Today’s striking guest picture is another from Gavin’s Spanish holiday. It shows the Funicular Railway above the Montserrat Monastery and Basilica. To reach the Monastery, he had to go up in a cable car first so I am glad that it was Gavin who was doing the visiting and not me.
We didn’t have anything so vertiginous to tackle today but we did drive up a gentle hill to visit the Moorland bird feeders as I was acting as a substitute feeder filler again.
I filled up our own feeders before I left as they were quite busy all day, with siskins flying in from the right…
…and goldfinches from the left…
…and I had a chance to select the daffodil of the day…
…admire a freshly blooming primrose…
…and look with anticipation of meals to come at the rhubarb.
Our visitor, my stepmother Patricia, came with us to the Moorland feeders and she and Mrs Tootlepedal sat in the car and scanned the skies for raptors while I filled the feeders and then sat in the hide for a while.
The ladies did well, seeing a female hen harrier, a merlin and a kestrel….
…which I saw when I came out of the hide. It was hunting over the moor but it was too far away even for my big lens.
Traffic in the feeder area was brisk…
…but there were some quiet moments too, letting me get a good look at a great tit….
…and a chaffinch.
I was very pleased to see a woodpecker which approached one of the feeders with care, settling on a tree first to see if the coast was clear…
…before popping onto the feeder itself.
It didn’t get long to peck at the seeds before a second woodpecker arrived and drove it off.
They then both settled on separate trees and waited to see who would blink first.
I am not entirely certain but I think that it was the the original woodpecker which came back to the seeds.
We didn’t stay too long because as you can see from the ruffled plumage of this chaffinch…
…it was another day with an uncharitable wind blowing. As it was cold even out of the wind, you can imagine that it was pretty chilly with the wind factored in.
We went home for a cup of coffee and then in a brighter moment, I walked round the garden and took a picture of one of a small outbreak of grape hyacinths which have poked their heads up today.
This is the first of what should be a ribbon of blue round the front lawn. These floral plans are in the lap of the gods as always though.
Mrs Tootlepedal made some nourishing lentil soup for lunch and we ate it with a good selection of bread, biscuits and cheese.
Buoyed up by this, I put on many layers and ventured out into the wind for fifteen miles on my slow bicycle. I had the wind behind me on the way out but it was a real battle to make any headway on the return journey, even though it was mostly downhill. I was pleased to get in. I was so intent on keeping going that I left my camera in my pocket and didn’t take any pictures at all.
While I was pedalling, Mrs Tootlepedal and Patricia ventured out for the three bridges walk.
In the evening, I went off to a Langholm community choir practice and we put in a fair bit of work towards the forthcoming joint concert with our local orchestra.
The flying bird of the day is not the standard chaffinch. It is one of the Moorland feeders’ woodpeckers. It is a slight cheat as the bird was jumping more than flying but I liked the result.