Tales of thievery

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother’s visit to Liverpool.  He bumped into a bunch of lads on the street but they  gave him the cold shoulder.


Just as I was going to bed (rather late) last night, I was tempted to look out of the window and a bright and almost full moon made me go and get my camera.

moon nearly full

It is a pity that the skies are not clear tonight as not only is the moon full but there is a lunar eclipse which would have been fun to watch.

Still, you can’t have everything and I did start the day off with coffee and treacle scones as Dropscone arrived bearing gifts.  He also brought a very sad tale with him.

He told me that he had lost nine balls in one round while playing golf recently.  I was shocked and worried that he had forgotten how to play properly.  However, it turned out that it wasn’t incompetence but a thieving crow (or crows) that was responsible for the mayhem.  The Langholm Golf Club has been plagued by crows brazenly stealing golf balls from the middle of the fairway for the last couple of weeks.

Dropscone estimates that as many as 100 balls may have been pilfered.  Somewhere around the town, there must be a huge stash but no-one has been able to pinpoint its whereabouts yet.

I checked some of my informants.

This goldfinch claimed that it knows nothing.

goldfinch close up

And a green finch was insulted by even being asked about it.

greenfinch staring

And a dunnock ignored my questions entirely.

dunnock on kerb

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal and I decided on a walk.  It had been freezing in the early morning but the temperature had got up to 4 degrees C, too cold for worry free cycling but fine for a winter walk.  I had a stroll round the garden before we went, and liked the droplets on the perennial nasturtium.

nasturtium with droplets

Many of the hills round the town had low cloud down on them as we drove off in the car but when we parked near the top of Callister five miles away, there was sunshine to greet our walk along the forestry track.

westwater walk

We last walked along this track three months ago and this second visit was well worth while as the track is home to all sorts of interesting things, such as pixie cup lichen growing on flat ground, not a common sight…

pixie cup lichen on ground

…and self seeded Christmas trees along the verge…

self seeded xmas tree

….as well as some very bright red moss sporangia.

red moss sporanges

We had to look where we were going when we got to a shady section of the track higher up the hill as there was still some snow lying…

snow on westwater track

…but at least we were in the sunshine while neighbouring hills still had their heads in the clouds.

clouds on hills

We could see the Ewe Hill Wind farm on the horizon at our turning point…

ewes windfarm from westwater track

…where we paused for a moment and wondered whether we should go down a steep hill in the hope of finding a different way back to the road.

clouds and blue sky

As you can see from the picture above, there was plenty of blue sky about but you had to look straight up to see it.  We decided against going down the hill and retraced our steps.

There was a nippy wind blowing in our faces as we went back towards the car and I was pleased to have my new jacket with a capacious hood to protect me from the chill.   Mrs Tootlepedal kindly took a picture of the jacket in action in reply to request for a picture from a couple of readers.

new jacket

Although my ankles may look a bit exposed, they are well covered by water and windproof socks which do a good job of keeping my feet warm, and my shoes are waterproof too so I was very snug

Another wind farm at the Craig came into view on our way home and as the sun had down a good job of clearing snow from the track….

viw of craig windfarm from westwater track

…I was able to have a good look for lichen…

three sorts of lichen

…as we walked back into the sun towards the car.

Mrs Tootlepedal had her big coat on too.Mrs T westwater track

Although it wasn’t a long walk, it had felt very good to be out and about and we enjoyed it thoroughly, especially as the weather tomorrow looks as though it is going to be quite bad with rain and a gale, and not suitable for outdoor life at all.

After our long day yesterday, we were happy to have a quiet time once we got home and we let the rest of the day drift away peacefully.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

37 thoughts on “Tales of thievery

  1. A quick google re: golf ball pilfering crows turned up a solution. Apparently (according to the Sydney Morning Herald) they wont touch golf balls wiped with a whisky-soaked cloth. I wonder if, maybe, Dropscone and friends simply drink the whisky in the clubhouse thus shunning the crows – but then my feelings tend along the line of golf being a good walk ruined😊

    1. I can’t agree with you about golf. It is extremely addictive even if it is not always enjoyable and generally the company is good. I’ll pass your whisky suggestion on to the golfers.

  2. I couldn’t help giggling at the crows’ behaviour.
    Apparently January’s full moon (tonight) is called a wolf moon.
    That looks like a good sturdy coat, or perhaps it’s the fellow inside it – or both.

  3. Glad to see the weather hasn’t dampened your sense of humour.
    Are you auditioning to be the fifth beatle in your new jacket😉

  4. That’s a nice shot of the moon, and the moss and lichens too.
    Snowy landscapes are common here but they seem out of place there. I hope you’ll see warmer weather soon.
    Curious crow behavior. I wonder if the number of eggs in the nest is a status symbol among the flock.

  5. Great shot of the moon! Weird about the crows taking the golf balls. Why would they do that unless they thought they were eggs they could break and eat? Stay warm and thanks for sharing!

  6. Such a variety of lovely photos and a lively commentary to enjoy. Great shot of the moon and your jacket looks just the ticket for the wintry weather…gaiters next!

  7. We’ve also had views of a beautiful moon lately, as it’s been very clear and cold. Your jacket looks like just the ticket, but I do fear for your feet and ankles, despite your reassurances! Perhaps boots will be reasonable in the January sales?!

    1. I have never found a pair of boots that are comfortable, probably because I don’t wear them often enough, and I always end up with blisters. The waterproof walking shoes are fine for our conditions and if we get deep snow, I shall resort to wellies.

  8. That is a might fine jacket. Perfect for dealing with wet and cold. Laughed when I read the commentary on birds and golf balls. Do you suppose they have set up their own avian golf course somewhere out of sight from prying human eyes?

  9. My sister lived near Hampshire’s Rose Bowl cricket ground. Golf balls kept appearing on her lawn. One day we spotted a fox with one in the nearby Telegraph Woods. Naturally thereafter when I found a golf ball that too would wind up on her lawn.

  10. Crows went off with golf balls? Those are not exactly lightweight or easy to get a beak around! That may explain golf balls I have come across in strange places though.

    The pixie cup lichens on bare ground were also interesting.

    The birds’ captured expressions in regard to your questions were entertaining. The dunnocks seem as serious as the jackdaws, perhaps more so. 🙂

  11. Good morning, Tom. I would like to hear more about the details of how you captured that fine moon. Mine always look like a white blob in a black field. Lovely shot! And, I have never heard of waterproof socks so I will be searching for a pair of those. I could have used them on Saturday when we nearly got blown away in the wind and rains here.

    1. I had my DSLR camera and I turned the ISO down to 160 and then used my 150 to 600 lens to get a reasonable close up. The camera settings were f/6 and 1/2000 sec. The focal length was 500mm. This may not be very helpful unless you have a similar camera.

  12. There’s the photo of you walking away in your excellent new coat!

    I’m about to read a book called Gifts of the Crow, all about how smart they are and so on. Dropscone would probably not be a fan of them right now.

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