Ducking out

Today’s guest picture, all the more welcome for its sunshine on another gloomy day,  is from my sister Mary’s recent visit to Regents Park.  You can see why she likes to wander in the park.

Regents park 15.03.17 005

The forecast offered us light cloud until one o’clock, followed by some rain so I got up fully intending to go a for a brisk pedal after breakfast. When I looked out of the window after breakfast though, it was raining and it kept this up for most of the morning so I looked at the birds instead.

We had our usual ration of siskins, goldfinches and chaffinches who took turns at the feeder.

siskins, goldfinches and chaffinches

I haven’t quite worked out why some birds come back to the feeder before they have finished their mouthful…

Siskin with seed

….but they all do it.

Chaffinch with seed.

I am sure that their mothers taught them that it is rude to take more before you have finished what is in your mouth.  Honestly, birds these days.

Just when the forecast said that it was going to start to rain, it actually stopped raining so I got out the fairly speedy bike and set off for a twenty mile run round the Canonbie circuit, hoping for the best.

It was rather gloomy but not too cold and the wind was noticeable without being too discouraging so I pedalled along quite happily. I stopped to have a look at some alder catkins. The indefatigable New Hampshire Gardener had put some pictures of very colourful alder catkins into his last post and  as they had always seemed rather dull to me, I went to see what I had been missing.

As usual the New Hampshire Gardener was quite right. If you catch them at the right time, alder catkins are alive with colour.

Alder Catkins

Apart from the catkins, things looked rather grey as I pedalled along.

Grey view

When I got near to the bottom of the Canonbie by-pass, things got even greyer and I found myself in the middle of a heavy shower of rain with some very chilly gusts of wind to go with it. I had to stop to take my glasses off after a while and took the opportunity to take a picture of three of my favourite  trees….

three trees

…and almost before I had got my glasses into my back pocket, the weather gods, amused by their little joke, turned the taps off and put the heater back on so the rest of my journey home was very pleasant.

The cherry trees in Canonbie brightened my mood even more.


I made one more stop to look at yet another of the little bridges which carry streams under the old A7. This stream, with its handsome man made course and solemnly arched bridge is too small to merit a name on the map.

A7 Bridge
Both sides of the road

When I got home, I had time for a snack and a look out of the window…


…where the siskins were blowing each other away and the goldfinches….


…were keeping calmer.

I found that thanks to not watching the game, Scotland had managed to beat Italy in the Six nations rugby tournament but I was foolishly tempted to waste a little time watching the France-Wales game but I stopped and went out for a walk in the hope of seeing some blossom…


…and some river side bird life.

It was better than the rugby.

I saw a dipper at work in the Wauchope….


….a goosander preening in the Esk


(I liked it so much that I took two pictures)


…and a duck in the Ewes.

It was having a bath….


…and a spruce up.


Then I crossed the Saw Mill Brig and pottered home past the ruins of Langholm Castle.

Langholm Castle.

The Wales France game dragged on so long (they took nearly twenty minutes to have one scrum at the very end of the game) that they were still playing long after  I got home.

I avoided looking at too much of the England Ireland game which followed the other two matches.  This was probably a good thing because looking at the match report after the game, it seemed that nothing much happened in it.

It is interesting to note that Ireland have now halted both New Zealand’s and England’s record breaking unbeaten runs…..and since Scotland beat Ireland in their last game, that must make…… can dream.

The forecast continues to be for very changeable weather so I was pleased to have got a both a cycle ride and a walk in on a day which I might very well have wasted watching telly.

The flying bird of the day is an oyster catcher, speeding away from the camera at the Meeting of the Waters.

Oyster catcher

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

23 thoughts on “Ducking out

  1. You spotted beautiful blossoms and riverside birds on your walk! The cherry blossoms are a sure sign of better biking weather to arrive soon.

  2. Thank you for the blog mention. I’m glad you found some colorful alder catkins. They’re just about to start shedding pollen by the looks, and that means that the female blossoms are out as well. They’re small and crimson like female hazel flowers and are found in tiny catkins at the branch tips.
    I love the trio of bare trees and the beautiful cherry trees. I hope you don’t see any cold that would harm the blossoms.

  3. The alder catkins are very colourful – I must go out and look at ours again. I enjoyed all your bird photos today, especially the goosander ones. The blossom is lovely!

  4. The blossom photo, the goosander and the three trees are all lovely photos as well as all the others too. I’ll have to check on the alder catkins as I didn’t realise they were so colourful! Thank you again!

  5. That was a very grey and threatening sky you encountered! Old Man Winter having a last go at it over there. No blooming fruit trees here yet, but I am seeing swelling buds and green shoots. The grass is so long now, the lawn needs mowing.

    I enjoyed all the photos, and especially love the busy feeders and cast of characters that visit them.

    1. They fly very steadily which helps. Of course I was actually trying to get a shot of one perching on a rock but it flew off before I could take it.

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