This side and that

Today’s guest picture shows a couple of flamingos trying to keep warm by dancing in our son Alistair’s snowy Edinburgh garden.

It was pretty hard to keep warm in our garden this morning even though it isn’t very snowy at all, but I had to go out into the chilly air after breakfast when we spotted an intruder.

He led me up the garden path and then sneaked through the fence into a sunnier spot before I could catch up.

It was a pheasant who had escaped the firing squad and was looking for food. He soon found the right place but didn’t look all that happy about the quality of fare provided.

Pheasants are handsome birds….

…and they know it.

He soon disappeared and it will be interesting to see if he returns.

Perhaps he thought that it was a bit cold in our garden as the sun had not got round to the feeder yet,. Flying birds were appearing in silhouette only.

Aftre he had left, I drank coffee and then went off to do just under an hour on the bike to nowhere.

The sun had got round to the feeder by the time that I had finished, and the regular chaffinches in full colour had replaced the pheasant.

It had warmed up enough after lunch to make a walk an attractive possibility in the glorious sunshine. Even the hellebores in the garden seemed inclined to think of coming out too…

…although it wasn’t that warm, as the ice along the shady side of the dam behind the house proved.

I decided on an up and down tour of two sides of the Esk valley and started off by heading up to the top of Warb Law. Looking over the Wauchope valley to my right as I walked up the track, you might think that it hadn’t snowed at all lately…

…but there was still a little snow on the track and on the distant hills too.

It was distinctly cool in the fresh breeze so I didn’t hang about taking pictures, although a favourite tree caused my camera to jump out of my pocket…

…shortly before I got to the windswept summit.

I am always amazed to see how busy moles have been at work at this inhospitable spot.

I walked on before I got blown away, and headed on down the other side of the hill, across many a frozen bog and tussock. I couldn’t look around while I walked for fear of tripping and falling so I didn’t get to enjoy as many views as usual…

…but I didn’t mind stopping to take in a view back over the town.

I got down to Skippers Bridge and when I had crossed it, I took the steps up to the old railway track as the sun shone on the Esk below me.

Passing through the gate at the end of the short section of track…

…I started the climb up to the stile across the wall that leads to the quarry track along the side of Whita.

Apart from the many views, it is a simple pleasure to be able to walk along delightful paths on our hills just for their own sake…

…and this grassy path among the bracken is one of my favourites.

When I got to the stile, my phone took a black and white shot without asking me. I can see why it thought that this might be a good idea…

…but I like the version that my camera took too.

Although the track along Whita was mostly snow free, there were frozen puddles to negotiate, and looking down to the golf course, I could see that Dropscone might need to wait a little before paying golf there, as the sixth green was covered in snow.

I passed the time of day with a sheep…

…pointed my phone at a tiny lichen on the wall at the golf course (you can see how small it is by comparing it to the moss spore beside it)…

…and then walked back down to the town.

Checking the time, I could see that I was going to get home too early, so I extended my outing by going along the Kilngreen, over the Sawmill Brig and back home by the Jubilee Bridge. I had hoped to photograph exciting bird encounters but had to settle for the remains of Langholm Castle.

This diversion had the double benefit of getting my walk distance up to five miles and getting me home bang on time for a cup of tea.

The early evening was spent Zooming with Mrs Tootlepedal and my brother and sisters, followed by the preparation of an evening meal of lambs’ liver in a red wine, red pepper, mushroom and onion gravy with mashed potatoes and bashed neeps. I had worked up a god appetite so it went down well.

Our spell of sunny weather looks as though it has come to end, although it is still going to be cold (and windy) tomorrow. After that, we are promised slightly warmer weather but with quite a bit of rain to go with it.

The flying bird of the day is a sunny chaffinch, perhaps the last sunny bird for a few days.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

36 thoughts on “This side and that

  1. Your “favourite”tree looks a bit battle scarred but is still managing to hang on,nice photo.
    Lovely shot of the sun rays on the Esk.
    I set off to do my usual walk today,but the fierce wind chill was so cold I turned back after 15 mins..getting soft in my old age.
    Forecasters predict we might see temperatures in double figures next week,so the possibility of a ride to somewhere 😊
    Your pheasant is indeed a handsome fellow,and makes good eating my local farmer tells me,but I won’t be trying it.

    1. As they are often still using lead shot, not eating pheasant is probably a good idea.

      I am sorry about the cold on your walk. My new coat has been a wonderful addition to my outdoor wardrobe and I have been snug enough on the hills.

      I am hoping for a pedal sometime next week but it looks to be pretty windy at times.

  2. Christine Calvert posted a photograph of a huge pheasant looking at her through her patio doors today whilst she was eating her lunch, I think it may have been your visitor.

  3. The Pheasant is a good looking bird. I was just reading that we will have some released into the wild here. Yours looked a little surprised. Maybe it’s surprised that it lived.
    It would be great if the hellebores bloomed. Maybe when it warms up a bit.
    That’s a great shot of the lichen, and the spore capsule too. I’m going to have to see what my phone can do this weekend.

  4. Moles?! Drives my husband crazy at the disruption to our fields and lawn. I like the mounds of nicely tilled potting soil they leave me.

  5. I enjoyed all your photos from the day, and was pleased to see the cladonia lichens again. I had to look up neeps. In Scotland they appear to be what we call rutabagas here.

    The pheasant is a handsome fellow. We see them sometimes, wandering across the farm. Most often it is the quail we spot here.

    1. They put out thousands and thousands of pheasants for the shooters and since shooting has been banned for some of the season, there will be a surplus left out to plunder gardens as the year goes on.

  6. I particularly enjoyed the header picture, those photographs of that surprising pheasant and the view on your walk as you got down to the river which was my favourite.

  7. As I was reading your post I looked up and “my own” visiting pheasant was passing by my window. He does a good job of clearing up beneath the bird feeders. Funnily enough, he also seems to prefer using the paths.

  8. Your gate, stile, and castle shots have me wanting to come there and walk as well. And a pheasant! And I like the look on the face of your bird of the day.

    1. You would be very welcome if you came to walk when conditions allow for travel. We need all the visitors we can get in the town as we are not on the tourist trail.

  9. Perhaps your wandering pheasant will become a neighbourhood fixture – we have some wild turkeys that haunt some areas of our city (and are not always welcome as they break branches and damage paintwork when they perch on cars). The view of Langholm castle is lovely. The FBOTD is an unusual shot – its approach position reminds me of a Concorde!

    1. The pheasant won’t be very welcome if it stays around until spring and starts eating the garden plants. They are a pest for gardeners who live near the woods where they are put out for the shooting.

  10. Great photos of the pheasant and the sheep. Love those stiles over the stone walls…very picturesque. Sorry about the rugby…but it was a good game!

  11. My favorite is the mossy tree trunks against the Esk. I accidentally time traveled into 2017 on my way to this post and was flabbergasted to read of your choir competing in a competition…in person…and you taking trains and eating in restaurants…until I realized it was the wrong year! It really brought home how life used to be.

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