Today’s guest picture comes from Camera Club member Simon who was at work in Winson in Germany when he found himself being observed.
After a rather wild and wet night while Storm Dorian had its last faint fling over Scotland, we had a generally dry and occasionally sunny day today so we got off pretty lightly.
It was still breezy but that didn’t discourage the birds and the garden was fully occupied by feathered friends all day.
When I went out to have a look around in the morning, I spotted this little dunnock looking askance at a blackbird which was stretching its wings in a flowerbed.
As well as birds, there was a considerable number of red admiral butterflies about too, and I found one on Michaelmas daisy. I got too close to it though and it flew off, leaving a bee to enjoy some peace and quiet.
I stood for some time watching stream of blackbirds and some starlings feeding on the rowan berries.
Unlike Mrs Tootlepedal who has picked all the low hanging fruit from the plum tree…
…the birds have eaten all the topmost berries from the rowan and are now having to look at lower fruit, often on the end of branches.
I was surprised to see how often the birds dropped a berry before being able to swallow it, but all the same, a lot of berries went down a lot of throats today.
A starling posed for me…
…and any number of blackbirds were too busy eating to mind me pointing a cameras at them.
Sometimes when they had pecked a berry off the very end of the branch, gravity was too much for them and they had to fly off with the berry or risk being pushed off by the next customer.
Underneath the rowan tree, a snowberry was a haven of peace for a visiting insect.
In the garden, many flowers had survived the night of wind and rain. Mrs Tootlepedal wishes to point out that all the sunflowers in the shot below came from the same packet of seeds, advertised as short sunflowers. Quality control at the seed merchants looks a bit lax.
The Japanese anemones are not discouraged by anything.
In the middle of the day, I made some plum jam with some of the plums that we have picked. A number of things conspired to make the result unsatisfactory. The plums were too ripe, it has been raining a lot recently, I didn’t have proper jam sugar, and I was probably too impatient. As a result, the jam didn’t set properly and I had to give it a squoosh of lemon juice and a second boil later in the day. Mrs Tootlepedal stewed a lot of the rest of the plums. They will be frozen. There may well be more chutney in the offing too.
In the afternoon, I got my bike out, and after having another look at blackbirds in the rowan tree…
… I went for a short ride. There was evidence of the recent rain.
We had a very good dry spell earlier in the year but the persistent rain has finally got things soggy again and the water is running off the hills and onto the roads in several places.
A cow kept an eye on me as I photographed the puddles.
The forecast was for a gusty wind. Usually round here it is hard to tell if the wind is gusty because it just blows all the time, but today it really was gusty. One minute I would be pedalling along merrily, whistling a happy tune, and the next minute I would have my head down, battling to make any progress at all.
Still, I got to the top of Callister and back and stopped as I pedalled through the town to salute our lonely gull on its regular rock.
Although it was not in flood, there was enough water coming down the Esk to create a fine back ripple.
As I crossed the Langholm Bridge, I could see that the cormorant was back at the Meeting of the Waters, so I parked my bike at the Kilngreen and walked along to get a closer look. It was drying its wings.
I looked up from watching the cormorant and enjoyed the view of the hills. The mixture of blue skies and heavy clouds summed up the day.
I only got rained on for a very short time during the ride and got home after 15 miles in good order. I had enough energy left to mow the middle lawn. For the first time for a few months, I thought that the rate of growth in the grass had slowed down. It has stayed quite warm recently, around 15°C most days, but the shorter days are getting noticeable now. We are only ten days away from the autumn equinox and facts are facts.
As the flowers and leaves are showing.
The starlings were lined up on the electricity wire as I went in to have my evening meal.
As well as plums, we are beginning to get quite a lot of apples from our espalier trees. I have been picking up the windfalls and we decided to take a step into the unknown and convert some of them into a Tarte Tatin. We were handicapped by not having a suitable pan for the job but we battled on and the result was good enough to eat even if it definitely would not have won even second prize in a beauty pageant. I am going to try again soon.
As the blackbirds had taken my advice to try to pick berries from above their heads rather than below their feet, there was no shortage of flying birds today so here is the genuine flying bird of the day.