Birds, oaks and no bike


Today’s guest picture, sent to me by my friend Bruce, shows an impasse between dog and grandchild.  The grandchild would like the dog to come in and the dog would like to come in….but only if the excessively affectionate grandchild wasn’t there.


I would have liked,  in theory at least, to have gone out cycling today as it was dry, fairly calm and even occasionally sunny.  It wasn’t warm but it wasn’t too cold.  What was there to stop me?


I was acting as a fill-in feeder filler at the Moorland Feeders for friends who were away from town on grandparenting duties so my first excuse of the day was a visit to the feeders with Mrs Tootlepedal.  She had a good time watching buzzards, a hen harrier and a kestrel from the car while I filled the feeders and then sat in the hide.

After seeing very few on my last visit, I hardly saw anything else but chaffinches today.


There were no siskins, no greenfinches, no blue tits, few blackbirds and only one or two great tits…

great tit and woodpecker

…and one woodpecker.

The pheasants have been put out from the hatchery on the Castleholm in readiness for the shooting season so there were a lot of pheasants about.  In fact, I had to be careful not to stand on one of them while I was filling the feeders.

pheasant and feet

One came close to the hide for a drink while I was sitting there.


I waited for some time in the hope of seeing something interesting but after a while there must have been a raptor nearby because even the chaffinches made themselves scarce and the glade fell eerily silent.    We went home.

I might have gone cycling when I got home but there was coffee to be drunk, a crossword to be done and many poppies to admire.


The poppies were not just beautiful to look at but they were also hotching with bees and I took so many pictures of them that I am putting a selection of them into a separate poppy post today and those with an inclination can look at it without everyone having to wade through them all.

There were a great many butterflies about too, enjoying the better weather…

peacock and red admiral butterflies
Peacock and red admiral butterflies

…and as usual, the buddleia was drawing them in.

I am still waiting to see a painted lady or a small tortoiseshell but we have had a good supply of red admirals and peacocks.

I enjoyed a sweet pea which has grown so strongly that it is sticking out of the top of Mrs Tootlepedal’s sweet pea fortress.

sweet pea

And I saw a red admiral sitting on the unopened flower of a lily in the flower garden….

lily and butterfly
A butterfly kiss from the lily. It should look spectacular when (if) it opens

Then  it was time for lunch.

I might have gone cycling after lunch but Sandy suggested a walk at three o’clock and as I wanted to mow the front lawn, there wasn’t time to do both before the walk. I chose the lawn.

Front lawn mowing

You can see the poppies surrounding three side of the lawn.

When Sandy came, we went off in his car along the road to the bird feeders but stopped beside the river at the bottom of the hill and walked up the hill through oak woods and fields to Broomholmshiels before coming back to the car down the road.

It was a short walk but full if interest.

There is a mossy wall beside where we parked the car.

mossy wall

And fine trees in the field at Longwood.

Longwood tree

Longwood tree

The walk through the wood is always a delight but it is even better when the sun comes out for a moment or two.

Oak wood

The oaks here didn’t seem to be suffering from galls in the leaves but only one tree that we saw had any acorns on it…

oak tree

…and we were surprised to see the leaves turning so early on another tree that we passed.

The wood is a sea of green and it is a wonder that the power people have managed to sneak power lines through the heart of it.

oak woods

We saw quite a bit of fungus on our walk, some old and some new.


The thistles have turned to fluff.


Once we were clear of the trees, there were views to enjoy, especially when the sun made one of its brief appearances.

Looking over the Esk valley
Whita heather
Patches of heather among the pylons on Whita

There was still time for a cycle ride after the walk but it seemed a good idea to invite Sandy in for a cup of tea and a slice or two of the oat, plum and ginger bake.  We made sure that he didn’t get away without taking several courgettes with him.  Mrs Tootlepedal’s two courgette plants are producing more than we can eat.

There might still have been time for a short pedal after Sandy left but it suddenly started to rain lightly and so I mowed the green house grass and waited to see whether it would stop.  It got heavier and I took the hint and went inside and looked at my pictures.

It brightened up later but by that time, I had lost any inclination to put foot to pedal at all.   I have done 470 miles this month so there is no compulsion to do more in these final two days.  I did a lot of eating instead today.

I did manage to catch a flying chaffinch while I was at the Moorland feeders so there is a rather fuzzy but genuine flying bird of the day today.

flying chaffinch

You can click here for the poppies if you wish.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

23 thoughts on “Birds, oaks and no bike

  1. I guess I’ll never understand what fun there is in shooting a bird that will walk right up to you as your pheasants do.
    It’s very hard to get a shot of the woods while you’re in them but that one you took of the path through the woods is excellent.
    The hills are beautiful as always.

    1. They have to hire teams of strong men to throw them up into the air so that shooters can boast that they are not potting sitting birds. (I might be exaggerating a little there but they do use teams of beaters to get the birds to fly over the guns.)

  2. I really like seeing the pheasants when you go to the Moorland feeders, they used to be common here in Michigan, but now it’s rare to see one.

    I think that the image of the FBOT is excellent, I wish that I could do as well on small birds in flight.

  3. No bike ride but plenty going on all around you. That last picture of the flying chaffinch is a beauty.

  4. Pheasants have such remarkable markings they always amaze me! Love the photos on your walk and your lovely garden especially the lawn- worth all the effort.

  5. Pheasants have been released here too. They are so tame and understand nothing about the danger coming from people and vehicles. It makes me angry.
    I love the photo of the woodland with dappled sunlight and the one of your wonderful garden!

  6. I always love an overview of your garden. This one shows off your lawn pattern very well.

    The close ups are great, especially the miniature world of moss.

  7. I love that scene of the path through the woods, and the panel of oak and acorns. There were many such trails where I grew up, and one could walk or ride all day and not run into a house if the right paths were chosen.

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