Several unexpected appearances

Today’s guest picture is another from my brother Andrew’s walk at Ashbourne.  When he had crossed that narrow bridge featured as guest picture a couple of days ago, he found that an earlier landowner had dammed the little river and produced a big lake.

ashbourne lake

We had a surprise today when we woke up.  We found that it wasn’t raining.  Indeed, it was the first time that we could really appreciate how far the year has moved on since the winter solstice as it was already a bright day at breakfast.

The day was made brighter still by an early appearance from the robin.  It popped up, took a seed, went off to eat it, had a look round and came back for another.

four robin panel

I went out with my camera just to prove that the sun was out in case it disappeared and didn’t come back again.  The forecast had been terrible so the good day was a surprise.

I took a look at the garden from the road outside…

sunny morning

…and enjoyed the sun shining on the moss on the back path when I went back into the garden..

mossy path

It has been so damp in recent years that the garden is gradually sinking under the weight of the moss.

I went back indoors and spent a little time watching the birds.  Goldfinches and chaffinches got in early before the siskins took over.

full feeder

But it didn’t take many siskins before a chaffinch had second thoughts  about flying in.

chaffinch thinking better of it

And when one was brave enough to come close..

chaffinch approaching siskin

…it got a warm welcome…

siskin rebuffinh chaffinch

…and went away again.

The day got brighter still when Sandy appeared for coffee.  He is going off for an operation on his foot tomorrow, so this will be his last visit for some time.  The operation should be quite quick but the recovery will not be.  I will have to stir my stumps and go and have coffee with him as he sits with his foot up.

When Sandy left, it was such a nice day that Mrs Tootlepedal was tempted out to do some gardening and I went with her.

The first task was to put the Christmas tree back in its bed.  It had been sitting in a pot at the back door until a dry day came but seems to have taken no hurt.

christmas Feb 2020

The snow drops were enjoying the sunshine too.

snowdrops in flower

I got so excited that I sieved some compost…

compost in barow

…while Mrs Tootlepedal cut back a dogwood.

dogwood pruning

I shredded the prunings and added them to the compost bin.

Then I dug up a leek and made some soup with it for lunch.

leek ready fr soup

While the soup was cooking, I went back out and noted a tree peony and some tulips reminding us that spring will come.

tree peony and crocus

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal had some work connected to the possible community land purchase to do (it is a very complicated matter) so I did the crossword and put a fruity malt loaf into the breadmaker.

When Mrs Tootlepedal had finished her work, we went for a walk.  There had been a terrific shower of rain while she was working but it had passed, and the day was once again inviting us to go outside.

I chose a route which I hoped would give us sightings of interesting birds and I was pleased to see my first posing oyster catcher since last July standing on a rock in the Esk…

oyster catcher and goosander

…and the first goosander since Christmas swimming in the Ewes.

There was a good sighting of the white duck at the Kilngreen which I couldn’t miss  but I didn’t see the most interesting bird of the day, a tree creeper on the Castleholm, at all.

tree creeper and duck

You can see it in the panel above.  Mrs Tootlepedal, who had just been lamenting not seeing any tree creepers for a while, spotted the bird and pointed it out to me.  I couldn’t make it out, however hard I looked.  Luckily, I pointed my camera in hope in the general direction that  Mrs Tootlepedal was pointing, and it did the seeing for me.

It was a short walk but we were both delighted to be out in the sunshine.  I loved the low winter sun catching the moss on the wall beside the estate offices…

moss on wall

…and it picked out the mossy branches on this tree too.

castleholm tree

Talking of moss, Mrs Tootlepedal was rather taken by the very neat division between moss and lichen on this tree further along the path.

tree with moss and fungus

On a nice day, there is always something to look at on a tree or a branch on the ground.

lichen and buds

Although we peered up into a lot of other trees…

treescape

…we didn’t see another interesting bird.

We had a cup of tea when we got home and not long afterwards, my friend Luke appeared and we played a trio sonata by Godfrey Finger, with the computer and my Roland keyboard providing the accompaniment.  The sonata is really for two oboes but it suits us very well on our flutes.  We would like to have a real, live pianist but they are hard to find these days.

After Luke left, the slow cooked lamb stew provided another meal and we followed that with a slice of the freshly made fruity malt loaf.

The BBC weather forecast on the TV for tomorrow has been full of foreboding, talking of gales and even snow in the offing.  The Norwegian weather forecast for our area is much more benign and offers another day of sunshine with brisk but not silly winds, so unlike the keen Brexiteers, I am hoping to take the Norwegian option tomorrow.

A hopeful chaffinch is the flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

Footnote:  Alert readers will have noted that I haven’t mentioned being dizzy today.  This is because I wasn’t dizzy.  I didn’t mention a sore foot either for the same reason.  If this goes on, I will have nothing to complain about and may even be back on my bike again.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

34 thoughts on “Several unexpected appearances

  1. Wishing Sandy a successful operation tomorrow, and no complaints from Mr. Tootlepedal so that he will be out on his bike again. 🙂 I will do some complaining of my own. I took ill this weekend with whatever winter scourge is going around, so window viewing and other people’s blog posts will have to do for now.

    I am glad you had a pleasant sunny day there. We woke up to a fine covering of snow today, which melted quickly under beautiful, partly cloudy skies.

  2. Glad to hear your equilibrium is fully restored.
    Wednesday looks like a promising day for a cycle ride.
    Good shots of your handsome robin again.

    1. I did a test ten miles today so I am hoping to be fit enough to put Wednesday to some use. I still won’t be going far as I don’t want to push my luck.

  3. The half lichen half moss tree was very interesting. Glad you got a chance to get out and about and suffered no aches or pains or artful swoons.
    Fingers crossed for Norwegian weather 😊

    1. It’s a nautical term but it appears in the title of’ Jeeves in the Offing’ by the great P. G. Wodehouse which is where I get it from. I get a lot of phrases from P. G. Wodehouse, 🙂

      1. Well, what do you know? I’ve used the expression all my life – careless of what non-native English speakers might make of it – but had no idea it was a nautical term. Ahoy there!

      2. Here is my favourite Woosterism: it makes my knotted and combined locks part and each particular hair stand on end like quills upon the fretful porpentine.

  4. Glad for you having sunshine, no dizziness, foot doing ok (did you pass it along to Sandy?) and a delightful walk with Mrs T. The wind about blew my roof off last night so maybe the gale is on its way around the globe to you. Best wishes to Sandy on speedy recovery.

  5. Good to see the robin, oyster catcher, duck and tree creeper photos – all lovely. Good news too that sieving has commenced in the garden and that your ills have abated-yay! Hope your quiet weather continues- just seen the weather forecast- but they can be wrong!!

  6. Very happy for your lack of dizziness.

    By the way I was also impressed with yesterday’s post that you still have apples and onion..and leeks

    I am pleased to see a tree creeper because of just seeing on Winterwatch how they sleep so adorably tucked into tree crevices.

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