Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who noticed an unusual spectator when she went to play tennis.
After what we hope was the last of a series of sub zero nights, (25°F -4°C), we had a day that was still pretty cold in spite of talk of rising temperatures.
It was just warm enough for coffee with Margaret in the garden, but even when the sun made a brief appearance, it wasn’t a day for basking.
I took a picture of siskins at the feeder…
…but otherwise I managed to waste a lot of time doing nothing in the morning, but after an early lunch, I did get out on my bike to stretch my legs.
For a bit of variety, I went round the Solwaybank windfarm loop and stopped every now and again to record things that I passed.
There was gorse and a silhouetted bird, probably a dunnock, near Gair…
…and an impressive display of celandines nearby.
There were creatures both small…
It wasn’t very bright but it was a pretty clear day and I enjoyed the view right across the Esk Valley and the Langholm Moor to Tinnis Hill in the distance.
I had quite an exciting day for wild animal and bird sightings as a stoat scurried across the road and vanished into its stoat hole at Barnglieshead, a merlin flew across the road and into a wood as I passed my favourite oak tree, and the lapwings rose into the air and flew off as I came to Bloch Farm. I didn’t get a picture of any of them and I thought that it was going to be wildlife 4, photographer 0 when I heard a curlew’s call as I pedalled along the Wauchope road and saw it fly away too. However, on this occasion its partner flew down into the field and walked about for long enough for me to take three poor but recognisable pictures…
…so I am going to call it 3-1.
The 21 miles, done at a stately pace, took me over 200 miles for this month and considering how cold it has been, I count myself lucky to have been able to get out so often.
Mrs Tootlepedal had spent her afternoon hard at work in the garden, and she was still out there when I got back. I had a quick walk round the garden while she worked on.
…and was pleased to find that I had managed not to kill a spirea when I pruned it a few weeks ago.
After a while, we were both happy to have a sit down inside and to enjoy a cup of tea. I had timed my bike ride well because it soon started to rain outside.
Refreshed by the tea and a couple of Garibaldi biscuits, I went out for a walk. Somehow or other, although I had seen it, I hadn’t really registered the rain and it was still drizzling lightly as I set off. I did have a moment when I considered going home at once, but in the end I kept going and by the time that I had crossed the Auld Stane Brig and gone through the gate on to Gaskell’s Walk, the sun was shining.
I kept an eye out for mosses on my walk and saw some stretching its fingers along a wall, and some sticking up from the ground in the wood.
The sun continued to shine but dark clouds appeared over the trees…
…and shortly after I took this picture…
…some very heavy drops of rain started to fall and I thought that I was in for a soaking.
But it was my lucky day, and in spite of a gloomy scene when I got to the Stubholm…
…I was able to extend my walk and check out the state of the bluebells and wild garlic. Both are showing promise of good things to come.
My wildlife day ended with a bird on a branch on the Beechy Plains.
One of the reasons for my walk was the need to visit a cash machine, so when I got back to the town, I crossed the suspension bridge and walked up to the High Street.
I looked at the building of a bank that is now shut. Its cash machine was blown up by robbers and it got discouraged. I was impressed by the amount of work that its Victorian founders had put into decorating its front door.
And it has a turret too.
I needed to have a small amount of cash as I had spent my last pound on an ice cream two days ago. This was my first visit to a cash machine for a year which shows what a change the last year has brought.
I got home in time to avoid any further rain showers.
The flying bird of the day is a novelty. It is still a chaffinch but I took it while I was sitting outside in the garden before tea with my cycling camera in my hand.