Two reds on a grey day

Today’s guest picture is the fourth and last from my Somerset correspondent Venetia’s visit to Hestercombe Grdens near Taunton last month.

We had another damp, grey and windy day here, with several quite heavy showers to keep us on our toes. I managed to find a nearly dry moment to get round to the corner shop to buy some biscuits before Sandy came down for coffee during a brief sunny spell.

Sandy was pretty cheerful as his recovery is coming along steadily, and he had enjoyed his walk down the hill. He was intending to walk home after coffee, but another shower of rain persuaded him that a lift would be a good thing. I drove him back up the hill.

The sun came out again soon afterwards, and I watched the birds at the feeder for a while. We had several greenfinch visitors today.

In fact we had a lot of visitors, and I counted up to forty birds on, under, and around the feeder at times. There were chaffinches, this one taking advantage of a rare moment of quiet to grab a perch . . .

. . . and siskins, keeping up their practice of trying to ensure that there are no moments of quiet near our feeder . . .

. . . on either side . . .

. . . and they were supported in this endeavour by the goldfinches today.

In general the feeder stayed busy with greenfinches, goldfinches, chaffinches, siskins and the very occasional appearance of a redpoll (seen in the background below) . . .

. . . so much so that I filled and hung out a second feeder. Both feeders were emptied by the end of the afternoon.

Amid the hurly burly at the feeders themselves, birds learned to wait their turn on the fake tree, keeping their eyes open for any opportunity to grab a free perch.

After lunch, I had a quick visit to the garden and found a bee appreciating the delights of a fritillary.

It was very windy, too windy to cycle, so in spite of the unreliable weather, I decided to go for a walk in the afternoon. Because of the unreliable weather, Mrs Tootlepedal decided not to come with me.

Her decision looked very good as I was being pelted by a heavy shower of rain, sleet and a little hail when I set off up the Wauchope road. However, my decision looked good too after a mile. The rain stopped, and stayed away for the rest of my outing. There were even brief outbreaks of sunshine.

The recent heavy showers had put a little more water into the Wauchope . . .

. . . and it chattered away as I took a small diversion from the road and walked along side it through a favourite little wood . . .

Looking back at the erosion to the bank caused by fallen trees, I wondered if the path would survive another big flood.

The chief reason for taking the diversion through the little wood today was to look at the larch trees at the far end. They don’t look much when seen from the road . . .

. . . but looked at more closely, they are rich in surprises. A first look reveals a lot of something among the new needles. . .

. . . and a second closer look shows that they are flowers . . .

. . . and poking your nose right into them shows just how beautiful they are.

The wall beside the road a bit further along also rewards closer inspection. A seemingly dull grey patch of lichen . . .

. . . reveals hidden treasures to the really nosy photographer, whether using his phone in macro mode . . .

. . . or his little Lumix.

I was battling into the wind as I went up the road, and I was very pleased not to be on my bicycle, as it was a definitely a discouraging day for cycling.

I had a look at the augmented water dashing over the little cascade below Wauchope Schoolhouse . . .

. . . and then turned up the road to Cleuchfoot beside the Logan Water.

A morose bull stared at me as I went past. Why was I allowed to have such a good time when all he could do was stand in a muddy field and eat grass?

I explained that life was seldom fair, but this was no consolation to him, and he looked at me even more sadly.

I rather guiltily enjoyed the scenery as I walked a little way up the valley.

I didn’t go as far as I would have liked though, because a look at the time showed me that I had run out of road. I turned and headed home, not stopping for any pictures at all on the way back.

It was just as well that I got a move on, because I was late for a Zoom with our granddaughter Matilda and her parents, and only just had time to squeeze in a cup of tea and a biscuit before the following Zoom with my brother and sisters.

Matilda, who performed a dance of her own choreography for us, and her parents were all in good form, and my siblings are surviving the ups and downs of life with great equanimity.

Mrs Tootlepedal cooked one of her very tasty fish pies for our evening meal. That rounded off a day that was much better than the showery, blustery weather deserved.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin.

Footnote: I would welcome a guest picture or two if any kind readers have anything that they think would interest other readers.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

25 thoughts on “Two reds on a grey day

  1. Today, I took some pictures of cardinals in a tree. If any of them come out well, I will send one to you. What a wet walk you had. Sure do love those larch blossoms.

  2. Your larch flowers look bigger than ours with a slightly different shape but they are beautiful.
    That’s quite a washout along the stream where the trees fell.
    Maybe standing and chewing will teach the bull to be patient. The cows will come.
    I’m glad to hear that Sandy is getting out and about.

  3. Hello TP,
    A lovely walk and detailed observations. Your bull image and comment reminded me of my vivid recall of one of my mum’s favourite and frequent comments to her tribe of 4 young boys, no doubt after a squabble about something trivial, that “everything in life is not always fair”. Perhaps the passage of time and life’s rich tapestry is required to appreciate this more…Best wishes
    Julian

  4. Always nice to see so many birds at your feeder 🙂 The new cones of the larix trees gave you a great opportunity for some very nice shots !

  5. The feeder looks quite busy, and you got some good portraits, too. The larch flowers were a special treat; they are very lovely, and the photos looks like they should be framed and hanging on a wall. But you have so many of these beautiful photos from your area! It was also nice to see some cladonia.

  6. I’m sure I keep writing the same comment: Wonderful photos of all the birds on the feeders! Love the bee on the fritillary and all the views on your walk. Perfect choice of adjective for the bull! Sorry if that sounds like I’m marking your work!!

  7. Now I’m waiting for our larch flowers to compare them to yours. I think ours are decidedly smaller, but will have to take some photos.

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