Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce. He came across this very striking yellow brain (Tremella mesenterica) fungus on his walk with his wife Lesley today.
After the hefty winds and vigorous rain of yesterday, it was a relief to wake up to a much calmer picture today, even if it was a rather black and white picture as seen from the front and back windows of our house.
As you can see, the snow hardly came down to garden level at all and there was no call for Yaktrax as the pavements were ice free.
I had a look at the birds after breakfast. A single goldfinch was present when I first looked..
…but I was soon able to see a blue tit enjoying the new peanut butter feeder which was given to me as a present by our daughter Annie.
Then a small flock of goldfinches appeared too, which was welcome…
…even if they did occasionally throw the food about in an extravagant manner.
There were little showers of sleety rain but when they stopped, Mrs Tootlepedal suggested a walk instead of a shivery coffee meeting in the garden, and we went off round the Pheasant Hatchery, well wrapped up against a chilly wind and the possibility of more sleet.
The sharp eyed Mrs Tootlepedal spotted a pair of wagtails beside the Esk near the suspension bridge and they turned out to be an odd couple, as one was a grey wagtail and the other was a pied wagtail. Just good friends.
At the Kilngreen, I spotted Mr Grumpy and a dipper. Mr Grumpy stood as still as he usually does, but the dipper flew off as I was getting my camera out.
The gulls were playing grandmother’s footsteps on the fence posts.
It was rather grey to say the least….
…and chilly too so I kept my camera in my pocket for most of the walk but a couple of bright fungi caught my eye…
…and I liked the variety of lichen on a single tree’s trunk.
It started to sleet as we were on the homeward stretch but that had not discouraged other walkers and we had to stop to let several other parties past. This was quite a surprise on such an inhospitable morning, but they like us probably felt the need to shake down a little surplus Christmas avoirdupois.
It stared to sleet quite heavily as we got near to the end of our walk and we were pleased to get inside and enjoy a cup of coffee in the warm.
The cold weather had encouraged more visitors to the feeder in spite of the sleet.
…and chaffinches and goldfinches were busy.
You can see odd reflections in your coffee pot when you have nothing better to do when it is wet and horrible outside than sit indoors and sip coffee and think…or in my case, just sit and sip coffee and never mind the thinking.
I was a bit disappointed by how few photo opportunities our morning walk had offered, so when the after lunch forecast suggested a possibility of sunshine in the early afternoon, I put on my wellies again and set out to walk up the track to the top of Warbla in the hope of a view or two.
The start wasn’t too promising with another light sprinkling of sleet and then cloudy views…
…but the forecast was right and the day brightened up as I got higher up the track.
…and I found myself having a very enjoyable walk. The track was in good condition…
…and although I reached the snowline….
… it wasn’t very deep and had already stared to melt.
This meant that the views weren’t quite as seasonal as I had hoped…
…and only the very summit had a proper covering.
One shadow is mine and the other is the trig point beside which I was standing.
I spent the downhill return trip keeping a very good eye on where I was going and as a result managed to get up and down the hill today without falling over, a minor triumph.
Some siskins had arrived at the feeder by the time that I got home, the first for a while.
The rest of the afternoon was spent in gentle repose on the sofa.
Remains of ham and chicken appeared for my evening meal with some Brussels sprouts and fried potato bubble and squeak to accompany them. As this was followed by mince pies with brandy butter and cream, quite a bit more exercise will be required tomorrow, weather permitting.
The flying bird of the day is a gull which had been dislodged from its fence post.