Today’s guest picture is another from Tom in South Africa. He gets some bigger hills than I do when he comes to choose a cycle route.

We woke to a fine sunrise here…

…but in spite of the familiar saying, red sky this morning was not a warning for shepherds or anyone else. We enjoyed dry and calm weather all day, and it was often sunny.

I have been having one or two minor aches and pains lately, attributable to nothing more serious than old age and a little too much stress on my joints from walking poles, a heavy camera and too much use of the computer mouse. Under the circumstances, I thought that another gentle day would be a good idea so I spent a quiet morning in. Unfortunately I didn’t find a good moment to watch the birds and the light was never right when I looked out of the window…

…and having the camera on a tripod rather than in my hand limited my choices. I used my pocket camera to look at starlings on the walnut tree and a jackdaw on a neighbour’s roof.

By midday, it had warmed up a bit outside. Although the ground was still pretty frozen, Mrs Tootlepedal thought that it would be useful for her to spend some time in the garden, and I thought that a gentle walk without walking poles would do me no harm.

She started to tidy up a border or two and I headed off to the river in pursuit of dippers or anything else interest that might be there.

The best that I could find was a sunlit mallard swimming in very clear water at the Kilngreen.

Once again, we were very lucky as the roads remained ice free after another cold night, so I was able to enjoy a stress free wander up the road to the White Yett.

I noticed a tree keeping an eye on me while I was on my way to Whitshiels.

I took plenty of time to look around as I walked, and was quite sorry not to be up on Timpen which seemed very inviting today.

Still, I had good views..

…and for once the clouds were not down on the top of the hills, which made the light a little better than it has been.

There was a big sky available…

…and plenty else to look at.

I even saw a small flock of birds beside the road. A couple of them sat on a fence for a moment for long enough to let me get a picture of one of them. We think that this might be a reed bunting. (The other one was so busy preening that it didn’t help identification at all.)

The views may have been sunny but there were still patches of ice about that showed that we have not got rid of the cold weather yet.

When I got to the White Yett, instread of turning right and walking up the track to the monument or going straight on and dropping into the Little Tarras valley, I turned left and followed the wall along the ridge.

The wall divides sheep country from old grouse moor.

There is a clear track along this side of the wall and the frozen ground made for easy walking over the many boggy bits on the way. I didn’t go far, but I was rewarded by some fine views to the north, with snow capped hills in the distance…

…and across the wall to the east, where a little snow lingered on our local hills.

It was a fine day for a stroll but I couldn’t dally or go far because I had an important appointment in the town in the afternoon.

When I got back to the White Yett, I met Nancy and Ming, two indomitable walkers coming up out of the Tarras valley. They were considering their route options, but I took the direct route and headed back down the road, turning off to take the track across the hill to the top of the golf course.

I couldn’t pass the wall there without stopping for a quick look..

…but then I made my way down the hill to the town without another pause.

I did have to stop when I was nearly home because a reflective dipper in the Wauchope demanded a portrait…

…though I wish it hadn’t chosen quite such a shady spot for its pose.

I got home in time for a late lunch of Mrs Tootlepedal’s Scotch broth with bread and crowdie cheese. I did try to get a better feeder picture…

…but failed again as the light wasn’t any good and I was rushed.

The reason for the rush was an appointment at the Buccleuch Centre to get our first Covid vaccinations. Everything was very well organised and painless, and we were soon on our way home again. We were given the Pfizer dose, and it was exciting to be part of a whole new development in vaccine technology.

With excellent timing, we got home in perfect time for afternoon tea and a biscuit.

We had a sibling Zoom later on, and we have all now been vaccinated at least once, with my sister Caroline leading the way, having had her second dose already.

The newspapers this morning were full of alarming forecasts of exceedingly low overnight temperatures, followed by a lot of snow tomorrow but the forecasts for our local area now are much calmer. We await the dawn with interest.

What with relaxing, wandering and being vaccinated, it wasn’t a good bird day so this was my best effort at a flying bird of the day.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

43 thoughts on “Needled

  1. Glad to hear you’ve both had your jabs,though your not fully covered for 3 weeks or so the medical experts say.
    After telling my local health centre I was available anytime I still haven’t had the call,.maybe it’s done on alphabetical order,who knows.
    Liked your mallard shot and some lovely landscapes.
    We’re promised snow tomorrow,with some uncertainty so we’ll wait and see.

  2. I agree, that reed bunting is quite striking, and the watchful tree was an interesting find. The views from your walk are always a treat, and I feel as though I am standing on top of the world from afar. That is a fine lichen and moss panel. It is the season for them, with the rain.

    Congratulations to you and Mrs. Tootlepedal on getting the new vaccine! May the virus stay far from your door.

    1. I wish that the two buntings had stayed still long enough for me to have got a little closer as they brought a little variety to my usual bird pictures.

  3. I like the tree eye. That’s something I haven’t seen.
    The landscapes were beautiful as they always are.
    The sunrise and clear water by the swimming mallard were my favorites. We’re getting pounded by a nor’easter right now and they made me think of spring.
    Glad you were vaccinated. I still haven’t heard a word even though I’ve signed up.

  4. I am happy to hear that you and Mrs. T. have received your first jabs. Things are not whizzing along quite so quickly here. To date Manitoba has administered 41,817 doses of the vaccine. According to the online Vaccination Queue Calculator there are 178,688 people ahead of me, based on an estimate of 70% of the people wanting to be vaccinated. I am thinking that it’s a good thing that age is my only negative factor though – being prioritized due to illness, institutionalization, etc. isn’t something to aim for!

    1. I am always surprised that 100% of the people don’t want to get vaccinated. Perhaps they would like to bring back smallpox while they are at it.

      I hope that the queue goes down quickly for you as even the first shot brings a little confidence.

      1. Ah. Makes good sense, and many articles say the science shows it is fine to wait longer for the second jab. Maybe your immunity will last for longer than ours…since the powers that be don’t know how long it lasts after the jabs.

  5. Beautiful views, lovely trees – I do like the ‘eye’ – and interesting lichen, not to mention the sunrise!

  6. Sorry about the aches and pains and hope they are relieved after a quiet day. Excellent pictures, the mallard, the tree ;eye’, the dipper and the big sky were my favourites.

  7. Good Dipper shot, despite your comments on the light. The Reed Bunting was good too – always a pleasure to see. Good to get the vaccination done. Little by little we are making progress.

  8. Lots of lovely photos to enjoy with all those wide vistas of rolling hills, large skies plus interesting trees and walls. Great photos of the dipper, mallard and the striking reed bunting …what a bonus for an afternoon walk! Good to read that you’ve had the jab- the more who get it the better for all. Hope the weather turns out better than predicted…it’s worse here!!

  9. A fabulous day, despite the needling? More probably including the needling? From a stunning sunrise to glorious pictures good or bad light, a pair of reed buntings, a fabulous portrait of a dipper, your posts just get better and better. Maybe you should venture into film production the subjects are always there for you to find and share with us your loyal followers. Cheers.

      1. If you want wobbly, see me on a bike, your wobbly production would not be noticed. I am pleased to say I am now back up to date with your blog. Cheers.

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