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.