Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘bees’

Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my friend Sandra who lives on the opposite side of town.  She has a fine crop of fungus on a tree stump on her drive.

IMG_5219

It was Sunday so, as is traditional, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir and I prepared a venison stew for the slow cooker.

Before I started the cooking though, I took some time out to see how the garden had been doing during the absence of the gardener.

The nerines have thrived.

nerines

The sedum is out and attracting business.

sedum with bee

The dahlias badly need dead heading but there are a lot still going well, both neat…

dahlia

…and rather shaggy.

dahlias

There were a lot of takers for dahlia pollen.

dahlia with bees

The poppies also need dead heading but there were still a good number of them too which was gratifying…

poppiespoppies

…both for us and for many insects.

Some had given all they had to give though.

poppies

Other flowers are doing well as we don’t seem to have had much in the way of cold mornings while we have been away.

fuchsia

clematis

Japanese anemones

cornflower

There a lot of poppies still to come.

 

The large lily and the rudbeckia area bit past their best.

lily and rudbeckia

There is even a new flower, Leycesteria formosa…

Leycesteria formosa

…commonly known as Himalayan honeysuckle and which can be quite a pest.   It looks very nice though so I hope Mrs Tootlepedal lets it some of it stay.

All in all, things don’t look too bad although there is a lot of tidying to do.

I went in and made the stew and then came out to give the greenhouse grass a light mow before finally getting into my cycling gear to see if I still remembered how to use a bicycle.   I have hardly done any cycling this month for one reason or another so although I didn’t have a lot of time, I thought it was a good idea to do a few miles.

I went for a shortened version of my customary Canonbie circuit which worked out at 16 miles and this was quite enough for a gentle reintroduction to the art of pedalling after two days of sitting in trains.

The country is gradually turning brown….

Bloch

…and some of the trees are following suit.

Chapelhills

…so I stopped for a couple of riverside shots on my way.

Hollows Bridge

The view from Hollows Bridge

Irvine House

Irvine House

Skippers Bridge

The view from Skippers Bridge

It was warm, the wind was light and my legs worked reasonably well so I enjoyed my ride. I didn’t have long after I got back before it was time for a quick lunch and a trip to Carlisle for a Carlisle Community Choir practice.

We are taking part in a concert in the Cathedral next Saturday with a celebrated Glasgow Choir and as a result we had a very hard working session.  I am happy to say that with two exceptions, I was nearly able to remember both all the words and the tenor parts for five of the seven songs we are singing from memory at the concert.  There will have to be a lot of work on one in particular of the other two before Saturday.  I only wish that I liked this particular song a bit more and then the work wouldn’t be quite as hard. It is our conductor’s favourite though so I will try to do it justice.

The flying bird of the day is a bee visiting a poppy.

bee and poppy

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture shows two very interesting bricks from Scottish brickworks. The brickworks were proud enough of their bricks to put their name on every one they made. Our son Tony came upon them in the course of his work.

Tony's bricks

Today was passed in a state of suspended animation.  It was another nice day (although it did spoil it by raining for a few minutes in the early evening) but I didn’t go cycling through a combination of things to do and feeling rather tired.

We are going on holiday tomorrow so there was grass to be mowed, apples to be picked, cooked and frozen, insurance to be purchased and the list of things that we need to take and think about had to be made.

I did get out into the garden with a camera from time to time in the midst of all this and noticed two bees in very sharing mode.

bees on dahlia

I dead headed poppies….

poppies

There seems to be a never ending variety of colours

…cosmos, dahlias, calendula and rudbeckia but I noticed that there is always another head to dead when you look at the lot you have just completed.   Mrs Tootlepedal edged the front lawn and thinned plants out so things look reasonably neat.

I took pictures of a cornflower and our current stock of clematis as I went along.

cornflower

clematis

The garden is full of blackbirds flitting about.  Mrs Tootlepedal counted seven at the same time when she leaned out of an upper window this morning.  I saw this one on a fence later on.

blackbird

Mike Tinker dropped by after lunch to show us one of his bicycle collection.

Mike's bike

He told that this was his mother’s bike, complete with dynamo for lights and a three gear hub.  We were very impressed by the sporty handlebars.  It was in good working order as he demonstrated when he rode off on it.

After he had left, I admired the nerines…

nerines

…and saw a peacock butterfly on the Michaelmas daisies…

peacock butterfly

…before driving down to Longtown to get a spare of music and computing glasses which were waiting for me at the opticians.

When I had recovered from the shock of paying for them (the receptionist kindly made sure that I was sitting down before she gave me the bill), I went off for a walk along the river.

It was sunny but there were plenty of clouds about….

Longtown bridge

…but I got my walk in without getting rained on for more than twenty seconds.

There must have been a lot of insects about near the bridge because there were industrial quantities of grey and pied wagtails shooting up into the air from the rocks in the middle of the river.  They were a bit too far away for me to capture on the whole picture…

wagtails

There is a pied wagtail on the extreme left of the frame and a grey wagtail on the extreme right

…but one grey wagtail came close enough  to be easily recognisable.

grey wagtail

I walked down the river and round the ponds without seeing much in the way of wild flowers, perhaps because there were great swathes of Himalayan balsam everywhere.

himalayan balsam

It is a pretty plant but it smothers all the opposition.

The ponds were looking very peaceful….

Longtown pondsLongtown ponds

But I would have needed my new long lens to get any water fowl pictures.

I could see Arthuret Church across the fields…

Arthuret Church

…and it was clear enough to see the windmills on the far side of Langholm.

Craig windfarm

I was hoping to find a good crop of blackberries to eat as I went round but it was obvious that a very determined picker had got in before me and there were hardly any left.  I could have eaten any amount of elderberries though…

elderberries

…but I let that opportunity go.

The clouds looked even more threatening when I got back to the town…

Longtown

…but for once, I was in the right place at the right time and drove home in pleasantly sunny conditions.

In the evening Mike and Alison came round and Alison and I had a short play before they went off leaving us time to do our packing.

No flying bird of the day today but another look at some clear skies.  I had to get up just before 6 o’clock this morning, impelled by one of those necessities familiar to readers of a certain age and when I looked out of the window, I could see the morning star shining brightly above the monument on Whita Hill.  I could have gone downstairs to get my good camera and the tripod but it was six o’clock in the morning for goodness sake so I just pointed my phone out of the window and hoped for the best.

morning star above Whita

It did what it could.

Posts may be very variable for the next few days while we are away.

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture from my South African correspondent, Tom, shows a jackal.  Not something we see round here at all!

jackal

My day was conditioned by an awful warning of heavy rain;  one of those warnings that comes with a little yellow triangle with an exclamation mark in the centre.  We were to expect rain so I expected rain.

It was a pleasant sunny and dry morning,  a little breezy to be sure and not warm by any means but fine for cycling so I cycled; but I expected rain by lunchtime and when I saw some very dark clouds looming up, I took the hint and cut a putative 35 mile ride down to 25 miles.  Some cows took a dim view of my cowardice (or prudence).

tarcoon cows

I stopped on the Hollows Bridge to record the first turning of the leaves….

hollows bridge view

…but my camera misinterpreting my wishes, kindly slid the incipient yellows back to light greens so the effect was less impressive than I had hoped.

Still, I got home dry and warm;  but still expecting rain….the forecast had put it back to three o’clock by this time.

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help at the Buccleuch Centre and I had a slice of bread and raspberry jam and went out to mow the drying green grass before the rain came.

Bees, butter and hover flies were having fun on the Michaelmas daisies beside me as I mowed…

insects on daisies

…and the the poppies looked gorgeous as always.

poppies

The large lilies are developing and I wondered if they would attract a butterfly or two.

They did.

peacock butterfly on lily

I saw an odd thing at the other side of the garden….

peacock butterfly

…a peacock butterfly with only one pair of eyes.  It must have had its second wing tucked under its first.  I have never seen this before.

After I had finished my cycle ride, I had arranged with Sandy to go for a walk (before the rain came) and he arrived on cue and drove us to the top of Callister where we intended to walk round the forestry plantation.  We were discouraged when we found that there were fierce signs telling us not to enter on account of forestry operations but a queue of cars emerged through the gate and one of the drivers kindly told us that there were no operations going on today and that we could proceed with care.

We proceeded with care.

Although we were in the sun, there were dark clouds about….

Callister walk

…and depending on which way you looked, sometimes very dark clouds.

Callister walk

We walked on expecting rain.

I led Sandy down the middle of a wide forest ride.  It was very tussocky and hard going and if you lifted your head to see if there was anything interesting to see, you tended to fall over.   We therefore didn’t see much until we went into the forest beside the ride to see if the going was better.  There we saw fungus…

fungus

…and when we emerged back on to the ride, we saw a very unusual set of fungi, pressed like buttons on a sofa in the peaty side of a drainage ditch.

fungus

We battled on to the end of the ride and joined a track.  It is fair to say that I enjoyed plunging through the heavy going a good deal more than Sandy did.  I used to do a lot of orienteering and ground like this was second nature to me.

We came to a pond beside the road….

callister pond

…which would have looked better, I thought, without the telephone pole at the end of it.

callister pond

And it started to rain.  I was so appalled by this that it soon stopped and disappeared apologetically.

We continued our walk expecting rain.

We were walking round a small valley and crossed the stream that flowed out of it.  It dropped into a dark and mysterious pool as it flowed under the track.

callister pool

Strange spirits might dwell in a pool like that.

It was a lot brighter at the dark pool than it used to be because they are going to build another windfarm to add to our local collection at the far side of the forest and to that end, a lot of tree felling has been taking place.

tree felling callister

…which leaves a bit of a mess to say the least.  It is amazing though how the ground recovers as a look at a new plantation nearby shows.

callister plantation

There were three existing wind farms visible as we walked and we could see the offices for the soon to be built farm beside our track.

windfarms

I welcome these wind farms as we have a tremendous amount of wind round here doing nothing but annoying innocent cyclists so it is good to see it being put to good use.  Each turbine must take a little energy out of the wind and this should make it easier for me to pedal about…..though I do realise that we might need a whole lot more turbines before any noticeable effect could be felt.

The tree felling led to some impressive piles of logs beside the track.

callister logs

Like this heap, quite a few of the piles had ‘chip’ written on them and we wondered of they were going to be chipped for use in the wood fired power station at Lockerbie.

There were some plants to be seen as we walked.

callister plants

callister plants

As we got near to the end of our walk, black clouds over Callisterhall looked threatening.

Callisterhall

It is a pity that this is no longer an inn as our two and a half mile walk had been quite tiring with tough going at the start and some hills on our way back.  A light refreshment would have gone down well.

We had to wait until we got home until we got a much needed cup of tea and a Jaffa cake or two to restore our energy levels.

When Sandy left, I set about sieving the rest of the compost in Bin D and while Mrs Tootlepedal distributed the results around the vegeatble beds, I turned most of Bin C into the now empty Bin D.  When I flagged, Mrs Tootlepedal lent a hand.  As a special treat for those pining for compost bin illustrations, I photographed the result.

compost bins

The contents of Bin C had rotted down well.

We didn’t stay out in the garden too long as we were expecting rain but we did have time to look at some flowers before we went in.

I have picked three favourites.  Mrs Tootlepedal likes the dahlia on the left for its colour, the big bumble bee likes the dahlia in the middle for its pollen and I like the new hellenium on the right for its shape and pattern.

dahlias and hellenium

Everyone was happy.

Dropscone had dropped in before I went cycling this morning with a generous gift of a sea bream which he had acquired on his recent travels and Mrs Tootlepedal cooked it for our tea.  I don’t think that I have ever knowingly eaten sea bream before and I thought it tasted very good.  Dropscone says he will tell me all about where he found it when he comes for coffee tomorrow.

As I sat down to write tonight’s post, the rain finally arrived.  I had been expecting it.

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan who met this hirsute gardener doing a little watering  in Regent’s Park this morning.

gardener

We had a very untypical Sunday today with no church choir, no Sunday bike ride and no slow cooker.  In fact I only had time for a very brief look at the garden before we had to leave the town.

poppies

We are an equal opportunity bee employer.

clematis and lily

Clematis and lily bring fresh life to the garden.

The reason for our early journey out of town was an assignation to meet with Matilda and her parents for lunch in North Berwick on the other side of the country.

The weather was benign and the 80 mile drive was largely traffic free and a real pleasure in itself.  After coffee and a teacake in a handy garden centre near North Berwick, we arrived at the station in good time to meet the midday train.

North Berwick station is literally the end of the line.

North Berwick station

It has a well kept station sign on one side of the track and a large selection of black berries behind the platform.

North Berwick station berries

Matilda’s train rolled down the hill into the station…

North Berwick station train

….bang on time and it wasn’t long before we were enjoying a good lunch with Matilda, Al and Clare in a cafe on North Berwick’s busy High Street.  While we were there, Mrs Tootlepedal bought a quite large mirror.

After lunch, we went down to the beach.  There was a lot of sand about and sadly some of it was obviously in the wrong place and needed to moved.

Matilda at North Berwick

This was a big task but I managed to tempt Matilda down to the edge of the sea to do a little light paddling instead and I left the photography to the Carlyle Place Community Camera Co-operative (Al and Clare) while we had fun.

Matilda at North Berwick

Picture courtesy of the Clare section of the CPCCC

I think that this is a quintessential portrait of the British having fun at the seaside.

There was a bit of splashing involved but that didn’t discourage Mrs Tootlepedal who came to join us.  Though you can’t see it in the pictures, which give an impression of an idyllically calm day,  the waves were very big to a small person and needed a lot of leaping over when they came in.

Matilda at North Berwick

Picture courtesy of the Al section of the CPCCC

While we were paddling, Al allowed his attention to stray out to sea where a Border Force vessel was cruising up and down.

Border Force

Quite what it was doing was a mystery.

I saw other vessels during our stay on the sand.

Some big….

DFDS Vessel

…and some small…

sailing boats at North Berwick

….and usually with some of North Berwick’s little islands as a backdrop.

Craigleith island

That is the island where we saw puffins when we visited North Berwick earlier this year

When we had had enough fun on the beach, we went off to taste some of North Berwick’s celebrated ice creams and found a bench in a little public garden to sit on while we enjoyed them.

ice cream at North Berwick

Picture courtesy of the Clare section of the CPCCC

There were some beautiful dahlias in the garden.

north berwick dahlias

It had clouded over by this time so instead of going back to the beach, we walked along to the harbour and took the path along the rocks…

Matilda at North Berwick

…from where we could see the Bass Rock….

Bass rock

…home of the gannets.

We had all taken the boat trip round the Bass Rock in May and Matilda and Clare and sailed round it more recently but today we didn’t have time so we watched the boat speeding back from the rock…

bass rock boat

…and inching carefully through the narrow harbour entrance.

There was just time for Matilda to have a ride on a roundabout….

North Berwick roundabout

….acknowledging the waves from her family as she passed us by by ringing a bell….

North Berwick roundabout

Picture courtesy of the Clare section of the CPCCC

…before it was time for Matilda, Al and Clare to catch the train back to Edinburgh.  What with paddling, looking at boats, ice cream and a go on a roundabout, it had been a perfect seaside outing.

Our drive back went very smoothly and was enhanced by a visit to the chip shop in Hawick for some sustenance to help us get home at the end of a long but very worthwhile day.

I did some see some hips on our walk down to the town from the station but the wind was blowing quite a bit so the flying bird of the day today is an example of the hippy hippy shake caught in action.

hips

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture shows a new style of letterbox which my friend Bruce spotted while out in Langholm.  You have to get up very early to post a letter in that part of town.

new postbox

We got up quite early today as Mrs Tootlepedal and members of her embroiderers’ group were due to spend a morning sewing and chatting at the Producers’ Market in the Buccleuch Centre to encourage knowledge about and interest in their group.  I took her along in the car with her box of stuff and when I had dropped her off, I continued on up the road to Bentpath to put my photographs into the tent at the Benty Show.

It was a delightfully misty morning.

Bentpath mistBentpath mist

As I got to the field, it looked as though the swallows might be getting ready to leave.

swallows on wire

I put my photos up among some quite hot competition and then went back to Langholm where I visited the Producers’ Market to buy fish, coffee, honey and venison…..and see what Mrs Tootlepedal and her gang were up to.

embroiderers guild

They were having a good time.  The little boy on the far left of the picture stayed and did three solid hours of needle felting.

He was the son of the venison lady.  She gave me quite a shock when,  as I went to buy my supplies, she said in a firm voice, “I want to have a word with you.”  I wondered what bad thing I had done but it turned out that she had been inspired by a conversation we had about cycling at a previous market and had subsequently got on her bike in a substantial way.  She is even making local deliveries of venison on her bike these days.

As a reward for being inspirational, she kindly gave me a gift of two venison sausages curled neatly up to look a bit like cycle wheels.  I was much touched.

If anyone else would like to be inspired, I am happy to oblige.

I drove off up the hill in the car after leaving the market in the hope that some of the early mist might still be lying in the river valleys but it was already retreating up the hills…

Ewes valley

…so I went home, mowed some grass, did a bit of dead heading and watched butterflies.

butterflies

On phlox, dahlia, buddleia and Michaelmas daisy. You name it, it had a butterfly on it.

I didn’t neglect the bees…

bee on poppy

…especially as I had just bought two jars of local honey.

And sometimes I could see butterflies and bees simultaneously.

butterfly and bee

The poppies were as gorgeous as ever….

poppies

…and the cornflowers and crocosmia are blending well….

cornflower and crocosmia

…but the star of the day was a newly opened lily of enormous size.

lily

It is some sort of lily longiflorum (well named) which Mrs Tootlepedal very untypically purchased over the internet in the middle of a sleepless night.  Buying stuff on the internet in the middle of the night is not recommended but this impulse purchase looks as though it is going to turn out very well.

After lunch, I went back up to Bentpath to visit the flower show and check on my pictures.  I had managed to get a second and two thirds so I was modestly pleased as the standard of the other pictures was really good.

The weather was very kind….

Benty show

The show field doesn’t slope down quite as much as it seems in the picture!

…and the show has a very beautiful setting beside the river…..

River esk

…with the village church….

Westerkirk Church

…and the fine bridge….

Bentpath bridge

…as a backdrop.

As well as photos, food, flowers and vegetables, there are sheep in a curly horn contest….

Benty sheep

…children’s and terrier races, a wood carving demonstration and two hound trails.

I like the hounds.  They are superb athletes.

The hounds follow a scented trail over the hills and come plunging down through the bracken, leap fences….

hound trail

… and when they come to it, they leap down the banking and dive into the river…

hound trail

…swim and run across the water, leap up the bank at the far side…

hound trail

…and sprint for the finish line.

hound trail

Or at least the leader did.  The following hounds took a more cautious view of the whole watery part of the race.

hound trail

Approaching with suspicion and then getting back out again on the same bank.

After a good deal of encouragement from their owners, they did finally get across and headed for the finish line…

hound trail

…though one or two laggards were still out somewhere on the hill.

hound trail

The hounds were followed by a fell race at an altogether more sedate pace….

Benty fell race

Rounding the marker flag at the top of the hill

…though rather disappointingly, the human runners use the bridge to get back to the show ground and don’t have to fling themselves into the river.  In the first hill race that I ever ran at Newtonmore in the Highlands, we had to wade through a waist high river just to get from the field to the bottom of the hill.

I made a final visit to the show tent….

benty show

Flowers, fruit and veg, baking, walking sticks and photos filled every corner

…and then made my way home.

It had been the very picture of a village flower show.  There was sheaf tossing and a barbecue still to come for those with stamina.

I was pretty tired by the time that I got back so although the weather was still very pleasant, I did nothing more energetic than walk round the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal who had been very busy clearing and preparing flower beds for next year (she is always thinking ahead) before sinking into a comfortable chair and putting my feet up.

The flying bird of the day might have been a buzzard flying above the field at Bentpath but my hand was too trembly to catch it properly so it turns out to be the first few petals of the first cardoon flower of the year.

cardoon

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone and shows the roadside repair man fitting a new wheel to Dropscone’s car after he had inadvertently lost the original while driving along.

Dropscone's car

Dropscone arrived for coffee today with a tale of woe.  He had been driving back from a golf event up the borders at the weekend, when he suddenly found himself one wheel short of a full set.  He managed to get the car safely off the road and called for assistance.

Sadly, however hard he looked while the spare wheel was being put in place, he couldn’t find the errant wheel.  It had disappeared into the undergrowth, never to be seen again.

Still, the car (with Dropscone)  was brought back to Langholm on a trailer and it is currently receiving some TLC in a garage and will soon be back on the road.  Dropscone seemed very calm about the whole affair but it would make me lose a bit of confidence in my car if it happened to me.

While I was waiting for him to arrive, I had a walk round the garden.  It was pleasantly warm and still for once but it had rained overnight and there was an air of dampness all around.

Dahlia

A hint of sparkle caught my eye and when I looked closely, I saw that among the plants, there was a spider’s web suspended….

spider's web

…with the very diminutive manufacturer in residence at the heart of it.

I took a lot of shots, trying to capture the best general view of it….

spider's web

…and of the tiny spider itself….

spider's web

…which was suspended in an almost invisible filigree net.

spider's web

I even went to the length of getting a tripod out and setting the camera up on it but what I really needed was some sunshine to make everything sparkle.

Still, it was fun trying.

The bees were busy trying to find poppies that had survived the rain.  These two had found a rich seam of pollen…

bees on poppies

…but other poppies held no attraction.

poppy soaked

They are pretty but fragile.  Later in the day I dead headed over forty poppies.

Mrs Tootlepedal joined me and noticed a green fly and bee combination on the the dahlia…

bee and greenfly on Dahlia

…and was generally a bit discouraged by how wet things were.  She did think the raindrops on the crocosmia leaves were very pretty though.

crocosmia

Dropscone brought a large mound of drop scones with him and we ate our way through it as he related his adventures.

When he had gone, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to the Buccleuch Centre to help with the lunches and I got my bike out and went round my 20 mile Canonbie circle.  It was warm enough for me to expose my knees to the public and at 70°F or 20°C, it was hot enough to make me careful to drink sufficient water as I went round.  A novel experience this summer.

It was a day when I could have gone further but although my back is improving, my arm had a nasty swelling so I thought it wise to take things gently.  I did take one picture as I went round to show off a quietly green corner of the ride…

Old A7

….but the muggy conditions had steamed up the lens on my phone camera so it wasn’t very successful.  The old main road, now a cycle track, is being gradually narrowed by the encroaching greenery, year on year.

I gave my bike a good good wash and clean when I got back as I have been pedalling on damp roads lately and then had a late lunch and a shower.

Mrs Tootlepedal got back from the Buccleuch Centre and started work in the garden.   My arm was a bit sore so I wandered about taking a few photographs instead of mowing or sieving.  In spite of the warmth, it had not been a drying day.

spirea and sedum

Spirea and sedum

More sparkle attracted my attention.

raindrops

The yew bush was covered in small webs which had caught the raindrops.  I processed the picture so that the web on which the drops are suspended is visible too.

raindrops

I thought that it looked a bit like one of those neural network maps that scientists produce to show how your brain works.

It was lucky that I had taken the picture when I did because later in the afternoon, Attila the Gardener attacked the bush with loppers and secateurs and all the webs went off to the shredder along with the branches that held them.

Mrs Tootlepedal took great care of the tropaeolum which lives in the yew and it should thrive on the greatly reduced bush.  She found some of the bright blue berries which follow the red flowers.

tropaeolum berries

A garden colour like no other.

I noticed a new clematis in a philadelphus…

clematis

…and I took a couple of pictures of a poppy and a cornflower which brightened up a rather gloomy day.

poppy and cornflower

Then I took my sore arm, which had swollen up slightly alarmingly overnight,  off to visit the doctor.  He diagnosed a haematoma on my biceps caused, he suggested politely, by being a bit old and not having very good muscle tone.  However, as I had feared that I might have torn something serious, this minor injury diagnosis was quite a relief and the advice that it will take several weeks to heal itself was not too hard to bear.

The doctor was not my regular physician and he called for a second opinion just to confirm his opinion that there was no serious damage and this doctor, knowing me well, advised me not to fall off my bike for a bit.  I am going to try to pay very good attention to that helpful instruction.

Once back in the garden, I was able to put the ex yew bush trimmings through the strimmer and so heartily had Mrs Tootlepedal approached her task, that we had to empty the box three times.  It all went back on the garden as a weed suppressing mulch.

Now I know that I won’t do any harm to my arm, I hope to get out for a longer ride before the end of the month as soon the days will be shorter and colder.

No flying bird of the day today but another welcome butterfly visitor stands in.

red admiral butterfly

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture is another from my brother’s visit to Wirksworth.  As well as the train to the museum, there was another connection to Derby and Sheffield by the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway.

Wirksworth

We had been expecting a very rainy day today but it was surprisingly dry if rather chilly when we got up.

The day continued dry and got quite warm and although the sun was mostly absent and a few individual drops of rain fell from time to time, it ranks as one of the better days of the summer.  It would have been a great day for a good long pedal but I had been so adjusted to the possibility of rain and a day indoors that it took me ages to realise that I should be outside.

In the end, I had a look round the garden.

A lot of the dahlias are very spiky this year.

dahlias

The poppies are not.

poppies with no pollen

Many poppies had been visited by bees and abandoned.

poppies with bees

And bees were flying around looking for fresh pollen

Occasionally a poppy was to be found with pollen but no bees.  This was my favourite.

poppy

There were butterflies to be seen too.  We have two buddleias and both were in the butterfly business today.

peacock butterfly

Red Admiral butterfly

I did get my act together in the end and after coffee, I went off down to Canonbie on my customary 20 mile route.  There was only a light wind today and my legs felt quite cheerful so I applied myself to bicycling and only stopped for one cow…

horn cow

…which was too busy chewing to pose for a proper picture.

I got back at a good speed and had a quick look for butterflies on the Michaelmas daises….

bee on Michaelmas daisy

…but there was only a bee

I noticed that the Virginia creeper has some little flowers…

fox and cubs virginia creeper

…and the cubs have come to join the fox in the orange hawkweed.

Mrs Tootlepedal was hosting a committee meeting of her Embroiderers’ Guild group in the afternoon so after a quick lunch and a shower, I packed myself and my new lens into the car and went up to the Laverock Hide at the Moorland Project bird feeders to see what I could see, although the day had got a bit gloomy by this time.

The first thing that I saw was two other other enthusiasts already ensconced in the hide with big lenses at the ready.  I filled an empty feeder and sat down beside them as they clicked away furiously.

There were a lot of small birds to see…

chaffinch

Chaffinch

Great tit

Great tit

Siskin

Siskin

Coal tit

Coal tit

Blue tit

Blue tit

…and some bigger ones too.

Greenfinches

Greenfinches looking as fierce as ever

pheasant

A pheasant not in full feather yet

woodpecker

And a greater spotted woodpecker

The other two bird watchers had left before the woodpeckers came so I sat quietly and enjoyed three woodpeckers chasing each other about the trees.

I had thought of a walk while I was up there but a spell of very light rain for a while persuaded me that a cup of tea at home would be the best thing.

It had got quite warm enough by this time to make it feel quite like summer so Mrs Tootlepedal and I went out into the garden.  She did some heavy tidying up and mulching while I sieved some compost and trimmed one more of the box balls…and admired the combination of crocosmia, cornflower and poppies which the gardener had planned and which has finally arrived.  The camera can’t do it justice.

poppies, crocosmia and cornflower

I’ll try again if we get some sunshine.

I had a look for late butterflies or bees on the daisies again but there were none to be seen. The daisies were quite attractive in their own right though.

Michaelmas Daisies

I have pulled a muscle (even though I didn’t know that I had any) in my left arm and that combined with a nagging back is making me feel my age a bit at the moment so I went in and had a sit down before my flute pupil Luke came.

He tells me that he has passed his Higher music exam which involved  playing two instruments  and written work.  He didn’t get any help from me with his exam pieces so I can’t take any credit for this. He just worked very hard with his grandad and the teachers at the school.  I am very proud of him.

I tried very hard to get a flying bird this afternoon but the light wasn’t good enough so a head and shoulders of a woodpecker will have to do instead.

greater spotted woodpecker

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »