Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony. He just wants us to know that there are starlings in East Wemyss too.
The forecast was for a reasonable morning with some rain at lunchtime and rising wind during the day. I should therefore have gone out cycling as soon as possible and worried about other things later on.
As it happened, the idea of having a coffee and biscuit with Sandy proved more powerful than the idea of cycling so coffee and a biscuit (or two) it was.
When he left, there were birds to look at….
…and a window to clean to make it easier to look at the birds.
A collared dove looked down on the cleaned window with approval.
A blue tit eyed up the feeder…
…and having got there, took a seed and made off again.
The sunflower hearts are too big for blue tits to eat, so they take them away to a tree where they hold them down with a claw and peck at them.
One chaffinch took a moment to rest on the plum tree before heading for the feeder…
…and another made sure to line up neatly with the other branches on Mrs Tootlepedal’s fake tree.
A goldfinch appeared…
…and soon a small gang of them monopolised the feeder.
I was hoping for a flying bird but unless you have a lot of time to stand and wait, you need more than a gang of three to turn up. The feeder should ideally be fully occupied with non flying birds and then the flying birds have to hang in the air waiting for an opportunity to land.
In the absence of flying, I turned round and looked at the window on the opposite side of the room. Pot plants make good subjects because they don’t suddenly dart off before you can get the camera focused.
The expected lunchtime rain didn’t materialise, so after a healthy lunch of sardines, I got my bike out and went off for a ride. I had the wind behind me as I started but as there were some unreliable looking clouds behind me too, I kept an open mind on where and how far I should go.
It was grey day and with the threat of rain about, I didn’t stop a lot but this colourful and neatly trimmed hedge at Mossknowe seemed worth a look.
Just up the road, was an imposing tree with a good complement of leaves still on its branches.
When I got to the Annan road, I headed west. I was planning to turn left and check to see if there were any migratory geese about near the border, but as the moment of route decision got nearer so did the threatening clouds.
Looking to my right, the skies seemed clearer so instead of turning left, I went on a bit, passing these leafy trees…
… and turned right at Chapelknowe. I had gone about three yards up the road from the junction when it started to rain quite heavily. I stopped and put my rain jacket on and about three yards later, the rain stopped as suddenly as it had started.
How I laughed.
As I plodded up the hill, the day got darker….
…so I kept my rain jacket on until I got so hot that I had to stop and take it off again. About three hundred yards later, it started to rain quite heavily again but this time I was ready for it and pedalled on regardless. I soon came out into the dry again.
I had chosen a route that would make the best of the wind and I had it generally behind me for the first eighteen miles. The nine miles back home directly into the wind were harder work and I was pleased to stop at the bottom of Callister to photograph this well defended bridge at Falford.
Then it started to rain again and this time, it didn’t stop. I was only seven miles from home though so I was quite happy to tuck my glasses in my back pocket, wrap up my camera and phone, and pedal along without putting my rain jacket back on. The rain was not heavy and it was tolerably warm so in spite of the elements against me, I enjoyed the ride back.
I ended up doing just under twenty eight miles and because of the route alteration, I found myself going round some familiar roads in the opposite direction to my usual custom. It is surprising how novel going the ‘wrong way’ down a road feels, no matter how often you have gone along it in in the other direction.
In the evening, my flute pupil Luke arrived and we had another progressive session. He has been practising at home and showed marked improvement which was very satisfactory. Because no one showed me how to practice properly when I was young, I got very discouraged when I put in some time but didn’t seem to get any better, so it is good to see Luke getting value from the time he has spent.
In response to popular demand, the venison stew made a reappearance for our evening meal.
I didn’t have the patience to wait long enough for a flying bird at the feeder today so a dogwood across the garden, shot through the window while I was waiting hopefully, is the best that I can do.