Today’s guest picture is a charming bridge crossed by some of my siblings last week. I can’t remember where it is but I can confirm that they came to it before they crossed it.
We had another cool dry day today so it seemed like a good idea to have an outing with my sister Susan who is staying for a few days. She writes a weekly blog and since her most recent post was about the London home of Thomas Carlyle, the sage of Ecclefechan, it seemed like another good idea to visit his birth place which is not far from Langholm and combine this with trip to Eskrigg Nature Reserve in the hope of spotting some red squirrels.
Ecclefechan is a very quiet village….
…and unfortunately Thomas Carlyle’s birthplace was shut until the summer so we could look…
…but we couldn’t go in.
We pressed on to Lockerbie and the potential squirrels. Being a Londoner, my sister Susan sees any amount of grey squirrels but no red ones.
We parked below the woods and walked up the well maintained paths…
…towards the hides.
We settled down and peered out of the windows but not a squirrel was to be seen. There were plenty of small birds…
…but when twenty minutes had passed by in a squirreless fashion, I walked along to the second hide to see if they were lurking there. I saw a blue tit…
…and a grey wagtail on the muddy shore of the pond…
…but not much else. Finally I caught a glimpse of a squirrel dashing away and went back to tell the others about it. They were surrounded by squirrels which, needless to say, had appeared almost as soon as I had left the hide. Can you have too many cute squirrel pictures? It is hard to say.
Here are some more.
I had taken the precaution of bringing a few peanuts with me.
There are peanuts in bird feeders on the site but the squirrels can get at them with ease…
…but they are not very photo friendly when they are inside.
For most of the time, we were the only people about and it was very peaceful in the woods and we had the the good fortune to catch a few bursts of unexpected sunshine which made the whole scene most delightful.
We were visited by a greater spotted woodpecker…
…and could see a pair of herons across the pond.
After a while, we walked along to the hide beside the old curling pond. There were ducks finding interesting things to eat in the pond…
…and a nuthatch on a feeder too.
There was another woodpecker but it knew what it was up to and stayed hidden behind the feeder while it pecked away at the seed. Woodpeckers are very clever about knowing exactly where photographers can’t see them.
We had a look at a final athletic squirrel stretching to use the same feeder…
…and it stayed there, nibbling away as we left the hide, quite unconcerned by people coming very close to it.
We walked back to the car in a welcome patch of sunlight as there was a nipping wind which would have been quite chilly in a cloudy moment.
A little treat during our visit was finding a hazel flower in a convenient spot.
Once in the car, we headed south to Gretna, where we enjoyed a light lunch in the Old Toll Bar, just beside the border bridge which I cycled across on Wednesday.
All that was left after lunch was a flying visit to a garden centre for supplies of potting compost before we got home, perfectly satisfied with a grand day out.
It was a good day for a little gardening so I sieved some more kitchen waste compost and Mrs Tootlepedal used it to prepare the soil in her onion beds. She continued outside but I went in to winnow out some pictures for this post from a great cloud of cute squirrels which had found their way into my camera somehow.
In the early evening, my sister kindly took us out for an excellent meal at the Douglas Hotel and a good day was rounded off by music and conversation when we were visited by Mike and Alison as usual on a Friday.
The flying bird of the day is a slightly fuzzy Eskrigg chaffinch. (We could have done with a bit more sunlight.)
This post called have been titled, “A Full Day” as I have eaten so much today that if you read of a large explosion in the south of Scotland overnight, you will know the cause.