Doing something


Today’s guest picture, from Mrs Tootlepedal’s tablet, shows Matilda wondering when her father will stop paying attention to his phone and start paying attention to her.

MatildaWe woke to another wet and horrible day and I was happy to welcome Dropscone, who was back from a trip to Aberdeen, for a cup of coffee.  The forecast was for the rain to stop by midday and on cue, it stopped.  Dropscone went off to play golf and I took a moment to put another week of the newspaper index into the Archive database and then went out to buy some honey and more of the pink pellets.

Before I left, I had a quick look to see what was going on the garden.

There were some rather morose Michaelmas daisies…

daisies…which were so discouraged by the bad summer weather that they waited too long before coming out and have not done well.

At the back door, a depressed winter jasmine was looking soggy.

winter jasmineThere was not a lot  of action at the seed feeder today but, as always, there were some birds about.

A chaffinch approaches the feeder and realises that there isn’t a perch there.
But the chaffinches are very good at timing their approach to be able to sneak a seed and depart.

There were some small signs of sunshine to raise our hopes.

chaffinchFeeling the need for a bit of excitement after lunch, I put some of the newly purchased pellets out on the lawn feeder and enjoyed a flying display from the jackdaws.

JackdawThey are very delicate for large birds and nip the pellets off the cage with great precision.  Two can land on the feeder at the same time.

JackdawI was interested in the bird on the right because it has the little feathers on the front of its wings raised up and this seems to happen a lot….

Jackdaw…and you can see it again in the picture above.  Perhaps some knowledgeable bird person can tell me what is happening.  Is it some sort of flap system when the birds slow down?

Jackdaws can fly backwards when they want.

JackdawThe bird on the left is going backwards while the one on the right is coming forwards.

They can also do a fan dance.

JackdawAs soon as the jackdaws left, there was a spell of starling mayhem.

starlingsIt had been quite breezy in the morning but the wind was getting progressively lighter in the afternoon so I waited for as long as I could before going out for a pedal.

I spent some time while I was waiting, looking through my picture files to try to find some pictures to print out for our forthcoming camera club exhibition and after having looked through the last two months’ pictures from the blog, I can only apologise for the inordinate number of poppy and chaffinch pictures which patient readers have had to put up with.

In the end, I left it a little too long and had to put my rear light on when I was pedalling home as the light was rapidly failing.

Although the thermometer said it was 11°C when I set out and I was wearing three layers, it still seemed remarkably cold and it was a struggle to get my muscles warmed up and moving.  It certainly didn’t tempt me to stop and take pictures, especially as it was rather grey overhead.  Annoyingly, I could see blue sky in the distance but it was too far away for me to enjoy it.  Still, I was pleased to get another 20 miles in before the end of the month.

In the evening, I went off with Sandy to the Archive Centre and put another week of the index into the database.  This got me fully caught up with the data miners.

The flying bird of the day is one of those jackdaws.

flying jackdaw

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

39 thoughts on “Doing something

  1. What a beautiful father-daughter photo! And all the rest of the photos as well.

    Thank goodness you have Droposcone to bring by treats to have with hot coffee in such weather. Our scone vendor this week brought espresso-spelt scones. We had some rain at Market on Wednesday, and a good scone always brightens the day.

  2. I was motivated by this post to learn a little more about jackdaws which it seems we do not have here (although we do have rooks though I’ve never set eyes on one). I found it interesting, in light of your photos which show a decent sized specimen of birdage to learn it owes its name to “jack” meaning small and “daw” bird. Goodness only knows what constituted a large bird way back then!

    1. I never knew that about the derivation of the name. I agree that it sounds odd. I found a suggestion that it might come from its cry of ‘Chak’.

  3. I’m glad you asked your readers for information about the feathery flaps on the jackdaw. I think I commented on another post about my curiosity. I saw the link a reader has given a link. I wonder if they do help them to manoeuvre. My garden is a boring sea of green and I’m not seeing many birds these days so your beautiful flowers and birds are always a delight, Tom. I wish I could have bird feeders here but the rattle ants and the vermin cause problems.

  4. First of all, I’m happy for you that the weather improved and that you were able to get another 20 miles in cycling.

    Now then, about the feathers on the front edge of the top of the wings of birds. I’ve noticed that too. That’s probably a very complicated subject, for it could be caused by the negative air pressure above their wings which creates the lift that enables birds to fly in the first place. Simply the negative pressure sucking the feathers out of place.

    Or, it could be that the birds purposely raise their feathers like that, and there could be many reasons for that. You’d almost have to do some wind tunnel testing to find the true reason. But, the raised feathers could be acting as flaps to increase lift as the birds slow down, or the feathers could be spoilers which help the birds to slow down faster than they would with just their wings and tails spread as in your photos. It could be that they raise a few feathers as trim tabs to help them steer. Look at a modern airplane or race car, and they have wings, winglets, flaps, and spoilers everywhere that you look, and they all have different reasons for being there.

    1. I would have to try to take a picture of a jackdaw when it wasn’t slowing down to approach the feeder and see if it had ‘flaps up’ too. Thank you for thinking about it.

  5. Interesting to read the response about the jackdaw feathers. It was something I didn’t know either. It seems birds are far cleverer than we give them credit for.

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