Today’s guest picture is another from Fiona’s visit to the Washington Wildlife Park. It’s a striking bird, I think you’ll agree.
March, as it should, went out like a lamb and we enjoyed a sunny and calm day from start to finish.
I had a busy morning so it was just as well that I wasn’t in need of any extra cycling miles as it would have been a pity to miss such a good cycling day if I had needed some distance. As it was, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went up to fill the Moorland feeders after breakfast. This is usually Sandy’s job on a Thursday but he is still hors de combat so we filled in for him and were pleased to do it on such a fine morning.
The usual suspects were grateful for the bird food…
…but I was pleased to catch a glimpse of a wren as well.
Mrs Tootlepedal scanned the skies for hen harriers while I watched the small birds but she hadn’t seen any by the time we left for home.
We saw a jackdaw when we got in. It was collecting a stout twig for a nest but it dropped it just before I took its picture. This may account for its wistful air.
We also met our neighbour Gavin, back from America. He arrived in perfect time for a cup of coffee and one of Dropscone’s fabled scones. Dropscone himself had brought the scones round and we enjoyed listening to a mixture of foreign travel and golfing tales as Dropscone had played his first full eighteen hole round of golf since his accident a couple of days ago.
A passing greenfinch listened with close attention.
When the coffee drinkers went, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went up to the High Street to collect the Camera Club pictures from the Moorland Festival exhibition and then returned to to the garden.
It was looking good in the sunshine.
The bees were enjoying the crocuses too.
Mrs Tootlepedal has been very busy recently with a big project. She has been digging things up, shifting piles of stones and heaving tree stumps out of the ground…
…and planting box hedge plants to remodel the space at the back fence. The old fence will go and a new hedge and grassy bank will soon take shape.
I did some gardening too but on a more modest scale…
…as I weeded half the strawberry bed….with the emphasis on weediness. I leave the heavy work to Mrs Tootlepedal. I pruned the gooseberry bush too just to show willing.
In spite of the weather tempting me to go out, I put another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database after lunch and only then did I go out for a walk.
My target was Castle Hill to the north of the town and I was hoping for some good views.
I passed Mr Grumpy on the Kilngreen on my way. He wasn’t going to step aside for anyone.
The path up the hill was reasonably dry but it has been much trampled by cattle so it was hard going. Still, the joy of our local hills is that you don’t have to go very far to get a good view.
And my zoom lens can pick out the Kilngreen and the town bridge. Mr Grumpy can’t be seen though.
A tempting ridge leads on to Potholm Hill…
…but a shortage of time and some gloomier weather up the valley…
…persuaded me that a quick route home might be the best thing.
I walked back down to the Castleholm through the woods…
…enjoying some birch polypores…
…and a fine pine tree..
…before waiting for a while to see if I could spot a nuthatch or two near the Jubilee Bridge. I could but they were not in a helpful mood when it came to posing and this was the best that I could do.
They have a nest here though so I should be able to get better pictures next month.
It is not a long walk to the top of Castle Hill and back but it took me a long time and I just had time to look through the pictures and eat a few fish cakes for tea before Susan came to pick me up to go to Carlisle to play with our recorder group.
We had an enjoyable play with a mixture of ancient and modern pieces and this was followed by a cup of tea with some really excellent biscuits so the day ended on a high note.
The flying bird of the day is a black headed gull, spotted on the Kilngreen during my afternoon walk.