Superior chauffeuring

Today’s picture was sent to me by Mary Jo from Manitoba and simply titled ‘Thug’.  I don’t know what this robin ever did to her.

American robinOur gentle robins have disappeared from the garden in recent weeks.  Whether they have gone off to nest or been eaten by one of the neighbours’ many cats that roam our garden looking for small birds to eat, I don’t know.  I hope they return.

We had another day of brisk winds, heavy showers and pleasant sunshine.  Every time I got mentally organised to get changed into my cycling gear, either it rained or the wind got up and in the end, I chickened out and had another lazy day.

This gave me the opportunity to do a bit more music practice and put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive database.

Our local newspaper shop is looking for some cards with local landscapes to sell and this gives me an opportunity to raise some money for the Archive Group so I printed some samples out and took them up for approval.  They  passed muster so I will prepare some cards for them and see how they go.

In between times, I hung out a new feeder which I purchased at the garden centre yesterday. Some birds approached it with more confidence than others.

new feederBut it was soon in full use.

new feederA little greenfinch got caught in one of the gusty showers while scavenging under the feeder.

greenfinchAlthough it was very nice when it was sunny, it was correspondingly miserable when the clouds came over.

When it was sunny, the birds queued up to visit the new attraction.

flying sparrowThe flowers are still holding back, waiting for a bit of warmth but they are beginning to look as though they might burst into bloom soon.

Two of the azaleas that survived the frosty mornings.
An allium on the brink of blossoming
A fern just thinking about it still.

After an excellent lunch of home made soup and leftovers, I found a sunny spell and went out and mowed the back lawn.  Because it was once a chicken run, the ground there is well fertilised and the grass grows at a great rate even in discouraging weather conditions.

The sunny spells during the day brought the insects out in force.

The berberis was positively humming with bees…

berberis with bee…and a white dicentra is a bee favourite too.

beeA euphorbia had its winged fans too.

insectOne thing that a close up shows is just how unexpectedly whiskery both insects and plants can be.

insectI take it that this is a hoverfly and from the eye formation, it looks like a female but in spite of looking at a lot of hoverfly images, I couldn’t find one quite like it so I am open for help on identification here.

In another sunny spell, Granny  came out and gave the garden the once over.

The expert eye in action

There were quite a few starling visitors during the day which makes me think that there must be nesting pairs close by.

This one was showing off its handsome markings.

The strawberries, gooseberries and blackcurrants all look as though they have survived the cool spring  and I will have to start thinking of getting some netting up for the gooseberries.  The strawberries are already netted and beginning to flower.  We share the blackcurrants with the birds and there should be plenty for everyone again this year looking at the potential crop.  The espalier apples are covered in blossom but the bees are too busy elsewhere so I got working with my little soft brush (making a gentle buzzing sound as I worked just to keep the blossom happy).

The afternoon brightened up a lot as it went on and out of the wind, it was quite a pleasant day but the wind was still strong enough to keep me off the bike and to make a blue tit hang on hard to the new feeder.

blue titI had thought that the Ballerina tulips had passed their best already but in the sunshine this afternoon, they were positively glowing.

tulipsIn the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal took Granny and two more friends off to Annan to see a live relay of The Pirates of Penzance at the cinema there.  This is a great use of technology and lets people all round the country see shows by subsided theatres in London which they would not otherwise get to see except at great cost of money and time.  The cinema was very comfortable, the price modest and the view of the stage, needless to say, was excellent so they all thoroughly enjoyed the show.

I went to Carlisle with Susan to play recorders.  She had taken delivery of her new company car earlier today so I was honoured to be the first passenger in it. Roy, our librarian, was away so we couldn’t practice music for our forthcoming concert and as a result we got the chance to play some pieces which we haven’t often, or in one case, ever played.  This was most enjoyable.

The flying bird of the day was one of the visiting starlings lining up to land on the new feeder..

flying starling

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

24 thoughts on “Superior chauffeuring

  1. I had to laugh at the thought of you buzzing for the apple blossoms, but I’m sure they appreciated it.
    That’s a nice shot of the fern fiddlehead. It looks like it might be a lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina) because of the scales on its stalk.
    The flying starling has a beautiful pair of wings.

  2. That UFO you suspected to be a hoverfly seems to me more like a common wasp (Vespula vulgaris). Sorry about your changeable weather. We have enjoyed a sunny spell over the last days and spring here is in full swing. It seems to be a exceptional year for rhododendron and azaleas.

    1. You are quite right about the wasp. I thought it was too early in the season to see one but it obviously isn’t. We live in hope of a good azalea season.

  3. What a lot to see in your garden, I loved the unrolling fern. Well done for being a bee to your apple tree. I saw that Pirates in a cinema last night too, Mabel was very good and I liked the ‘trad’ production.

  4. I think my favourite flower this time is the allium on the brink of blossoming. The colour is so rich. The bee looks positively fluffy! Such wonderfully sharp photos.The starling is very attractive. Ours don’t have those spotty markings. I do hope you haven’t lost your robins to the cats. When I return home, my neighbour’s cat is often sitting in my driveway looking very fat and contented! My yard is much too quiet these days.

  5. That wee blue tit is cute as a pin! Very good timing capturing the starling just before landing – it’s a wonderful shot.

  6. What a wonderful idea having live feeds from the “big” shows and I see this one had a kind-of Kiwi playing the bobby 🙂 And speaking of all things kiwi, that unfurling fern is a beauty as is the starling 🙂

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