Feeling the cold

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary. She came across this fine seasonal decoration near Tower Bridge on a recent outing.

As an addition to the Covid situation, we have got an outbreak of avian flu in our area, and I saw several of these signs on my cycle ride yesterday.

Perhaps as a result of suggestion brought on by seeing these signs, I found myself feeling rather poorly last night with a cold. I cautiously took a lateral flow test just in case, and was quite pleased when it returned a negative result. I was definitely still feeling under the weather though when I got up today, and as a result, I had a very quiet morning indeed.

It would have been an ideal time to watch birds on the feeder, but once again, there were no birds to watch. I had a check back on the last two years’ posts in December, and they were full of garden birds so something odd has happened. Perhaps storm Arwen has discouraged visitors, perhaps avian flu has affected them, perhaps small changes in the garden have made it less attractive to birds in winter, perhaps there are just many less birds about. I am certainly not seeing flocks of birds in the hedges as I cycle about, though maybe this is not so surprising as almost all the hedges along the roads have been trimmed by machines. The lack of birds on the feeder is a big loss to me as I like to fill my blog posts with bird colour once the flowers have gone.

There are larger birds to be seen, a pigeon in the walnut tree . . .

. . . and a jackdaw flying over the garden . . .

. . . but the only small bird that I saw today was this dunnock checking things out . . .

. . . before popping up onto the feeder tray to scavenge some seed.

dunnock on tray

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy writing Christmas cards, and I helped out by addressing envelopes and writing a few greetings too.

After lunch, she walked round to the post box to send them off while I walked down to the river to get a breath of fresh air and see if I could spot a dunnock. There was plenty of fresh air, but dunnocks were not available. I had to make do with a crow.

I met up with Mrs Tootlepedal and we went round a gentle three bridges walk, stopping on the Kilngreen to admire the ducks. The light was a bit odd and changed colour depending on the direction that I was looking.

In real life, it was uniformly grey.

The arbitrary nature of some of the damage done by Storm Arwen was on view at the Sawmill Brig, with a single tree picked out for felling among a standing group.

As we walked round the new path to the Jubilee Bridge, we could see that almost every tree had lost a branch or two to the wind even if they were still standing.

Mrs Tootlepedal vaulted lightly over the fallen tree across the path . . .

. . . while I went round the obstacle and marvelled at the strength that had torn its roots apart.

There was a good crop of shield lichen on the gate just before we crossed the Jubilee Bridge.

We found our friend Mike Tinker tidying his garden as we went past, and he invited us in for a cup of tea. As I didn’t want to spread my cold about, we declined this kind offer, and we went home and had a cup of tea by ourselves there.

I felt a bit better for my walk, and made some Garibaldi biscuits to go with the tea.

It was dark by the time that we had had our tea and biscuit, so I put some more entries into the Archive Group’s newspaper index database. I also downloaded back-ups of both the newspaper and photo databases, something that I should do more often.

I shall go to bed early tonight in the hope of feeling recovered tomorrow. Being a snivelling wretch is not good.

The flying bird of the day is one of the passing jackdaws dropping in for a moment’s rest.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

27 thoughts on “Feeling the cold

  1. Sorry about your nasty cold and hope an early bed sorts it out. It’s very annoying that all our precautions for missing Covid don’t seem to apply to ordinary colds! I liked all the different colours of water you noticed and thought the biscuits looked delicious. no wonder you went home for your cuppa!

  2. Hope your cold gets better very soon- there’s a lot of it around. It’s still a great surprise to see the shallow roots of those large trees – maybe the fallen trees were the weakest so nature thinned them out. Love the photo of the little dunnock with his shorts on over his pinky legs and big feet! Tasty looking biscuits too…it’s a good life really!

    1. The topsoil round here tends to be very shallow, hence the wide but spread out roots. I am sure that the trees with the weakest roots are the ones that have gone but it still seems rather arbitrary.

  3. Scrumptious header page 😊
    I’ve had a cough/cold for several weeks now,but that’s not unusual for me when the temperature drops.
    I hope yours is only short lived,and at least you’ve had a negative covid test result.
    Our local community have arranged a Christmas meal at a local pub this weekend but I’m not sure weather to risk going,being a bit older and more vulnerable than some,it’s a difficult decision.
    My relocated bird feeders have a regular clientele,though not as busy as before.
    Your lack of birds could be due to any of the the things that you mentioned,or possibly the sparrow hawk has been around when you weren’t looking..
    Maybe a change of seed supplier or the addition of some fat balls might entice them back.
    I’ve noticed you keep the feeders nice and clean so disease is probably unlikely.
    They’ll will return no doubt.
    Nice to see the unobtrusive dunnocks anyway.

    1. I am thinking of enhancing the feed but the sunflowers hearts have always attracted a good crowd in previous years so I don’t think that they are necessarily the cause of the bird scarcity, unless my suppliers have been sending inferior stock. Going out at the moment is posing a problem. We have cancelled our choir meal and Mrs T is thinking about not going to her ex works colleagues lunch.

  4. Wishing you a speedy recovery from your cold. It was disturbing to hear about the avian flu in your area, too, but as Paul noted, you keep your feeders clean. I enjoy seeing the birds, and hope they stay well.

      1. I am getting a reasonable crowd at my feeder now, including juncos and Steller’s jays, though I am not seeing as many towees has last year. The chickadees seem to have abandoned us for the time being.

  5. I’m glad a cold is all you have. Someone I work with has had one too.
    Usually at this time of year dark eyed juncos line the roads here but so far I think I’ve seen three. I can’t imagine where they all are.
    At least you have cooperative mallards. Ours are very skittish and turn tail as soon as they see you.
    I hope you feel better in the morning.

  6. Getting out in the fresh air works wonders for me when I succumb to the sniffles. Like you I took a lateral flow test last week because of what I felt to be flu symptoms, which, thankfully, proved to be negative also. Cheers.

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