A hint of spring?

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary. She went down to the Thames for a walk yesterday and found a display of sitting gulls in front of Blackfriars Station on the bridge.

We had another grey and chilly day here, with a north westerly breeze making sure that we didn’t get too excited by the temperature being above freezing (4°C at breakfast time).

Margaret came round for coffee and she was well wrapped up against the chilly air. When she left, I took a moment to look at the birds and was quite surprised to find very few about. A siskin gave me a sideways look . . .

. . . but he was the only one on the feeder.

I went out and did some shredding and added the results to a barrowful of garden tidying that Mrs Tootlepedal had done yesterday. Then I deposited the whole lot into compost Bin A. While I was there, I got the compost sieve out and sieved a barrowful of compost from Bin D. It is in excellent condition and was very easy to sieve. The big red bucket of ready to use compost is now full to the brim, ready and waiting to go out onto the beds.

I came back in to warm up my hands and saw that the siskin had been replaced by a blue tit as the sole visitor to the feeder. It paid several quick visits.

While I had been visiting the compost bins, I couldn’t help but notice that the car was looking rather grubby so in the spirit of spring cleaning, I gave it a good wash and hose down. I also took the opportunity to use a little air compressor to check the tyre’s pressures and add some air to them. Exhausted by being actually useful for once, I went back in again.

The topmost branch on the walnut tree is a popular spot, and different birds come to enjoy it on different days. It was the turn of a collared dove today.

I had spread some of the fallen seed from under the feeder on to the middle lawn earlier in the day and blackbirds and chaffinches were very grateful.

The amount of birds on the feeder doubled at one point. (You can see more seed being added to the discard pile. How they manage to drop the seed behind them is a mystery.)

After a helping of Mrs Tootlepedal’s lightly curried parsnip soup for lunch, I had another look at the birds and finally found a flurry of action at the feeder.

The forecast held out a 50% chance of rain in the afternoon, and as there was cold wind blowing, I thought of going for a walk and went upstairs to put my walking socks on. However, when I looked out of the window, the clouds were high in the sky and the trees were not blowing about much, so I changed my plan and my clothes and went for a cycle ride instead.

Because it was pretty chilly, I took my electric bike and pedalled round my customary Canonbie route, going down the main road first as fast as I could in an effort to get home before any rain appeared. As a result, I didn’t stop to take a picture until I had done 14 miles when I checked to see if there were any ducks in the seasonal pond at Tarcoon. Not only were there no ducks, but there was hardly any pond left either.

It was quite a contrast to my visit a week ago.

Although it was grey, it was quite a clear day compared to my last outing, and I was able to enjoy some seasonably brown colours as I went over the final hill before dropping down into the Wauchope valley.

By pedalling as fast as I could over the final four miles, with the gentle gradient and the wind in my favour (and applying electrical assistance on the small lumpy bits on the way), I managed to get my average speed up to just above 15 mph for the 20 mile trip. This was about the same speed as Dropscone and I used to manage unassisted when we often cycled this route before coffee in the mornings ten or so years ago. We were young then.

I had beaten any potential rain, and I even had time for a quick walk round the garden when I got home. Our snowdrops are looking promising . . .

. . . and there are hints of early daffodils too.

We usually see the first daffodil in the garden about the second week of February.

I don’t think that the old chimney pot that acts as the centre piece of the circular garden outside the kitchen window is going to make it through another year.

We had an interesting flower moment this morning. Mrs Tootlepedal had only just remarked that she didn’t much care for the scent of the sarcococca outside the back door . . .

. . . when the lady who was delivering my big sack of birdfood said, “What a wonderful smell that plant by the back door has.” I have a very poor sense of smell so I remain neutral.

The blue tit’s visits provided me with the flying bird of the day. It is not a great picture and the blue tit is not actually flying, but it is a change from the usual suspects. You can’t have everything.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

31 thoughts on “A hint of spring?

  1. After days with no computer, it is good to catch up with you. I feel sad about Susan and glad that Annie is visiting you; it is good to see your trees and hills again too.

  2. The running blackbird made me laugh – it looks like an image from a cartoon 🙂

    The weather gods continue to play with us here: from -31 C yesterday to to a supposed 0 C by Saturday? That’s all the roads would need!

  3. Riding with or without assistance your still getting out on the bike and get a good work out,well done.
    Once my cracked ribs recover fully I’ll definitely be using the ebike to regain lost fitness
    The last few weeks weather hasn’t exeactly been conducive to cycling.
    We’ve had gale force wind gusts for the past week,nearly got blown over walking today.

    1. We have been spared the worst of the winds. The e-bike will be ideal for getting you back to fitness so I hope that your weather gets better. I hope the ribs heal up as quickly as possible.

  4. A grey day but still beautiful, misty and grey. I especially enjoyed the birds, especially the action shot of the blackbird running. I have daffodils with buds, but no sign of snow drops yet, not even shoots. I noted the muscari are now poking shoots above the soil in more protected spots.

    1. I really began to notice the difference about five or six years ago. It depressed me a bit for a while but I have got to used to being a bit slower now and I am just pleased to be still going about.

  5. Any hint of spring would be welcome here so it was nice to see the snowdrops and daffodils. And the blackbird.
    Could one of your clever townsfolk put an iron or steel band around the chimney pot? With some thought it could be made to look very old.
    There’s nothing more satisfying than making and using compost.

    1. I agree about the compost. We could get a band for the chimney but the whole structure is looking rather fragile and it might not take to being clamped.

      1. So true about compost. A gardening friend doesn’t understand the time I spend on mine and said I could just buy a yard or two in bulk, not realizing that for me, the turning and sifting and application of compost is immensely fun.

  6. I love the sight of snowdrops …winter is coming to a close (well, eventually!)
    The blackbird photo is great, full of movement, a very determined blackbird!

    1. Mrs T always reckons that we can’t get too cheery as far as the garden goes before March 20th at the earliest but the snowdrops fill in the gap while we are waiting.

  7. The running blackbird is the star of the bird photos! Good to see the snowdrops flowering and the daffodils coming along nicely!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: