting one where the rooks are flying and their wings are in the downward position.

  3. Congratulations on that long ride so soon after the operation.
    Glad your tootling went well in the evening.

  4. Thank you for the hazelnut information. We’re trialling them here on the Homestead and will be a little less excited about the appearance of catkins from now on. Your tootling sounds wonderful…Giles Farnaby is a great favourite of ours.

  5. Fantastic pic of the oyster catcher, congratulations, I believe you should enter it in a competition, Countyfile’s calendar photograph competition perhaps? I know what you mean, beautiful as they too are, mallards seem boring in comparison to goosanders etc.. Further congratulations on spotting a tree creeper and getting a picture of it. I never can get my mobile phone camera out in time when I spot something a little less ordinary, while out and about. On the morning of the eclipse, last Friday, I spotted a buzzard, that was almost completely black, save for a few tawny breast feathers, as I pedalled my homeward commute. I have seen him/her before, and yes, I couldn’t get my camera out in time then as well, to click a take a pic. Despite the close attention of two magpies, no doubt a pair, both excitedly chattering away at the predator, as they all were perched atop a telegraph pole, the black buzzard just looked disdainfully at them both, one either side of his central perch, before he flew majestically away. Naturally,by then I had my camera out, only to get a shot of my lost sitter alighting on a lamp post too far in the distance even for my 5 megapixel phone camera. Oh Countryfile, what could have been? Cheers.

    1. That’s why I like bird feeders. The birds come to you and you don’t have to chase them about. Buzzards always wait until the moment before you have your finger on the trigger before flying away.

      1. Exactly my experience, but how am I going to get a buzzard to come to me, I have visions of watching over a dead sheep or rabbit, with camera poised all Atenboroughish? You know the guy?

      2. Baiting is the only way. You have to lie flat under a camouflage net until the golden moment arrives. This is why there are no good buzzard pics on my blog. I look forward to yours.

  6. When we used to stay at Wanlockhead Youth Hostel there was a gate at a fielsd near the hostel which had a sign saying ‘poisonous snakes’.

    We never dared to go there!

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