Today’s guest picture was sent to me by Venetia during the cold snap a week ago and shows her cat testing the ice on her pond. It held up.
There was no ice here this morning although the temperature was only just above freezing and in spite of a very gloomy forecast, there was no snow either. Looking at the weather maps there was snow on all sides of us but once again, we had escaped the worst.
I put out some food for the jackdaws. It attracted their attention…
…and that of a rook too.
In fact it was quite a pleasant morning if you were able to disregard the piercing wind. Mrs Tootlepedal found a sheltered spot round the back of the house to do some gardening and I wrapped up well and went for a short walk.
I took a picture or two in the garden before I left as there definite signs of things to come to be seen.
I was hoping to see some suitable gulls for the flying bird of the day on my walk but there were no gulls to be seen, just some ducks lurking in a corner out of the wind.
It wasn’t a day for taking your hands out of your pockets more than necessary and as I was walking a well trodden route and there was nothing new to see, I only took the occasional picture.
When I got home, I noticed that the rhubarb has begun to show itself….
There were quite a few birds about so I settled down for an hour to do a garden birdwatch count for the RSPB.
There were plenty of birds to watch both on branches….
…and in the air…
…but I was a bit disappointed that not all the birds which I often see put in an appearance today within the time limits. I saw rook, jackdaw, chaffinch, goldfinch, greenfinch, siskin and blackbird but didn’t see sparrow, robin, blue tit, great tit, coal tit, dunnock or starling.
When the time was up, it was far too windy to be an attractive outdoor cycling day so I did a gentle half hour on the bike to nowhere in the garage and then had lunch.
As you can see from the busy feeder picture above, there were few snowflakes about but they came to nothing so after lunch, I went for another walk. Owing to the adverse cycling conditions, I have put on some weight since Christmas and I will either have to start watching what I eat or get less fussy about cycling in miserable weather. Meanwhile a walk was a feeble effort to shake down my lunch.
As long as I was out of the wind, it was a nice enough afternoon for walking but if you caught the wind in your face once you were out of the shelter of the town, it was both hard to walk at all and hard to stop crying.
Luckily I had planned a sheltered walk.
There were hints of sunshine too.
There was plenty of moss to be seen on Gaskell’s Walk. This was all on just one tree stump by the path.
There was lichen too but I kept my hands in my pocket as I passed it.
I tested the zoom on my new Lumix to its fullest extent to try to catch a heron in a field on the Murtholm and by propping it on a fence post managed to keep it steady enough to get a recognisable picture from a good distance away.
A fallen tree trunk beside the path caught my eye as I climbed the steps to the old railway at Skippers Bridge….
…but there were some less welcome ones to be negotiated on the railway.
Even on a raw winter’s day, it was a pleasure to be out in the woods….
…but a quick look at Castle Hill when I got to the Round House…
…persuaded me not to hang about but to head for home without delay. I managed to get to within 300 yards of home before the snow hit me so I was quite pleased with my timing.
Although the snow didn’t come to anything once again, the day was very grey by this time so I settled down to do some top quality idling for the rest of the day. I did interrupt it to cook my tea and have another very short pedal on the bike to nowhere but idling was the chief activity.
I checked the Met Office website and saw that they have got another named storm for us in the offing. We can look forward to being slapped by the coat tails of storm Henry on Monday evening though the worst should pass to the north of us. We would give a lot for a small ridge of high pressure.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch in the snow this morning.