A surprise

Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Ada’s recent trip to Tenerife. She met a hoopoe while she was there.

We didn’t have a hoopoe here today, but we did have plenty of familiar birds on another chilly, grey morning. There was enough of a queue after breakfast to persuade a greenfinch to kick an inconvenient goldfinch off a perch.

There were plenty of birds trying hard to get the pick to be flying bird of the day.

I had to stop watching the birds at this point, as first Sandy came round for coffee, then we were joined by our neighbour Margaret, and just after Sandy left, we were joined by our friend David who was delivering a bottle of his excellent olive oil. In the middle of all this, Dropscone dropped in, bringing a gift of an aubergine. All in all, we had a very sociable morning. When Margaret and David left, I cycled round to our corner shop for milk and meat, while Mrs Tootlepedal made some curried parsnip soup. Then I had another chance to took at the birds.

A green finch was chomping on the seeds in some weak sunshine . . .

. . . and a pigeon was clearing up the fallen seed below.

I took a quick turn round the garden and found the hellebores looking quite jolly . . .

. . . and used a sheet of card to make a background to help the camera pick out some details in the rather poor light.

We had finished lunch and were considering what to do in the afternoon when Mrs Tootlepedal noticed that it had started to snow. The birds were not discouraged . . .

. . . but I was, particularly when the light snow turned first to hail and then to a mini blizzard.

The snow eased off a bit, and I thought that this might be a good day to try out my new waterproof jacket. I put on boots, walking trousers and gaiters, and I was just going out when Mrs Tootlepedal noticed something strange. The birds on the feeder noticed it too.

A duck had joined the scavenging gang.

It was still snowing as I went off on my walk so I took an umbrella as extra protection.

The snow had stopped by the time that I crossed the river by Skippers Bridge and walked along the road to Broomholmshiels. Then I made my way back by way of the track through Longwood to the Round House, and the path down to Skippers Bridge from the old railway line . . .

. . . by which time, it was sunny.

I returned to the town along the riverside path, with much of the low level snow having gone already. The hills were white and it had turned into a lovely day for a walk as I crossed the suspension bridge.

It was pretty cold though, with the temperature hovering a degree or two above freezing so I was pleased to find that my new rain jacket performed very well in these conditions.

The cold and damp conditions had made my chest hurt a bit, so I was more than usually content to sit down to tea and biscuits with Mrs Tootlepedal when I got in.

I had to refill the feeder today as business had been so brisk, and I was pleased to see a siskin. We haven’t seen one in the garden for some time now.

The forecasters seem to think that it is going to get down to somewhere round -4°C to -7°C tonight and tomorrow morning. This will be a shock to the system. Things may warm up after that. I hope so, as I would like to get out to do some longer bike rides in comfort. Cycling has been a bit of a battle with wind and cold weather so far this year.

A chaffinch in a sunny moment is the flying bird of the day.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

19 thoughts on “A surprise

  1. That hoopoe is quite the bird. What a thrill it would be to see one. Snow and cold weather? I would feel right at home. Glad the new jacket kept you warm and dry.

  2. I enjoyed all the photos of the trees and fields covered in snow, but I’m glad I was looking at them from afar, it looks very very cold. The birds seem to be squabbling, I guess the long winter makes life hard for them.
    The siskin is very striking in yellow and black.

  3. My daughter in Berlin said it was warm (about 18c)all morning yesterday then suddenly started to snow. She was in shock. Perhaps it was your snow moving east. My little spot in Kansas is supposed to get snow tomorrow. Time will tell. We haven’t had near the rain or snow this winter as last, and we surely could use some rain. My other daughter in California has more than enough rain but she’s not sharing it.

  4. I enjoyed the snowy views, though I agree, it was a good day for tea and biscuits, and I am glad you came inside to have some with Mrs. T. You indicated your chest hurt a bit. I hope you do not have a heart condition to worry about.

    I am seeing buds on trees swelling here in spite of the cold and wet. More light than temperature driven, I suppose. So many daffodils buds now too, though only a fraction are blooming. Our birds have been making short work of the suet cakes.

    1. My chest troubles come from mild COPD for whihc I take a preventative puffer and it only makes my chest hurt very rarely. This present cold and damp weather is the suspect.

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