Today’s guest picture is another from Mike and Alison’s NZ holiday and shows the very pretty kowhai, generally regarded as New Zealand’s national flower..
In spite of the many and much appreciated good wishes from correspondents, my cold was a lot worse this morning and I had to struggle to get out of bed at all. I had an incentive though. A neighbour had told me that while I was lying nursing my incipient cold yesterday morning, a flock of waxwings had visited our walnut tree so I stirred myself at first light to see if they had come back today but no such luck.
In the end, I dozed on and off, getting up to look in vain for waxwings and finally got up for a late breakfast and idled about feeling sorry for myself for most of the morning.
I didn’t feel so sorry that I couldn’t set the camera up and look out of the window though.
It was a day for robins.
This one took up a perch on the willow and stayed for an unusually long time. I took several pictures.
The reason for the look out became clear when this other one arrived near the feeder.
It wasn’t long before the first robin descended from its perch and chased the newcomer off. It was a gentle shove rather than an all out attack and it didn’t chase it right out of the garden, which I have seen happen in previous years.
The dunnocks, which seem so small and calm, also chase each other about and it is hard to get a good shot before they move along.
There were some very bright moments during the morning….
…and I was sorry that I had had to turn down an offer of a pedal with the minister…..but a bit less so when I found out that he had done 30 miles with 2500ft of climbing.
After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to Gretna to do some necessary shopping and I perked up enough to go for a short walk at a very steady pace. As the temperature was at a mild 10°C, I thought a little exercise could only do me good.
I was happy to stop and look around as I went.
This rather curious composite tree caught my eye as I got near Wauchope Churchyard.
The solid shape is a cypress in the churchyard and it is straight behind the tree in the foreground.
The lichen on the fencepost at the Auld Stane Brig was flourishing.
There were leaves to be seen.
I came back through the park and this little composition of paths, leaves and tree trunk appealed to me.
I went down to the river to see if I could spot a dipper….
…but had to settle for a view of the river….
…and a tree full of catkins.
I walked along the river past the church continuing my search for dippers but only saw Andy Little, of the camera club, on the suspension bridge. He instinctively posed for a picture while his wife Sheila instinctively tried to get out of the shot.
When I got up to the road, I could hear some loud bird song but it wasn’t a dipper this time.
There are robins everywhere.
I did spot a dipper in the Wauchope as I walked up Caroline Street but the light had gone a bit and I couldn’t get the Lumix to focus before it had flown off. There was still plenty of light if you looked high enough into the sky.
I looked up into the sky later on in the evening when Mrs Tootlepedal told me that the International Space Station was due to fly overhead before tea.
I used a convenient planet to get the camera to think about the conditions…
…so I was ready when the space station arrived.
It is very bright and its trail easily shone through the aeroplane trail still drifting in the sky far below it.
The station moves quite briskly across the sky. The picture above was taken with a 6 second exposure.
I had another go before it went over the hill.
It is moving from right to left. This was another six second exposure and the wobble at the start might have been caused by the mirror movement in the camera.
I am going to try to capture much more of the movement across our skies with a longer exposure on the next occasion its arrival coincides with a clear night.
I suppose that the space station could have been the flying bird of the day but here is a chaffinch.
I’m still a snivelling wretch but I am hoping that another day will bring relief.
I should add that you can see Sandy’s pictures from Las Vegas, which he has at last got round to posting on his blog, if you click here.