Christoph creeps in

Today’s guest picture is a very fine portrait of a hawk. It came from Simon, my camera club friend from Canonbie. He tells me that the hawk stayed in his garden for an hour.

We have been threatened with bad weather from Storm Christoph over the next couple of days but we are right on the northern edge of the affected area, so we are hoping to get away with a glancing blow rather than getting the full blast. We certainly had rain all day today, but it never rained really heavily and it was extremely calm as far as the wind went.

After doing quite a lot of walking and indoor and outdoor cycling lately, my legs asked for a day off today, which I graciously granted. I left the bike to nowhere alone and frittered the morning away. The birds were taking a day off too, and it was so gloomy that it was hard to capture the few that came.

Even when they stood still.

We had a few siskins today and I saw three on the feeder at the same time.

The bird watching was so intermittent that I amused myself by taking pictures of the climbing hydrangea beside the window, offering signs of the past year and hopes for the future.

After lunch, we got itchy feet and put on extensive rainwear and wellies, picked up umbrellas, and went for a walk.

We started out along the riverside in the hope of seeing a dipper. We did see one at the Kirk Brig but it saw us too, and flew off before I could focus.

To tell the truth, I don’t think that it would have been a good picture even if I had got focussed. It was a very gloomy afternoon with the clouds well down.

We walked up the road past the Estate Offices and were impressed by the amount of water running off the hill.

I had emptied five inches of rain and melted snow out of Mary Jo’s rain gauge before we left for the outing, and the was plenty of evidence of water running off the fields as we went along the Baggra track….

…and plenty on the track itself as Mrs Tootlepedal picked her way along it.

Although it was a soggy day…

…the track was not as bad to walk along as it looks. It was wet but it wasn’t deep and our wellies were well up to the task. The track is always attractive in any weather in our view…

…and the clouds did begin to lift as we went along.

There is no doubt though that the theme for this part of our stroll was ‘chattering water’.

We went down to the High Mill Brig…

…and looked forward with trepidation to crossing it and walking along the short stretch of main road to the Rugby Club. It has no pavement and many large puddles. Luckily, we found a moment when there was a lull in the traffic, and the few motorists that did pass us showed extreme good manners, both slowing politely down and giving us a wide berth.

We gave them a cheery wave and I hope that they went on their way feeling that they had done a good deed in a naughty world.

When we got to the Kilngreen, the ducks made it plain to us that whatever anyone said, they did not think that it was good weather for ducks…

…seeing as it was as wet on land as it was in the water.

We went back along the river in the hope of seeing a dipper again and the sharp eyed Mrs Tootlepedal saw one in the middle of the river. I saw another one at the Kirk Brig. The one in the river was too busy dipping to let me take a good picture, and the other one flew off as soon as it saw my big red umbrella.

It was not a top day for dipper shots…

…to say the least.

Still, our umbrellas had kept us dry and a cup of tea and a slice of toast and strawberry jam was an excellent reward for a three mile walk in the rain so we were quite content.

I found some time in the day to complete putting a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database, so between that and the walk, I got more value out of the dreary day than I thought that I would.

We have got more rain forecast for tomorrow but the wind is not supposed to get up much so it looks as though we will be lucky with the weather.

Flying birds were a challenge! Here is a siskin, my best effort of the day.

Footnote: I think that Simon’s hawk might be a goshawk rather than a sparrowhawk but I am not an expert and would welcome guidance.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

34 thoughts on “Christoph creeps in

  1. You’ll all be growing gills if it doesn’t stop raining soon. Mrs. T. looked quite intrepid as she marched up the sodden road. I’d say you deserved at least two slices of toast and jam after your soggy trek!

  2. That is a fine hawk photo from Simon.

    You are getting quite a bit of rain with that storm. It is a beautiful sunny day here today, and I will request some sunshine head your way. The spring chorus of frogs has already begun in mid winter, as it usually does. I am headed out shortly to get in a little garden cleanup during the warmest part of the day.

  3. The ducks certainly looked happy.
    We’ve had cloudy skies for over a week now but little rain. Instead we have lots of ice from the rain we had a week ago. I’d rather walk on your muddy tracks. Ice is tiring.
    The river looks like it is holding up well in spite of all the rain.

    1. I have been very surprised at how low the rivers have stayed considering the snow melt and the rain. We have avoided any downpours though which has helped.

  4. I know you receive more than enough rain to make you fed up with it – I loved the wet and soggy scenes as we have not experienced anything similar for a dreadfully long time. I am holding thumbs that the scattered showers forecast for today might scatter our way for a change – the sky is overcast …

  5. I believe that Simon’s beautiful picture is a female sparrowhawk, the barring on the chest is more a speckled effect on a goshawk. “Walking in the rain…….” fantastic, especially when staying dry. Pedalling, walking, in Spain or here, I am really beginning to hanker for retirement. Well at least some spring like weather and no lockdown restrictions. Stay safe, cheers to you both.

  6. Well done for getting out on a walk in such wet conditions. I need little windscreen wipers on my glasses if I try a rainy day walk! I like the composition and lighting of the chaffinch photo and the track to somewhere over the dales is another favourite. The mallards are taking their social distancing very seriously -wish everyone would do the same in the shops!

    1. Being a gentleman of the old school, I can wear a cap in wet weather which keeps my glasses clear. The brolly did a good job on this walk though.

      We could do with everyone taking things seriousky here too.

  7. It’s always good when drivers are courteous to pedestrians, especially when there are puddles. I find walking in Wellingtons to be extra tiring, so well done to go so far.

  8. I thought female sparrowhawk, but am by no means an expert or even a well educated amateur. The gloomy background makes a good backdrop for your bird and macro photos.

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