Testing knees and eyes

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony in East Wemyss. For once, the sun does not feature.

We saw neither sun nor moon here today, as it was another exceedingly grey day. It was above freezing though, and both Mrs Tootlepedal and I were able to cycle round the town on various errands without fear of icy patches.

In between, Margaret came for coffee, and I found time to look at the birds. There were the usual chaffinches, easier to get in focus on a dull day when they sat still . . .

. . . a small visitation of very vocal goldfinches . . .

. . . and the first sighting for some time of the lawn pecking jackdaws.

I had an appointment with the optician in Longtown in the late afternoon, and this left me with just enough time for a short and gentle walk after lunch. I chose a route with one or two mild climbs in it which I hoped would give my knee a workout without overdoing it.

I took the track along to the Becks Burn where I was intrigued to see that fallen crab apples were lying untouched under a tree.

Either there is a lot of other food around, or apple eating birds and mammals are very scarce this year. Several people with bird feeders in the town have remarked to me recently that they are seeing far fewer birds than usual this winter.

I saw three bridges on my walk.

From the bank above the wooden bridge, I looked down the little valley of the Becks Burn, with a rather misty Whita hill in the background.

When I got down to the road, I had a little wander along the banks of the Becks Burn before it goes under the road bridge.

Then I crossed the Auld Stane Brig, and as the shorter route back to town along Gaskell’s Walk is still closed because of a dangerous bridge, I went very slowly and carefully up the hill to join the track from Warbla down to the Stubholm.

It was a grey day and cheerful views were not available . . .

. . . so I took a suitably greyscale picture of a tree instead.

As always, I looked about as I went along among the bridges and saw fungus . . .

. . . soft honeysuckle leaves and sharp rose thorns . . .

. . . and a cypress rising above the trees round the Wauchope graveyard . . .

A handy gate, with a little gate in it just for elderly pedestrians . . .

. . . lead me off the hill and onto the track back down to the park.

I had a few minutes to spare when I got to the town, so I walked down to the Suspension Bridge to see if I could spot a dipper. Unfortunately, the dipper must have spotted me before could spot it, and my only sight of it was a dark shadow flitting up the river as I walked down.

However, my diversion was not pointless because I did see an unexpected visitor beside the Esk.

Checking back through my records for recent years, I have not seen an oyster catcher in Langholm before the second week of February, so this one was a surprise.

It was only three o’clock when I got home, but it was already getting dark, and we had to put the headlights on when we drove down to Longtown for my eye appointment,even though it was well before sunset.

The optician was very thorough, and I will soon have new pairs of spectacles. I hope that the computer ones may help in cutting down the appalling quantity of typing errors which slow down the productions of my posts. At present, the chance of me hitting the key that I am aiming at with my ‘hunt and peck’ technique has a lot more of miss than hit about it.

The forecast for tomorrow is quite hopeful and my knee is a lot better, so I am aiming for a more extensive cycle ride than usual. All will depend on whether I can actually get out of bed and get going in time to take advantage of this. I will try but I am taking no bets.

I couldn’t catch a goldfinch or jackdaw in flight, so the flying bird of the day is a chaffinch once again.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

33 thoughts on “Testing knees and eyes

  1. I enjoyed all your winter day photos, especially the birds and jackdaws today. The jackdaws are among my favorite visitors to your yard. I noted fewer birds here this year, too, including the ones who like to drill holes in apples. That includes what we call robins over here, and flickers. The juncos seem to be having a banner year, but not many of the others. Towhee and chickadee numbers seem fewer, too.

  2. I wonder if the jackdaws peck at everyone’s lawns or just yours. If you knew that it might help you figure out why.
    Someone could make quite a lot of crabapple jelly from all that fruit.
    I liked seeing the new honeysuckle leaves. Glad the knee feels better.

  3. It never occurred to me that all the fruit left on trees this year might have to do with fewer birds – almost too obvious to consider. But then when I think of all the other reasons why bird numbers are in decline it makes perfect sense. I am still enamored of Jackdaws for their blue eyes.

  4. The greyscale tree is wonderful! I liked the gate within a gate…very clever. Isnt it funny how food sldo follows fashion…crab apples are just not cool, it seems, to bird, beast, or humans

  5. Good to see all the bridges and the atmospheric trees. The rose thorns look lethal! I’ve recently had new glasses and the world is much brighter and reading much easier! Wish I’d gone earlier to have a check!

  6. Good luck with tomorrow’s planned bike ride..but don’t overdo things..easier said than done I know.
    Great shot of the oyster catcher.
    Strangely enough my bird feeders have had a lack of customers recently ,maybe they’ve found somewhere with a better menu 😊

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