Woodpeckers and woods

Nelson Cathedral

Today’s guest picture comes from Mike Tinker’s NZ trip and shows Nelson Cathedral.  He tells me that as it is in NZ,  it has an earthquake policy, the final line of which says: ‘if the earthquake is a gentle event (i.e. no creaks in the building) services will continue’.  I hadn’t thought that there might be a gentle earthquake.

Nelson Cathedral

Our good weather continued today, although it was a bit windier than it has been lately.   Under the circumstances, I was quite pleased to have an excuse not to go cycling as we were expecting a visit from our friend Sue for lunch.

There was a complete lack of birds in the morning and it was a bit annoying that they appeared in the garden just as Sue arrived.  I was listening with my full attention to every word that was spoken over coffee and at the lunch table, even when I might have been distracted by movement outside.

If I had been rude enough to get up with camera in hand in mid conversation, I might have seen this….

robin, chaffinch and goldfinch
Three poseurs

…or this….

Two more poseurs

…or even this…

Impending violence

Sue noticed the arrival of a greenfinch so I make no excuses for having seen this finch festival.

greenfinch, goldfinch and chaffinch

After lunch, we piled into the car and headed up to the hide at the Moorland Project bird feeders, where we sat for a while watching a terrific amount of activity.  Unfortunately, apart from a brief and unrecorded visit from a brambling, there were no unusually exciting birds to be seen.

It is always fun to see a greater spotted woodpecker though and there were a lot about today, pecking away at various feeders and chasing each other up and down trees.

greater spotted woodpecker

The great, coal and blue tits were in sharing mode.

great tit, coal tit and blue tit

And there were dozens of chaffinches around.

Those pink pellets are always popular
The brisk wind was ruffling a feather or two

There were several raptors flying over the hill when we came out of the hide but they were too far away to identify with confidence.

Mrs Tootlepedal has been suffering from a sore foot so she drove the car back while Sue and I walked the two and a half miles home from Broomholmshiels.

The weather stayed dry and there was even a hint of sunshine as we strolled along looking for things of interest on the way.

I always like  a gate and this brand new belt and braces job caught my eye soon after we left the farm fields.


Broomholmshiels gate

And bare trees are favourites.


Sue has been going to classes on plant recognition and had a keen eye for the ferns, mosses, lichens and fungi that we passed on our way once we had got into the oak and birch woods…

sue T

Oak wood

There were a lot of things to see just on the trees.

moss and lichens

turkey tail fungus

We saw fine displays of mosses beside the track in the wood and many spleenwort and ferns on walls when we got nearer to the town.

We finished out walk with a stroll along the river bank and since I had told Sue that we might well see a dipper as some point, I was very pleased when we found one singing its heart out near the suspension bridge.

The light had faded quite a bit by the time that we saw it.

We also met Sandy, who rather annoyingly told us that he had seen a tree creeper at the Moorland site when he was filling the feeders this morning.  Where was it when we needed it?

We had a cup of tea and some of Sue’s delicious home made biscuits when we got home and then, after we had put the world to rights, it was time for Sue to head off back home.  It had been a delight to have her company.

I rounded off a very good day by making curried cauliflower for our tea.

No plant of the day today but I did manage to catch a flying chaffinch out of the corner of my eye while we were having lunch.

flying chaffinch


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

35 thoughts on “Woodpeckers and woods

  1. I do love your photos of your birds and countryside. As another New Zealander I can say that we do get used to mild earthquakes and tremors which can cause concern to overseas visitors who are not used to them. A cathedral like Nelson’s is likely to have overseas visitors to its services, and it is likely that some of them have expressed concerns at tremors and mild quakes, hence the notice. Nelson is on or near the wide band of faults that experienced very severe earthquakes last month.

  2. Gentle earthquake, indeed. If it comes down to it, I think I’d rather complain about snow! Hope Mrs. T’s foot mends promptly.

  3. The shot of the bare tree is a winner.
    You’re lucky to have a friend studying mosses, lichens, ferns and fungi. I’d like to do the same some day more formally than I’ve been able to.
    I hope Mrs. T.s foot gets better quickly.

    1. Mrs T is resting her foot carefully so it should get better. Sue says that if she keeps going to the classes long enough, she may even be able to retain some of what she has learned. That would be my difficulty.

  4. As a New Zealander I can say that people living here long term get used to the milder quakes and tremors, but I have had, and heard of, overseas visitors getting quite concerned about quakes and tremors below 5.0 on the Richter scale that do not worry us permanent residents. Nelson is on the wide belt of faults that moved in the earthquakes here last month, and very likely the clergy and staff at the cathedral have had overseas visitors express concern at the “gentle” quakes below 5.0. I am sure this would explain why the notice was put up.

  5. I think that the image of the new gate is excellent, along with the dipper singing! It was a good day for you as far as photography, as I also never tire of seeing the birds at your feeder, or the Moorland feeders.

  6. Hi Tom and Ali thank you both for a really lovely afternoon, great company, food, walk, birdwatching, photography, I enjoyed it very much !

      1. The one on the web site for December is Mount Shasta, down in northern California. Coming down Interstate 5, that one can be seen a long way off. Mount Jefferson and The Three Sisters (our Three Sisters cats were named for them) are the closest to us up here in Oregon. All are part of the Cascade Range.

  7. Lovely to read the above comments about earthquakes. Love your walk photos especially the bare tree and the posing goldfinches!

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