Today’s guest picture comes from my brother, who visited the beach at Exmouth on the south coast today. The sea is remarkably calm.
I had hoped to go for a cycle ride this morning but annoyingly the temperature was just too low straight after breakfast for me to be confident that there would be no icy patches on the road.
It didn’t upset the birds though and as I was making a stew for the slow cooker, the garden was quite busy.
After several days when I didn’t have a robin sighting, they have become regular again and I had several opportunities to catch this robin in posing mode.
The day was rather grey again so getting sharp pictures of the visitors was not easy as you can see.
There were well over a dozen chaffinches hanging about the plum tree at one time or another so there were many chaffinch opportunities too.
They all looked rather concerned, I thought. Probably worrying about their visas to enter the garden.
Chaffinches approached the feeder meekly enough but still often met with a hostile welcome when they got there, especially if there were siskins about.
Other birds came as well.
I was well entertained while I was cooking.
With the Mrs Tootlepedal rescue service being unavailable and a choir practice looming in the afternoon, I opted for a walk late in the morning rather than risk being marooned miles out of town if I got a bike breakdown.
It was still grey, with the clouds clamped firmly over the hills, so I settled for a two and a half mile ground level affair past the Kilngreen, round the pheasant hatchery and back over the Duchess Bridge.
There were only four gulls at the Kilngreen when I got there and they were sitting in the middle of the river…
…but they knew their duty and as I walked along the river bank, they rose from the river and flew gently about in front of me before coming to rest on fence posts.
I notice that I have got the three pictures in the panel above in the wrong order so please read the panel from right to left.
I paused on the Sawmill Brig in the hope of seeing a dipper and I was rewarded when one actually flew down the river towards me instead of flying away as usual. It is a gloomy corner but when I looked at the picture, I could see that it was flying towards a nesting site with material in its beak. It waited for a moment or two on a rock before flying off again.
The picture quality is very poor but this is the first nesting activity that I have seen this year.
I walked on and came to the tree trunk which is being worked on by our local wood sculptor.
Interesting details are beginning to appear out of the tree trunk.
.The tree was felled because it was in poor health and the sculptor is going to have a hard time avoiding bits of rot. He has set himself a big task in trying to create works on the whole piece because, as you can see, the the trunk is quite a large affair.
The low mist on the hills…
…gave me the opportunity to photograph some bare trees against a plainer background than usual.
There was a moment when the clouds threatened to part and let a little sunshine through…
…but having had a little chuckle at raising my hopes, the weather gods thoughtfully provided some light rain to speed up my pace at the end of my walk. I felt a bit….
I had to be in good time for the choir practice as I had a small administrative job to do which Mrs Tootlepedal would have done if she was here so I left in good time.
The weather gods, who were having a really fun day, were laughing themselves silly as I drove off and the clouds parted, the temperature rose and the sun came out . With light winds, it was a perfect afternoon for cycling. Ah well.
I discharged my task competently and was able to relax and enjoy the practice a lot. We spent the whole time on just one song and it is always interesting to see our conductor getting us to improve not just the notes and the timing but the mood, colour and interpretation too. With a very large, open access choir, this takes a lot of skill and patience and he does it all with kindness.
The weather gods had one last little joke for me. When we came out of the church where we sing, the last of the light was just fading and in the clear twilit sky, the most delicate new moon was hanging just above the roofs of the house. Of course I hadn’t brought my camera with me and by the time that I got home, it had sunk from sight.
Still, I am always cheered up by a flying gull.