Unexpected traffic jams

Today’s guest picture comes from Mary Jo from Manitoba.  From Manitoba but not in Manitoba as she has taken a break from endless winter to catch a ray or two in Antigua.  It looks like a good decision as more snow has arrived at home.

Mary Jo's holiday

We had a generally sunny, almost totally dry day here which was very welcome.  A nippy wind kept us from discarding many layers of outdoor clothing though.

I started the day by going to a warehouse on the banks of the Wauchope to collect some bags of potting compost for Mrs Tootlepedal and I admired one of the many little Wauchope cascades as I waited for  the compost treasure house to be opened.

Wauchope cascade

When  I got back to the garden, a song thrush was living up to its name by giving a recital from a branch of the walnut tree.

thrush

Down below a blackbird was engaged in a worm hunt.

blackbird

And in the pond, frogs were being shiny.

frog

Dropscone dropped in (with scones) for a cup of coffee and I got an update on a Scottish Golf meeting which he had attended where revolting members had gone against the wishes of the executive.  That is par for the course these days.

While we sipped and chatted, a robin flew in.

robin

After Dropscone left (to go and play golf), I joined Mrs Tootlepedal in the garden only to be greeted by some rain.  Luckily, it didn’t last long and after this shock, the day behaved itself admirably.

All our neighbours were out in their gardens too and Mrs Tootlepedal took the opportunity to pass a surplus rhubarb plant across a fence to Irving and Libby who are establishing their new garden.

I wandered around counting bees….

bees on crocus

…and finding that there were a lot to count.  I was trying to catch them while they were still flying with variable success…

bees on crocus

…this one seems to be flying with one wing and resting with the other.

Still, it was very encouraging to see so many bees among the crocuses.

The frogs were providing a musical background for the bee hunt and I went to visit them too.

Some were getting together….

frogs

…and some were just thinking about it.

frog

After lunch, I put on some cycling clothes, went outside and tested the wind and then went back in and put another layer on. Then I got the slow bike out and went off for a gentle pedal with pictures in mind.

I didn’t go along the Wauchope road as I usually do but went up the Esk valley towards Bentpath.  This route is very up and down and luckily gives me plenty of excuses to stop for a photo as I go along.

It was a glorious day for being out and about but in spite of the sunshine, there were still traces of snow about….

breckonwrae

Just before I reached the village of Bentpath, I passed a hare which had been run over by a car and got a bit of a shock when there was a tremendous flapping of wings and crying and mewing as two buzzards rose up and flew above my head.  Usually buzzards just fly off quietly when anyone approaches but the reason for their agitation became clear when I saw this:

buzzard on road

I take it that is a young buzzard and the cause of its parent’s excitement.  I passed it by and went on for a good few yards before looking back, expecting to see the parents swoop down and go off with the youngster but nothing happened.

There was no sign of the other two birds and the buzzard on the road stayed stock still even when a car could be heard approaching.  I waved the car down and it slowed and passed within a few feet of the bird which didn’t move an inch.

I was considering my options when another car approached.  Once again, I waved it down and its driver summed up the situation very well.  He drove up to the buzzard, stopped and sounded his car horn gently.  At this, the buzzard flew off and normal service was resumed.

I pedalled on but not before admiring a tree, wall and gate composition on the other side of the road.

Benty gate

I crossed the bridge over the Esk at Bentpath…

Benty bridge

…but couldn’t get a good view of the bridge because of the scrub beside the river.  I couldn’t get a very good view of the church beside the bridge either because the powers that be have thought it best to put as many posts, wires and road signs in front of it as possible.

Westerkirk Church with poles

It would be nice if they could all be made to disappear but the camera never lies…

Westerkirk Church without poles

…or does it?

I pedalled on and just as I was wondering if they still kept alpacas at Georgefield, I got the answer in the middle of the road.

alpaca on road

As I didn’t want to chase it along the road, I was worried about not being able to get past the animal but the alpaca took the matter into its own hands and trotted past me into its own farmyard.

Having been delayed by a bird and and an animal, I was expecting to be waylaid by a fish later in the journey but they kept themselves to themselves and I managed to get home with no more alarums and excursions.

I recrossed the Esk by the Enzieholm bridge and headed back down the valley.  I got a better view of the Benty bridge…

Benty bridge

…and spotted a pair of oyster catchers beside the river nearby.

oyster catchers Benty
I have cycled over the bridge across the Boyken Burn at Old Hopsrig many times but never stopped to take its picture before.

Boyken Burn bridge

As usual, I had a look at the bridge parapet to see if there was any interesting lichen or moss there and was very surprised to find a tiny but perfectly formed tree growing in a gap between stones.

Boyken Burn bridge tree

The route I was taking has been used for many hundreds of years and I could see the site of a hill top iron age fort at Craig.

Iron age fort

When I got home, needless to say I found Mrs Tootlepedal hard at work in the garden.  She had planted out her primroses but hadn’t been able to put them all where she had planned because, rather unexpectedly, some winter aconites had poked their heads above the soil.

winter aconite and primrose

Still, that is welcome problem to have and she found a home for the primroses elsewhere.

By this time, even on a fine day, the light was beginning to fade and the temperature drop so we went in for a cup of tea and a slice of toast.

We are expecting a light frost tonight but we are keeping our fingers crossed that it is light enough to do no harm.  It is the price to pay for a bit of fine weather at this time of year.  (A quick look at our local weather station tells me that it is zero degrees C  as I write this.)

In spite of the fine weather, I didn’t manage to get a picture of a flying bird today so I have had to make do with this big bird scraping the roof tiles of our neighbour.

low flying plane

 

 

 

 

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

38 thoughts on “Unexpected traffic jams

  1. To see both an alpaca and a buzzard in the road on the same day must make the day an historic one!

    It was very nice of you to have chosen a route that allowed you to stop and shoot the wonderful photos from the day. Not only were the church, bridges, and gate great subjects to begin with, but it looks like a very nice day in your photos.

  2. You had quite the adventures this day, challenged by a bird and an alpaca. It looks like such wonderful country. The bridges alone are worth the posting, not to mention Mrs T’s lovely flowers, all flying critters and you did quite well taking care of wires and posts marring the beauty of the old church.

    1. Thank you very much for taking the time to comment. I hope that your days get less dull and depressing soon though I am sure a bit of warm weather would help.

    1. We are being threatened with snow again at the weekend so we are not in full spring mode yet. Mrs T reckons 20 April is the real start of spring.

      1. That date is certainly true for Maine. Hope you don’t get too much snow. Boy oh boy, the weather has been strange. We Mainers are used to snow, even for us, this has been a bit much. Another big storm is forecast for next week.

  3. Quite the magician’s bike ride out with disappearing wires on lovely photos and an alpaca and a buzzard popping up unexpectedly. Great photos of your garden with all its inhabitants -a proper nature haven. Even the Hercules fits in well.

  4. What a fabulous day you had. Great to see that the buzzard survived the dangers of the road, without your help it could have been a sad end. I don’t think it was necessarily a youngster being tended by its parents, more likely it had been forced down onto the road in a territorial dispute and was suffering from shock. And an alpaca, goodness me, I really look forward to seeing one of those on my travels, though I understand there are a couple of alpaca farms here in Wales now also, Not that I’d manage to get a shot of one, as you did so professionally. I had the great fortune to spot six red kites flying down the valley right above our house, I managed to get half a dozen shots of the blue sky, with the odd dot here and there ( the red kites ) with my mobile phone camera……. DOAH!!! Cheers

    1. I have a tremendous number of shots just like that too! We would love to have red kites here but we have to travel 50 miles to see our nearest ones.

      1. Until the last five years, or so to see a red kite here was a rarity, but feeding centres up around Brecon and Builth Wells has seen their numbers increase greatly.

  5. What a beautiful assortment of photos! I especially love the thrush in full song, the robin and frogs. Your captions are always entertaining!

    I am glad you were not waylaid by a fish on the way home, but that would have made an interesting all by itself. 🙂

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