Today’s guest picture comes from Mike and Alison’s recent visit to New Zealand where they saw this handsome NZ kingfisher. I don’t know which of them took the picture.
It was reasonably warm for the time of year again this morning but once again the effect was somewhat spoiled by light drizzle and a very strong wind. I stayed indoors and did some useful stuff.
Mrs Tootlepedal had to go off to the dentist for some treatment and I filled some of the time while he was out by watching the birds. I was able to confirm that we have at least four lesser redpolls visiting us at the moment.
I am not sure if the hidden bird at the back of the feeder is another redpoll or a siskin.
There were plenty of siskins shouting and beating people up.
A wood pigeon brought a more stately air to the proceedings.
The forecast was for a fine afternoon with a further rise in the temperature so after lunch, I thought of cycling although the wind was a bit off-putting. However, I did manage to get into my cycling gear and go out. Virtue was rewarded when it turned out that the wind had dropped considerably from the morning and although it was still noticeable, it wasn’t totally discouraging and I enjoyed pedalling in some warm air.
There were signs of spring along the road and although the prettiest was probably this primrose…
…..the most welcome was probably this larch twig, a real forerunner of the new green season.
As always, I looked at a wall if I stopped to take a general view and I liked this crusty set of lichen…
…and was interested to find that there were some tiny red spots of colour among the stems when I put the picture on the computer. I hadn’t been able to see them with the naked eye.
The most noticeable thing was not the roadside flowers or the larch needles but the fact that the grass has at last started growing in the cultivated fields.
We are greening up….
…although the rough hillside has some time to go yet before it goes green.
I was a bit sorry to find that the day was more amenable to cycling than I had thought that it would be as I could have gone a more interesting route if I had realised. I made up for my dull route choice by stopping at the Kilngreen to buy a nougat wafer from the ice cream van there and I ate it while sitting on a bench by the river and enjoying the bird life.
This is a lesser black backed gull (I have to thank a reader who corrected my view that it was a herring gull last time one appeared in a post),
And these are a small fraction of the hundreds of rooks that swirl about in the sky over the town.
I took a picture of the Langholm Bridge to show how much the river has dropped since yesterday…
…and then I pedalled home, arriving just as the sun came out.
It was such a lovely afternoon that I persuaded Mrs Tootlepedal, who was just having a cup of tea indoors after some hard work in the garden, to come and drink it outside.
She has almost finished her new bench area so we put a couple of plastic chairs out and tested it.
This is the view that we had from the chairs.
It was wonderful to be able to sit out and enjoy the warmth and the sunshine as this was our first opportunity for months.
The new lawn shaping has been completed and this is how it looked this afternoon.
You can see the new bench are on the right.
I was quite pleased to see the grass on the middle lawn trying to win the battle against the moss so I got the mower out and mowed the front lawn. There is no picture of the result there as the moss is still winning hands down.
I had time for a camera-wander. I got a fleeting glimpse of a tadpole in the pond….
…which was very encouraging. There were lots of others about too.
The first fritillaries are out…
…and I found a corydalis in a pot and the rosemary next to the greenhouse.
The temperature is due to drop back a bit but even half a day at 18°C was enough to cheer us up enormously. We have had such a long spell of cold and cool weather that we had begun to think that things might never warm up again.
The are a lot of daffodils to choose from but this one was my daffodil of the day today.
I made some risotto for our tea and then Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help at the Buccleuch Centre and I went off to sing with the Langholm community choir. Our concert with the local orchestra is in two weeks so we worked hard.
The flying bird of the day is a siskin. It is not a good picture but I think that it conveys some of the energy that these tiny birds put into their visits to the feeders so I have put it in.
I would like to thank Canadian reader and Langholm exile, Joyce Lewis, for a very kind mention of this blog in an article which she wrote for our local paper. It is very nice to think that the pictures can bring back youthful memories of the area.