The bird had flown

Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia who was visiting Aldeburgh.  She took this picture of The Scallop, a  4m high sculpture by Maggi Hambling, dedicated to the memory of the composer Benjamin Britten. The piece is made up of two interlocking scallop shells, each broken, the upright shell being pierced with the words: “I hear those voices that will not be drowned.”

ScallopIt was another gloomy, windy day with a promise of rain so I was happy to be able to entertain Scott, the minister and Dropscone to coffee instead of wearing myself out battling against the breeze.  Scott has persuaded me to enter for a 50 mile cycle sportive in Cumbria in early May so I will have to try to get a bit of work in before that.  Dropscone may be tempted too.

I should say that a cycle sportive is an organised but non competitive timed ride and it is good fun to ride with a group of other riders for once even if I can’t keep up with them for long.

We were nibbling scones and sipping coffee when my attention wandered for a moment to events outside the window.

There was no snack for the sparrowhawk today
A quick look round and it was off.

The sparrowhawk did not put off the other birds for long because after the ‘boys’ left, we were visited by a great tit, a very rare visitor these days.

great titA little while later, I received a call from a friend who lives just across the river to say that two partridges where wandering about her garden.  Would I like to come and photogrpah them?  I would.

I set off as soon as possible on my bike, camera in hand but when I got there, there was no sign of the partridges.  I waited long enough to drink a cup of tea but they didn’t return so I took a shot of the resident sparrows….

sparrows…and pedalled home.  It is a mystery to me why we don’t get more sparrows at our feeder when there are so many about the town.

I had a quick walk round the garden….

yellow tulips
These yellow tulips just need a touch of sun to come out fully.
The fritillaria are doing fine without any sunshine.

…before going for lunch.

A blue tit paid us a lunch time visit.

blue titThe forecast was confident that it was going to rain in the mid afternoon so after lunch, I scuttled out for a brief walk not stopping for many photographs.  As it happens, I could have taken my time because the rain seemed to pass us by and the day remained dry.

I did spot a goosander in the Esk.

goosanderIt took off soon after I spotted it…

goosander…but only for a few yards as it was trying to muscle in on a pair just down the river.  The female goosander is a delight.

goosander…but her partner saw off the intruder.

goosanderI wish that they were less agitated by human presence because it is very hard to get a good picture of them at the best of times and harder still when they keep swimming away from me.  They are great fun to watch though.

I walked back along the top of the banking and was amused to watch a rabbit dash across the path in front of me and then hide in full view.

rabbitOnce home, I put in a little Mozart practice and then entered a week of the newspaper index into the Archive database but to tell the truth, I did quite a lot of aimless mooching about too.  The changeable weather is making me restless, unwilling to settle down indoors to do tasks which need doing and unable to get outside usefully because the weather is so unpredictable.

In the end, when it became plain that it wasn’t going to rain, I went out and mowed the back lawn and drying green.  This didn’t help much.

Mrs Tootlepedal is continuing with the preparations for her decorative border in the front room.  She has applied the first coat of paint.  It is a time consuming business as it requires a lot of sanding and filling of the floorboards for a perfect finish.

In the evening, Susan drove me to Carlisle where we enjoyed a good session of recorder playing with our group to round off the day.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch battling towards the feeder against the brisk breeze.

flying chaffinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

41 thoughts on “The bird had flown

  1. That is an interesting sculpture. I will now have to look up Benjamin Britten.

    We have had a sparrow hawk, perhaps kestrel, come through here on occasion. I have seen a small bird flying fast and hard past my office window followed in hot pursuit by a fast moving, much larger bird.

    1. I love the hair cut. It appeals to me every time I see it. The fun of the sportive will depend on me getting a few miles in before it comes round.

  2. A beautiful close-up of the sparrow hawk. The eyes are so intense and bright. Bunnies are introduced pests here and compete with our native bilbies, but I am happy to see your delightful picture. They are very sweet looking.What an impressive garden you have! I had never heard of fritillarias. They are a lovely colour.

  3. Now it’s my turn to wish better weather comes your way, since your wish came true for me.

    Good to see the goosanders, they behave exactly the same here, never willing to have their portrait taken.

  4. I’m very happy that the rabbits here are no longer white! Great shot of the sparrow hawk; it has a very fierce stare, and looks quite grumpy, as well.

  5. What a wonderful sculpture – yet another reason to revisit Aldeburgh. Glad the sparrow hawk left empty beaked. You’ve set yourself a fine challenge with the cycle sportive.

  6. The picture of the rabbit is my favourite today. I am very impressed by all Mrs T’s decorating work.

  7. Sorry you had rather an aimless feeling day, you took some splendid pictures though, the sparrow hawk was most impressive and the rabbit really sweet. I hope your knee will be up to a 50 mile ride in May even if taken at a reasonable pace.

  8. I like the “no nonsense” look of the hawk. – The painting of the front room seems to be time consuming and Mrs. T is putting in a lot of work. But I’m sure it will well be worth the effort.

  9. Most of the birds have flown my garden, much reduced numbers (though a great tit visited yesterday). The spring glut of insects provides them with a much better quality of protein than do the seeds I provide. That’s good for the adult birds and essential for their babes.

  10. The scallop shell sculpture has caused a lot of controversy here. Many people like it very much but others really object to having it on the beach. It has been damaged a number of times. I like your bird photographs very much. It is strange that the sparrows don’t visit your garden often, as you provide just the kind of food they would love.

    1. It is odd. They visit our garden and have tremendous rows in some of our bushes but they just don’t visit the feeder. I can quite see why people might think a statue is an intrusion on to a beach.

      1. The sparrows in our garden prefer to eat the mixed birdseed rather than just sunflowers, though they eat those when there isn’t anything else.

  11. I, too, wish that the waterfowl were more cooperative subjects. I would love to get a really clear, crisp picture of one of any kind!

    Your sparrowhawk pictures are terrific. And it’s great to see so much life returning to your garden, both flowering and winged!

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