Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew. Because of the current restrictions, he has to walk very locally as we do, but he found both a fine tree and a fine day today.
We had a fine day here too, but as it was back to being below freezing (-3°C) when we got up, we had to watch our step again when we went out of the door.
I stayed indoors in the morning as a result, and dawdled a lot of time away as well as doing three quarters of an hour on the bike to nowhere. Because my Lancashire correspondent Paul has been doing some interval training on his indoor bike, I did make an effort to put in a few bursts myself today. This had a marked effect on my pulse, so the efforts were very well spaced out!
I had a look at the birds before I got on my bike and found that the feeder was in shadow and the garden behind in the sun. This led to some rather odd colour effects as a pair of chaffinches chased each other away from the feeder…
…and another flew quietly in.
A rough bunch of starlings stayed in the walnut tree to catch some rays.
A blue tit and the peanut butter feeder were both in the shade.
As you can see, it had begun to thaw by this time but it remained pretty cold for the whole day and the temperature is back to -3°C again as I write this.
There were not many birds about at when I had finished cycling, and I was pleased to see a robin and a dunnock on the ground in the absence of any seed eaters at the feeder.
After lunch, I decided to go for a walk for a change. I set off rather nervously as I didn’t know whether I would find renewed icy conditions or not. As a precaution, I had my Yaktrax in my pocket, but in the end I didn’t need to put them on as there were only a few seriously icy patches and I was able to edge round these successfully. All the same, I had to be careful and not look round too much as I was walking.
I decided to walk ’round Potholm’ and started off up the road that runs along the top of a steep bank above the river. Every now and again, a dip in the fence beside the road indicates a spot where the banking has slipped a bit.
…but as the road is still there, I live in hope that it is not going to give way entirely as I walk along. I noticed one of the old fence pipe joints. The pipes are both screwed into a joining collar in this method.
There are wooden fence posts further along and one of them caught my moss fancier’s eye.
As I turned onto the road to Potholm, I took a picture of yet more moss, this time acting as a fringe to a fine crop of spleenwort on a wall.
When I came along this road on the last day of December, the mist had almost been down to the top of this tree…
…so it was quite a contrast today.
A helicopter flew past, going low over the hill, as I ambled along the road. When I looked at my picture of it on the computer, I wondered if it was carrying a camera.
As long as the road was in the sun, I could walk along with confidence and look around to see sights like this on one side…
…or this on the other…
…but when I came to shady corners, I had to take my time.
I was pleased to arrive at Potholm Bridge safely…
…and even more pleased to find that the track up the hill from the farmhouse was in excellent walking condition….
…and it almost felt springlike as I went up it.
When I got to the Longfauld track at the top of the hill, there were plenty of icy puddles to remind me that it was far from spring yet.
…and a frozen cone made the point too.
But I still enjoyed the view up the valley…
…and the mossy floor of the wood on the other side of the track…
…and this very unusual ice on a puddle.
I also met some tremendously white fungus growing on a dead log.
I was near the bottom of the Lodge walks when I met an old friend and while we talked, a robin tried very hard to make us take a photograph of it, finally popping up onto a fence a few feet away to make sure we couldn’t miss it.
I don’t know if this is the same one that I met while talking to friends two hundred yards further up the Lodge Walks a couple of days ago. If not, perhaps the Lodge Walks’ robins are competing to see who can get the most pictures taken.
I kept an eye out for interesting waterside birds as I walked home along the river but didn’t see any.
Tea and toast soon restored me to full strength and in the evening I was able to cook trout for our tea and a new batch of 30 ginger biscuits after the meal. On this occasion, I got to them with my phone camera…
…just before the biscuit quality inspector arrived. She gave them her seal of approval.
With possible snow in the forecast and temperature not supposed to get above 3°C for the next week, I am afraid that patient readers are in for a lot more local walking. I must try to find somewhere different to walk.
The flying bird of the day is familiar too.
Ah well, it can’t be helped.