Strictly for the birds

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who passed the Derby Silk Mill Museum of Making at twilight and stopped to record the occasion.

After all the dark foreboding, Storm Dudley passed over us without leaving much of a trace at all, and we woke up to another fine, mostly dry and mildly windy day. It was a lot chillier though, so although the sun was shining, the crocuses were not interested in opening their petals when I looked in the morning. I didn’t have much time for wandering around the garden, or looking at birds . . .

. . . as the chief business of the morning was getting the Langholm Initiative newsletter organised and sent off for approval. I managed this by lunchtime, and by coincidence, the crocuses managed to get their petals open by that time too.

There had been a light shower of sleety rain during the morning, but the weather looked set fair for the afternoon, so Mrs Tootlepedal and I wrapped up exceedingly well, and ventured out for a walk in the chilly wind.

We hoped to see a dipper or two, so we started our walk by going along the riverside. No dippers were to be seen, but you couldn’t miss a pair of oystercatchers between the bridges . . .

. . . and we found seven more when we got to the Kilngreen.

These were in a flighty mood.

We crossed the Sawmill Brig (no dippers in sight), and walked up the Lodge Walks and on to the North Lodge.

On our way, Mrs Tootlepedal was struck by the sinewy nature of this tree . . .

. . .which doesn’t just affect the trunk, but twists up into the branches as well.

We were serenaded by several robins on our outing. This one was beside the Lodge Walks.

The snowdrops at Holmhead are just about at their best.

The forecasters are saying that they may be joined by some real snow overnight.

As we walked, we could hear the calling of a buzzard, but it was too high and too far away to get a good picture.

The view up the valley when we got to the North Lodge was tempting . . .

. . . but keeping in the shelter of the trees and out of the biting wind was even more tempting. We turned back and took the track along the top of the woods.

Once again, we could hear the cries of a buzzard, but this time, the eagle eyed Mrs Tootlepedal spotted it crossing the track right above our heads. Bang, bang, I shot it twice.

I tend to think that buzzards are inquisitive birds because they often seem to fly over my head when I am out for a walk or a bike ride. They like to know what is going on in their patch.

We were very well protected by the trees as we went along, and with the sun out, it was a remarkably pleasant afternoon for a walk. The trees were attractive as well as functional.

Mrs Tootlepedal picked up a fallen branch with a snakeskin pattern for me to photograph.

Another tree had fallen across the track since I last walked along here. I nipped round the end of it and was going to photograph Mrs Tootlepedal vaulting over it, but she was to quick for me and had leapt over before I could get my camera out.

Another sheep was looking after us today . . .

. . . while two more got on with the serious business of eating grass.

As we dropped back down the hill to the Estate Offices and the Sawmill Brig, we noted some very cheerful dogwood in a garden . .

. . .and I peered at some peltigera lichen battling with moss for space on a wall.

On our way out, we had noticed that the electric car charging points at the Kilngreen were open for use. They were attracting attention . . .

. . . this afternoon but no customers. We might have to drive round with the Zoe soon to see if they will work for us.

When we were crossing the town bridge, Mrs Tootlepedal stopped to talk to a friend who is suffering from Long Covid. I crossed the road and watched as a dipper shot from under the bridge and into the far distance without a moment’s pause to pose. It wasn’t to be a dipper day.

However, some loud calls made me look at a bush beside the river, and there was a wren, quite happy to have its picture taken.

As we walked back towards the suspension bridge, the oystercatcher that we had seen on our way out had a definite gleam in its eye, and was soon making sure that we won’t be short of new oystercatchers.

We found that we had done three and a half miles by the time that we got home, so a cup of tea and some toasted slices of the fruity spiced loaf from the breadmaker were very welcome.

Although the spiced loaf had come out well, I found that the spices weren’t really to my taste, so I had got the breadmaker to make a brioche loaf while we were out.

We haven’t really explored the different loaves the breadmaker can make, and this was another venture into the unknown. The loaf turned out very well, and had the additional advantage of tasting delicious when we tried some later on. I will definitely make it again.

Having got approval from the boss, I posted out the newsletter, and then the Olympics provided us with a restful way of filling our time after our walk. It is an oddity that so much adventurous sporting activity among the young contestants is an excuse for so much idleness among the elderly spectators.

The flying bird of the day is that buzzard from our walk. It is not often that one flies so slowly and so low overhead.

Footnote: I have heard from Sandy, and he reports that his operation has gone well and he hopes to be back home early next week.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

33 thoughts on “Strictly for the birds

  1. You got some great shots of the buzzards and the dippers.
    The drifts of snowdrops do look like snow. Ours is melting fast but I hope they’ll stay for a while.
    The crocus blossoms were nice to see too. I’m hoping to see more flowers here tomorrow.
    I admire Mrs. T.s eye for detail.

  2. Did you watch Dragon’s Den, with its item at about 30 minutes in, of interest to those with bicycles to Nowhere?
    Would it be OK to use sultanas instead of raisins in those biscuits? (Shortage of storage space in my tiny kitchen.)
    That buzzard must have wondered whether you were a mouse.

      1. The DD thing was some kind of moving platform for bikes to nowhere, meant somehow to enhsnce the experience, though I didn’t quite understand it myself.

  3. Good news about Sandy’s progress is always pleasing as are your photographs of the robin and the wren. Well done on your flying bird of the day!

  4. Capturing a buzzard in flight is really hard and your photos are great! Lots of lovely photos from your walk especially the snowdrop wood, the robin and the dear little wren…in fact I shouldn’t list the photos I like as I really like them all and hate missing any out! Good news about your pal Sandy.

  5. I am glad to hear Sandy’s operation was successful, and he is on the mend. Hopefully by the time the weather is better he will be able to walk with you again. His blog has been silent for quite a while now.

    I enjoyed your selection of photos. Wren and robin are small but cheery. You caught quite a few oyster catchers. Your buzzards have beautiful markings! Our abundant turkey buzzards here come in standard undertaker black, and have red, wrinkled skin on their heads.

    We had a new visitor at the feeder yesterday, some kind of hawk. He sat on the fence post near the feeder, yawned a few times and brandished his beak. I tried to photograph him trough the window, but just as I got him in focus, he took off. Looking at the raptor page on MyODFW, he seems like he might be a Cooper’s Hawk just passing through. Hopefully I will get another chance at a photo.

  6. Not a dipper day, but definitely a dapper day! Everyone and everything looked their finest. Especially loved the carpets of snowdrops, the crocuses with water drops, adorable Robin always, fantastic buzzards and oystercatchers in flight, the colorful dogwood, and even the oystercatcher cuddling. With that amazing vaulting, Mrs T could be heading to the Summer Olympics!

  7. That first shot of the oyster catcher gallery is quite striking. We seem to have fewer oystercatchers than before. Even then I’m not sure I ever saw that striking pattern on their backsides. And I very much like your gnarly tree. I am envious of your snowdrops. The good news is that we actually had some raindrops today. I have yet to hear the reading from the gage… Even an inch would be very welcome. Good shooting of the ‘buzzard’ (I suspect your buzzard is more an eagle than our interpretation as a vulture?)I am very envious of your electric Zoe and the handy charging stations. 🤗 (Though the inspection team in today’s header made me smile!)

    1. The RSPB says that buzzards principally eat small rodents, but also take birds, reptiles, amphibians, larger insects and earthworms. They also eat carrion.

      1. There are times when I suspect that all these very particular distinctions are meant to confuse me. If so, they are quite successful!

  8. Oh, the glorious snowdrops! Good news about Sandy. Much sympathy to the friend with long Covid, one of the reasons I have tried almost ridiculously hard to not get it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: