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.
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….
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
There were bare trees to admire as well.
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.
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.