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.