The moor the merrier

Today’s guest picture shows Mr Grumpy’s London cousin surveying the Serpentine.  He caught my sister Mary’s eye.

Mr Grumpy hiding in the shadeI had to get up bright and early to take our car to the garage to get a new track rod fitted and the radio sorted so that it actually worked.  It was a pleasant sunny day except for a chilly wind again.  Although the temperature for the last few days has been quite springlike when you are in the sun, if the sun goes in or you catch the breeze, it has remained stubbornly cold.

My walk home was well sheltered.  There are still very few birds in the garden so I was more than usually pleased to see a pair of blue tits today/

_DSC7668-1The one on the right has been ringed so I can tell that it was the other one who came to the feeder for a seed.

_DSC7670A pair of starlings also paid a visit, perched on top of a variegated holly bush.

_DSC7685-1There are quite a few blackbirds who spend most of the time chasing each other about.  This one was lurking on the edge of a flowerbed and keeping a wary eye out.

_DSC7686-1The light was quite good today so the absence of birds from the feeder was a lost opportunity.  This was the only chaffinch that I saw all day

_DSC7687I had to look out of our back window to see this house sparrow.

_DSC7690A walk round the garden after breakfast showed that it had been raining overnight….

rainy plants….but it had only been a light shower.

I had to go to the High Street on business just before lunch so I made the best of it by taking a camera or two with me and returning by way of the Kilngreen and the Castleholm.  The black headed gulls are in their spring plumage and showing why they have got their name.

_DSC7707And I was delighted to see Mr Grumpy back in his normal spot on the river bank.

_DSC7713-1On a nearby fencepost, a gull was posing for me.

_DSC7718-1After lunch, I was intending to go for a cycle outing but I was overcome with tiredness and had to sit down for a snooze in a comfortable chair instead.  After about an hour, I got up and went out into the garden,  The recent warmer weather has made the grass grow on the back lawn so I got the hover mower out and gave it the first trim of the year.  Parts of the middle lawn needed attention too and a quick sweep with a light push mower sorted that out.

Most of the front and middle lawn is covered in moss and we will need some really good growing weather before there is any grass to mow.

Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out a new primula.

primulaWe are not sure yet quite what kind it is.

I walked back to the garage and collected our car.

Since it was such a lovely afternoon and we had the car back, after we had had a cup of tea, we jumped into the car and went up onto the moor to see if we could see a short eared owl again.

The trip was worth it for the view up the Ewes valley alone.

Ewes ValleyWe parked beside Kenny, a local wildlife enthusiast and member of our local camera club and he pointed out a female hen harrier just above the skyline.  It was soon joined by another female and a male.  The male then gave us a short but spectacular flying display designed to catch the eyes of the females.

_DSC7725It was too quick and too far away for my lens.  The harriers were the  joined by a pair of buzzards and they circled above us for some time.

harrier and buzzardsAlthough they were too far above us for proper photographs, they were easily in range of our binoculars and very enjoyable to watch so we were pleased to have gone up to the moor in spite of not seeing the owl today.  As a bonus, we did watch a merlin fly past us and settle on a rock further up the hillside.

We got home in time for my flute pupil Luke’s weekly lesson.  He is taking his grade three exam this week and had been to a proper flute teacher a day or two ago for some last minute advice.   He can play his pieces well but needs to put in some hard graft on his scales before Friday.

After tea, Sandy arrived to take me across to the last meeting of the year of the Liddesdale Camera Club.  I couldn’t resist taking a picture of the moon before we left.  Having seen the moon cast its shadow on the sun on Friday, it seemed only fair to show the earth casting a shadow on the moon today.

_DSC7744 (2)The camera club meeting was to show the best pictures of the year and pick a champion print and digital image.  I didn’t have any entries, having not done well this year but Sandy had several.  In the event, almost all the prizes went to the same member and it must be admitted that he is perhaps more skilful and certainly takes much more trouble than the rest of us so he deserved his success.

Although I took technically better flying bird pictures today, this flying robin is still my pick for flying bird of the day.flying robin

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

41 thoughts on “The moor the merrier

  1. I love the picture of the Blackbird and the Snowdrops … all the photos are really good, of course.

  2. The flying robin is fantastic, as is the new primula – I look forward to seeing it in full bloom. I love the photo of Ewes valley. the avian aerobatics must have been breathtaking. Eurgh! to scales – good luck to Luke in his exam!

  3. Good photos as usual. I used to go to the local camera club but got fed up when people used it to show off their photographs. I never learned how to take better photographs.

    1. I am trying but it takes a lot of time to get good shots and I am always rushing onto the next one. We were told last night of a photographer who drilled holes in branches and stuck peanuts in the holes to ensure that the birds stopped long enough for a good shot.

      1. Yes. I checked and it is 6th September. I will try and time off work and go down to the area.

        I could probably take a train to Edinburgh just now and put the Brompton on a bus from Edinburgh but it would probably take ages.

      2. I would have to go into Glasgow first then a train to Lockerbie. From Motherwell we can get the Cross Country train to Edinburgh for about 8.00 and it only takes 45 minutes.

  4. The view up the Ewes valley gets my vote for the best picture today but I also loved the flying robin and the crescent moon. You were in good form, photographically speaking in this post, not a dull one to be seen.

  5. Yes, a lovely anxious robin picture!
    Wonderful colours on your trip to the feeding centre. Great portrait of the black-headed gull.

  6. That primula seens to become a drumstick primrose (Primula denticulata). Nice to have a portrait of Mr. Grumpy and that sweet looking blackheaded gull. But first price goes to the clouds over Ewe valley. – Scaffolds are down, I hope?

    1. We think a drumstick was the most likely but Mrs Tootlepedal couldn’t remember what she had planted there. The scaffolding has magically disappeared.

  7. Can you recommend a camera suitable for taking pictures of flying birds? There are so many wild birds here but my little canonG10 is so inadequate.

    1. You probably need a DSLR with a zoom. I use a 70-300mm. It is not cheap. My flying bird camera is a Nikon D7000 but there will be others just as good. There are bridge cameras with big zooms (x60) which I have never used. Perhaps another reader can offer some help.

    2. I used to take a lot of sports photographs and have a Canon 30D which an old camera now. I also have a 600D cheaper one but it still tales great photos. I use Canon ‘L’ lenses which are the white ones you see on TV. They are very expensive, but do capture the action better.

      You should still be able to get great photos on your Canon G10. What you should do is ‘pan’ the shot by following the path of the bird then snapping away. Some or all of your shots should be good. set the camera on Al servio and continuous shooting.

  8. Great photos all around in this one! It’s good to see Mr. Grumpy back, the close-up of the gull was perfect, but the photo of the Ewes valley was the most eye catching.

  9. Astounding photos! They just kept getting better and better. The flying robin is really something, to catch that split second of anticipation and prepare for landing.

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