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.
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.
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.