A ray of light (but only one)

Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce. He came across this fine outbreak of yellow brain (or witches butter) fungus on his walk today.

It was a perfect day for winter cycling today, warmish, cloudy but not wet, and pretty calm. This made it all the more annoying that my cold is showing no signs of going away. As a result, I spent another very quiet morning in doing nothing.

We did have some visitors though. Scott, our ex minister, with his coffee radar finely tuned, arrived bang on time for a cup of coffee, even bringing his own biscuits with him. It was with regret that I had to turn him away as he is always good company, but passing on colds to ex ministers is not a good thing to do. He kindly left the biscuits. He knows me well.

Luckily, the birds seemed to take to the new position of the feeder and there were quite a few avian visitors today to keep me entertained. First two siskins turned up . . .

. . . and they were followed by a blue tit, several chaffinches, and a couple of goldfinches.

After an early lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off on her bicycle to check on the state of the unwanted plastic tree tubes that the volunteers had collected, and which had been stored in a shed on the moor.

Thanks to Arwen, this is the current state of the shed . . .

picture by Mrs Tootlepedal

. . . and she had a happy time collecting up scattered tubes and tucking them safely away.

While she was out, I had a later lunch and then went for a short three bridges walk. I had intended to go a bit further, but I found that I was quite tired and needed to curtail my outing.

I got very excited when I saw a gleam of sunshine on the slopes of Whita . . .

. . . but almost as soon as I had seen it, it vanished and we were back to shades of grey again.

I had hoped to photograph a dipper so I had taken my bird camera with me. Unfortunately, the only dipper that I came across, saw me first and flew off down the river at great speed. On the other hand, the black headed gulls were determined to get their picture taken, and flew round and round above my head and flashed past me on all sides.

I saw that one was shouting a warning . . .

. . . and this turned out to be to get ducks and other gulls out of the way of its landing.

Another bird came in low . . .

. . . and performed an inelegant belly flop landing.

I walked on up to the Sawmill Brig, passing a mallard making waves . . .

. . . and pursued by yet another gull which was determined to get its picture taken too.

As I got to the Sawmill Brig, I could hear twittering in a big tree. Looking up, I saw numerous little birds. They were too far away for my bird camera so I got out my pocket camera to use its long zoom. Even with the long lens it was hard to be certain, but I think that I was watching a small flock of long tailed tits.

Taking pictures of various lichens on the trees along the Lodge Walks was a bit easier.

This was my favourite patch, a fine collection of script lichens on a single tree.

I walked across the Castleholm, intending to see if there had been any tree clearing at the Duchess Bridge. I couldn’t get to the bridge though, as there was a notice up saying that entry was forbidden as there was tree clearing going on.

I turned back and went down to the Jubilee Bridge, noting the absence of sunshine on Whita . . .

. . . and enjoying some ferns on a tree, and mosses on a wall as I went home.

I had just enough energy for a walk round the garden before I went in. I spotted another bit of colour . . .

. . . and a brave but unavailing effort to be the last rose of the year. It got full marks for trying.

I took a picture of moss on a stone beside the pond, and found when I looked at it later, that I had taken a picture of some lichen as well.

I was a bit depresed by how tired I was, so my thoughts turned to comfort food and I made a batch of date and ginger rolls.

Mrs Tootlepedal. returned safely, having cycled eight miles. I was very envious. We had a cup of tea and polished of the last of the Garibaldi biscuits.

Sandy came down in the evening, and Mrs Tootlepedal trimmed his hair for him. He has a hospital appointment coming up and he wants to look neat and tidy.

Although my cold didn’t go away, I did get a good flying bird of the day, so the day wasn’t a total waste of time.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

38 thoughts on “A ray of light (but only one)

  1. Glad outo see the birds are gradually returning to your feeders..these could perhaps be new visitors,who knows.
    Colds can take a week to clear,but you are right not to cycle which can leader to more serious ailments.
    Good luck.

    1. I am trying to get a bit of gentle exercise without making things worse, but it was a pity to get such a good cycling day when I couldn’t use it. I bet the weather gets worse as I get better. 🙂

  2. I was hoping the cold would ease but obviously it’s going to take its time. At least you were able to get out.
    You got some great shots of all the birds. I like the mallard in waves.
    Did you see the upside down number 70 in the script lichen on the far left, just under center?

  3. Sorry you are under the weather. You still managed to get some great gull shots and fine finch photos. I’m tempted to say you also took tremendous tit pics, but that might be overstepping the mark with smutty schoolboy humour. The witches’ butter fungus is quite alarming – I don’t recall ever seeing any.

    1. You can’t miss that yellow fungus if you see it. It is very bright. The tit family comes as a surprise to American readers when they first come across a mention of it.

      1. I can imagine! My first thought on seeing the fungus was that a custard tree had overflowed – the diet is leaving me thinking of food far too much! 🙂

  4. I enjoyed your photos from the day, especially the gulls today.

    The shed on the moor loos like it was no match for Arwen Mrs. T had a lot of picking up to do.

    I hope you feel better soon. Winter colds seem to be some of the worst for hanging on.

    1. I heard on a broadcast once that colds don’t actually hang on but you keep catching new ones. I am hoping that by keeping myself to myself, I won’t get another dose.

    1. It is quite common round here and comes into its own in cold weather. You need to look carefully if you see round white lichen patches on smooth barked trees. I only started looking for it when I saw an example on someone else’s blog.

  5. Your cold doesn’t seem to have stopped you at all! Good to see the birds enjoying the new situation for their feeders. Lovely shots of the black headed gulls( why are they called that when their heads are white?) and the long tailed tits, which we had on our feeders yesterday but flew off as I reached for the camera!!

  6. I love to see a flock of long tailed ties, I have been fortunate to see such flocks several times. Travelling through the trees at the top of our back garden. Flitting between the branches looking for food. They are very quick about their business and are soon on their way. Beautiful little birds. Sorry about your tiredness, possibly that cold is affecting your “joi de vivre”. Lol cheers.

      1. It amazes me how they survive the cold wintry nights, but they huddle together strung out on branches sharing each others warmth. I always feel sorry for the two bookends lol. Cheers.

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