A very full day

Today’s guest picture shows the two faithful friends that accompany Tony on his photographic walks in East Wemyss. They are trained to sniff out a good photo opportunity.

After our recent spell of warmish weather for the time of year, we got a colder day today. It was just above freezing when we got up and it topped out at 5°C in the middle of the day. The weather was mixed, with wind, rain and even a hint of snow from time to time, but there was also a good spell of sunshine.

It was raining when Dropscone came round to share some of his scones while we drank coffee and chatted, but it had stopped by the time that he left. I watched a siskin approach the feeder with intent.

Then it sleeted as Mrs Tootlepedal and I drove down to Glentarras to join the volunteers clearing the old pheasant pens from the nature reserve. Luckily the sleet shower was very brief and the sun came out as we worked.

I should take more pictures of the work in progress, but we all work very hard and the time slips by before I remember to take my camera out. I managed a group photo at the end and it appears as today’s header picture.

One of our party is a fungus enthusiast though, and when she pointed out a lovely bracket fungus on a fallen tree, I managed to photograph that.

We have finished clearing this particular pheasant pen, but there is another one still to do.

After lunch, I watched the birds for a while. There were a good number of siskins about . . .

. . . but even more chaffinches.

The sun continued to shine so brightly that I felt compelled to go for a walk. Needless to say, there was a hint of rain just as I set off, but that turned out to be the weather gods’ little joke, and the day soon smiled again.

I intended to do a short and easy walk with waterside birds in view, and the plan started well with an oystercatcher in the Esk and a gull in the Ewes . . .

. . . and a handsome mallard at the Kilngreen . . .

. . . but when I had crossed the Hill Mill Brig and reached the far end of the Baggra, the sight of the cattle on the very top of Castle Hill . . .

. . . tempted me to walk up through the field above the Baggra to see what it would be like going back through the woods on the lower slopes of the hill. I had never tried this before so I didn’t know what the going would be like.

The walk up through the field was a treat in itself, with views of snow on the hills up the valley . . .

. . . and trees . . .

. . . to give me an excuse to stop for a quick breather on the steep slope.

When I got to the wood, I found that there was a pheasant pen there too, and this meant that there was a good track made by the pheasant shooting keepers . . .

. . . which led me in exactly the direction which I wanted to go.

It was a bit soggy in parts but I followed it gratefully through the woods . . .

. . . and up on to the open hill.

I could look over the town . . .

. . . and back along the track that I was following.

I found a sheep under the trees as I came to the final little descent to the gate off the hill . . .

. . . but I was much less pleased to find a bunch of cattle on the track right in front of me just before the gate. Whether it was a different lot of animals, or the ones from the top of the hill having drifted down as I climbed up, I do not know.

Happily, I was able to skirt round them and get to the gate without trouble. I did get a bit of a hard stare though.

Once on the track along the top of the wood above the Lodge Walks, I decided to continue on and see how the snowdrops at Holmhead were doing.

I had stopped to take a picture to show what a beautiful day it still was . . .

. . . when a plaintive cry made me lookup. A buzzard was circling overhead, too high for a really good picture, but steady enough to let me get several shots in before another bird arrived and the buzzard flew off. You can see the intruder in the bottom right panel below.

It was worth going the extra distance to see the snowdrops, I thought.

I got into the shadow of the hill across the valley as I walked down through the wood, but the snowdrops still made a good show.

When I got down to the road, I met a lady walking her dog and she stopped to talk to me. Very considerately, and without me asking, she told me her name and reminded me that she had been a pupil of mine in times past.

She had stopped off in Langholm on her way to the Highlands from Southampton and had come to look at the snowdrops too.

By the time that we had had a chat, the sun had disappeared behind the hill for good, and it was decidedly chilly as I walked home, so I didn’t stop for any more pictures.

After a cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal, I put the breadmaking machine to work, and went to file away the recorder music that we had played last night.

Then after a Zoom with my siblings and a light evening meal, we welcomed Mike and Alison round for their first regular Friday evening visit for some weeks. While Mike and Mrs Tootlepedal chatted, Alison and I played recorder and keyboard duets, a great way to end a busy day.

The flying bird of the day is a passing gull from my afternoon walk.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

28 thoughts on “A very full day

  1. The sunny part of your day was quite lovely. The views with snow on the hills and green grass below are very much like what I see around here. I particularly liked the drifts of snowdrops. Mine have started blooming as well.

    Your mallard subject looks strikingly handsome in the sunshine, and he seems to know it. He appears well fed. 🙂

  2. You must have had a tripod with you when you took that group photo.
    Both the snowy hill and the snowdrops were a treat. I wish snowdrops grew natural here.
    I don’t know if I could have walked through the group of cattle. I had a cow step on my foot once and it was an experience I hope to never repeat.

  3. It is heartening to see such beautifully sunny scenery. How kind of the woman to introduce herself: I occasionally get confronted by former pupils … I beam at them … can sometimes ‘see’ where their nae might have appeared in my mark book … but the name has disappeared 🙂

  4. Lovely to see the snowdrops doing so well.
    From the shape of the tail, I’d say your “intruder” bird is a raven, a bird that seems to be doing well.
    Not unusual around Langholm, but we have been seeing them more regularly here in Surrey over the last few years.

  5. That’s what I would call a very full and enjoyable day! Great to see the snowdrops in their proper habitat and all the beautiful views on your walk.

  6. I think the wood’s called “The Scrogg wood” or the scroggs. Was a great place for hazelnuts.

  7. Oh! you have some pretty snow capped hills, and cows (critters) and trees and clouds. Not to mention the snowdrops. I could certainly get to liking your sort of neighborhood! It might be taking my life in my hands were I to try bicycling along our narrow, twisty roads.
    What a treat it must have been to encounter one of your students. Hope you didn’t get chilled!

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