Moss mayhem

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan. She came across this very elegant bench on a visit to Kenwood House in London.

After what is supposed to be the last of a long series of cold nights, we got another cold morning with added rain. However, as I write this in the evening, the temperature is as high as it has been all day (50°F, 10°C) and the era of frosty nights is finally over for a while at least. As the garden needed the rain, we are hoping that the next few slightly warmer, wetter days will see plants that have been waiting in the wings, burst on to the stage.

We got a shock when we looked out of the window after breakfast. An army of intruders was vandalising both lawns.

It was a gang of jackdaws…

…digging up the lawn to get at leather jacket grubs (we think). Whatever it was that they were eating, there were a lot of them about and the jackdaws kept busy for most of the morning.

Mrs Tootlepedal kept busy too, painting a bedroom window. I installed a new router for our internet. This was a nervous business, but everything went smoothly and we managed to connect our various appliances to the new gadget without difficulty. The new router has even made writing this blog a slightly quicker process. This is very welcome .

It rained fairly gently all morning and most of the afternoon too, so there was no cycle ride or walk and my camera only got used for looking out of the window. There were many, many birds for it to look at, and the seed in the feeder went down at an alarming rate.

Chaffinches battled over a perch as the seed reached the bottom…

…and a siskin ignored an incoming chaffinch when the feeder had been refilled.

The traffic was so heavy that two birds found themselves gripping the same perch at one point.

Goldfinches clung on to whippy willow withies in the brisk wind as they waited for their turn..

I made some potato and onion soup for lunch and while it was cooking, I went back to watching the birds again.

A male redpoll appeared on the feeder pole…

…and it looked so handsome that I took another picture of it…

..before it dropped down to join a greenfinch on the feeder.

Our smallest and largest regular visitors to the feeder made a good contrast.

By the time that I looked at the birds again after lunch, the seed had gone down again and the rain was beginning to take its toll…

…though a sparrow looked a bit more waterproof than the greenfinch.

I did some singing practice after that as we have another virtual performance with the Carlisle Choir coming up, and my voice is rusty from lack of use. I have another few days to get it in order.

The rain faded to a drizzle as the day went on, and finally gave up altogether just in time to let me get out for a three bridges walk before our evening meal.

It was still very gloomy but the cherry blossom beside the river brightened the day up…

…and the blossom itself was very fine.

Although the light was poor, bridges turned out to be good spots for seeing birds today. I saw a goosander from the Town Bridge and an oystercatcher from the Sawmill Brig…

…and in between, I passed a pair of chatty mallards on the Kilngreen.

Views were not available as the hills were covered in low cloud…

…so I concentrated on some very welcome greenery among the trees. Spring continues to arrive.

The strong winds of the morning had dropped away, and it was a treat to be out in the calm, damp, early evening, surrounded on all sides by new growth and the calls and songs of birds.

When I got to the Scholar’s Field, I was greeted by the amazing corydalis which grows out of a crack in the wall there.

The jackdaws have left our lawns in quite a state…

…especially when you consider that I scarified that lawn myself a couple of days ago. I will have to go and collect up the moss as soon as there is a dry moment tomorrow. If there is a dry moment tomorrow that is, because the forecast is a bit gloomy as far as more rain goes.

Fortunately, Mrs Tootlepedal has taken out a month’s subscription to Eurosport, so we will be able to spend any rainy afternoons watching the Giro d’Italia bike race for the next three weeks. It is inspiring to watch really good cyclists at their peak. The winner of today’s short 5 and a bit mile individual time trial completed the course in under 9 minutes! I make that well over 30 mph.

The flying bird of the day is one of the peckish jackdaws.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

34 thoughts on “Moss mayhem

  1. You’ve outdone yourself today Tom: the cherry blossom against the bridge, the chatty mallards, the misty hills . . . spectacular!

    It’s amazing how much scarifying the jackdaws did. We had what looked to be several dozen crows in our tree this morning, and it sounded like there were about a hundred – the cacophony was almost painful. I’ve never seen such a large murder!

  2. Two great close ups of the redpoll,and the rather forlorn looking greenfinch.
    Like the shots of the trees starting to “green up”as well😊

  3. If the birds are eating insects which could harm the lawn I’d say they’re doing you a favor. We have skunks that come and dig up lawn grubs here but since they’re taking care of grass root eating Japanese beetle grubs nobody cares.
    That corydalis is a beauty.
    I liked the chatting mallards. Maybe they liked the damp weather.

    1. It was indeed good weather for ducks as they say. 🙂

      The leather jackets do eat grass roots so the jackdaws were probably helping. They did make a mess though.

  4. …”it was a treat to be out in the calm, damp, early evening, surrounded on all sides by new growth and the calls and songs of birds” is an apt summary of the day. The newly green trees look delightful.

  5. I enjoyed all these wet spring day photos, especially the birds. The redpoll does make a fine subject for photography. The jackdaws seem to be finding plenty of fat grubs in the lawn. A bit of cleaning up to do after them, but as Allen says, the are doing you a favor.

    I had a new visitor at our feeder, a young male deer. He managed to tip the feeder with his nose and eat most of the seed.

  6. Thirty mph, I don’t think I’ve managed that even coming down a steep hill. It’s fantastic how these pro cyclists keep such a pace up. I live at the bottom of the Rhigos bank, a major on road cycle route here in the Neath valley, which is frequented by many of the lycra clad brigade. Our street comes out onto the bank at the very bottom on a dangerous bend. Traffic calming measures have been put in place to slow traffic down to 30 mph. This works well for cars etc., but cyclists are a different story. Quite often I have joined the road in my Yaris to find a speeding cyclist screeching to a halt behind me. That’s what I don’t like about this faction of the lycra clad brigade, speed and time is everything, but please not when ordinary traffic is about. The rain finally stopped overnight, and the sun is shining here once again. Got to do my exercises later, thankfully, the terrible stiffness and pain in both my knees has gone this morning. Still haven’t managed to do any pedalling to that nowhere location, due to a serious logistical problem. The building work we have been having done out behind our conservatory has meant we cannot, at least temporarily, access either my bike or the attachments doah…..!! On the bright side, when the work is completed I should be able to pedal nowhere under cover and have a morning coffee, but in the open air, if that is understandable. It is to be a gazebo type structure, but with a roof. Despite fantastic weather, till a couple of days ago, progress has been very slow. Supplies of building materials are scarce, because during lockdown, everyone and his uncle have been doing home improvements. Those trees up with you are really greening up now, as they are down here. With all that rain yesterday, I am sure the rivers here in waterfall country are full and the water cascades a picture. I intend trying to get some pictures with my phone camera later. Cheers.

    1. I hope that you get some cascade pictures. Your bike to nowhere set up sounds ideal when it is finished. I read about the shortage of building materials and there is also a shortage of builders too, I believe. Life is never simple.

      I ma glad to hear that your stiffness has gone and that you will be able to do your exercises.

      Keep smiling.

      No one can accuse me of rushing about on my bike these days!

  7. Great photos of the redpoll and the mallards and of course all the others too! The blossom is still a favourite. Unbelievable amount of moss in your lawn after all your work- at least you won’t have to scarify it again…well maybe not! Good of you to give a jackdaw a prime photo in your post after all the moss work!

  8. What a rude invasion of jackdaws. The last one has a truly evil look to it. Good job successfully dealing with the nervous router business! It seems to be getting more challenging as the years go by. Sounds like it was well worth the effort. Seems we were on the same page with whippy willow withies. I also liked your handsome redpoll (somewhat similar to my cooperative finch). Your goosander looks remarkably similar to our mergansers!  

    1. The merganser and the goosander must be the same bird you would think.

      The software may be getting more complex but actual computers are wonderful compared with what came before when if you breathed too heavily, they crashed and printing was a nightmare.

  9. We have a few jackdaws here but they don’t appear to be interested in our mossy and leather jacket-filled lawn! I liked your redpoll portraits very much and the fresh new beech(?) leaves.

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