Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan who was very surprised to see that a ‘bug hotel’ has been erected on the Euston Road in the heart of London.
I had a quiet day today, as after some pretty sympathetic weather, it went back to being very chilly today with a marked frost when we got up in the morning. The temperature rose quite quickly but it didn’t get up very far and a chilly wind meant that it was definitely a coat and gloves sort of day.
I did get out in the garden for long enough to try the mirror on a fritillary but the light was so poor that I needed to use a flash.
…and it took me a go or two to get everything to work reasonably well but the end result was quite promising, if not perfect.
It was unfortunate that two electricity wires over the garden got into the picture. I didn’t notice them when I was taking the picture.
I went back in and found things to do inside, including watching the bids, who were very busy. Siskins were in lively form, shouting at chaffinches…
…and blowing goldfinches away.
Considering that siskins weigh about 12 grams at most, they pack a lot of bang for their bucks as the saying goes.
The chaffinches wisely waited until the siskins had gone for a comfort break and then ganged up mob handed on a goldfinch.
A goldfinch took a dim view of a later approach from a chaffinch.
I made some bacon and lentil soup for lunch and we ate it with some sour dough bread which I had bought on my shopping trip yesterday.
After lunch, I did something useful. Mrs Tootlepedal has had her eye on an old and rather shabby, moss and lichen covered variegated elder which stands in the front garden. In spite of the fact that she raised it from a cutting, she felt that it has had its day and it is now time for it to go.
She had cut quite a lot of its roots already so we cut off its branches and I added my weight to pushing, shoving and rocking the trunk until it finally gave up the struggle and surrendered.
In no time at all, the branches had been shredded, the hole more or less refilled….
…and the trunk turned into a disappointingly small pile of logs for the fire.
I had been concerned that the elder had provided a perching place and some protection for birds visiting our feeder and that they would miss it when it was gone. Mrs Tootlepedal took this on board and constructed a fake tree for me which we put up on the other side of the hedge. It is an old fence post with a some willow branches nailed onto it and I had my doubts as to whether it would convince the sort of intelligent bird that we get in our garden.
While we were working on the tree, we were visited by Nipper who brought his friend Marjorie into to the garden to see what was going on. Bearing his name in mind, I am glad that Marjorie had a firm grip on his lead.
While Mrs Tootlepedal had been out collecting the willow branches for the fake tree, I had washed our car so it had been an energetic time and I sat down for a rest on our new bench to recover for a moment. Mrs Tootlepedal thinks that we may have two blackbird pairs nesting in the garden so it was not a surprise to see one.
When we had finished and everything was tidied up, we went in to have a cup of tea and we waited with interest to see if a bird would try out the new tree.
It took about three minutes.
Quite a few birds tried it out and among them was a redpoll who waited there for a while before popping down to scavenge some seed.
Luke came round in the early evening and we had a less than satisfactory play. I was tired and he had had a busy day and the playing was substandard all round. There is always another week though so we are not downhearted.
After Luke left, I went out on a short oyster catcher hunt just to keep my sore foot working. I was hoping to see the big flock again but there were only the regular two pairs about, one below the Town Bridge, and one just above it.
I am going to get an x-ray on my foot tomorrow and I hope that whether this finds something interesting or not, the very fact of having some certainty about my foot’s condition will lead to improvements.
In the meantime, as the temperature is set to be just above freezing every morning this week, I am going to look out my winter clothing again.
As the inane chatter around Brexit continues, I am strongly reminded of the old fellow who was leaning against a gate in the heart of the countryside when he was asked by a passing motorist about the best way to get to Birmingham. “Ah well,” he said after some reflection, “if I was going to Birmingham, I wouldn’t start from here.” Many a true word is spoken in jest.
The flying bird of the day is a siskin…
…probably going home to his friends and saying, “Have you seen that fake tree at Wauchope Cottage? What a joke!”