Today’s guest picture is a reminder of summer. It shows two shots of a dragonfly spotted by Mike Tinker on holiday in Wales.
Although some of the snow had melted away from yesterday, there was enough about to make some icy spots on our local roads and to keep our hills still looking pretty white.
I was in no hurry to rush out and fall over so I checked to see if Dropscone was in treacle scone making mode. He was and arrived for coffee bearing scones so freshly baked that the butter melted on them.
When he left, I had time to stare out of the window. One good thing about the snow is that it improves the light…
…and another is that it brings in siskins.
I was pleased to catch the robin at work….
…because I was beginning to worry that a cat might have caught it napping.
We had been promised a bright and chilly sunny day but we had a rather cloudy day instead but I thought that it was still worth a walk and rang up Sandy. After a very light lunch, we met at the Langholm Bridge and walked along the A7 towards Whitshiels.
You can’t pass the Kilngreen without looking around.
There was a flotilla of ducks on the river….
…and a single black headed gull among some light snowflakes in the air.
Fortunately, the snowflakes didn’t come to anything and we got round our walk in pleasant conditions.
From the Whitshiels, we walked up the track, keeping an eye out for interesting things.
There is a tree stump under the trees covered in something white and today for once the light let me get a good picture of it.
I can’t make up my mind whether the white stuff is lichen or fungus or something else entirely.
I am quite sure that the the tiny red dots that you can see in this picture of a gatepost if you look very carefully towards the bottom on the left…
…are British Soldier lichens (Cladonia cristatella) as a closer look reveals.
I will have to take my macro lens up the track one of these days to try to get a better picture of it. It is tiny and my Lumix finds it very hard to pick it out from the background. There was a remarkable amount of soldiers at their post.
There was ice on one side of the track and hints of spring on the other.
Further up the track, the view opens out and bare trees appear…
We walked out onto the open hill where we were the first people to have trodden since the snow fell…but not the first creatures. There were a number of tracks about but we liked this one a lot…
There was a nice set of these neat four holed footsteps which were on the path that we followed and a little research when I got back tells me that they were probably made by a hare. The fact that we saw a hare running across the hill in front of us was a help in suggesting what to look up.
The weather had brightened up a bit by this time and there were plenty of good views to be had looking up the Ewes valley to the north…
…even if the hills were showing through the snow a bit more than they were yesterday.
To the west, there were some big skies available.
We got onto the hill road to Newcastleton and were very pleased that we weren’t driving on it as it looked very icy. We were staggered to see a cheery cyclist free wheeling very gently down it. He told us that he had hoped to cycle on the hill but big snowdrifts had scuppered his plan. He was a much braver man than me.
We crossed the road and continued our walk along the side of Whita Hill towards the golf course and the Kirk Wynd. The hill sheep were coping well with the snow, finding things to eat here and there.
Although the sun had occasionally been shining, it was low in the sky and haunted by thin cloud. It made for interesting light.
The sun was still picking out the hills to our north.
And I kept looking back and we went along.
We got onto the Kirk Wynd and came down the hill into the town where Sandy stopped to catch the town bus back to Holmwood and I walked down to the river in the hope of seeing a dipper.
I saw another strange bird instead.
This is my friend John, a great nature lover, who is always telling me where I might see interesting things if only I had the patience that he has. I caught him relaxing in a very natural pose as you can see.
I didn’t see a dipper today, although John told me that I had just missed one, but I did see a blue tit when I got home…
…which made for a very good finish for an enjoyable outing.
As it turned out, Dropscone, who was unable to play golf for obvious reasons, had gone for a walk on Whita this afternoon as well but we didn’t see him. He has sent me a picture which he took and which should appear as guest picture tomorrow. He was higher up the hill than we were.
I lent a hand to Mrs Tootlepedal who was busy taking wallpaper off the ceiling in the hall when I got back. I may not be a very competent decorator (I am not a very competent decorator) but there are times when simply being tall is good enough.
In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and we shared a bottle of wine which was given to me as a Christmas present and Alison and I played Rameau, Corelli and Hook.
Treacle scones in the morning, a walk in the middle of the day, corned beef hash for tea and a glass of wine, good conversation and some music in the evening may not be exactly setting the world alight but it was quite good enough for me. A day firmly on the credit side of the great ledger of life.
The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch at the feeder.
An addendum to today’s post is a shot of the moon which I took when I went to bed last night.
It sneaks into today’s post because it was after midnight when I took the shot.