Surface dressing

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Alistair and shows some careful modern art minimalist snowmanship.

We woke up to a light snowfall which was dusting the garden….

…interesting a chaffinch…

…and had given the church a new look when I went to visit the dentist in the morning.

I was pleased that my dental visit was still on, despite more stringent lockdown regulations, as hopefully it will lead to the eventual arrival of my two new front teeth and I will be able to smile again.

Because I had had to get properly dressed to go to the dentist, I couldn’t face taking all my clothes off again and putting my cycling gear on for a trip on the bike to nowhere when I got home, so I spent the rest of the morning drinking coffee, eating biscuits and watching the birds.

Perhaps because of the snow and a slightly warmer day, there were plenty of birds to watch today, and not just chaffinches of whom there were a lot…

…but some welcome goldfinches too. They sent out a harbinger and then they all joined in.

Other birds were available in the walnut tree and on the ground….

…but mostly it was chaffinches again, sometimes busy…

…and sometimes in relaxed conversational mode.

There was posing going on…

…but curiously, no demand for the peanut butter today.

A fortnight late for the Christmas card shot, a robin stood in the snow.

I made some leek and potato soup for lunch, and then as the snow had stopped and the clouds had lifted a bit, I went for walk.

I put my Yaktrax on my wellies and headed for the top of Whita. On every side as I climbed the track, I could see mist hanging in the valley, but the mast at the top of the hill was in the clear so I plodded on.

Considering that the white on the track that you can see in the pictures is just a thin skin of snow on a sheet of ice underneath, I was pleased to find the the welly/Yaktrax combination worked well and I went up without even a slip.

I was a bit disappointed that the snow hadn’t done a better job of turning the trees white but they were quite picturesque even so…

…and I stopped for my favourite one near the summit.

For the second day running, I met a man at a trig point…

…and Barry and I stood and chatted for some time. To the south, England was covered in mist again…

…and to the north, Langholm looked blue and rather chilly.

I was hoping that the clouds would part and reveal a winter wonderland as there was plenty of blue sky above us in places, but sunlight was strictly rationed today and only drops were handed out by the weather goods.

We should have been on Whita, but only half way up….

…or further up the valley where there was a drop of golden sun beyond the mist from time to time.

I waited in vain for a breakthrough though, and after a last look at Whita…

…I headed back down the track.

I don’t want to give the impression that I was disappointed to have made the effort to get up the hill. I wasn’t. It was calm and beautiful in a subdued way on the summit, and as it was a world away from the political and virus situation, it was definitely the place to be.

Once I had got past a traffic jam on my way off the hill…

…I took a diversion through the Kernigal wood and down the track to Skipperscleuch.

As you can see from the previous efforts, the misty conditions made the light too dim for cheerful photographs so I stuck my camera in my pocket when I got down to the river and concentrated on walking home from Skippers Bridge without falling over. In what can only be described as a triumph, I managed to complete the five miles while remaining continuously upright. Mrs Tootlepedal was very impressed.

On my walk and in our drive over the course of the day, I saw several intriguing prints in the snow.

I don’t know what the animal tracks are in the top right picture. They were in the Kernigal wood and were tiny, too small for a dog.

All this walking about in snow and ice is quite tiring, so I was quite happy to finish the day off with some high class sofa surfing and a meal of trout and sauteed potatoes to round things off. There may have been a late appearance of ice cream and peach slices too.

In spite of the appearance of the goldfinches, I couldn’t catch one in the air so a chaffinch is the flying bird of the day yet again.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

30 thoughts on “Surface dressing

  1. The snow adds another beautiful dimension to a very scenic land, and appears to have brought in a nice assortment of birds to tuck in at the feeders. The peanut butter may be a bit too hard to peck at depending on the temperature, but should provide them with some good calories. Nhgarden may be able to identify the mystery tracks.

    We’ve had a mostly cloudy to mostly sunny day here in the mid 40s. That warm sun feels good this afternoon.

  2. The Christmas card robin 😊 great shot.
    Know what you mean about the effort of getting your gear on to go on a ride to nowhere,a walk is a far more enjoyable optionetaly and physically.
    Like most of your followers I’m fed up with watching all the bad news,too much of it depresses me..I am trying to limit myself to just the six o’clock version.
    Far better to keep yourself occupied with walking,cooking or anything that keeps the grey matter working.
    Is it me or are your goldfinches becoming more colourful?

  3. It looks cold there. Much like what it looks like here but we have a lot of ice on the ground.
    Nice to see the robin photos.
    I remember that you had a stoat there a few years back. Could the tracks be from one of that family? There are several online sites devoted to animal track identification but it isn’t easy.

  4. Perhaps it’s because I see all the birds on the post at one time, as opposed to you watching for hours, but it does seem like you’re getting some good bird traffic lately. The robin’s legs appear impossibly tiny!

    Well done staying upright. Still awaiting my Yaktrax – supposedly only about 200k away now – woohoo!

    1. You will have plenty of opportunity to try them out when they come I have no doubt.
      I judge the bird numbers by how often I have to refill the feeder. At a busy time, i might have to fill it twice a day but just now I am filling it once every two or three days.

  5. Golden goldfinches, a bright robin and the quartet of posers against snowy backgrounds are all delightful and all those wintry scenes really worth the effort of such a climb in icy conditions. Love the prints…wonder what they are!

      1. I had a cheap nature camera for Christmas! Stick it in the garden every night and see what is happening ! No stoats or weasels yet! Mice and more mice…the cute ones with big ears! No rats but some cats…that we never see in daylight! It’s great fun every breakfast time to view the videos!

      2. Of course I don’t mind telling you…it’s good fun and interesting to see nightlife in the garden…hopefully it will get more interesting when it warms up a bit!
        Victure Wildlife Camera 16MP 1080P Trail Game Camera Motion Activated Infrared Night Vision with 2.4″ LCD Display IP66 Waterproof Design for Outdoor and Home Security…..from Amazon before Christmas at £40…it’s now £49.66!!

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