All hail


Today’s guest picture is another from Dropscone’s visit to Crail to act as referee at a golf competition earlier this month.  As well as looking as the fine views, he also saw some golfers.  There may be worse places to play golf than Crail.


They forecast a chilly night and we got one.  They forecast a fine day and it certainly started out with brilliant sunshine.  It was too cold to bicycle after breakfast (for me at any rate) so I waited until I had had a coffee and an éclair before setting off.

I went past the new windmill site and was impressed to see that a second section had been added to the tower.

ewe hill windmill

The fact that we will have three wind farms on the hills round Langholm may be connected to my feeling that the wind is always blowing when I go cycling.  They probably put the turbines here for a good reason.

The wind wasn’t too bad today but it was still chilly and still coming from the north east.

I managed to choose a route where it was across or behind me for the most part and as long as the sun was out, cycling was a pleasure.

garmin 16 April 2016

My legs weren’t quite as enthusiastic as I was so I had plenty of time to look at things as I went along.

This rather unassuming bridge carries the main north south motorway over the main north south railway.


I like the way that no money at all has been wasted in making it look attractive but as it is perfectly functional it is probably perfectly beautiful.

There were signs of spring.

signs of spring

But what exercised my mind most were signs of heavy showers.  I had one or two brushes with the fringes of showers and decided to limit my ride to 40 miles and get home before I got really wet.

Things looked a bit tight with nine miles to go. I stopped to take a triptych with showers to the left and right and hope straight ahead.

shower clouds

I felt a bit smug until a bend in the road took me into the shower on the left.  As it was a heavy hail shower I got a thorough pinging.  It was all the more annoying that I could still see the nice blue sky and sunshine no distance away to my right.

I was a bit worried that the road might end up covered in hailstones and get slippery  but luckily things eased off after a couple of miles and I got back into enough sunshine to see me home.

It had really chucked the hailstones down in Langholm while I was away and it did so again shortly after I got in…


…so I considered myself lucky to have got off so lightly.

I had a late lunch, admired all the excellent work that Mrs Tootlepedal had done in the garden before the hail had come on and then went off on a nuthatch hunt.

The clouds had gone and it was a quiet sunny day by now.

I met an ex pupil looking up into the tree when I arrived at the nuthatch nest.  He asked me what bird it was that was singing so loudly.  I was able to tell him that it was a nuthatch and he, with his comparatively young eyes, was able to spot it among the branches for me.


It’s partner soon appeared carrying material for the nest.  As the bird on the left was making all the noise and the one on the right was doing all the work, I take it that that lets us know which is the male.

After a while, the worker appeared from the nest,  had a look around, climbed up the tree and posed triumphantly.


I walked on.

I peered inside the hollow tree trunk beside the Lodge Walks.  The large fungus is still thriving but the small red button like ones have vanished without a trace.


There were more primroses than before and they had been joined by some wood anemones.

primrose and anemone

The walls were as interesting as ever, a garden in themselves.

Lodge walk walls

I didn’t see Mr Grumpy or any oyster catchers on the Kilngreen but I got an unexpected treat instead.  In the Clinthead Garden, a bird was so busy pecking up worms that it didn’t mind how often I clicked away.

I am not the world’s most reliable bird spotter but I think that this is a mistle thrush.

mistle thrush

As an added bonus, I thought that I could just make out a first hint of green on the poplars beside the river in the park.


For a short walk, it was very good value.

The sunshine had brought out a tulip of two in the garden when I got home.


It says that it going to freeze again tonight so we are keeping our fingers crossed for the plants.

The redpolls were back on the feeder again today and they must now be considered regulars.


As you can see, there are at least two of them and I think that there may be more.


It is hard to tell one small bird from another.

There was a moment of almost perfect geometry on one feeder.

goldfinch and siskin

We have had some large birds in the plum tree lately with visits from rooks and sparrowhawks.  Today’s example was a pigeon.

They always look faintly disgruntled to me.

For some inexplicable reason, I feel a little tired as I write this and am intending to have an early night.

The flying bird of the day was a disgruntled goldfinch leaving in a huff when it found that the feeder was busy.

flying goldfinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

31 thoughts on “All hail

  1. I know that I wouldn’t want to be hit by hail of any size, that must have hurt! I’m not sure if the mistle thrush is indeed a mistle thrush, but it definitely looks like a thrush of some sort. Most thrushes are very good singers, so I hope this one sticks around to sing for you. Loving the tulips and other flowers as well as the first green of the poplars.

  2. Great sequence of the nuthatch – out in the wild as well! I would never have put finches and geometry together before, but you have captured them precisely.

    April is certainly living up to it’s showery reputation round here. Monday was our only dry day.

  3. I got caught in a hailstorm on my motorcycle once and it was terrible. I hope the hail didn’t destroy all the flowers in your garden.
    Your shot of the spleenwort reminds me that there are so many plants here that I haven’t seen yet.
    The poplars are beautiful.

    1. The gap in the middle is because the council cut some down from the row as they were thought to be dangerously sick so we keep our fingers crossed for the others.

  4. I am happy you got away unharmed from the hail storm. And the birds seem to have had shelter as well. I hope your beautiful plants will make it too.

    1. We got through a couple of chilly nights pretty well unscathed but the northerly airflow is coming back next weekend so we are not out of the woods yet.

  5. The Crail course looks extremely scenic.
    Sweet picture of the redpoll and a fine portrait of the mistle thrush. Sorry about the hail.

  6. The rapid changes in weather at this time of year can bring surprises. Hail is not fun to get caught in, any time of year. Last time that happened, Rick and I were camping in the Badlands of North Dakota in summer. A late afternoon thunderstorm spawned a tornado, which landed halfway between the national park where we were and the KOA campground, roughly 7.5 miles to the south. Wind, rain and hail ripped open the tent. We were holding the sides down as best we could, but in the end, were sitting in a pool of icy water and hailstones with the tent laying on top of us. Further to the north, we heard hailstones the size of golf balls landed, causing much damage. The tent was tossed into the campground dumpster at the end of the storm, and we rapidly headed for Rapid City, and a warm, dry motel room. The mushroom storm clouds loomed in the rear view mirror, highlighted by the colors of sunset. A portrait of of the fury of nature in stark white, orange and purple, still remembered .

  7. I love to see those spring flowers popping up their heads, full of nostalgia as it reminds me of spring days in the Old Dart.
    We get plenty of heavy hail storms here in Queensland. Size of golf balls sometimes. Didn’t expect to see them in your neck of the woods. Pleased you managed to get home without too much damage.

  8. GACK! My condolences on the bruising hail. I’m glad you made it home. Lovely images of the thrush and the engaging nuthatches.

  9. Those hailstones really sting when they hit you don’t they? I’ve been caught out a few times recently like that and they always end up down the back of my neck too.

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