Wild goose chase

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary’s visit to Regents park last week, She was impressed by this fine floral display. I was too.

We woke to a wet and miserable morning so it was fortunate that there was a testing crossword to help me waste some time. For want of anything more exciting, I turned my hand to having another go at making a date, raisin and walnut tea bread. Because it has no eggs in it, it doesn’t last wel,l so I reduced the contents and made a small one.

It went down well with some butter on it later in the day.

Then I made some lentil and carrot soup for lunch with one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s chilli peppers from the greenhouse to add a bit of zing.

I was just going to start making the soup when some movement on the lawn caught my eye through the kitchen window. I quickly went to get my camera and took this shot of a visiting sparrowhawk diminishing the number of small bird visitors to the garden by one.

It took its time over its lunch and checked from time to time to see if I was still taking pictures. Of course I was.

Not unnaturally, it took some time after the hawk had gone for the small birds to return, but they did come back after lunch.

In fact, there was no shortage of goldfinches …

…who just kept coming (and going).

There were plenty of puddles in the drive after the morning rain, and I spotted a dunnock having a good shake out in the sunshine after a dip in one of them.

Having shaken itself dry, it promptly jumped back into the puddle and got wet again.

And then, not satisfied with that, really threw itself back into the water again.

That’s what I call proper wild swimming.

I was distracted by a chaffinch on the feeder above…

….before going back to watch the dunnock having a final flourish.

…and one last dip and dive.

I couldn’t stop any longer because I had planned to go for an afternoon cycle ride when the sun came out and, as you can see, the sun was out.

I managed to avoid the temptations of watching the Giro, helped by the fact the the weather in Italy was poor and it was a flat stage.

Once again, I passed the new windfarm as I went over Callister without seeing any sign of work, so I didn’t stop until I came upon the first gorse flowers of autumn beside the road to Gair.

Looking round after I had taken the gorse picture, I could see that a lot of the trees have now shed their leaves….

…but there was still some nice colour on my way from Kirkpatrick Fleming to Chapelknowe.

I made a diversion at Chapelknowe to take me down to Corries Mill and back up to Millltown of Sark in the hope of seeing migratory geese feeding in the fields there.

There was not a goose to be seen.

I did stop a little bit further on to record the very short rainbow that appears ion today’s header picture and while I was stopped, I was able to look over towards the windfarm and see that those bits and bobs are still lying around.

Considering that the turbine towers are made of separate pieces, it is very hard to see the joins when they are up.

I realised that I was standing right next to the well defended border between England and Scotland (I was just in England). There is increasing support for Scottish independence but much like the Irish border and Brexit, no-one is very keen to talk about what might happen to this unassuming spot.

I was a bit worried that the rainbow might mean that I was going to get wet, but the weather gods were kind and I stayed in the sunshine as I pedalled gently home.

Whita looked very welcoming as I got near Irvine House…

…and there was a colourful tree in the field behind the house.

I got home to find the sun streaming through the Michaelmas daisies…

…and Mrs Tootlepedal laying the groundwork for shifting her next slab. I offered to lend a hand but she had done enough and we went inside to drink tea and eat cake.

I had a quick walk round the garden before I went in.

New nerines and rambler roses are still coming out but they are not looking very convincing. Heavy rain and strong winds over the weekend may well persuade them that it would have been better to have kept their heads down.

I certainly intend to keep mine down. I was rather tired on my cycle outing today and a little rest might be a good thing. My Garmin bike device kindly presents with me a gaudily coloured-coded map of the route when I put the data from a ride on to my computer. Red is for moments when I am going at my fastest, green and yellow are for intermediate efforts, and blue is for my slowest speeds. Today’s route map was almost entirely blue! But I enjoyed the ride anyway.

We had a cheery sibling Zoom meeting as the light faded to darkness at the end of the day. The clocks go back this weekend and we are going to have the meeting earlier as a result. My brother claims that he is going to ignore the change and still get up at the same time regardless. Mrs Tootlepedal and I are considering doing the same thing. It would stop us wasting a good hour of daylight in the morning, and as we will not have a diary full of exciting things to do in the foreseeable future, it might be worth trying. Time will tell.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch in full braking mode as it approaches the feeder.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

32 thoughts on “Wild goose chase

  1. Your well captured shot of the sparrow hawk shows what a fiersome predator it is,but they all have to eat.
    We could do with a few round here to reduce the hundreds of house sparrows,they just completely take over the bird feeders,our poor smaller tit visitors hardly get a look in.
    Another good ride today,what annual mileage are you aiming for?

    1. I am trying for 4000 miles this year after a poor year last year. I still have 400 miles to go so it is a bit weather dependent as to whether I will make it.

  2. That’s a great series of the puddle diving dunnock, and nice shots of the sparrow hawk too.
    As is always the case when you show it I wish we had gorse here. I’m not that fond of coconut but the color is excellent.
    As a mechanical engineer I’m glad that I didn’t have to calculate all the stresses on those wind turbines. I hope they use big, strong bolts.

  3. Very odd. I haven’t had emails about your blogs for the last two days, and on checking ‘behind the scenes’ I find that Tootlepedal had disappeared from my list of followed sites. Added once more now, of course. Very odd.

  4. I always hate it when we turn the clocks back. Miss that extra hour of light in the afternoon. Let us know how getting up at the same time works for you.

  5. What I would give to take a picture of a sparrow hawk? Beautiful birds. I’ve seen quite a few over the years, but never had the time to aim a camera of any description. Of course I can rely on yourself, to do the honours. A shot like that must be worth one of 30-40 magpies? Not that I got that shot either! Commuted to work through heavy winds but escaped any rain, now the heavens have opened up, so a fair chance I’ll be soaked on the trip home. C’est la vie, nes pas? (Wales are playing France tonight in a friendly?) Looking forward to a fantastic game, just hope the weather is much better dans Paris.

      1. Sadly it went down hill for the rest of the match, plus our kicker left his kicking boots at home. On top of that the french were far more “streetwise”, or adept at foul play, take your pick, slowing the ball down. But the whistle blew for no side, as the great Bill Mclaren used to say. Cheers.

      2. If a referee insisted on players conforming to the rules, there wouldn’t be much of match left to watch theses days. Oddly enough, my brother in law who played years ago always said that the best match he ever played was refereed by a youngish girl and all the players obeyed the rules without having to be told.

      3. Cheating nowadays is called gamesmanship, it is upsetting that the world’s best players will gleefully admit to doing various transgressions, as winning is all that matters.

  6. The sparrowhawk looks pleased today. All must eat. The dunnock enjoying a good bath after the sparrowhawk left was nice to see.

    The date bread looks quite tasty, and I am imagining a slice with butter and a good cup of tea.

    Daylight Savings Time. I could do without clock changes myself, but these days I can ignore it, except when I have to be somewhere early.

  7. Amazing photos of the sparrow hawk…what chunky thighs they have and those eyes! Love the dunking dunnock…now that really is a wash and scrub up. The Michaelmas daisies are a delight especially highlighted by the sunshine. …..let’s hope this sunshine lasts so you can take even more beautiful autumn scenes.

  8. A perfect shot of the hawk. Am I imagining things, or does he/she look a tad guilty? I liked your rainbow in the header picture, too!

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