Reined in (rained in)

Today’s guest picture comes from my Camera Club friend Simon. He was up in the hills at High Cup Nick in the Pennines on that good sunny day earlier in the week when he found this evidence of some very hard working moles.

We had another grey and damp day here, but it was as warm as it has been at any time this month so there was at least a reminder that we are heading towards better weather. I found things to do indoors by choice in the morning and then, just when I was considering a breakout in the afternoon, rain arrived and I had to find things to do indoors whether I liked it or not. I didn’t want to go for a second wet walk two days in a row.

I managed a quick garden tour before lunch while Mrs Tootlepedal was at a farewell do for one of the doctors that she used to work for. The heavy frosts in December have affected the forsythia but there are a few flowers on show.

The daffodils are still drooping in the damp . . .

. . . but this pink hellebore was holding its head up surprisingly well.

The pulmonaria is flowering but is far from showy.

The most striking thing in the garden today was not a plant at all.

I finished my tour by emptying another inch and a half of rain out of the rain gauge. We have had over six inches this month now, comfortably (or uncomfortably) above the average.

The two ducks were back in the pond again so I don’t thank that we will see any tadpoles this year.

The bird feeder was very quiet in the morning with an occasional siskin . . .

. . . and an incoming robin alarming a chaffinch

Mrs Tootlepedal returned and after a cup of coffee we went off to do a little shopping for supplies.

After lunch, I finished off putting a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database and then spent five minute looking at the birds as I had nothing better to do. The situation on the feeder often changes by the minute and today, I saw a constant churn of visitors as I watched.

At 14.24 a greenfinch appeared, posed briefly . . .

. . . and was joined by a siskin on the feeder.

They were looking the wrong way when another greenfinch sneaked in behind them.

The greenfinches went almost as soon as they had come and it was still 14.24 when siskins took over the feeder.

A chaffinch waited patiently in the willow . . .

. . . but before it could get in, goldfinches started to arrive at 14.25

A minute later, there were three goldfinches and a single siskin . . .

. . . and by 14.27, the siskin had gone and goldfinches ruled the world.

Down below, a grumpy looking blackbird shrugged its shoulders.

And by 14.28, greenfinches, siskins and half the goldfinches had all departed leaving room for a chaffinch at last.

It might appear from some of my blog posts that I spend a lot of time staring out of the window, but as you can see, you can quite get a lot of entertainment in a very short time at our feeder.

I took some singing lessons before the lockdown and they greatly improved my singing. Now I have noticed at recent choir practices that I have slipped back into some very bad habits and as a result, my voice is tending to get strained by the end of a session. I need to do something about this, so I am trying to do a bit of systematic practice at the moment. Today, I found some useful warm up exercises on YouTube and applied myself to them. If I can get organised and return to them regularly, things should improve.

We take the gates at the end of our drive into the greenhouse during the wintertime to protect them from the worst of the weather. Mrs Tootlepedal thought that it was time for us to get ready to hang them in place again, so we got one out of the greenhouse, and she gave it some treatment in the shelter of the log store.

Indoors, I took a picture of a striking lily which was part of the gift of flowers for Mothering Sunday from our son Tony.

I did look out of the window again as I passed it by later in the afternoon. There were familiar visitors to be seen scavenging some fallen seed.

We hope that the weather will be a bit better tomorrow as we are planting trees with the Tarras Valley volunteers.

The flying bird of the day is one of the goldfinches being rude.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

27 thoughts on “Reined in (rained in)

  1. That is indeed a very striking lily, I love the colour.
    You must be getting thoroughly tired of the rain, we are getting more than the usual amount, and I should not be complaining!
    I liked the photo of the Pennines, and what a mess a moles are making!!

  2. You bird feeder is as busy as an airport! They are very entertaining to watch. A hawk visited here yesterday, sending birds scattering and issuing alarm calls.

    No forsythia blooming yet, but I see a few ornamental cherries lighting off in town. I visited a friend down in the valley today. We went walking in her neighborhood and admiring gardens along the way. They are about 2 weeks ahead of us up here in the foothills.

  3. Great post! I always enjoy reading about the happenings in your garden and the variety of birds that visit your feeder. I was wondering if you have any tips for keeping hellebores healthy in damp conditions like we have been experiencing lately? Thanks for sharing!

  4. Good to see the timetable of the birds arriving and departing- quite a selection too. Love the photo of the raindrops on the netting. You won’t have tadpoles but you might have ducklings!

  5. It looks like Mrs. T. has strengthened her sparrow defenses.
    Maybe you could put a piece of wire mesh over the pond next spring to give the tadpoles a chance.
    It was nice to see Forsythia blossoms, no matter how wet they were.

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