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Archive for the ‘Cycle outings’ Category

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony.  When I looked back at his pictures from Kirkcaldy’s Highland Games on the beach, I saw that as well as cyclists and runners, they had these curious characters too.

beach runners Kirkcaldy

It was the day of the wires in our garden and luckily, the wire hangers had a fine day for their work.  They got prepared and while one man disconnected the power from a neighbouring pole, using a handy bucket, a worker shinned up the new pole in our garden and got ready to remove the wires from the old pole.

new electricty supply 1

The picture on the right in the panel above was taken by Mrs Tootlepedal and as I had to leave the scene, she took all the others of the works too.

Once the wires had been taken off the old pole, it was carefully lowered down….

new electricty supply 2

…and turned out to fit exactly into the available space.

Our new pole stood alone.

new electricty supply 3

Then new wires were fitted from our neighbour Liz’s house to the new pole at the front gate….

new electricty supply 4

…and connected up by a team of two hanging on the vegetable garden pole which acts as a centre point for all the houses surrounding our garden.

new electricty supply 5

I see that I have put the two pictures in this panel in the wrong way round. 

Mrs Tootlepedal took a picture of a section of one of the old poles showing exactly why it was time for replacements.

new electricty supply rotten old pole

Mrs Tootlepedal had to go to the Buccleuch Centre, where she was helping out at the coffee shop, and it wasn’t long after she got back that the power was restored and she was able to enjoy our new (and doubtless better) electricity as she made herself a cup of tea.

I had had to leave her to be photographer in chief as I wanted to make use of the good weather to get a cycle ride in.  After cycling thirteen miles on Sunday and walking two mile yesterday without any bad effects on my feet, I thought that the time had come to extend my range a little.

Long suffering readers will know that I harbour an ambition to cycle as many miles as I have had birthdays each year and for as many years into the future as possible.  As there was a rock solid guarantee of no rain today, I thought that this might be the day to accomplish the challenge for this year.

Unfortunately, in spite of the sunny conditions, there was still a pretty brisk wind blowing with gusts of up to 25 miles an hour, so I chose a very flat out-and-back route in the hope that the wind would blow me home.

I was not at all confident that I would be up to the task so I made to sure to stop for a minute or so every five miles to have a drink, eat a snack, stretch my legs and take a photo if the opportunity arose.

There were a lot of things to see on my way…

wild flowers on way to Bowness

…but my favourites were the banks of daises that lined the roads in many places.

daisies beside M6 service road

My route took me down to the southern shore of the Solway Firth and along some very flat roads beside the salty marsh there.

This cow crossed the road in front of me at one point and gave me a hard stare before going off to join her pals in the distance.

salt marsh cow

I would have enjoyed the flat road better if I had not been pedalling straight into the wind, working really hard to achieve a measly 10 mph.

I stopped to admire the fortified farmhouse at Drumburgh, built in the 12 century using stones taken from Hadrian’s Wall.

Drumburgh Bastle

For once, the tide was in and the sea was lapping at the shore as I pedalled along.

solway fiorst view

After 40 miles of head and cross winds, I was mighty pleased to find a small shop in a developing holiday complex in Bowness.  I bought an ice cream, a coffee and an alleged Bakewell tart bar and sat in the sun and had a rest while I enjoyed them. (The Bakewell Tart bar tasted surprisingly good but not much like a  Bakewell Tart.)

Bowness cafe

I pedalled along the shore a bit further after my snack and enjoyed the sight of the marsh cattle peacefully grazing.  Across the Firth, I could see Criffel on the Scottish side.

cattle grazing on salt march bowness

I turned for home after 43 miles, and my plan to be blown home by a friendly wind worked out well.  This was lucky as the 43 miles into the wind had been hard work.

I had stopped on the way out to record the Methodist church at Monkhill, and to even things out, I stopped to record the 12th Century Anglican church at Burgh by Sands (also built using stones from Hadrian’s Wall) on the way back.

chapel and church

I had nearly got back to Langholm when I spotted the biggest treat of the day.  The people who mow the verges of our roads had failed in their task of exterminating every possible wild flower on the  A7  and near the end of the Canonbie by-pass I came across a small clump of orchids which had survived the trimming.

orchid beside A7

After 81 miles at a very modest speed, I managed to get home just before Mrs Tootlepedal went out to an evening meeting and was very pleased to find that she had cooked a nourishing meal for me to eat after she had gone.

When I had eaten, I was recovered enough to go out and mow the middle lawn and take a turn round the garden.

The climbing hydrangea is covered with flowers and bees.

climbing hydrangea with bees

The day of sunshine had brought the coral…

coral peony out

…and the white peonies out…

white peony out

…and the lupins were a joy to look at in the evening light.

lupins

But of course, the highlight was the new pole.

new electricty supply final

At the time of writing,  my feet and ankles have survived the slightly longer cycle ride but only tomorrow morning will tell if I was ill advised to take on my age challenge.

I managed to capture a flying siskin of the day after I got home.

flying siskin

I have appended my route map below.  You can see that it was a very flat route.

Those interested can learn more by clicking on the map.

garmin route 18 June 2019

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my ex-work colleague Ada.  She is in Tours and in spite of seeing a goat and a pink elephant in the street, she assures me that she hardly touched a drop.

Ada in Tours

The day started with some promise as far as the weather went.  There was sunshine as we cycled to church to sing in the choir but by the time that we got home, the sunshine had become fitful and every time that Mrs Tootlepedal hung the washing out, it started to drizzle.

The peonies were happy about what sun there was and made steady progress.

two nearly peonies

After church, we had coffee and I spent a little time watching the birds get through the seed on the feeder at a great rate.  I had filled the feeder before going to church and it was already down to halfway.

I enjoyed seeing a goldfinch and a siskin looking intently in the wrong direction  when it came to impending threats.

misdected siskin

This siskin knew where to direct its attention.

siskin being mean to sparrow

Having seen tow fellow siskins on the top shelf, I reckon this approaching siskin was weighing up its chances of shifting the goldfinch instead.

siskin hexing siskins

With the perches so busy, there was quite a lot of waiting for hungry birds, either on the feeder pole…

sparrow on pole

…or on the sunflower stalk that Mrs Tootlepedal has thoughtfully provided near the feeder.

siskin on new stalk

I went back out into the garden and checked on the fruit and veg.  Mrs Tootlepedal has put down a generous amount of straw for the strawberries and we are just waiting for some better ripening weather now.   The potatoes are producing more flowers every day.

strawberry and potato

Among the flowers, this Sweet William stopped me in my tracks…

sweet william stunner

…and I made a respectful bow as I passed the Queen of Denmark.

queen of denmark rose

Bees were to be seen on many flowers but I was taken by the flying skills that this one showed in reversing out of a foxglove.

bee in foxglove flower

The educated yellow onion is a tricky flower to photograph and this is the best that I have managed so far.

yellow educated onion

I like cornflowers…

conflower bud

…and it was evident today that bees like them too.

two bees on conrflower

There is still only one flower on the purple clematis.  Mrs Tootlepedal thinks that it is very early so perhaps this flower mistook the chilly weather for autumn and came out early by accident while the other flwoers knew better.

sole clematis flower

A feverfew has started to produce flowers and it will soon have more than a few by the look of it.

little daisielike plant

Next to the drive, a small forest of orange hawkweed is developing nicely…

sea of hawkweed

…and the climbing hydrangea is producing a positive galaxy of flowers.

hydrangea constellation

I put my camera down and mowed the middle lawn and after a quick check on the birds…

sideways look from greenfinch

…. Mrs Tootlepedal and I drove up the road to collect another load of wood chips for the vegetable garden paths.  We didn’t spread them out though because when we got home, it was well past lunch time….and it was raining.

After lunch, the sun came out and I put my cycling gear on and it immediately started to rain again.  I passed some time relaxing in front of the telly until I noticed that the sun had come out again, so I got my bicycle out and set off to do a few miles.

I hadn’t gone much more than half a mile before it started to rain again, but fortunately, I had a rain jacket with me so I put it on and pressed ahead. It continued to rain for an hour by which time I had done thirteen miles and got a bit fed up so I stopped.  I had hoped to take some pictures of sunlit hills while I was out but not only was there no sunlit but there were very few hills to be seen.

I stopped to take this single picture on my way home just to show all the hills that I couldn’t see behind that bank of cloud ahead..

poor view of Whita

Fortunately Mrs Tootlepedal was cooking a very tasty meal of roast chicken with stuffing, roast potatoes with carrots and Brussels sprouts for our evening meal so I was soon warmed up and cheerful.

There is often a sliver lining to a cloud and the enforced rest of the past two days means that my feet don’t hurt at the moment.  Always look on the bright side of life…..de dum…de dum…etc

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow, frozen in time.

flying sparrow

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Bruce’s trip to Sweden and shows the Stockholm’s Gröna Lund amusement park as seen from the water.  With my head for heights, there would be little amusement there for me.

stockholm funfair

We had another fine and sunny day today with light winds, just perfect for cycling.  The day had been provided by those amusing weather gods as they knew perfectly well that I had arranged to take my good bike into the bike shop for its annual service this morning.  I could hear them chuckling as I drove down the road to drop the bike off.

However, I had other things to do in the absence of cycling and having put the bike in for its service, I drove further south and enjoyed an informative and useful singing lesson from Mary, the now ex-musical director of our Langholm choir as she has retired from the post.  She is an excellent teacher and if I keep going, I may even become a singer.  I live in hope.

I got home about lunch time and would have gone to the Buccleuch Centre for lunch with Mrs Tootlepedal if we hadn’t remembered that it is shut on a Monday.  Instead we brought an egg roll from our corner shop and lunched modestly at home.

After lunch, I suggested that Mrs Tootlepedal might enjoy a ten mile cycle ride using the newly repaired Tarras road and was delighted when she agreed.  We set off for a gentle excursion with wild flowers in mind.

It is an undulating route with plenty of slow sections were there is time to scan the verges…

yellow wild flowers tarras road

The hawkweed was very prolific at one point and as it was on the longest of the hills, I was happy to stop and take a picture while Mrs Tootlepedal headed ever upwards.

yellow hawkweed

I caught up with her in time to catch her enjoying the smooth surface on the newly repaired road…

Ally on new road tarras

..and she rolled on down the hill and took a moment to admire the view from the bridge at the bottom.

tarras bridge

This was the view that she was admiring.

tarras cascade

As we went up out of the valley on the other side of the bridge, we were going slowly enough to note tightly wound thistle buds, cheerful daisies, baleful horsetail and a fine grass, possibly Yorkshire Fog.

dull wild flowers

And it was here that we saw the best treat of the day, a lone orchid.

first orchid

When we got to Claygate, we headed on down the hill….

going down to Byreburn

…and did a little gentle off road cycling along the track beside the Byre Burn.

fairy loup track june

Normally it is illegal for a man with a camera to pass the Fairy Loup waterfall, which is beside this track, without stopping to take a picture, but the leaves on the trees are so lush at the moment that I could hear the waterfall but I couldn’t see it at all today.

We got down to the Esk at Hollows and took the old A7 bike route home.  We had passed many wild geraniums on our way and I took this picture to represent them all.

wild gernanium

Before we set out, I had asked Mrs Tootlepedal to keep a special eye out for ragged robin as I thought it was about the right time to see this pretty plant, and she duly spotted a clump near Irvine House.

ragged robin

I was keeping my special eye out for yellow rattle and not far from the ragged robin, I was rewarded with a sighting.

yellow rattle

I looked it up when I got home and can tell you that Rhinanthus minor, the yellow rattle, little yellow rattle, hayrattle or cockscomb, is a flowering plant in the genus Rhinanthus in the family Orobanchaceae, native to Europe, northern North America, and Western Asia.  I thought that you might like to know that.  There is obviously a lot of it about.

yellow rattle (2)

Nearby, a clump of vetch was playing host to a large number of bees.

bees omn vetch

My final picture from the outing was this set of developing larch cones….

three larch cones

…taken just before we joined the main road for the last couple of miles home when we were too busy thinking about passing cars to worry about wild flowers.

Luckily from the point of view of taking pictures of flowers in the verges and not getting too hot while cycling, the sun had retired behind some handy clouds for most of our trip, but it was out and shining again when we got home.  As a result, after I had had a cup of tea, i went out into the garden and scarified the front lawn.

I was rather dashed to find that there were three full wheelbarrows of moss to be cleared when the scarifier had finished its work.  I had hoped that I was winning in the battle against the moss, but it is more like a stalemate at the moment.

Then my flute pupil Luke came and we practised a simple arrangement of a Scott Joplin tune which I had acquired from the internet at a modest price.  It is a wonderful world where I can think that I might like to play a piece by Joplin, look on the internet, find a piece, buy it, print it out and be playing it within five minutes of having had the idea.

After Luke went, I had a walk round the garden in the evening sun and enjoyed Mrs Tootlepedal’s French rose…

rosarie de

…and a glowing Icelandic poppy (the dead header needs to work harder)….

icelandic poppy

…and the argyranthemums which Mrs Tootlepedal has planted out in the chimney pot outside the kitchen window.

argyranthemum in chimney pot

A new clematis has come out near the pond.

purple clematis

Then it was time for tea, a second helping of yesterday’s slow cooked beef stew.

Since it was still a lovely evening after tea, I improved the shining  hour by mowing the middle lawn.  I am definitely winning the battle against the moss there.

In all this activity, I didn’t have any time to spend watching the birds, so there is no flying bird of the day today.  A flower of the day appears in its place,  a case of going from the  sublime sparrow to the ranunculus.

pale ranunculus

 

 

 

 

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The guest picture of the day comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia.  She recently took a break in the Highlands of Scotland where she saw this lovely little tree creeper.

tree creeper

The forecast was for sunshine and light winds in the morning and rain and strong wind in the afternoon.  As I was hoping to have coffee with Dropscone to find out about the state of his health, this meant that I would have to be up early and be well organised to get a bike ride in before coffee time.

To my own astonishment, I managed it.

It was a lovely morning for a pedal…

Chapelhill road

…but as I didn’t have a lot of time in hand, I pressed on without looking for cows or wild flowers in the verges to photograph.   I couldn’t miss Canonbie Church though.,..

Canonbie Church june

…or the ‘leaping poodle’ tree…

laughing poodle tree

…and the beauty of the River Esk at Irvine House called me to a halt too.

river esk at Irvine hiuse june

I got back after twenty miles in good time to get changed and grind the coffee before Dropscone arrived.

He has been given the all clear by the hospital after his golf buggy accident, but he will have to take things easily for a couple of weeks.  As he had just got his golf game working well after some months of poor form, he feels the accident was very badly timed but he is bearing up well and went off with some of Mrs Tootlepedal’s surplus runner beans to plant.

When he went, Mrs Tootlepedal and I took a walk round the garden.  Just as the sensational white clematis flowers to the left of the front door are fading away, a new set of blue ones has arrived to the right of the door.

two front door clematis

Elsewhere in the garden, the flowers were reflecting the sunshine with bright colours…

four bright flowers

…and more subdued ones too.

four yellow flowers

Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out the first of our melancholy thistles…

melancholy thistle june

…and it was hard to miss the bright Sweet Williams which are beginning to make a splash.

early sweet williams

Other flowers were to be seen…

four garden flowers

…and once again, there were a lot of bees about.

I put down the camera and got to work mowing the front and middle lawns.  As I was able to do this without having to use the box to collect the grass cuttings, it was an easy and pleasant task.  Cutting lawns every day or every other day is the secret of a happy life….and leads to good looking lawns.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy clearing nerines away from the base of the chimney pot outside the kitchen window.  Now that the bird feeder has been moved, she has plans for creating a little colourful spot to please the eye of the cook or washer up when he or she looks out of the window.

At the moment it is a blank canvas.

cleaned up sundial

I dug holes ready for her to plant the nerines in a different bed and then edged both lawns, shredded some hedge cuttings and sieved some compost.

By this time, we were both ready for some lunch and a sit down!

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal, who had had a very heavy morning in the garden, went off for a siesta and I did the crossword and then looked at the weather.

In spite of the forecast, it didn’t look as though it was going to rain so I went for a walk.  I have cycled 100 miles in five lots of twenty gentle miles over the week and my feet and Achilles tendon have survived very well so I thought that I would see if some pedestrian exercise would help too and went for a two mile walk ’round the Becks’.

I went up the road first and passed under this very interesting tree with leaves within leaves.

varied leaf

As I was going slowly enough to stop easily, I kept my eye out for wild flowers…

four wild flowers

…but to tell the truth, I didn’t have to look very hard to find  them….

lots of wild of flowers

…as they lined my whole route from start to finish.

four more wild flowers

It was good to be out and about after not doing much walking at all for a month and I enjoyed the views even if the sun had gone in and the blue sky was disappearing.

view of whita from becks road

I crossed the Becks bridge when I came to it…

becks bridge june

…and very much enjoyed the little sunken buttercup meadow on the far side.

buttercup meadow becks

I haven’t had a good gate on the blog for some time so I thought that i ought tor repair that omission today.

gate june

I could have stopped for a picture very few yards but I didn’t want to get caught in the rain so I pushed on as fast as my feet would let me.  All the same, there were things to see on every side, slow worms at Pool Corner, moss recovering after the dry spell….

slow worm, hedge rose, moss and hawthorn

…hawthorn flowers turning pink as they go over and the first hedge roses of the year.

Two miles was as far as my feet would let me go, but the walk doesn’t seem to have made them worse and rest doesn’t seem to make them, better so I will try walking again as soon as weather permits.   The hills beckon.

When I got home, I had a look at the feeder in its new position.  Business was quiet with just a few sparrows coming and going…

sparrows coming and going

…so I went off to practise the songs for our forthcoming choir concert and the hymns for church on Sunday.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round.  They had brought a bottle of white wine with them and this provided fine lubrication for music and conversation.

Altogether, it was a full day, both useful and enjoyable.  The forecast is for a mixture of sunshine and showers in the week to come so I hope to be able to keep cycling and walking if my feet permit.

The flying bird of the day, taken when the sun was long gone, is a sparrow.

flying sparrow

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Today’s guest picture comes from Bruce.  He sent me this shot of the three bridges over the Forth as seen from the ship that was about to take him to Sweden.

three forth bridges

We were due to go to Edinburgh today to visit Matilda but I got up early and cycled twenty miles and got home in time to mow the middle lawn, have a cup of coffee and look at a few flowers, including the first orange hawkweed of the year…

Orange hawkweed june

…some Rosa Complicata (a very simple rose as it happens)….

rosa complicata

…one of the Rosa Moyesii which are doing the best of our roses at the moment…

rosa moyesii

…a very bright oriental poppy…

oriental poppy

…some delicate ornamental strawberries with don’t seem to mind the rain at all…

pink strawberries

…and an astrantia, always one of my favourite flowers.

pink astrantia

The cotoneaster still has a good number of bees buzzing about it, so new flowers must be opening every day.

bee on cotoneaster

Jackdaws are very busy at the peanuts these days.

jackdaw on peanuts

And today’s hedge sitter was a young blackbird.

young blackbird on hedge

We went off to Edinburgh earlier than usual as we had a shopping visit on the schedule and this meant driving to Tweedbank to use the Border Railway.  The train was on time and when we got to Edinburgh, we walked down to John Lewis.  As well as doing some successful shopping, we had a cup of coffee in what must be the department store cafe with the best view in Britain.  My phone can’t do it justice at all.

sdr

After we had done our shopping we went to Matilda’s house.  As it was such a sunny day, she was very happy to show us her local park.  It is called Lochend Park and this is the end of the loch in the park.

dav

I didn’t have a good camera with me which was a pity as there were two sorts of geese, gulls, moorhens and ducks to look at, not to mention a fine doocot.  The moorhens put on a fine show of ducking and diving and swimming underwater.  Matilda was impressed.

She was also impressed by the roundabout which turned very smoothly…

dav

…and the intricate web of ropes which gave her an opportunity to show her adventurous nature.

dig

We were impressed by the wild irises growing along the banks of the loch.

dig

We had a very  cheerful time sitting on the benches thoughtfully provided by Edinburgh Corporation for the relief of the elderly while Matilda spun and climbed and slid.

The road to the park from Matilda’s house is called Butterfly Way so we were able to remark (many, many times) that we had had a lovely day on Butterfly Way.

Alistair cooked us a tasty meal involving roast aubergines, cherry tomatoes and rigatoni so we were two happy people as we caught the train home.

Going to Tweedbank, rather then Lockerbie means a much longer drive, but there is still so much novelty in driving the electric car that the time passed quickly enough.  We had done 97 miles since the last charge by the time that we got home and when I plugged the car in, it said that there was just under half the charge left in the battery.  This gives us a very satisfactory range for summer driving although we realise that it will be considerably less in the cold winter months.

The flying birds of the day are a very unsatisfactory phone picture of pigeons returning to the doocot in Lochend Park.  I will take a proper camera next time I visit.

dig

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Today’s guest picture is a lupin in the wild taken by our son Tony on one of his walks….

Tony's lupin

…and as a change from my usual practice, I have put another guest picture in the post today to show Tony’s lupin in context.

tony's lupins

I had hoped to go on a longer and slower bike ride today because when I looked at it yesterday, the forecast was quite promising.  However, when I looked at the forecast today, it was only promising rain and on this occasion it was right and it started to rain quite heavily during the morning.  I was glad not to be some miles from home getting soaked.

I passed the morning in traditional fashion, doing the crossword, reading the papers, going to our corner shop before the rain started, drinking coffee and putting a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group’s database.

From time to time I glanced out of the window at the re-positioned feeder and was encouraged.  A dunnock may have sat on the hedge…

nf dunnock on hedge

…but sparrows were not backward in coming forward….

nf sparrow landing

…and siskins arrived with the determination…

nf siskin approaching

…to shout at anyone and everyone.

nf siskin and sparrow

As the time got near to three o’clock in the afternoon, the rain stopped and I put my cycling clothes on and peered out of the back door.  I prayed that the black clouds that I could see were going rather than coming…

gloomy outlook

…and set off up the road.

It was dull but there is a lot of clover about which brightens up the verges.

clover by road

It was still pretty grey by the time that I got to Wauchope Schoolhouse so I considered skulking about in the valley bottom, ready to dash for home if it started to rain heavily again but in the end, I plucked up my courage and headed over the hill and down to Canonbie.

The many thousands of tubes which appear when old commercial woods are felled and replanted contain deciduous trees as part of the conditions for replanting.  I don’t know what the overall success rate for them is, but this batch at the Kerr wood, seem to be pretty fruitful.

trees coming out of tubes

The grass is growing strongly now that we have had a bit of rain and this belted Galloway was enjoying a good graze, too busy to look up as I went past.

belted galloway grazing

As the clouds continued to look threatening and the light got worse as I went along, I didn’t stop for many pictures but I thought that I would show that the rain has put a bit of life back into the Esk with this shot from Hollows Bridge…

water in river hollows

..and while I was on the bridge, I couldn’t miss this fruitful twig just beside the parapet.

beech tree

I was brought up short when I went through Hollows village to see the Tower wrapped up like a Christmas present.

hollows tower gift wrapped

It looks as though some serious repairs are contemplated.

My final stop was forced on me as I had to wait for the traffic on the main road to clear when I left the bike path so I took a look across the road while i was standing there.

rododendron and dasies by A7

Although the ride was shorter than I had hoped, I was still pleased to have got twenty miles in without getting rained on.  There were a few spots of rain just when I got back to Langholm but they came to nothing and I could have gone a bit further.

Instead I had a cup of tea and some toast, put a new loaf to cook in the bread maker and walked round the garden before having my shower.

The bees were as busy as ever on the cotoneaster horizontalis.

bee on cotoneaster again

The new lupins are developing well even if there aren’t as many as them as in the crop that Tony saw.

new lupins june

The roses would like to come out but they would like more sun and less rain….

wet rose june

…as would we all. After several weeks with no rain, we have now had four inches in a week and a half and we think that this is quite enough to be going on with.

The philadelphus bushes are enjoying the weather more than we are.

thriving philadelphus

Following a recipe suggestion, Mrs Tootlepedal made chicken breasts stuffed with soft cheese and spinach for our tea and unusually, the result looked exactly like, the illustration that went with the recipe.  It tasted jolly good too.

Since I had two guest pictures to start the post, I am going to have two flying birds of the day to finish it.

nf flying siskin

I think that the new feeder position is very promising for flying bird opportunities.

nf flying sparrow

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my sister Mary.  She was joined by a jackdaw for breakfast at Kenwood House, but it came too late as she had cleared her plate.

jackdaw for breakfast

The forecast was for rain in the afternoon so I might, if I had been energetic and well organised, gone out for an early pedal.  What I managed was a leisurely walk round the garden instead.

Outside, on the front wall of the house, everything was abuzz.  A cotoneaster horizontalis was attracting a lot of bees…

bees on contoneaster horizontalis

…although it hardly looked as though the flowers were open enough to let a bee in.

There was more buzzing at the other end of the middle lawn where the nectaroscordum had attarcted a different set of bees altogether.

bees on nectaroscordum

In fact, wherever we looked, there were more bees on flowers….

four bees on flowers

…and it was very good to see several different types of bumble bee.

Mrs Tootlepedal has some pretty plants which she wants to put out in the chimney pot outside the kitchen window.  Unfortunately, because of the nearby bird feeder, pigeons and other birds tend to come and perch on the chimney pot, crushing any plants there.  We therefore decided to move the feeder pole to outside the dining room window, hoping that the birds would go with it and leave the chimney pot unmolested.

A blackbird soon arrived to check out the situation…

blackbird on hedge

…and it was followed by a siskin…

siskin on new feeder

…and then a goldfinch became the first customer.

goldfinch on new feeder

Soon it was business as usual in the new position.

full new feeder

In between times, I mowed the  front lawn and went up to the the health centre to get my three monthly vitamin top up.

When I got back, I had time to spot a white butterfly

butter white

…before we went off to the Buccleuch Centre to have a light lunch and listen to an illustrated lecture from the interesting young man who is running the Wild Eskdale project.  Kevin, the project leader, has two aims, outdoor education for youngsters and environmental tourism for visitors.  He demonstrated that there is more than enough wild life and scenery around the town to satisfy the most demanding visitor and we hope that his project is a great success. Those interested can see more here.

In spite of a gloomy forecast, it wasn’t raining when we got home and I had time to admire the 20cm flowers on the peony….

big peonies

…and an even bigger bee on the nectaroscordum…

large bee on nectaroscordum

…before I decided to defy the forecast and go for a bike ride.

There are fields of buttercups to be seen…

meadow of buttercups

…and the roads are still lined with cow parsley  in places…

verges of cow parsley callister

….and when I looked down as I took the parsley picture, I saw that there is a lot of English plaintain about too.

english plaintains

It was a much calmer day than yesterday so I cycled to the top of Callister before turning and coming sedately back down the hill back to the town.

I took a turn along the river and saw a lone gull…

gull by Esk

…and pair of oyster catchers along the water’s edge…

oyster catcher by Esk

…before deciding that the weather looked good enough to add another six miles to my total by going back up the road as far as Wauchope Schoolhouse.

I paused to have a look at my favourite little cascade at Bessie Bells on the way…

wauchope cascade june

…and this may have been a mistake because the rain started when I was still two miles from home and I got quite wet in the last ten minutes of my ride.

Still, I was pleased to have got another 20 miles to add to my miles for the week and after a cup of tea and a slice of toast, everything was fine.

Fine indoors that is, because it rained steadily for the rest of the day outside.  I kept an eye on the re-positioned feeder and noted a redpoll…

redpoll on new feeder

…and a mixed bag of chaffinch, siskin and sparrows…

busy new feeder

…so it seems that the new position is going down well with the birds.

We were visited by our friend Bruce who brought with him a bird ringer’s band.  He had recovered it from a siskin which had suffered a fatal accident when it crashed into one of his windows on the 10th May.  I took a picture of the ring beside the tip of a ball point pen to show how tiny the ring has to be to fit on the leg of a siskin, a bird which weighs about 13 grams.

 

siskin bird ring

Bruce had read the number on the ring and had sent it to the BTO, the British Trust for Ornithology, the body responsible for bird ringing volunteers in the UK.  In return he received a note saying that the siskin had been ringed (rung?) in Thetford, Norfolk, 386km away to the south of us.   It had been recorded there on the 9th April so in spite of its diminutive size, it had flown 386km north in a month.  Who knows where the siskin pictured at the top of this post has come from, though it might well be locally born and bred.

The rain is supposed to stop by tomorrow morning so I might get out for a pedal for the third day running.  This would be very welcome, as my feet are still not up to much in the way of walking.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch, eyeing up the new feeder site.

flying chaffinch new feeder

 

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