Blow, blow thou winter wind

irish sheep

Today’s guest picture, absolutely the last in my locker, is an Irish sheep which wondered what Dropscone was doing in Ireland.

irish sheep

We had a sub zero night but a sunny day and the temperature soon rose above zero although it didn’t make a serious effort to get much higher.

If you were sheltered and out in the sun, it wasn’t too bad a day but if you were exposed to the brisk north easterly wind, it was just as well to be thoroughly wrapped up as the sun was no protection form the bitter chill.

A robin shrugged off the early morning cold…

robin

…while a dunnock tried the ostrich method of keeping warm.

dunnock

As I spent the morning in the Welcome to Langholm office (not welcoming any visitors but doing some useful archiving work), the weather was a matter of indifference to me but I certainly didn’t dilly dally on the way home.

The snow had gone and so had most of the birds at the feeder and we had a very quiet day today with a small gang of greenfinches the most notable visitors over lunch.

greenfinch

I did think of going for a ride on the slow bike after lunch but the thought of pedalling home into the strong and biting wind made me choose to go for a walk with Sandy instead.  The innocent may think that there is little difference between a bike ride and a walk on a cold day but if you pedal at 10mph into a 15mph wind, you are turning it into a 25mph blast and that makes a cold wind even colder.  And for some reason, walking into a wind is not as soul destroying as cycling into one.

Anyway, Sandy and I went for a walk.

I looked at a couple of flowers in the garden as I went out…

winter aconite

crocus

…but it wasn’t warm enough to tempt the frogs to come out and play.

It was a blue sky day and almost all but the faintest of traces of the snow had gone.

view from Scott's knowe

We walked along the track to see how the Becks Wood had fared and found it had disappeared entirely.  Later in the walk we looked back from the other side of the valley and not a conifer had been left standing.

becks woodI was just saying to Sandy as we stood on the edge of the felled area and looked at the scene that it used to be a spot where you could find scarlet elf caps and at that moment, Sandy looked down and saw that one or two had survived the felling.

scarlet elf cap

Somehow this was very heartening.

We left the wood and walked down to the Wauchope road where an array of walls and fence posts played host to some good looking lichen…

lichen

…and some less charming varieties.

lichen

We struck up the lower slopes of Warbla to get the view of the felled wood and took advantage of the good weather to look at some other views as well.

Here is Sandy surveying the countryside…

sandy on warbla

…and here is the countryside that he was surveying.

view from warbla

I liked this arty shot with the view framed between two trees.

view from  warbla

As we took the track down to the Stubholm, we couldn’t help noticing some very active moss on the wall.

moss

I must have passed moss like this before without looking at it twice but now that I am more moss aware, I looked at it a lot.

moss

The sheds at the Stubholm looked cheerful enough in the sunshine and we were pleased to get out of the wind as we dropped back down into the town.

sheds at Stubholm

Mrs Tootlepedal was enjoying herself in the garden and the benefit of some outdoor work in the sunshine on reasonably dry ground stayed with her for the rest of the day.

I helped out with a little shredding of some pruned roses but I had to go in soon as there was preparation to be done for the monthly camera club meeting in the evening and my flute pupil Luke was also due.

He turned up with every evidence of having done some practice so we had a good session.

After he went, the phone rang.  It was my neighbour Liz making sure that I didn’t miss the striking effect of the setting sun on the slopes of Whita.  It was worth a look.

sunset on Whita

After tea, I went off to the Day Centre for the camera club meeting.  We had a better attendance this month and the members had brought in an interesting and varied selection of images for us to look at so that ended the day in a very satisfactory way.

The flying bird is one of the relatively few chaffinches that turned up at the feeders.

chaffinch

Sandy has posted a selection of pictures from our walk here.

 

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

31 thoughts on “Blow, blow thou winter wind

  1. Elf caps! Also, such beautiful countryside. And I know from experience how cold it can be on a bike. I have ridden as it was spitting snow. So cold!

    1. You are right in that it looks exactly like Bartramia pomiformis but Collins guide to mosses of Britain and Northern Europe says that it is rare in Britain so it might be Philonotis fontana but the guide doesn’t mention walls in the habitat. Hmmm.

  2. Mr Tootlepedal, I do not comment every time, but I wouldn’t miss reading your lively and entertaining (and beautifully illustrated) blog posts. I hear from you, and from my family in the UK, that you have been/and are, experiencing some heavy weather. Please allow me to share a weather report from over here Down Under. Darwin has been hit by Cyclone Marcus and the state of Victoria is in the middle of devastating bush fires. Fortunately we are snug and warm here in Brisbane, Partly Cloudy, chance of rain and 28c degrees.

    1. I imagine it is not all that frequent that Brisbane has the best weather around so I am glad that you are appreciating it. Snug and a bit smug perhaps.

  3. Our weather was similar to yours today – beautiful but cold! The moss you found is very attractive and the views on your walk absolutely breathtaking (like the wind!)

  4. I very much liked your arty shot! Your posts have made me more moss (& lichen) aware. I found some very interesting specimens on our last day that I have yet to post.

  5. Your weather matched what we had here as closely as is possible I suppose. You were braver than I was though, venturing out for a walk where you had nice views of the countryside and a wonderful selection of mosses and lichens. I wimped out and stayed indoors where it was warm.

  6. A good walk you and Sandy took. I hope Buccleuch Estates can restore the path, although the woods will take a while to grow back. Nice to find mushroom survivors, interesting mosses and lichens.

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