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.
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.
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.
Down below a blackbird was engaged in a worm hunt.
And in the pond, frogs were being shiny.
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.
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….
…and finding that there were a lot to count. I was trying to catch them while they were still flying with variable success…
…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….
…and some were just thinking about it.
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….
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:
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.
I crossed the bridge over the Esk at Bentpath…
…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.
It would be nice if they could all be made to disappear but the camera never lies…
…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.
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…
…and spotted a pair of oyster catchers beside the river nearby.
I have cycled over the bridge across the Boyken Burn at Old Hopsrig many times but never stopped to take its picture before.
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.
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.
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.
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.