A walk on the wild side

Stanford University

Today’s guest picture comes from my Newcastle’s correspondent’s trip to California, where she visited Stanford university.

Stanford UniversityWe were pleased and surprised to be presented with another fine, dry day today and we are beginning to feel that we could easily get used to this sort of thing.

I started the day with a visit to the Moorland Feeders where I was filling in for anjother volunteer who was away.  I sat for a while in the hide and the feeders were busy but there was nothing of great note to record….just a woodpecker or two…

woodpecker….and a blue tit which I was very pleased to see.

blue tit and nettle
I took the nettle during a dull moment. It was right in front of the window.

I stopped for about half an hour and then made my way home.

Once again, Mrs Tootlepedal had made use of the good weather by continuing her work in the garden and she was busy there when I got back.  I mowed the grass round the greenhouse and the paths on the front lawn.  The plan to have some areas of wild flowers on this lawn is proceeding very slowly but we are still hoping that it will come to pass.

A beautiful blue cornflower is the first wild flower actually to appear and it was matched by a salvia in a nearby flower bed.

salvia and cornflowerThe Crown Princess Margareta which has been looking promising, finally fulfilled that promise in the sunshine today.

Crown Princess margaretaOn the whiter side, a clematis over the archway to the veg garden has produced some of its curious green and white flowers, while on the other side of the garden, the privet flowers are a bee magnet and you could hardly hear yourself think near them because of the buzzing.

clematis and privetAlong with some shredding and compost sieving, this took up the morning (though there might have been a prize crossword in there too).

It seemed like a good time for an outing after all the hard work that Mrs Tootlepedal had been doing so we went out for lunch at Newcastleton.  Mrs Tootlepedal was very keen to show me a very pretty flower bed she had passed in Rowanburn on her way to a meeting  recently so we went by that route.

The flower bed was worth a look.

Rowanburn flowersWe drove on to Newcastleton where we had a light lunch in the Olive Tree.  We didn’t have a plan for the afternoon but it was such a nice day that we decided that a walk would be a good idea.  We drove down to the bridge across the Kershope Burn….

Kershope Bridge…and started our walk from there.

By crossing this bridge we moved from Scotland into England and we turned to walk upstream along the English bank of the Kershope burn.

Kershop forestThe Forestry Commission had provided us with an excellent track to follow.

There wasn’t a dull moment as the prospects were lovely….

Kershope Burn…and the track was lined with wild flowers in profusion.

dock and ragged robin
Dock and ragged robin
White wild flower
We didn’t know what this beautiful flower was.
self heal and bedstraw
Self heal and bedstraw

As well as the flowers, the were butterflies and fungus as well.

The butterfly is a painted lady but I found so many possibilities in my fungus book that I gave up on it.

As often seems to be the case just now, the umbelliferae were very attractive to insects but some were more attractive than others…

umbellifera and dragonflyThe dragonfly (damselfly?) on the right is the first that I have ever photographed and as a result, although the picture is pretty poor, it is a triumph for me.  It might be a skimmer.

If I had taken pictures of all the insects and wild flowers that we saw, this post would never finish….and we would never have finished our walk.

Half way along our walk, we crossed the Kershope Burn again and walked back into Scotland.  This bridge was not quite so elegant as the previous one.

Kershope bridgeThe Scottish side was very similar to the English side….

Kershope burnAfter a while, we were offered a choice of routes….

I don't know what the bush had done to annoy the sign writer.
I don’t know what the bush had done to annoy the sign writer.

We took the right hand fork which kept along the bank of the stream but we didn’t go far before we turned back.

Among the many wild flowers we passed, a host of orchids stood out and one patch in particular impressed us the most.

orchidIf you were looking for orchids, this was the walk for you.

We made our way back to the car and then drove home over the moor, stopping to look (in vain) for harriers or short eared owls.  We did see a lot of this bright yellow flower….

yellow moor flower…which was growing in large patches beside the road above the Little Tarras.

We got home feeling that we had been on a very good outing.  While I went in for a quiet sit down, the indefatigable Mrs Tootlepedal couldn’t resist a little more gardening.  She did well to work hard while the day was warm and dry because there is a hint of rain about while I type this and there is a possibility of more tomorrow.

I was pleased that my legs stood up to the walk very well although at about 4km, it wasn’t very long.  I am hoping that a  mixture of gentle cycling and short walks will soon get me back to full fitness.  Having made the mistake of cycling far too far too soon after my fall, the trick will be not to go too far or too fast too soon again….which is easier said than done.

I didn’t have much time to look out of the kitchen window today so once again a rather fuzzy siskin will have to do as flying bird of the day.

flying siskin

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

28 thoughts on “A walk on the wild side

  1. Thank you for doing the Feeders for me. Delighted to see a butterfly on your blog. During my many walks in Newcastle along the Waggonways I saw loads of Buddleia in full flower but not a single Butterfly on them. Where have they all gone this year?.

  2. Nice weather and excellent photos two days in a row, but I didn’t have time to comment on yesterday’s post.

    The dragonfly is a dragonfly, the easiest way to tell them from damselflies is that damselflies rest their wings in line and over their body, dragonflies always rest their wings extended out from their body. No matter what, congratulations on the first of what will hopefully be plenty more to come.

    The weather may not have been that great for humans this summer, but all the vegetation there seems to be doing very well, it still looks like spring as green as everything is.

  3. What an excellent place to walk judging by the amount of flowers you saw. Might the yellow flower you saw near the Little Tarras be Bog Asphodel? I have no idea what the white flower is but it is very lovely.

  4. The flower bed that Mrs. T. found looks very natural.
    The white flower looks like what we call narrow leaved meadow sweet (Spiraea alba.) It’s a small shrub that likes damp soil.
    I’d love to take that walk. There are many beautiful things to see in such a relatively short walk, especially the orchids.

  5. I agree that garden was worth a visit. I have a rainy day at last and am going to go backwards and find out about this fall of yours, that came during my most busy time of year.

  6. An interesting (and to me, somewhat surprising!) guest photo. I wouldn’t expect Stanford to have the traditional ivied halls, but this photo reminds me a bit of an all inclusive resort in the Caribbean. Must be the palm trees!

  7. Loved the first bridge and all th beautiful flowers especially the orchids. Your plan for getting back to full fitness sounds sensible, I do hope that you
    can stick to it.

  8. I’m so delighted to see you’ve had beautiful weather for walking. I can imagine you were in photography heaven with so much to see and snap. Congrats on the dragonfly! I know how exciting it is to get your first shot of something that has eluded you for a while. It’s only been in the last year I’ve had some luck with dragonflies. I particularly liked the lovely nettle shot. The light on it is beautiful. The whole collection is excellent though. I would have been in danger of not finishing the walk I think with all those insects about. 😉

    1. I would have liked a better picture than a brown fly on brown earth but beggars can’t be choosers. When it comes to taking yet another picture of an insect or getting my evening meal, the lure of the meal usually wins.

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