Sneaking a walk in

I got a generous response to my plea for guest pictures from two readers in the USA. This one comes from Mary Jane in New York, and shows that the New Yorkers are taking the pandemic seriously. This is the normally packed subway station at West Fourth Street.

We had a cold and grey day here, but once again it stayed dry so it wasn’t as bad as it might have been. I stayed at home in the morning, providing Mrs Tootlepedal with breakfast and coffee, and then cooking some nourishing vegetable soup for her lunch. This left me with plenty of time for reading the newspapers, doing the crossword and bird watching.

There were plenty of birds to watch and I am filling the feeder quite regularly now.

I met a blog reader in the street a day or two ago who told me that all the blue tits in the town are visiting his wife’s bird feeder so that is why we aren’t getting any here. Only the robin turned up today to try the peanut butter.

The resident dunnock was creeping about among the twigs and shoots on the ground…

…and a chaffinch posed nonchalantly on the fake tree.

He had a bit of the look of Rock Hudson about him, I thought.

On the feeder itself, siskins and goldfinches were out in force…

…and although things started peacefully enough, it wasn’t a surprise that things soon turned nasty…

…with goldfinches and siskins both giving as good as they got.

Above the feeder, a goldfinch practised looking fierce.

A lady siskin was more genteel.

After cooking the soup, I did some roaming round the garden to seek signs of spring.

The crocuses were on strike becuase of the cold weather but the first hellebore flower has appeared and more early daffodils are coming out each day. The sarcococca doesn’t mind the cold at all…

…while shoots are appearing on roses and the rhododendron buds are swelling.

In the afternoon, as Mrs Tootlepedal was quietly settled, I took the liberty of leaving her for a while and went for a walk. It was definitely a day for gloves but as long as I kept out of the wind, it was a pleasant day for a stroll.

The track along the Murtholm was lined with hazel catkins, open and ready, but there were very few of the little red flowers which are needed if nuts are to appear later….

…so we may not get many nuts. I don’t know why there should be so few female flowers when the male catkins are so profuse and would be happy if anyone can tell me what is going on. Have the catkins leapt into action too early?

The alder catkins are holding back.

I walked over Skippers bridge and along the road to Broomholm. This gate to nowhere beside the road has appeared on the blog before but it seemed particularity lonely today for some reason so I have put a picture of it in to cheer it up.

As I climbed the hill towards Broomholm…

…and then Bromholmshiels, I wasn’t able to pass two bright lichens without testing out my manual focus on the Lumix. As I have only just worked out how to use it properly, this was exciting…

…but as it also requires good eyesight, my efforts were a bit hit or miss.

It wasn’t a day for views….

…so I looked at small things like gorse flowers….

…and enjoyed the walk back through the woods for its own sake.

I was bit conscious that I should have been at home rather than larking about outside, so I pressed on and only stopped once more for some moss and algae on a wall when I was nearly back in the town….

…and naturally I couldn’t pass the dipper at the Kirk Brig without a nod in its direction. It gave me a quick flash of its white eyelids as I took its picture.

Mrs Tootlepedal survived my absence remarkably well and it was time for a nice cup of tea and a medicinal chocolate digestive when I got back.

The rest of the day flowed on gently, with a break for a sibling Zoom and some fishcakes for our evening meal.

We are in for a run of chilly and grey days so I am not expecting much in the way of springtime fun in the garden.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

25 thoughts on “Sneaking a walk in

  1. A sneaking walk indeed. Currently, I am unable to move a muscle without her indoors checking up on me. This is down to the phenomenon of audible old man groans. My boys tell me I have always made these noises. Trying to reach for anything and everything from a half sat position, these groans of aah, ooh etc just keep on being produced. I enjoyed your walk. I sent you (I hope) a couple of tree pictures in response to your plea for guest picture material, via messenger. Cheers.

  2. Last year the female hazel catkins came out far before the male catkins here and I didn’t see many nuts last fall, so you might have a dry season. Plants rest a bit occasionally.
    The gate does look like it’s in a very strange place.
    The Lumix did a great job, I thought.

  3. I enjoyed the photos from your day, and pleased to see the variety of life you find on your walks. It is still fine fungus weather, and I got out to take a few photos today before doing some pruning. Our hazelnut male catkins start developing here in late fall with female flowers appearing in February.

    Your birds put on a good show again today, and your Rock Hudson chaffinch is a very handsome fellow.

  4. I particularly enjoy the twisted, tangled limbs of some of the trees you portray – they have my fingers itching to draw, except I am unable to create anything which anyone else would recognise!

  5. What a difference with the train stations here in Belgium, this kind of pictures we could only take in the beginning of the pandemy (march – april 2020). Your trips are always so nice and I enjoy the beauty of nature – not to forget your bird feeder 🙂

  6. A lovely quiet day with the stress relieved from the last few days- a stroll round the garden, a bit of wonderful bird watching and a walk through the woods was just perfect. The manual focus on your camera has taken remarkable photos…so very detailed and clear. Love the gate to nowhere…wonder what tales it could tell- pleased you tried to cheer it up!

  7. Fantastic bird photos. I can relate to the empty subway station, as Union Station in Chicago where I get off to go to work one or two days a week looks much the same. Although I can’t say I was a fan of the wall-to-wall-bodies effect whenever the trains were delayed, like everything else it’s getting harder to imagine crowds. I like Rock Hudson Chaffinch very much.

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