Today’s guest picture was taken in sunny Scarborough over Easter by my brother and makes a pleasant contrast to our own weather here today.
The first of April signals the start of the six brighter months of the year between the vernal and the autumn equinoxes but but if today is a sign of the times to come, we are in for another rotten summer. It was wet, cold and windy.
I sneaked out into the garden in a light drizzle to see if there was anything new to see but found hope rather than any present delight.
Under the circumstances, I lurked indoors for most of the rest of day but found plenty to do. I started by making sour dough bread and followed that up by entertaining Dropscone to a cup of coffee while nibbling on a couple of his traditional Friday treacle scones.
It was one of those days when almost every time that I looked out of the window I saw a sparrowhawk. One crashed into the feeders while I was chatting to Dropscone and left without catching anything.
But it wasn’t long before the hawk was back and this time it caught a goldfinch.
We think it must be feeding young because its visits were very frequent and after Dropscone left, it was soon back again, this time to nab a siskin.
It is sad to see our little birds taken in this way but sparrowhawks need to feed their young like any other bird and it is part of life.
I broke off from the action and went to the computer to put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database. I have now managed to make a slight dent in the backlog and hope to be able to continue to catch up over the next few days.
Mrs Tootlepedal had been out for a coffee and chat fest with ex colleagues from her work and when she returned, I made some soup and we had a light lunch.
The small birds were soon back in action, with the lure of a free lunch overcoming any fear of the hawk and the steady rain proving no discouragement to them.
Mrs Tootlepedal has cut down a flowering currant in her works at the back fence but she took a cutting and put it in a jar in the kitchen. She told me that although the flowers would have been deep red if left in place, the cut branch would produce much whiter blossoms. She was right.
I had several attempts to get a good shot without using any additional lighting but it was hard. Even a tripod and a remote control didn’t bring entirely satisfactory results.
More practice needed.
I went off to transcribe a keyboard part for a trio sonata into the computer. The kindly printers have put the right hand of the accompaniment into such tiny print that it is unreadable for anyone without 100% eyesight. They have their reasons for doing this but it is a bit annoying for the pianist.
When it was time for a slice of toast and a cup of tea, I had a moment for another look out of the window and was pleased to see a little redpoll in the midst of the frantic feeder action.
It was the smallest bird about but it was quite able to keep its place at the table.
You can mistake a redpoll for a siskin if it has its back to you but when it turns, the unmistakable red cap and red breast show what it really is.
I haven’t seen more than two at any one time this year so far.
In spite of the rain, some birds seemed to be able to keep quite dry.
Mrs Tootlepedal went to do some shopping and got quite wet between the car and the shop door.
In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and Alison and I enjoyed a gentle run through a wide selection of music while Mike and Mrs Tootlepedal sipped on a glass of red wine and put the world to rights.
The flying bird of the day is a graceful chaffinch dodging the raindrops.