Watch the birdie

Today’s guest picture comes from my Lancashire correspondent Paul who is visiting the lake District again. He spotted a lake.

We had another cold night here but, once again, the temperature stayed just high enough to avoid any great damage to the garden and I was able to trim the front hedge in pleasant sunshine . . .

. . . and then wander round the garden taking pictures of flowers looking well, including another flower on the very late day lily and two fuchsias which are dripping with flowers

And then I took some more, including two potentillas which started late but are keeping going.

The honeysuckle has stopped flowering but it is producing lots of bright red berries.

As regular readers will know, I really like astrantias, and one of ours is simply refusing to lie down.

There were not so many butterflies about after the cold night, but there were enough to catch my eye (as well as a bee visiting the astrantia).

I filled the bird feeder just before lunch, and greenfinches and sparrows soon noticed that there was food to be had.

As it was a fine day with no chance of rain, Mrs Tootlepedal thought that it would be a good afternoon to go out on our electric bikes. Rather than go round a familiar local route, we folded the bikes up, packed them into the car, and set off for the English side of the Solway shore, thirty miles away.

We parked the car near Port Carlisle and I remarked to Mrs Tootlepedal that I had seen a little egret here earlier in the year on a previous cycle outing. I was very pleased to find that there was a little egret to be seen today too. It did a dance in the brisk wind for us.

The egret had found some shallow water to splash about in, but the tide was well out and you had to look quite hard to see any serious sea.

Indeed, when we had started our cycle ride, it looked as though you could walk across the sand to Criffel, which is beyond Dumfries on the Scottish side.

Our ride took us along the coast round the radio station at Anthorn . . .

. . . and there were times near the start when we were grateful to hedges for protection from the wind.

We could see marsh cattle through gaps in the hedge.

The radio station at Anthorn is a giant affair on an old airfield, and it interrupted our view of the Lake District hills . . .

. . . but we got a better look when we had pedalled round to the far side of the headland and could look across Moricambe Bay.

As we cycled along, Mrs Tootlepedal thought that she could hear the cry of lapwings so we stopped from time to time to see what we could see. There was not a lot of water as we looked across the winding course of the River Whampool and things didn’t look too promising at first . . .

. . . but once we had got our eye in, we saw there were quite a lot of birds beside what water there was. They were quite far away from us . . .

. . . so it was lucky that I had my little Lumix with m. It has a good zoom for such a small camera and could see birds that we couldn’t really see with the naked eye. There were lapwings about . . .

. . . as well as quite a large flock of what we think were knots on a mudbank.

The bird with the long beak in the picture above is definitely not a knot. There were a number of these birds wading about, and at first sight we thought that they were curlews . . .

. . . not least because we could hear the distinctive curlew calls. However, when we looked at the pictures on the camera, it became obvious that they weren’t curlews as their beaks were not curling like a curlew’s. A search on my phone told us that they might be black tailed godwits. I got a better picture at last.

I am open to correction if anyone knows better.

There were more egrets here, along with gulls and other birds too far off to recognise. Time was getting on though, so we couldn’t stop for as long as we would have liked.

We did have a last pause at the bridge across the river where we saw a fisherman in action.

Shooting into the late afternoon sun gave the Whampool river a more dramatic look than it had in real life.

It was not a warm day with the brisk northerly wind keeping the temperature down, but it was still a great delight to pedal along the quiet back roads ion mostly good sunshine as we made our way back to Port Carlisle and our car. When we got there, we found the tide was coming in at speed.

We hadn’t rushed at all and the 17 miles took us just under 2 hours of pedalling with another 20 minutes added for bird watching.

We folded the bikes up, packed them into the car, and drove home in a contented state of mind.

A delicious meal of mince and tatties rounded off an excellent day.

The (almost) flying bird of the day is an egret on the River Whampool (at full stretch on the Lumix zoom and then cropped).

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

30 thoughts on “Watch the birdie

  1. That was a nice ride with some excellent scenery. I like the moody shot of the river.
    The radio station towers are always a surprise. Ours have just one very tall one.
    It was nice to see an egret. I’ve only seen one in all my time outdoors. It was in a flooded cornfield.

    1. We didn’t see them here until quite recently and suddenly they are now frequently observed. The radio station is for very low frequency transmission so perhaps that is why it has so many towers.

  2. That was another wonderful bike ride that yielded very nice pictures, both in the landscape and in terms of the birds. It also seems like high summer in your garden with all those flowers and butterflies. Have a nice Sunday.

  3. As a child I always thought the lapwing was the coolest bird because it had 3 names shortly followed by the yellow hammer for its amazing eggs…

  4. Trimming hedges in our region is not allowed before the end of september. Otherwise a beautiful day full of wonderful sights (even if it was in England ). The aerials brought back memories of my life as a radio officer aboard merchant ships.

    1. W e have to keep our hedge trimmed as it obstructs the footpath. But I don’t disturb any nests and there are no berries or other fruits on it. We are very happy to visit England, especially the bit nearest to us. šŸ™‚

  5. Spent many a happy holiday at RAF Kirkbride in the 1950s IPossibly all buit up or derilic now. Did you pass near enough.
    Lui Pelosi

  6. Strange to think that lapwings are a bit of a rarity these days – they used to be so common. Opposite way round for egrets, until I was 40 I’d only seen one but these days they crop up every year. Global warming . . .

      1. Yes. We were commenting on this last week when we passed a field that used to be home to hundreds of plovers in winter. Now drained and tidied up like a garden.

  7. How wonderful to see the Lapwings and all the shorebirds. You may have tempted me to get out my shorebird guide to look more closely at your photos. The Snowy Egret too – a rarity around here. I love their yellow feet.

  8. Such a delight to read your post with all those sightings of wonderful birds and great photos recording all the different types! Brilliant cycle ride! Apparently you need an app on your phone that will help you name birds, flowers…life! I prefer to wait until some one tells me!

    1. I use Google lens which is very good if someone else has taken a photo much like yours and identified it correctly before. There are specialist plant and bird apps I believe.

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