Plum pecker

Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia. She visited a Roman villa with my sister Mary recently. Or, to be more correct, they visited a very detailed reconstruction of a Roma villa in the grounds of The Newt in Somerset.

We had a warm and mostly cloudy day here, but it stayed dry. We cycled to church after breakfast to sing in the choir, and then Mrs Tootlepedal went off to the Buccleuch Centre to lay tables for a lunch for people attending an afternoon concert there.

While she was busy doing that, I went on a butterfly hunt in the garden and found red admirals, small tortoiseshells and peacocks. I took pictures all three varieties with two different cameras without getting a really good result.

I took two pictures of salvias with the same camera, and was struck once again by how variably cameras see the same colour.

The dahlias continue to delight.

W hen Mrs Tootlepedal came back from her table laying, we e-cycled up to Cronksbank on the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve to water the many thousands of trees in the tree nursery.

There are sprinklers there . . .

. . . but they seemed a bit underpowered for the task, so we used a lance and did the job by hand. The tiny saplings are looking pretty happy in their new boxes.

When we had finished the watering, Mrs Tootlepedal cleared out a little drain in a wall, and I went for a short stroll up the farm track.

Signs of autumn . . .

. . . were all around . . .

. . . but a patch of marsh woundwort held a memory of summer. They are beautiful little flowers in my opinion, just as good as our local orchids.

We got home in time for a rather late lunch which curtailed our afternoon activities. I managed a shopping visit to the Co-op, a bit of watching the mountain biking world championships, and some desultory gardening and photography. Mrs Tootlepedal preferred the Vuelta stage.

In the garden, I got yet another shade of the same colour from the salvias . . .

. . . and was very impressed by the size of a fuchsia flower.

I did some dahlia and Icelandic poppy dead heading in between looking around.

I didn’t spend much time watching the feeder today, only seeing this one headless bird . . .

. . . but while we were sipping a late afternoon cup of tea, we spotted a jackdaw in the plum tree.

It had only got one thing in mind – plum theft.

There will be quite a competition between us and the blackbirds and jackdaws when it comes to eating the most plums.

Then we went out into the garden again. There was no shortage of sparrows to see there, as they rose up in waves in front of me as I walked about.

We wish that all our roses would produce hips as colourful as the ones on the Frau Dagmar Hastrup . . .

. . . and we worry slightly about the ajuga spreading to cover the whole garden if left to its own devices.

We cut back a cotoneaster that has got too big for its boots and shredded the cuttings. Compost Bin A is filling up nicely, and it is feeling satisfactorily warm.

Then we retired indoors for the rest of the day.

In the evening, loud noises from the sky drew my attention to the usual noisy evening excursion of the jackdaws, filling the sky above our garden.

Two pairs of them take on the position of flying birds of the day.

Footnote: my walking companions Mark and David, together with two more keen walkers, joined three of the recent walks which we have done together into a continuous row, climbing all the 12 hills that form the boundary ridge of the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve and covering just under 28 miles and ascending about 5000 ft in the process. They managed this stupendous task in 14 hours. Hats off to them.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

20 thoughts on “Plum pecker

  1. That will be too bad if the birds peck at all the plums, but I don’t know how you’d stop them.
    I’ve battled ajuga too and found that if you use a spading fork to loosen the ground under it by prying up a bit, it pulls relatively easily.
    The marsh woundwort does indeed remind me of an orchid. It’s very pretty.

    1. You can’t stop the birds pecking the plums except by picking them all before they are ripe. We will share. Controlling the ajuga will keep Mrs T busy whihc is always a good thing.

  2. The summer photos are beautiful, and I see a hint of autumn in the ripening chestnuts and what looks like dispersing thistle seed. It is interesting, the difference between cameras. Which camera took the salvia photo in highly saturated blue?

    The plum thieving jackdaw reminds me of the apple thief bids here They peck a conical hole in the top, leaving the apple looking intact from the bottom. Rain eventually fills the wells, and the hapless human gets a face full of water when the apple is picked.

    Congratulations to Mark, David and the other hikers on their hiking and climbing record.

    1. It was the little Lumix that took the deep blue picture. Oddly, it was perhaps the nearest to how I saw the flower at the time. Your apple experience must be a bit annoying though I suppose it might be amusing for an onlooker. We saw Mark today and he looked surprisingly perky after his long walk.

  3. You have a beautiful dahlia portrait here, which reminds me to ask if your photography club is up and running yet. Some societies here are being very slow rising from the covid-shaken ground.

  4. Well done looking after those saplings, which appear to be flourishing.
    I hope you win the battle of the plums.
    Many congratulations to the intrepid walkers/climbers for their magnificent achievement.

  5. I have tried to explain the colour/camera conundrum to the owner of the shop. He seems to think there is a magic dial to alter it so the pictures look like the picture his eyes see. We eventually took the cherry tree out because the birds took all the cherries – they don’t seem to like the plums as much. Woundwort is, as you say, as good as any orchid.

    1. Tell him to purchase a really good photo editor and a speedy computer to run it on, and then if he practises hard, he can have any colours he wants.

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