Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who has just got round to sorting through some more of his Marseille pictures. This one shows the village of L’Estaque and a view popular with Braque, Cezanne and other famous painters.
The wind did move round today as forecast but it was neither as strong not brought so much rain as we were told to expect. And the promised warmer weather didn’t arrive and in the end, we were left with a grey, uninspiring and dull day.
However, the morning was brightened considerable by the arrival of Dropscone tottering under the weight of a huge quantity of drop scones…
…but we managed to dispose of them in fine style, aided by a little local honey and some Ethiopian coffee.
While we were sipping and chatting, a sudden and unexpected flash of colour outside the kitchen window caught my eye. It was a greater spotted woodpecker, a very rare visitor to the garden indeed. I didn’t have my flying bird camera to hand but snatched up the Lumix, zoomed out to max and shot from where I was sitting at the table.
The result was a tribute to the camera on a gloomy morning. I got up to get a better look and the bird flew off in an instant, never to return.
When Dropscone had gone home, I got to work sieving some more compost. Mrs Tootlepedal has used all my previous pile in her flower bed improvement scheme and tells me that she can do with lots more so I will try to keep sieving a little each day.
I had a look at the birds when I went in and while there was no shortage of goldfinches, there always seemed to be one more about than there were perches available.
After lunch, the goldfinches had been replaced by chaffinches.
There was a hint of drizzle in the air but I was up for a short stroll and Mrs Tootlepedal was keen to show me the Roman fort where she had been working with the archaeologist so we drove up the hill and had a wander about.
Regular readers will know that it is against the law to go past Skippers Bridge on a good day without taking a picture so we stopped on our way to the fort to do our duty.
The fort itself, although quite large, has not got much to show for itself on the surface…
…but it was built on the top of a small hill with splendid views up the Esk and Tarras valleys.
The field itself was full of fungus.
We walked round the outside of the fort site and then visited a beautiful old oak wood just below it.
As we walked through the wood, we could hear the regular sounds on acorns falling to the ground.
The trees were covered with acorns and there were many more fungi here too.
I’ll have to try to get back on a better day for taking photographs.
While we were in the area, we decided to go the Moorland Feeders bird hide for a while.
We were entertained by the usual crop of small birds and were thinking about going when a woodpecker arrived. I only had my Lumix with me so I wasn’t have much luck trying to focus the zoom on fidgety birds when the arrival of a bird of prey which flashed through the glade and perched in a tree…
…gave me some unexpected assistance.
A woodpecker had been nibbling away at the nuts on a feeder, being very careful to keep the feeder between me and it and only giving me occasional glimpses of its back. The arrival of the bird of prey however made it decide that I was the lesser of two evils and it carefully put the feeder between itself and the perching bird of prey in the tree and sat so still that I could get quite a good picture of it.
It eventually realised that the hawk had left and scurried off up the tree trunk and disappeared.
The pheasants remained very calm during the whole affair and kept picking about for fallen seed from the feeders as usual.
We didn’t stay for too long as it was getting more and more gloomy and got home in nice time for a cup of tea and a slice of toast.
We did stop on the way down to record a touch of autumn, looking good even in the gloom.
After we had both had a busy day yesterday, this quiet day suited us very well and the evening was spent being even more relaxed.
The flower of the day is a clematis which is enjoying our autumn weather a lot…
…and the flying bird of the day is a goldfinch, determined to get to an empty perch before anyone else.