Today’s guest picture was sent to me a bit ago by my neighbour Liz’s sister-in-law, Elaine. I should have used it earlier but I forgot. It shows a monkey puzzle tree at Powfoot with cones, something that I have never seen before.
The thaw continued here, which was very welcome, but it came with rain and very heavy clouds which were not so welcome.
Once again, the weather was so miserable that an hour on the indoor bike seemed like quite a cheery way to spend some of the morning. Luckily I found an enjoyably varied hour of jazz record requests downloaded from the radio to keep me entertained.
I did have a look for birds after coffee but it was hard to see them in the very poor light, especially the little brown dunnocks scurrying past against a brown background.
The goldfinches put in a brief appearance…
…and they were joined by the usual chaffinches.
A sparrowhawk whizzed through the garden without catching anything but that put paid to bird watching so I went and made some lentil soup for lunch instead.
The forecast suggested that I might get a short dry spell in the afternoon, so I put on my big coat and went for a walk, choosing a fairly sheltered route as there was some gusty wind about.
A burst of fresh looking moss on the park wall brightened up the start of my trip…
…and there were many bits of lichen and moss elsewhere on the wall to keep me happy. I liked the suspended water droplets too.
I went up the hill and along the top of the banking above the park and was very pleased to find that the track was entirely ice free.
It wasn’t particularly warm at 46°F/8°C so the disappearance of the hard packed ice in a couple of days was a good deal more rapid that I had thought that it would be. The forecast says that we are going to go back to just below freezing tomorrow morning and evening but nothing like the low temperatures of last week.
With the ice gone, it was a good day for a walk but it wasn’t really a day for taking photographs at all. However, a little colour in the alder catkins along the Murtholm track caught my eye…
…and once again I was surprised by how little water there was in the river when I stopped for a look at Skippers Bridge.
There had been enough run off from the hills to turn the water brown but the snow from up the valley can’t have been very deep.
I noticed a cunning device used to join up the hollow pipes that make up the road side fencing.
This is a new bit of fencing that has been put up at the recent land slip with metal pipes running through holes in concrete posts. Previously I have noticed that sections of pipes have been screwed into each other. I thought that I ought to keep an eye out to see if this method has been used elsewhere. (This shows the effects of nine months of lockdown!)
I may have been short of sunshine and hill views on my walk, but I certainly wasn’t short of moss. There was moss on the walls, on fallen trees, on standing trees and on track banks.
I did see some trees which didn’t seem to have a lot of moss on them.
There was moss on steep slopes…
…and there was moss filling hollows in the woods.
I was definitely better off in the mossy woods than I would have been on the exposed hill tops today…
…but it started to rain even in the woods so I pressed on homewards, stopping to brighten my day with a flash photograph of some striking lichen on a fence…
…and a shot of the Christmas lights on the Town Bridge which emphasised how dark it had got by quarter to four.
Luckily the rain didn’t come to much and I got back from my three and a half miles walk if not quite dry, then certainly not soaking wet. A cup of tea and a slice of toast made up for the early arrival of the darkness.
The rest of the day was as unmemorable as the weather, except for a cheery Zoom meeting with my siblings, so I have nothing to say about it.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch battling through one of the more rainy spells in the morning.