The cold war continues

Dove Valley

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who took a walk in the Peak District last week and climbed high enough to get this excellent view of the River Dove and its valley  far below him.

Dove Valley

I was battling with the cold again today and although there were moments when I was quite cheery, there were more moments when I was completely wabbit and had to sit down.  In the great game of life the score was Cold 3 – 2 Tootlepedal.

Sandy was off living the high life in Carlisle and so it fell to me to drive up to the Moorland bird hide and fill the feeders after breakfast.  Luckily this was in one of my better moments and after I had topped up the seeds, I had a little sit down in the hide.  There was plenty of action.

I always put a handful of seed on a short tree stump just outside the hide so that I can photograph small birds when they come to have a nibble.  Today proved that pheasants are quite able to adapt to new experiences….

pheasant on stump
Strong toes and good balance

The rotten thing ate all my seed in a few seconds and jumped down with a merry laugh at my expense.  He obviously expected me to replenish the stock promptly because I got a very hard stare when he returned and found no food.


I had to look elsewhere for small birds.  They were not in short supply.

A whirlwind of chaffinches round the tall house
coal tit and blue tit
A coal tit and blue tit sample the seeds and nuts
great tit
A great tit waits for an available slot
Two woodpeckers obligingly provided me with a symmetrical triptych

I didn’t stay long.  It was quite warm by December standards but I didn’t want to push my luck and get chilled.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy with Christmas cards and getting organised to go to Edinburgh to visit Matilda when I got back so I perfected my skills at not getting under anyone’s feet for a while and only took an occasional peek out of the kitchen window.

The robin was back on sentry duty.


Once again bird traffic was light and while some birds posed, others turned their backs on me.

goldfinch and greenfinch

The light was not good and flying birds were a bit of a blur.


After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to Lockerbie and I made some batter and left it to rest in a bowl while I went for a short walk.

My first target was a dipper (or two) and I found one in the middle of the river Esk, just above the suspension bridge.  The light was not great and it was a little too far away for the camera but it put on a good perching and dipping show while I watched.

dipper in Esk

My next target was black headed gulls on the Kilngreen and here I was very lucky, as there was a good number of them on fence posts beside the river and for some reason, they all took off and flew around as I passed. (I didn’t shout “boo” honest.  That would be unethical.)

black headed gulls

It is hard to imagine from the different colours in the background that these were all taken from the same spot and within a few minutes.

There was another dipper here in the middle of the Ewes Water.


I walked on round the Lodge, over the Duchess Bridge and back past the school.  Then I took the path through the Galaside wood instead of going along the road.   I saw a few things on my way.

typhula, catkins and algae
Possibly typhula fungus, certainly catkins and probably algae and lichen                                                                                         

There were bare trees to admire as well.

Castleholm tree

And yet another dipper in the Esk, this time much too far away to be any good but singing really loudly in a failed effort to get me to put it in the post.

I got home, having walked about one mile in an hour, in perfect time to turn the batter into crumpets.  After my last effort had resulted in reasonably tasty but very unsightly crumpets, I had consulted Mrs Tootlepedal and she had suggested lining the crumpet rings with non stick baking paper and heating the pan much more slowly.  This was sound advice….which I took….with quite good results.

Not perfect yet but a lot more pleasing to look at.

The taste test will come when we toast them tomorrow and eat them with melted butter.

After the excitement of very slow walking and cooking, the cold took over and the rest of the day was spent in gentle coughing and theatrical sighing. I enjoyed myself.

The leaf of the day is a modest tropaeolum poking through the yew beside the middle lawn….


…and the flying bird is the best of the black headed gulls.

black headed gull flying
Details:  f/5 – 1/1000th sec – ISO 4000 – zoom 165mm – taken in ‘aperture’ mode – cropped

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

23 thoughts on “The cold war continues

  1. Yet another new word for me: “wabbit”! My first thought was of Bugs Bunny, and indeed my search for its meaning resulted in many links to Warner Brothers, but I got there in the end. It’s wonderfully descriptive and I like the sound of it. The pheasant is hilarious, by the way!

  2. I didn’t know that pheasants were winged pigs. They’re still beautiful despite their apparent greed.
    I just read that dippers can walk under water in fast moving streams, which seems fairly remarkable for what looks like a smallish bird.
    The crumpets look more like English muffins all the time.
    I hope the cold runs its course gently.

    1. The dippers can certainly disappear under water for quite long times and travel quite a distance. I assumed that they were swimming so it is interesting to learn that they are probably walking.

  3. Loved the pheasant! I wish that I could find a few of the ones left around here.

    Great photos of the dippers and other birds as well. The crumpets look as though they will be very tasty, melted butter will certainly help. I hope that you’re feeling less wabbit soon.

  4. Very sorry the cold is lingering on.
    Great picture of the pheasant asking for more.
    Enjoy the crumpets!

  5. Wonderful photos of all the birds I especially like the pheasant, the gulls and the wood pecker. Love the photo of he tree at the end of the rugby pitch too. Eating those delicious looking crumpets will definitely make your cold better.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: