Birds and bridges


Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent, Venetia, who went to watch a murmuration of starlings recently.  You can see more pictures  of her visit on her blog.


I too went to look at some birds today with Mrs Tootlepedal.  It was a glorious morning and it was no hardship at all to take my turn as a fill-in feeder filler at the Moorland Feeders.  While I sat in the bird hide, camera at the ready, Mrs Tootlepedal sat in the car outside, binoculars in hand, scanning the sky for raptors.  Her view…

View of Whita

…was better than mine but I had more birds to watch.  She saw a single buzzard while I watched siskins….


…and tits, great….

great tit

…and small…

coal tit, great tit and blue tit
Coal tit, great tit and blue tit

…and a greater spotted woodpecker flitting from tree to feeder.


I stopped the car on the way home to take a picture of the  road beside the river just because it felt so cheerful.

riverside road

It was a good day for cycling as the wind had moved round a bit so it was warmer and it was also a lot lest gusty than it has been lately.  I should have got out straight away when we got home because the forecast suggested that the sun might fade as the day went on but with characteristic feebleness, I footered around for the best part of an hour before finally getting going.

I took some pictures out of the kitchen window while I wasted time.

female chaffinch
Just too late to catch a flying female again
flying chaffinch
No problem with a male of course

It was still sunny when I set out but the sun disappeared on cue about half way round and I even had to put up with some light rain as I got near home but I only had myself to blame for this.

Because of the lighter winds, I took to the open country and went over Callister and then followed the route of the Kirtle Water from Falford down to the coast for fifteen miles.

I crossed the stream four times on my journey but didn’t stop to take pictures of all the bridges.  I followed a little road which I don’t usually take at one point and after plunging under the main railway line via a  surprisingly modest bridge…

Railway bridge

…I did stop to take the much more impressive bridge over the water at the bottom of the hill.

Kirtle water bridge
Riverside landowners should be compelled by law to cut down stuff that blocks a photographer’s view.

The view from the bridge showed a fine tower looking down over the little valley.


The Kirtle Water is not short of bridges and near Rigg there are four within a hundred metres.

I stood on this very functional one…

Kirtle water bridge

…to get a shot of the next two downstream, the Dumfries railway line bridge and the new road bridge just beyond it.

Kirtle water bridge

I only had to go a few metres further to find the bridge over the old road.

Kirtle water bridge

Not long afterwards, I crossed the water for the last time.  The final bridge before the Kirtle Water meets the wine dark sea (sadly it actually joins the estuary of the river Esk rather than the sea) is a bit of a disappointment stylistically…

Kirtle water bridge

…but at least it meant that I was now on my way home with the wind behind me at last.  In spite of the rain over the last few miles, I enjoyed my 41 mile ride, though I would have been happier if I could have gone a little faster.

Those interested can click on the map below for more details of the ride.


That, as they say, concluded the business for the day, though I did have enough energy to co-cook a cauliflower curry for tea with Mrs Tootlepedal.  Mostly though, I relaxed in a genteel sort of way with hardly any moaning.

The flying bird of the day was a female chaffinch which I just got into a frame and no more.  A male was so surprised that he dropped his seed.

flying chaffinch

The flowers of the day are the luxuriant snowdrops along the back path.


While I was cycling this afternoon, Mrs Tootlepedal was splitting up some of the bigger clumps and spreading snowdrops round the garden.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

26 thoughts on “Birds and bridges

  1. I love the way the GSW has acquired an audience. And personally I think that the ‘stuff’ adds a certain something to to the picture of the bridge…

  2. The riverside road does look cheerful and so do all the snowdrops in the garden.
    At least your camera was able to keep the bridge in focus in spite of all the growth between the two. Mine would have focused on the shrubs, I’m sure.
    The last bridge is more like what we see here, I’m sorry to say.

    1. The bridge serves a purpose which is the important thing.

      I was happy to get the camera to ignore the trees in the foreground. It is better at doing that than it is at ignoring the background when I am trying to take a close up of a flower of fungus.

    1. Six….if you allow me a little latitude for the three on roads just out of the town itself. Two are over the Ewes Water, two over the Wauchope and two over the Esk.

  3. Beautiful bridges and pretty names of the streams and rivers that you crossed( wonders of your map!) Love the woodpecker photos and especially the one with the chaffinch looking on. Mrs T is obviously a keen galanthophile-the snowdrops bordering your path are a real picture!

  4. I agree that land owners should keep the views of the bridges unobstructed for photographers. That’s quite a collection of bridges today, and so many different styles as well.

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