I have raided my brother’s visit to Exeter for another guest picture today. He had rather gloomy weather for the trip but managed to get out for long enough to photograph a new bike and pedestrian bridge over the river.
Today was the last of my visits, for a while at least, to the Moorland Feeders to act as a fill in feeder filler as the regular workers are returning from their long weekend in New Zealand shortly.
I went up with Mrs Tootlepedal. She kindly acted as assistant filler but it was a rather chilly and wet morning so we didn’t stay long.
I sat in the hide for a moment or two and very much surprised a woodpecker when my camera flash went off unexpectedly….
…which was a pity as it was right in front of me at the time. It left in short order.
I watched a succession of tits visiting the nuts…
…and admired the delicate gradations of colour on the backs of the blue and great tits.
On our way home, we stopped to look at the work on the damaged cutwater of Skippers Bridge and were very surprised to see that it had been finished…
…and very neatly too.
It may get tested as we have heavy rain forecast for tonight.
After a cup of coffee, I went out into the garden and picked a couple of leeks and then made some leek and potato soup for lunch.
By this time, the rain had stopped and there was even a little sunshine so while I was cooking, I was entertained by the birds.
I did think of cycling after lunch as the better weather continued but it was quite windy and as I haven’t done much walking lately, I decided that a walk might be better value.
Before I left, I was drawn to the pond by the mellifluous croaking of the frogs. They were in affectionate mood…
…and one in particular tried to catch my eye with some elegant throat puffing.
I tore myself away and walked down to the river to see if I could spot an oyster catcher or a dipper. An oyster catcher on a rock in the Esk was most co-operative….
…but although I saw two dippers as I walked up the road beside the Ewes Water, they were both obscured by branches and I couldn’t get a good shot.
I walked up the track from Whitshiels, hoping to find a British Soldier lichen or two on a gatepost where they usually live and was pleased to see that they were still there.
The red spots are tiny so I was even more pleased to find some helpful light when I got close.
I walked on up the hill in a very cheerful mood and thanks to the sun lasting well, I took far more pictures than I should have with the result that this post has gone a bit over budget as far as images go. Still, it was a good day for taking pictures so it would have been a pity not to take a lot.
The views were good….
…and I played around with the camera settings to give a bare tree a slightly mysterious feel….
…and thinking of my black and white flower challenge tried the same settings on a gorse flower.
I am getting a few ideas.
On my way back to the town, I watched buzzards and hunted in vain for frogs in the quarry puddles as well as checking out the moss on a stone wall….
As I came down past the golf course, I saw a very colourful shed which I have never noticed before. I don’t know whether it is new or whether I have just been unobservant hitherto.
No camera tricks there. It really is that colour.
The colours on the shed made me think of the camera colour picker though and I took this shot of the ninth green on the golf course….
…before dropping down into the Market Place. For once, there were no cars parked in front of the new tourist information centre where I often volunteer in the summer so I took a picture to show it in all its glory.
It’s quite hard to miss.
By the time that I got home, the sun had gone and after taking a picture of a hellebore in the back bed…
…I set about the first compost sieving of the new season with Mrs Tootlepedal. We were dealing with a bin of substantially aged kitchen compost and it was so well rotted and friable already that it hardly needed sieving. It was a gentle start to the composting year.
Some drizzle tried to discourage us as we worked but we looked it sternly in the eye and it went away. As it went, Mike Tinker arrived. He came just as we were stopping for a cup of tea and so he joined us and we enjoyed some good conversation with our biscuits.
After he left, I went through the pictures while simultaneously practising the choir songs for Sunday. It worked surprisingly well and I think that I might well have got them off before the big day.
In the evening, I went out to sing with our Langholm choir and had an enjoyable warble but I took care not to sing too loudly. My voice is feeling the strain of the constant practice a bit and it would be very annoying to arrive in Manchester with the songs learned but with no voice to sing them.
The two flowers of the day speak of spring; the daffodil is from the garden and the crocus from the bank of the Ewes at the Kilngreen.
The sunshine today was really lovely and it looks as though we might escape the worst of the winds during Doris Day tomorrow, although it is due to rain a lot. We are keeping fingers firmly crossed.
Meanwhile, the flying bird of the day is a gloriously sunny, fully streamlined goldfinch.