After I failed to take a picture of a crow on a cow yesterday, today’s guest picture fills the gap. It was very kindly sent to me from South Africa by Anne of ‘Something Over Tea’. It shows a pied crow on the back of a gemsbok, taken recently by Anne in the Mountain Zebra National Park.
Our spell of hot and sunny weather here continued as the jet stream continues to block an area of Atlantic low pressure from getting to us.
After breakfast, I filled the bird feeder and watched several young blackbirds and a harassed adult pecking around.
Wherever you go in the garden at the moment, there seem to be young blackbirds lurking in the flower beds and scuttling around.
Then we cycled off to church to sing with the church choir. We had another encounter with one of those hymns unknown both to us and the congregation with which the minister likes to keep us on our toes. We might have been able to practice it had it been in any of the hymn books which the church owns. We had a practice after the service so we got a good lot of singing in.
When we got home, we had coffee and set about the garden. I did some dead heading and tidying up, and then picked a few raspberries. We both did quite a lot of watering as the ground is now very dry indeed.
I managed to take quite few pictures too. I have put them in frames to save the busy reader some time.
Roses continue to repay the care that Mrs Tootlepedal has given them.
But everything is doing well at the moment, although the verbascum seems to be questioning something.
The pink poppies keep flowering and the front beds are very colourful.
It was quite hot in the sunshine, with the temperature reaching 78°F (25°C) at midday so we were quite pleased to get into the shade indoors to eat our lunch.
After lunch, I had another look at the birds and found that our usual siskins had been joined by a starling and a redpoll.
The temperature had continued to rise, and at 28°C it felt a bit hot for a cycle ride after lunch, so I went for a walk instead. There is very little water in the rivers. A black headed gull had to look hard to find a spot deep enough for a bath but a young black backed gull had a good choice of rocks to sit on.
A black headed gull was appalled when a friend stole a treat which it had been given by a visitor to the Kilngreen. The miscreant flew off down the river. . .
I walked on up the main road to the High Mill Brig and then walked round the field towards the start of the Baggra. A row of yellow wild flowers marked out the line of a ditch beside the field.
I liked this two tier tree beside the field.
The field itself, which had been cut for silage, was covered in birds.
I saw that there were cows near the path that I needed to take, but as I drew near, they drew back, and joined others that were sensibly sitting in the shade under some trees.
Much of the rest of my walk was on tracks and I have put a small selection of them in a gallery.
There was a feast of wild flowers along the way, including a good crop of marsh woundwort, various willowherbs and a hedge woundwort too.
When I got to the end of the Baggra, I walked up onto Castle Hill and then took the track round the side of the hill, walked down through a clearing to the Langfauld track, and made my way home by way of the pheasant hatchery.
I enjoyed the views on my way, even though the sun went behind some clouds as I walked.
I had a brief diversion into a bit of the commercial forestry as I came down the hill . . .
Every time that I passed a ragwort . . .
. . . I kept an eye out for the colourful cinnabar moth caterpillars which love this plant. I looked in vain today as there were none about, but I hope to be luckier soon.
I did see a fine thistle . . .
. . . and in spite the heat, I thoroughly enjoyed my five mile walk.
When I got home, I had a good drink of water, and Mrs Tootlepedal made me a cup of tea, so I was well refreshed.
Mrs Tootlepedal had been working in the garden again, but settled down to watch the final stage of the Tour de France. I was tempted and sat down to watch a bit, but it was such a fine day that I thought that I should be out and about. I left the professionals to it, and got my bike out to go for a ride as the day cooled down a bit. (It had gone down to 24°°C by the time that I set off, and the sun was still behind some light clouds.)
My walk proved to have been the ideal warm up for a cycle ride and my legs were in a cheerful mood right from the start and needed no encouragement to get going. The fact that the wind was lighter than yesterday may have helped too.
As I had already taken over 100 pictures between the garden and my walk, I didn’t stop to take many more on my ride. I did note that the field of mown grass, which I had passed yesterday, was now cleared . .
. . . so the cut grass must have gone for silage rather than being left to dry for hay.
The road past the Solwaybank windfarm and Barnglieshead is so minor that the verge cutters have not visited it yet.
Perhaps because I wasn’t looking very hard for photo opportunities, and perhaps because I had been well warmed up and the wind was light, I went round the twenty mile ride at a good speed (for me) and got home feeling very perky.
I was sorry to find when I got home that Mark Cavendish hadn’t been able to add to his tour victories but it was heartening to see that the sole Scot in the Open Golf tournament had acquitted himself well after being battered by the wind in his first round.
The flying bird of the day is a black headed gull, seen at the Kilngreen on my afternoon walk . . .
. . . and the (wild)flowers of the day are a beautiful set of harebells seen along the Baggra on the same walk.