More walking, more croaking


Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who has visited Chatsworth.  I am going to live in a place like that when I grow up.


We had another fine and sunny day today but once again my stubborn cold refused to give up its grip on me so instead of cycling, I settled for the very agreeable substitute of a cup of coffee with Sandy followed by a walk.

While I was waiting for him to arrive, I looked out of the kitchen window.  The early morning sun is not at all helpful for taking pictures of birds at the feeder is in the shadow of the house and you end up with lots of shots like this.


The rather blue background indicates that we had another frosty morning and the fluffed up robin below the feeder confirmed that it was chilly.


By the time that Sandy and I had had a cup of coffee and arrived at the Moorland bird hide, all trace of the frost had gone and we walked down to the bridge over the Tarras in glorious conditions.

There was not a cloud in the sky.

Cronksbank road

We were able to watch a hen harrier hunting and a heron flying past as we walked along the open part of the walk but soon we were plunging downhill through the woods…

Cronksbank road

…until we reached the river bank.

Tarras at rashiel

It is a peaceful spot….

Tarras Water

…and it still looked very welcoming although the trees on the river bank have shed all their leaves.

We walked over the bridge and checked out the horsetails which grow along the river in abundance there.


Although the ones round this tree were still green, most of them were dry and brown.


We didn’t see much else of interest…

fungus and fern

…but the walk through the woods was delightful.

Tarras woods
Taken on the way down
Tarras woods
Taken on the way back up

When we got back to the hide, we spent a few minutes inside, in the hope of seeing something interesting but just about the only birds on view were coal tits…

coal tits

…and chaffinches so we didn’t stay for long.

I got home just as Mrs Tootlepedal returned from church and choir practice and I set up the camera at the kitchen window in the hope of some more friendly light.

The birds deliberately flew into any shadow they could find just to annoy me…

shadowy flying birds

…although as usual, the camera was recording more information than it was letting on.

_DSC8508 lighter

These are exactly the same pictures lightened up a bit.

Still, it wasn’t very satisfactory so I pointed the camera at the plum tree with better results.

goldfinch, chaffinch, greenfinch and blue tit
Goldfinch, chaffinch, greenfinch and blue tit

The sunflower seeds were drawing most of the business again today…


…but there were occasional visits to the new mixed seeds by coal tits and this blue tit who preferred to remain anonymous.

blue tit

We had quite a good crowd but the attendance is not helped by predatory cats roaming the garden and Mrs Tootlepedal spotted one of the invaders making off with one of our birds.  Our cat scarer is not 100% efficient it would seem.  In fact, as kind readers pointed out when I said that we had got one, they may well be 100% inefficient.

In the afternoon we went to our Carlisle Choir practice.  Once again I was only able to croak my way through the songs and as my breathing was not in peak condition, my brain was subject to a bit of fading and I made several rather glaring mistakes.  In spite of it all, it was worthwhile and I hope to be in  a better place  next week.

The flying bird of the day is the sole chaffinch who wasn’t quick enough to find some shade to hide in.

flying chaffinch

Looking at the picture, I see that I will have to clean the kitchen window.

The moon was out when we got back from choir.  Not quite full.





Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

30 thoughts on “More walking, more croaking

  1. Beautiful shot of the moon! I’m sorry the cat-scarer isn’t working as well as you’d hoped. You’ll have to employ a small child to shoo them away! I liked the photo of the fluffed-up robin and the pictures of the other birds in the plum tree are also very good. Such a beautiful blue sky sets off your wonderful scenery so well!

    1. A small child would be handy but might frighten away the birds him/herself. I have had a very good water pistol recommended but I am not sure if I would feel it dignified to be chasing after cats with one.

  2. Another beautiful tour, thank you! The fluffy robin is about as cute as it gets. Re. living in Chatsworth: you don’t want to mow that much grass.

  3. Glad you were able to enjoy some blue skies and sunshine – lovely pictures up at the hide.
    Congratulations on turning up for choir, with your cold still being troublesome.

  4. Too bad the dratted cold got interfered with a bike ride. At least the day was lovely for a walk. Hope you are soon ready for a bike ride.

  5. Another fine day filled with many amusing birds, along with the extra cute robin. I think that a water pistol would be just the thing to chase cats away, although the garden hose with a sprayer would also work well.

    1. The question is, have I the energy to rush out and turn the hose on whenever I see a cat and the answer is probably not. I would need a remote hose control.

  6. The robin or the plum tree bird photos would make excellent cards for the festive season. Lovely woodland walk photos too. We’ve got cats and a garden spray works best. After a bit of training the cats will run a mile when you just pick up the hose. The sparrows enjoy our bird seed mix best and demolish a whole feeder by lunchtime!

    1. The birds are far from eating me out of house and home at the moment so although quite a few are visiting, it is obvious that they are not very hungry yet.

  7. Your birds cooperated nicely, great shots Tom. I just love your robins, they are so different from ours. I’ll show ours in next post or so for you to see. 🙂

  8. Your photo panels are always very artistic looking and well done. Thank you for the visual feasts you provide!

    I love the flying moon of the day. We had overcast skies and rain during full moon here.

  9. I find a spray of water very effective for bad cat behavior. Maybe a Super Soaker! Sorry your cold lingers. It must have been frustrating not be be able to build up your cycling mileage in good weather.

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