Another day out

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan who was surprised to be shouted at by a dinosaur at Kings Cross station.


I had an appointment at the new Dumfries Infirmary for a chest x-ray in the morning so we decided to make a day out of it and Mrs Tootlepedal came across with me.  I checked the orange hawkweed in the garden before we left.

orange hawkweed

When we got to the infirmary, we were impressed by the light and airy new building and Mrs Tootlepedal was much taken by the planting round the building and in the gardens of the internal courtyards.

It was a beautifully sunny day so perhaps things won’t look quite so cheery in the depths of winter but we thought that the powers that be have done well….and we even found a space in the car park.

I was seen very promptly and after a cup of coffee in the hospital cafe, we headed off for a nearby garden centre which we had had never visited before.  This proved to be the second pleasant surprise of the day as it was large, very well stocked with interesting plants and the plants were looking very healthy and well looked after.  Mrs Tootlepedal even bought one.

We left the garden centre and moved on to the nature reserve at Eskrigg on the edge of Lockerbie.


However pretty the meadow beside the car park was, we were pleased to get into the shade of the trees…


…as it was over 20° by this time.

We had hoped to see cute squirrels but the squirrel hide was full of other people when we arrived (and we couldn’t see any squirrels anyway) so we went to the main building beside the pond instead.

There we found Jim, the Eskrigg founder and guru.  He had conducted an moth survey overnight and had 70 different moths in little tubes.

Jim and moths

He was in the middle of identifying, recording and releasing his specimens…


…and kindly showed us some of the more interesting ones.


Of the seventy, there were still two which he hadn’t identified and Mrs Tootlepedal lent a hand by searching through the reference book and was very pleased when she correctly picked out the last one.

I spent some time hoping to see interesting birds but there were too many people about (and too many moths on shelves in the way of the windows).

I did see a nuthatch but the light was in the wrong place…


…and I saw a jay but by the time that I got the camera up, that bird had flown.

In the end, I just enjoyed the pond and the birds floating about on it.





I spent a lot of time trying to get the swan to float in a still area so that I could get a good reflection shot…


…without a great deal of success.

Jim was expected a party to arrive for a guided tour so we left the centre and walked up beside the pond.


The two cygnets belonging to the swans were happily sitting among the mallards.

It was a beautiful afternoon.


By chance we saw a moth of our own on a fern at the top of the pond.  I showed the picture to Jim and he told me that it was a clouded border moth.


We moved on again, this time only a mile or so to the station at Lockerbie where we caught the usual Thursday train to Edinburgh.  In spite of the widely publicised  current chaos in the railway system, our trains to and from Edinburgh ran on time and we were able to spend some quality time with Matilda and her parents.

In the end, what could have been a tedious and time consuming hospital visit turned out to be a springboard for a really good, if somewhat tiring day out.

I even got a flying bird of the day as a buzzard kindly circled overhead when we got out of the car at Eskrigg.




Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

30 thoughts on “Another day out

  1. So many different birds in these pictures..I think the moths look like they could be the size of a small bird too, which makes me shudder. The hawk is my favorite though!

  2. I saw exactly two orange hawkweed flowers today, and you have a forest of them. I wonder what it is they like so much, besides all that compost.
    What a great place the nature reserve is. I think I’d make at least an occasional visit if it were here. I like their moths. I have an odd but colorful one coming up in a future post.
    I hope the chest x-ray shows nothing but chest.

    1. They are vigorous weeds and don’t need any encouragement at all. Some gardeners wouldn’t have them in a garden if they could help it but Mrs T likes them (and I do too).

  3. This was another pleasant change of pace with many great shots of different species of birds than usual, especially the buzzard.

    I think that the moths were interesting too, kudus to Mrs. T for identifying the last one.

    I hope that your X-ray proves negative.

  4. I’ll add my voice to the chorus wishing that the X-ray shows nothing but chest. And despite your desire for the reflective swan photo, I quite like the one with the swan’s head poking up from behind the reeds. Didn’t surprise me a bit to read that Mrs. T. proved skilled at moth identification!

  5. You are in our thoughts and prayers for a good outcome on the chest x-ray. It does look like you had a wonderful afternoon at Eskrigg to compensate for that trip to the infirmary, and I enjoyed all the photos.

    70 months is a lot of moths! Congratulations to Mrs. Tootlepedal for correct identification of the last one.

    I do like that one of the swan poking his head up among the reeds.

  6. Like the others I hope the chest X-ray does not show up any great problem. You had a most energetic day with lots of good photographs to show for it. My favourite is the clouded border moth.

  7. Hawkweed here is just that…a weed. I rather liked it in the grass, knowing himself would mow it over. Didn’t get into the flower beds-good thing. Hope your Dr. visit works out to your favor.

  8. …to continue….fine specimens of all the moths and lovely photos of all the ‘water’ birds. Another busy day and a happy ending seeing your family.

  9. Your swan shots are lovely even if the pond didn’t provide still water for unrippled reflections. I can’t think of many occasions when a buzzard flying overhead is considered a kindly event, but it did supply a bit of diversity.

      1. Sorry, I like buzzards, too. I expect that I meant that comment in a symbolic way where they imply something dead. But that, too, is part of nature… 🙂

  10. Great buzzard shot. Swan photos were good too, just the final lack of smooth water prevented perfection, but that’s life isn’t it. I’m not good on wild flowers and was looking up hawkweeds as I saw some yesterday. Fortunately I found this, as I’m always mixing up my hawksbits and hawksweeds. This added hawksbeard to my confusion.

    “Hawkweeds can be easily mixed up with other yellow-flowered members of the Daisy family, e.g. hawksbeards (genus Crepis). However, hawksbeards’ involucral bracts are overlapping in many rows while on other members of the Chicory subfamily the bracts are usually in two rows.”

    I’m glad that’s sorted. Once I look up “involucral” I’m sure it will all be simple enough. In the meantime, thank you for your wild flower wisdom – so much easier to understand than the internet.

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