Today’s guest picture is from Paul. He was exploring the tracks round Entwistle Reservoir and spotted this handsome heron.
Our excellent spell of summer weather continued here with another warm dry and mostly sunny day. We could get used to this sort of thing.
I was reading the newspapers after breakfast when Mrs Tootlepedal called me upstairs. Her eagle eye had spotted a sparrowhawk in the garden. It was perched on a hedge under the walnut tree enjoying its own breakfast. I got the little Lumix to extend its zoom….
…and then took my bird camera out into the garden and did my best to tread softly….
…but the sparrowhawk could see me coming and flew off before I could get close.
Putting down my camera, I picked up my secateurs and started on some dead heading. It is amazing how many calendulas and poppies stop flowering every day. I have to be careful to distinguish between these two states of poppyhood….
…otherwise we won’t get many more like these.
Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out that I had made a mistake in yesterday’s post. This lovely dahlia….
…was not in fact grown from seed but arrived as a tuber from the estimable Sarah Raven’s nursery.
I also spoke disrespectfully of our verbena yesterday and in retrospect, I thought that it is only fair to say that if you are well over six foot high and can actually look down on the flowers, they look very pretty.
I took this picture by holding the camera well above my head.
Sandy came down for coffee and we had a good catch up on news and health. He has been cycling on his electric bike which is progress but his foot is still taking its time to get back to full usefulness.
He had a walk round the garden when he went and particularly liked Mrs Tootlepedal’s phlox colour combination.
After Sandy left, we continued our regular garden coffee morning with Margaret who had joined us and while we sipped and chatted, we were surrounded by butterflies.
There were lots of peacocks and whites, only a few red admirals and no small tortoiseshells today. The ways of nature are a mystery to me.
The sun was hot as we sat out and the colours of the flowers were pretty hot too.
I kept an eye out for small tortoiseshells but only saw a blackbird.
After lunch, I went out for a gentle cycle ride, hoping that my legs wouldn’t be offended by being asked to get back to work after the day off yesterday.
I was helped by the fact that the wind was behind me for once as I set off, and it didn’t take long for my legs to stop grumbling and enjoy the warm weather. Instead of doing my usual 20 mile Canonbie circuit, I had another tour over Callister and back by Solwaybank. It is about the same distance as the Canonbie run, but it is a bit more hilly and lets me check on the new windfarm as I go. This makes it more interesting and I may use this route regularly.
I was interested to see if the second turbine tower had got its blades attached. As I could see the tops of the blades as I went up the road to Callister, it was no surprise when I found that the the view from Kennedy’s Corner had additions.
I had to pass this nice collection of colours and angles….
…and an outbreak of marsh woundwort…
…before I could get a clear look at the turbines.
They are big as you can see by comparing them to the size of the vehicles on the ground.
As the light wind was against me now, I was happy to get on to a tree lined section of the road…
I stopped to try to get a picture of a couple of very noisy buzzards but had to settle for a look up through the branches instead.
I did see some birds a bit further on but I was not all that happy to see that they were swallows lining up on wires.
That speaks of autumn to me and we are not ready for that yet.
When I got home, I found that our plastic heron had magically flown from one side of the little pond to the other.
It looks happy in its new place.
Mrs Tootlepedal had just finished preparing a brisket of beef casserole when I arrived, so after a quick change out of my cycling clothes, we drove up to the moor to see if the heather was out on the hill and if there were raptors about in the sky.
The heather is coming out but needs a week perhaps to be at its best…
..but there were no raptors to be seen. The skies had clouded over and it was rather a grey day now.
Still, it is always good to be out on the moor and I took a little walk to get a view up the Tarras valley…
….enjoyed a progressive clump of heather…
…and then we drove home.
Mrs Tootlepedal picked a large turnip from the garden to go with the brisket and called me out to look at a vast breakout of flying ants from the old kitchen compost bin.
It was an amazing sight. The bin was covered with the newly emerged creatures who must all have received the signal to leave the nest at the same moment. We didn’t hang around as they found their wings and when we looked later on, they had all flown away.
The brisket was very tasty and went down well with home grown potatoes and the neep.
The flying bird of the day is a greenfinch practising its footwork.