Today’s guest picture comes from Mary Jo in Manitoba. She tells me that she was doing an “Attila the gardener” on some Virginia Creeper when she found this nest. She quickly covered it up again.
We were subject to uncertain weather today, with brisk winds pushing clouds across the sky. The clouds broke up to give some good spells of sunshine in the morning, and we got out into the garden to get work done and flowers photographed.
The first of the overwintered dahlias has flowered, and it has come out to join the occasional calendula and our thriving roses. You can see the Wren and Special Grandma in the panel below.
If it is quantity that you like, then the Goldfinch rose and the orange hawkweed are for you . . .
. . . and though I like profusion, I like lovely single flowers lurking in the shade too.
Among the new flowers, we spotted some tiny nipplewort, and additional blooms on the delphinium. The eryngium gets more blue every day and the Rodgersia gets more extravagant.
The flower that summed a day of sunshine and showers best for me was this clematis.
We tentatively dug up one of the early potatoes, and found a good but not outstanding crop. We are perhaps a little early. All the same, when we had some for our lunch, they tasted delicious.
I took moments to check on the birds from time to time. It didn’t matter whether I looked out of the front window or the back window, there was often a blackbird to be seen.
At lunchtime, I found a chaffinch, a goldfinch and a parent and child greenfinch among the usual siskins.
After lunch, we considered our options and the weather forecast. Depending on which forecaster we looked at, it seemed that we might catch a shower or worse if we went for a cycle ride, and alternatively we might get out and back in the dry. We decided to be optimistic and set off to cycle up the hill and onto the moor on our e-bikes. (We took rain jackets just in case.)
In keeping with the variable forecasts, there were clouds and sunshine when we looked up the Ewes Valley while we pedalled up to the White Yett.
When we got to the moor, the Little Tarras valley was looking at its best . . .
. . . so we decided to cycle on down into the big Tarras Valley, and then up the other side until we got to the county boundary, six miles from home and 1100 feet above sea level.
We kept an eye out for raptors, and caught distant glimpses of action . . .
. . .and Mrs Tootlepedal spotted a goat watching us.
There were plenty of wild flowers beside the road to see, and we were very impressed by the number of orchids that we passed, though they all seemed to be of the same variety, probably marsh orchids we think.
There was a lot of wild mountain thyme beside the road too, with a little self heal, and some of those yellow flowers which are not dandelions.
The most conspicuous flowers were great swathes of bedstraw but I totally failed to take a picture of any of them.
We got to the county boundary but didn’t linger, because when we looked past Tinnis Hill, we could see a big rain shower looming up.
We took a moment to enjoy the expansive views across to the Lake District hills . . .
. . . and the mouth of the Solway Firth . . .
. . . and then headed for home.
We passed a different goat keeping a watch on passers by . . .
. . . and got peppered by a few threatening raindrops, which fortunately didn’t come to anything.
We flew down the hill to the bridge across the Tarras Water . . .
. . . and thanks to electrical assistance, we made very good speed going up the other side to the White Yett. We were a bit alarmed by a potential rain shower as we neared the top of the hill . . .
. . . but it was further away than it looked, and we got home unscathed after 12 miles of distance and 1400 feet of climbing. If we hadn’t got the electric bikes, we could have gone in the car. It would have been a lot less satisfying, and we wouldn’t have seen nearly so much on our way.
It did rain, but only after we were safely inside.
I made some macaroni cheese for our evening meal, and that rounded off a day which was better than we had expected.
The adult greenfinch is the flying bird of the day.