Today’s guest picture comes from Bill, a blog reader, who was pleased that we enjoyed his creative poppy plantation on our recent walk. Nature got a helping hand! He has sent me this picture of a ceanothus which rivals the cotoneaster as a bee magnet.
Our spell of dry, warm and sunny weather continued today, and it was, if anything, warmer than it was yesterday. On the hand, there was a stronger cooling breeze available so we were all pretty happy.
Our neighbour Margaret, the senior citizen in our socially distanced street coffee morning set, was the beneficiary of the slight loosening of the lockdown when her son and daughter-in-law visited her for coffee today, bringing their own seats with them. Mrs Tootlepedal and our other morning coffee neighbour Liz joined them but I, thinking that five was a crowd, went off to have coffee with Sandy instead.
He had acquired a new cafetiere so we sipped good coffee together and watched a pair of very industrious blue tits bringing food for the family to the nest box on his shed.
Judging from how busy the parents were, there must be quite a few nestlings in the box.
The skies have got busy too lately, and we watched a plane leaving quite a trail as it passed overhead.
Sandy has a handy flight tracking app on his phone and he was able tell me that this was an Airbus jet going from Aberdeen to London.
When I got home, the street coffee morning was just breaking up, and Mrs Tootlepedal and I went into the garden.
There was aerial activity there too, but this time it was two young starlings pestering a fed up parent for food.
A check on a rose that appeared in yesterday’s post showed me that the pink tinge was in fact the proper colour for this rose…
…and it was the early white flowers that were non standard.
Mrs Tootlepedal has discovered a single plum on the plum tree that was not killed by the frost, but we are keeping its location secret for security purposes. She is very pleased to see new shoots on the plum tree after the quite severe pruning we gave it.
I mowed the middle lawn and the weather has been so kind that I was able to run the mower over the grass without using the collecting box. This is good for two reasons, the mowing is quicker and easier and the grass cuttings act as a mulch to improve the health of the lawn.
Then it was time for lunch.
After lunch, I mowed the front lawn, again without the box on, and then we had a sit down on the new bench in the shade.
There was more starling action as a youngster perched hopefully on the top of the holly tree looking this way and that for someone to come and feed it. There were adults about but they didn’t seem interested in helping this particular youngster.
I filled the pond and while it was filling, I checked on the bees on the Limnanthes. They were diving in.
The tadpoles were very happy with the new water level.
The temperature was up to 25°C (77°F) by this time but the breeze was frisky enough to suggest that a walk might be good thing. Mrs Tootlepedal however felt that it was an afternoon for staying in, so I went for a walk round the Pheasant Hatchery by myself.
As I left the house, I noticed that more of the big red poppies had appeared along the dam.
There was a tremendous disturbance when I got to the suspension bridge. It turned out to be oyster catchers objecting to people coming to close to their nest. Further up stream, another oyster catcher was much calmer.
There were more people about than there have been lately, which not surprising considering that it was a beautiful Saturday afternoon, but it meant that I couldn’t hang about waiting to see wagtails on the Kilngreen and I crossed the Sawmill Brig and headed up the Lodge Walks towards the pheasant hatchery without delay.
The felling of trees along the Lodge Walks in recent years mean that it is no longer quite such an attractive scene for photographers but the trees on the other side of the Castleholm are always a treat at this time of year…
…so I took them instead.
Once I had got round the pheasant hatchery, the walk back along the bank of the Esk was delightful…
…with small pleasures on one side…
…and large ones on the other.
There is a good still pool in the river beneath the Duchess Bridge and I thought that I ought to be able to get a nice reflective shot but the banks are steep and tree lined so I could see half the bridge and half a reflection…
…or more of the bridge and no reflection…
..or more of the reflection and none of the bridge.
It was very frustrating. I needed a drone camera.
The picture above is a bit confusing but I am looking down past a tree straight at the river. You can see the tree and the stones on this side of the river at the bottom of the frame but all the rest is reflections in the water.
In the picture below, you can see the stones on the far bank and trees on the near bank. In between is the river.
It was good to be out on such a day.
I got back in time for a cheerful Zoom meeting with my siblings and after our evening meal (slow cooked stew with spinach from the garden and bubble and squeak on the side), I got a special treat. Mrs Tootlepedal invited me to go with her to collect some horse muck from a stable at the Stubholm.
The temperature was perfect by this point in the day, and while Mrs Tootlepedal collected a couple of buckets of the good stuff, I counted trees.
As a bonus, I was allowed to carry one of the buckets of manure back home. The perfect end to the day.
The flying bird of the day is a sparrow heading past the feeder pole with sunflowers seeds in mind.