Second sight

I have stolen today’s guest picture from some which Big Deev sent me to show at the Camera Club meeting on the theme of winter.

The day started well in three ways: firstly, it wasn’t raining, secondly the replacement lens for the Archive Group microfiche reader arrived in the post, and thirdly, when Nancy and I tried it at the Archive Centre, it not only fitted the machine perfectly but enlarged the microfiches to exactly the right size for comfortable reading. Nancy settled down to do some data mining and I went home.

When I got back home, I put the unwanted lenses in an envelope and Mrs Tootlepedal took them up to the town to post them off for me while she also got some other business done. We had a cup of coffee to celebrate when she returned.

I had filled the bird feeder earlier and found that siskins were not backward in coming forward

In fact the feeder was very busy whenever I looked today, and goldfinches soon arrived to upset the siskins.

Siskins are easily upset . . .

. . . and are very likely to start arguing among themselves whether or not there are there are goldfinches about.

I sprinkled some of the fallen seed from underneath the feeder onto the middle lawn and once again the chaffinches were very happy to get their snack there and avoid the unpleasantness at the feeder. I counted about twenty of them at one time.

Then a quick look round showed me that we had just over fifty small birds in the garden, feeding on the lawn, clustering round the feeder, and sitting waiting on the plum tree. Greenfinches had added to the number.

It started to rain and there was one particularly heavy but short shower of hail so I was pleased that I hadn’t gone out cycling. After lunch, I did something in a rush on the computer and made the sort of simple mistake that is easy to recognise, but on this occasion only after I had done it. I had to ring up my bank to cancel my debit card, and it was little consolation when the nice girl at the bank said, “It happens all the time.” It did bring out one of the benefits of banking with the local building society, in that I was able to phone up and speak to a real person within minutes of realising my error.

Then Dropscone came round with his laptop for some assistance with printing out travel documents because his printer was not working, and I was pleased because it gave me something useful to do on my computer.

All this took time, and when I found that the sun had come as Dropscone left, I did consider a bicycle ride but there was a chilly and brisk wind and not enough time before it would become dark. I went for a short walk instead.

The sun was low in the sky, and the shadows were already quite long as I walked up past Holmwood to take the track to the Becks burn.

I met another camera club member, Stan, and his two dogs coming in the opposite direction. He told me that he had hoped to go along the Beck’s track too but his older dog had had other ideas and was on strike.

The low sun picked out the drainage ditches on the hill across the valley . . .

. . . and a tree below the track

Once I had crossed the burn, which was surprisingly low after yesterday’s rain, I went down the road to the Auld Stane Brig enjoying the sights as I went, including a very vivid fungus on a mossy tree stump . . .

. . . an outstanding tree . . .

. . . the old bridge itself . . .

. . . and quiet water in a little in a little seasonal pond beside the rough water pouring under the bridge

It was still sunny as I walked down the road . . .

. . . but by the time that I had crossed the bridge and started walking up the hill on the far side, I was in shadow and the sun was disappearing up the valley

I picked out another tree . . .

. . . before pressing on down to the Stubholm and coming back by the newly cleared riverside path to the park.

I had found a couple of horses strangely attracted to gates on my way round.

I managed to squeeze three miles in before getting home just in time for tea and toast. This was the first afternoon when we could definitely notice that the days are getting a little longer at last. It was encouraging, as were the sights of some buds in the garden and a flower on the winter honeysuckle

I made some smoked haddock kedgeree for our evening meal, and though I probably could have used the new air fryer for the job, I reverted to old fashioned methods and made it using two saucepans on the hob. It tasted very good.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch carefully circumnavigating a siskin

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

19 thoughts on “Second sight

  1. I enjoyed your photo selection from the day. A good walk in low angled sun produced many beautiful shots. The one through the trees as you walked up past Holmwood to take the track to the Becks burn was particularly striking.

    Glad to hear of the large gathering of small birds. I enjoy seeing them and reading your commentary on their behavior.

    1. We are still waiting in the hope of seeing some some regular winter visitors from past years, such as redpolls and and bramblings which have got very scarce lately

  2. most trees that you pick to photograph are so beautiful, especially this time of the year. Good eye, Tom! How is your sister Susan, is she well? Say hello to her for me. Thank you. 🙂

  3. Love the spider’s web. Enjoyed the photos from your walk and seeing all the birds in your garden. Between the the dark rainclouds and the dull, moody mists the days are getting longer…just a bit!

    1. Every day is two and half minutes longer here at the moment and we are creeping up to each day being three minutes or more longer. It soon makes a big difference.

  4. So many pretty little birds in the garden! If that was our place it would be all sparrows. You always find such interesting lichen and fungus on your walks, Tom. I look for things like that when I go to the nature centers but never seem to see any.

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