Today’s guest picture comes from Irving who has been fishing in the Highlands. He doesn’t tell me if he caught any fish but at least he made this very nice capture of the old bridge over the River Oykel.
I had a varied day today including cycling, walking and singing and among the skills required was an ability to work out when it was going to rain and then to avoid being caught out when it had started.
It looked as though a morning bike ride would be best so I set off to go round my familiar Canonbie twenty mile route while hoping for the best. It was not warm at about 6°C and a brisk north westerly wind made it feel cooler still but I was well wrapped up and enjoyed the ride, especially the bit that was downhill with the wind behind.
While I was at the highest point of the circuit, I remembered that my neighbour Liz had seen a ditch full of frog spawn on the hill while she was on one of her recent morning walks so I stopped to look at a water filled ditch beside the road and found that this too was filled with frog spawn.
Sadly for the prospect of tadpoles, it looked as though the morning frosts may have been too harsh but there were certainly a lot of possibilities as the ditch was full of spawn for about twenty yards.
I didn’t stop again until my legs called for a break at Irvine House. Cycling downhill and downwind may be fun but the reverse is hard work.
I had time to admire the walls on both sides of the road while I got my breath back.
Once I got home, I wasn’t surprised to find Mrs Tootlepedal hard at work on her new bench area project and after a quick look at some cheerful flowers…
…I made a record of the work in progress.
Over lunch, I had a look for some bird action but there wasn’t a lot going on and this blackbird was the only good shot that I had.
Rain showers came and went and then it seemed dry enough to go out so Mrs Tootlepedal went back to the bench project and I took a little walk to look for riverside birds.
Almost as soon as I had set out, the clouds thickened and light rain appeared as if by magic so although I could see the welcome sight of the first daffodils along the river bank…
…the fidgety ducks, gulls and oyster catchers didn’t make good subjects and I had to look for something that was closer and standing still. Regular readers will know that I find it hard to walk past a wall.
I walked up to the Lodge and was impressed as I always am by this fine hedge.
The rain had stopped but it was still cloudy although there was some sun catching a hill over there…
…and catching a branch down there…
…but not where I was walking.
The path along the river to the north looked deceptively inviting with the promise of sunshine…
…but I went the other way into the clouds because I was on a mission to look for these….
…and having found them to look for these too.
This is a female hazel flower and it is tiny so I was pleased to see not one but two…
…but these were the only two that I could find. There are very few catkins at the moment so maybe there won’t be many flowers this year either.
It soon started raining again and I found a damp blackbird looking a bit fed up when I got back to the house.
As it was raining, even Mrs Tootlepedal could be tempted into the house for a cup of tea and a biscuit and while we were inside, I set up the camera at the kitchen window. The RSPB had published the results of their garden bird watch this morning and there had been a lot of talk about how well goldfinches had done in the count as they have become adept at using garden feeders. I was therefore hoping to some on our garden today and I wasn’t disappointed.
They were not backward in coming forward to have words with any siskins in their way…
…but a siskin doesn’t take kindly to this sort of thing…
…and one of them soon resorted to violence to make the point.
The rain stopped and Mrs Tootlepedal went out again and not ,long afterwards, I went out too to record very satisfactory progress.
This is only a preliminary sketch as the paving has to be completed and a new bench is on order to replace the old one which has come to the end of its time. All we will need then is some good weather to let us sit out on the bench and look at the garden.
I had an appointment at the health centre and it rather summed up the day that I cycled up to the town in bright sunshine and cycled back in a combination of bright sunshine and quite heavy rain.
And there was no rainbow.
In the evening I went to a Langholm Sings practice and had a very enjoyable time going over some familiar songs which we are digging out for our summer concerts.
It wasn’t raining as I walked up and it wasn’t raining as I walked back but the oyster catchers who had been too quick for me in the afternoon were flying overhead and laughing loudly at me.
The flying bird of the day is not a goldfinch but a chaffinch wearing an identification ring.