Today’s guest picture is another from our neighbour Liz’s walk with Riley, As well as the waterfall, she saw some very early primroses, sheltering beside the stream.
We saw the return of grey and windy weather today which was a disappointment after our dry week, but at least the forecast rain didn’t arrive until after dark. This meant that I was able to walk to the producers’ market at the Buccleuch Centre without getting wet.
Mrs Tootlepedal was already there when I arrived, as she and her fellow worker Margaret had set up a stall and were canvassing support of the community land buy out They were being successful at enrolling more supporters and I purchased meat and fish so we were all quite happy.
When I left, they were still working hard and I thought that I should follow their example and do some work too when I got home, so I put another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.
Then I made some lentil soup for lunch and while it was cooking, I had time to watch the birds.
The feeder was quite busy…
…although the strong winds were making life hard for this goldfinch on its stalk.
Heading straight into the wind, another goldfinch aimed for aerodynamic perfection.
The bright red breast on this redpoll was another sign that spring is definitely here in spite of the gloomy weather.
I took this picture to show that the redpoll is a tiny bird, the size of a siskin and much smaller than a goldfinch.
There was the usual amount of siskin squabbling going on and I liked the pained expression on the face of this chaffinch as he had to put up with more gratuitous abuse…
…though I suppose that bad manners and tweets are no novelty these days.
For lunch I enjoyed some haggis from the market with my soup and Mrs Tootlepedal enjoyed some somosas. Then, as it had still not started to rain, we got into the car and drove up to the Laverock bird hide. The larch glade at the hide has been threatened with felling because of larch disease, but it is still standing and while Mrs Tootlepedal scanned the cloudy sky for raptors (in vain), I went in to look at smaller birds.
I could hardly hear myself think because of loud noises and when I checked, I could see that frogs were busy in the small pond beside the hide.
The peanut feeder had been freshly filled and I was entertained by a steady stream of great tits, blue tits and coal tits.
A greater spotted woodpecker landed on a nearby pole and started giving it a good pecking.
I could easily have sat there longer with so much to look at…
…but I had promised Mrs Tootlepedal a walk, so we left the car at the hide and walked off along the road down to the river.
Even at this time of year, there are subtle colours in the trees to enjoy…
…and the road soon enters a wooded section with a fresh set of colours…
…and tantalising glimpses of old walls across the valley.
And where there are trees, banks and walls, there are interesting things to look at…
…so even on a grey and windy day, it was not a dull stroll.
The Tarras water was very calm when we got to it.
When the road got to the bridge across the river, we kept to the same bank and walked along the track towards Rashiel.
There is a curious mound near the house which might be an esker, left after the ice age…
…or might be a man made construction. It is hard to tell.
It is in the middle of an otherwise flat area.
We retraced our steps to the hide where I showed Mrs Tootlepdal the frogs. The light on the ruffled water made it look as though the frog had been frozen in plastic and was struggling to get out.
Mrs Tootlepedal was much struck by the endless procession of small birds to the feeder…
…but in the absence of any more obliging woodpeckers, we didn’t stay too long and got home in time for a nice cup of tea.
The recent windy weather has battered our little fruit cages quite a lot, so Mrs Tootlepedal, with some help from me, went out to stiffen their resolve with a screwdriver.
After that, there was nothing for me to do but practice hymns and songs for the choirs tomorrow and try not to get too upset while watching snatches of the rugby on the telly.
The wind is howling and the rain is hammering down as I write this, but it is supposed to stop before tomorrow morning so I am hoping that the forecast is right this time.
A chaffinch, keeping its head up in case of a rude siskins, is the flying bird of the day.