Spring has finally sprung

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Caroline, who found the sea in a very calm mood when she went down to visit it recently. The Isle of Wight may be seen in the background.

We had a pretty calm day here, but it was cool again, and if the sun wasn’t out, which it wasn’t for a lot of the day, coats were needed for sitting in the garden.

I started the day off with a crossword, a visit to the shop, some tulip dead heading, and getting the mower out one more time to clean up the mess made by the pernicious peckers.

I noticed a pair of mallards in the dam when I came back from the shop.

I broke off from lawn care to have coffee with Mrs Tootlepedal and Margaret. This might have been a significant day as in theory, we will be able to have coffee with Margaret (and Sandy or Dropscone or anyone else) indoors from now on if the weather is inhospitable. However, nothing is certain these days and the regulations may change at the drop of a hat.

While we were chatting, an orange tip butterfly appeared. After fluttering about in an apparently aimless way, it settled on a Lady’s Smock, where it waited long enough for me to leap up and take a picture of it.

After coffee, I finished off the lawn care and then looked around for new flowers. There was potential…

…but nothing newly out that I could see.

I cleaned the tray under the bird feeder, then cleaned the feeder itself and refilled it, and then went in and watched the birds through the window.

Siskins were the order of the day again…

…and a visiting chaffinch showed just how small they are.

There was a moment when three siskins indulged in some formation wing flapping..

…but mostly they indulged their passion for in-fighting and bad language.

A redpoll rose above it…

…while a chaffinch showed that it could be rude too by turfing off a siskin and repelling a redpoll and then making faces at all and sundry.

In return, a siskin and redpoll were rude to a chaffinch.

There is plenty of action to watch at the feeder just now.

After lunch, we watched a bit of the Giro d’Italia, but I had to stop before the stage finished to join a virtual choir practice with the Carlisle Community Choir.

After the practice, Mrs Tootlepdal kindly re-ran the final kilometres of the stage for me on her tablet and they proved to be very exciting.

Feeling the need to stretch my legs, I went out for a walk. It had rained a bit earlier on, but it seemed dry enough so I set out to walk down to Skippers Bridge.

The rhododendron in the park was looking quite impressive…

…and the wild garlic is bursting into flower in the woods all along the river bank.

There was a carpet of bluebells beside the Beechy Plains….

…and I might easily have got distracted from my walking plans and stopped there to take more pictures.

But I pressed on to Skippers Bridge, passing a fine bird cherry on my way…

…and found the scenes there were quite delightful enough to make me glad that I had perservered with my outing.

I couldn’t stop myself from taking yet another Skippers Bridge picture….

…and who can blame me? It never fails to please.

As I walked down the road beside the river, it really felt as though spring was here at last.

(It really did look like that. The sun came out for a bit and the picture is not the result of any photo editing at all.)

I took the track up beside Jenny Noble’s Gill, and when the path came to cross the gill, it was lined with golden saxifrage.

We have had enough rain to leave a puddle or two on the paths, but they were in pretty good condition as I walked though the still leafless oak wood.

I took too many pictures on my walk, and I have put a selection of things that I saw on my way into a panel.

Because the suspension bridge is closed, I had to walk through the town, cross the town bridge and come back along the river to see how the works on the suspension bridge are going. This gave me the chance to enjoy the cherry blossom beside the Esk as I noticed that there are now scaffolding towers at both ends of the bridge.

With the added distance from my detour, the walk came to just under four miles and I had worked up a good appetite for another plate of sausage stew and spinach.

Spring may have sprung, but with rain in the forecast for every day next week and temperatures not getting above 13 degrees at best, we are not feeling like celebrating wildly yet.

I failed to get a good flying bird of the day today so I have put in two small ones as the best that I could do.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

28 thoughts on “Spring has finally sprung

  1. It really does look as though spring has sprung! What a gorgeous shade of green! I have never seen a bird cherry before so thank you for that shot of some of its blossom.

  2. Skippers bridge is a beauty. Always enjoy seeing pictures of it. Hope the Covid-19 numbers continue to drop do that you can get together with your friends, no matter the weather.

  3. The birds are amazing as usual – great size comparison of Chaffinch to Siskin. Love the Redpoll keeping his cool. I hope you get a warmup soon. We could use some of your rain.

  4. Obviously, a perfect day for taking photographs, I admired them all, though the one with those steep wooden steps made my knees twinge a bit lol. Dry here at the moment but the forecast is 63% chance of rain. I’ve already had an outside/inside experience this morning, and in sunshine, which I enjoyed, still no bike from nowhere set up as yet. I think her indoors will have something to say about that! Her plans are for outside/inside furniture making for genteel coffee/tea breaks, come rain or shine. So me pedalling and sweating in their midst won’t be permitted. Have a great day up there in the borders. Cheers,

  5. Lovely pictures along your walk of the trees, the river and reflections – great portrait of the redpoll. A fine display of bluebells.

  6. I wonder if the old stairs are there to make it easier to climb the hill to see something special or as a short cut coming down.
    I’m glad spring has sprung. The spring greens are beautiful.
    We’re supposed to be hot this week with 80 degrees possible so you might be getting some warmth soon too.

    1. The stairs are not that old, though they do look well worn. They were put in as part of the infrastructure for the Langholm Walks project about 15 years ago.

      No sign of any warmth in the forecast yet.

  7. That is another outstanding redpoll portrait. Such a serious little bird! There does appear to be plenty of action at the feeders, and I enjoy your commentary on their antics.

    The long, cool spring does have some advantages in prolonging the bloom time and leaf out for taking photos. The oak trees still look fairly bare.

    It was close to 80 here yesterday, but is mostly overcast and cool today, with a stiff breeze. I have stopped putting out seed now, as the visits have dropped off for the season, and the deer were making daily raids.

    1. We are still very busy at our feeder as I am sure that the brids are nesting later than usual thanks to the cold weather.

      The late leaf coverage certainly helps the bluebells.

  8. I enjoyed your commentary about the birds and all the photos too especially the redpoll. Good to see how the trees are greening up- it’s definitely a spring green colour now. Skippers Bridge is just such a pleasing bridge to look at in all seasons- it deserves a panel of its own…Skippers Bridge through the year! Love the bluebells.

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