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Posts Tagged ‘blue tit’

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony in East Wemyss where the perpetual sunshine has brought his well protected vegetable plot on nicely.

Having had fine weather suitable for June in May, we are back to having cool and changeable weather suitable for May in June. It was a day of occasional showers and no sunshine with the temperature eight to ten degrees C less than last week.

Mrs Tootlepedal was leaning out of an upstairs window when she saw what she thought was a blackbird making a rush for the hedge by our front gate. She didn’t think much of it at the time as blackbirds often dive into hedges, but she was surprised to say the least when she saw the bird still there an hour and a half later.

She took a closer look. I kept well away because although I like to photograph birds, I am rather bird phobic if they get too close to me.

After some consideration, Mrs Tootlepedal decided that the bird was a swift. It was trapped in the hedge as it couldn’t get its long wings into a position where it could turn and take off. Very bravely, in my view, she leaned down and picked the bird up, getting an ungrateful peck for her troubles. It was indeed a swift and when she released it, it flew off at speed. Why it flew into the hedge at ground level in the first place is a complete mystery.

After this excitement, I calmed myself down by a walk round the garden. Not wanting to lie on wet grass to look up, I stuck my camera under a nectaroscordum and took pot luck. The photo editor helped in getting this result.

Weddings may not be allowed at the moment but our Spirea Bridal Wreath is doing its best to look happy.

The first flowers have appeared on a philadelphus….

…and we have a mystery flower waiting to come out. I shall be interested to see what it is.

Some things are doing well, like the thoroughly protected peas showing lots of flowers behind the netting…

…but other things are showing frost damage and the climbing hydrangea has lost of a lot of its potential flowers. There are some which look as though they will come out in time.

In the back border, Mrs Tootlepedal has cut the cow parsley back as it has finished flowering but the honesty is still going well…

…while the alliums are fading away.

There wasn’t a lot of insect action but I did spot a bee busy in a Welsh Poppy. Looking at its pollen sacs, it had found a good place.

We went in to have coffee and a WhatsApp meeting with Matilda and her father in lieu of the traditional Thursday trip to Edinburgh to meet in person. Matilda read us a good story and then we played several games of colour bingo. I am happy to report that we all won.

After the call, I had time to watch the birds. A greenfinch watched me.

Chaffinches lined up for the feeder in a very neat and methodical way, one on the left…

…and one on the right.

A sparrow and a goldfinch played a waiting game.

…while a blue tit, an infrequent visitor, got tucked in.

It was an afternoon for inside work for me, with a light drizzle making life hard for Mrs Tootlepedal while she planted out some leeks. I sat at the computer and added two parish magazines from 1969 to the Langholm Archive Group’s website. Sandy had scanned these and done the OCR and HTML formatting on these so I just had to check them over and upload them to the site.

We have had a slow puncture in one of the Zoe’s tyres. It hasn’t mattered much as we have not been going anywhere, but the car has to go to Carlisle next week for a service so Mike Tinker very kindly came round with an accurate tyre pressure gauge to check that we had enough air for the trip. We did.

He had had an interesting morning as people dug holes in his garden to find a fault with an underground telephone cable. As the fault wasn’t even on his own line but someone else’s, he was remarkably calm about having had to dig up and replant things so that the engineers could dig their holes. At least they had pinpointed and corrected the fault.

It was still drizzling but there was little wind and the forecast promised a gap in the rain, so I set out to pedal round my twenty mile Canonbie circuit for the sixteenth time this year. It may sound a bit dull to do the same ride sixteen times but the weather is always different, the seasons and the willingness of my legs to co-operate change all the time, so the ride is new every time that I do it.

The promised gap in the weather did appear but it didn’t look like a big gap to me so I didn’t stop for pictures until I saw brave men hard at work up the pylon at Canonbie in the drizzle…

…and once more with five miles to go when the looming clouds…

…stopped looming and started to rain quite heavily. I was suitably dressed though, and with the light wind it wasn’t too cold for comfort at 12°C, so I pedalled along quite happily, The rain stopped after ten minutes or so and I got home damp but not soaking.

I had a quick look round the garden when I got in and was happy to see that a pink peony had almost come out.

While I Zoomed with my siblings, Mrs Tootlepedal cooked a very tasty chicken casserole for our tea and that ended the active part of the day.

The flying bird of the day should have been the swift but it was far to quick for me to capture on camera so a chaffinch takes the honour.

Footnote: On our walk yesterday, Mrs Tootlepedal spotted a tiny blue flower on the hill. It is very pretty…

...and it turned out to be a heath milkwort. That is a new flower for this blog. It is very enlarged in the photo.

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Today’s guest picture comes from Bill, a blog reader, who was pleased that we enjoyed his creative poppy plantation on our recent walk. Nature got a helping hand! He has sent me this picture of a ceanothus which rivals the cotoneaster as a bee magnet.

Our spell of dry, warm and sunny weather continued today, and it was, if anything, warmer than it was yesterday. On the hand, there was a stronger cooling breeze available so we were all pretty happy.

Our neighbour Margaret, the senior citizen in our socially distanced street coffee morning set, was the beneficiary of the slight loosening of the lockdown when her son and daughter-in-law visited her for coffee today, bringing their own seats with them. Mrs Tootlepedal and our other morning coffee neighbour Liz joined them but I, thinking that five was a crowd, went off to have coffee with Sandy instead.

He had acquired a new cafetiere so we sipped good coffee together and watched a pair of very industrious blue tits bringing food for the family to the nest box on his shed.

Judging from how busy the parents were, there must be quite a few nestlings in the box.

The skies have got busy too lately, and we watched a plane leaving quite a trail as it passed overhead.

Sandy has a handy flight tracking app on his phone and he was able tell me that this was an Airbus jet going from Aberdeen to London.

When I got home, the street coffee morning was just breaking up, and Mrs Tootlepedal and I went into the garden.

There was aerial activity there too, but this time it was two young starlings pestering a fed up parent for food.

A check on a rose that appeared in yesterday’s post showed me that the pink tinge was in fact the proper colour for this rose…

…and it was the early white flowers that were non standard.

Mrs Tootlepedal has discovered a single plum on the plum tree that was not killed by the frost, but we are keeping its location secret for security purposes. She is very pleased to see new shoots on the plum tree after the quite severe pruning we gave it.

I mowed the middle lawn and the weather has been so kind that I was able to run the mower over the grass without using the collecting box. This is good for two reasons, the mowing is quicker and easier and the grass cuttings act as a mulch to improve the health of the lawn.

Then it was time for lunch.

After lunch, I mowed the front lawn, again without the box on, and then we had a sit down on the new bench in the shade.

There was more starling action as a youngster perched hopefully on the top of the holly tree looking this way and that for someone to come and feed it. There were adults about but they didn’t seem interested in helping this particular youngster.

I filled the pond and while it was filling, I checked on the bees on the Limnanthes. They were diving in.

The tadpoles were very happy with the new water level.

The temperature was up to 25°C (77°F) by this time but the breeze was frisky enough to suggest that a walk might be good thing. Mrs Tootlepedal however felt that it was an afternoon for staying in, so I went for a walk round the Pheasant Hatchery by myself.

As I left the house, I noticed that more of the big red poppies had appeared along the dam.

There was a tremendous disturbance when I got to the suspension bridge. It turned out to be oyster catchers objecting to people coming to close to their nest. Further up stream, another oyster catcher was much calmer.

There were more people about than there have been lately, which not surprising considering that it was a beautiful Saturday afternoon, but it meant that I couldn’t hang about waiting to see wagtails on the Kilngreen and I crossed the Sawmill Brig and headed up the Lodge Walks towards the pheasant hatchery without delay.

The felling of trees along the Lodge Walks in recent years mean that it is no longer quite such an attractive scene for photographers but the trees on the other side of the Castleholm are always a treat at this time of year…

…so I took them instead.

Once I had got round the pheasant hatchery, the walk back along the bank of the Esk was delightful…

…with small pleasures on one side…

…and large ones on the other.

There is a good still pool in the river beneath the Duchess Bridge and I thought that I ought to be able to get a nice reflective shot but the banks are steep and tree lined so I could see half the bridge and half a reflection…

…or more of the bridge and no reflection…

..or more of the reflection and none of the bridge.

It was very frustrating. I needed a drone camera.

The picture above is a bit confusing but I am looking down past a tree straight at the river. You can see the tree and the stones on this side of the river at the bottom of the frame but all the rest is reflections in the water.

In the picture below, you can see the stones on the far bank and trees on the near bank. In between is the river.

It was good to be out on such a day.

I got back in time for a cheerful Zoom meeting with my siblings and after our evening meal (slow cooked stew with spinach from the garden and bubble and squeak on the side), I got a special treat. Mrs Tootlepedal invited me to go with her to collect some horse muck from a stable at the Stubholm.

The temperature was perfect by this point in the day, and while Mrs Tootlepedal collected a couple of buckets of the good stuff, I counted trees.

As a bonus, I was allowed to carry one of the buckets of manure back home. The perfect end to the day.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow heading past the feeder pole with sunflowers seeds in mind.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Sheffield correspondent Edward Winter.  He has a fine six inch wide tree peony flower in his garden which he thought that I might appreciate.  I do.

TreePeony2020

It was another grey, blustery and chilly day today here so once again there was no urgency in the getting up department.

Indeed, I got up so late that there was no time for a wander round the garden before our street coffee meeting, and it was only afterwards that I got to check to see if our peonies are out yet.

They are still trying.

peony trying

A quick check on the frost damage revealed that the Japanese azalea may have have enough surviving flowers to make a bit of a show at least.

japanese azalea

And to make up for the lack of azaleas, the first iris has put in a welcome appearance.

first iris

Tulips and poppies make sure that we still have some colour….

tulips and poppy

And thriving Limnanthes and Aquilegia will soon be joined by…

flowers old and new

…other promising flowers.

We are quite blue at the moment….

four blue things in garden

…in a delicate sort of way.

I mowed the front lawn in the hope that we will get some rain and warmer weather to make the grass grow again.  Mrs Tootlepedal got to work improving the soil in one of the beds along the lawn so I sieved the last of the compost from Bin C to give to her to add to the bed.

I didn’t watch the birds on the feeder in the morning as we were busying about but there were birds in the garden who weren’t bothered by us.  The blackbird and the thrush are both feeding young so they are often to be seen about.

blackbird an thrush panel

I did a little shredding of disused box bushes and then went in for lunch.

We had a Carlisle Choir Zoom meeting scheduled for mid afternoon at what would have been our regular choir practice time, so I sneaked out for a short walk after lunch.  It was grey and almost drizzly so I walked on at a brisk pace, hoping to get home before any rain started.

I was pleased to see that the big rhododendrons in the park seemed to have escaped frost damage, but the bluebells are fading away and going over…

rhododendron,bluebells and garlic

…leaving the wild garlic to cover the ground.

I walked along the Murtholm track towards Skippers Bridge, passing quantities of ribwort, lambs and spring things on leaves…

three things at murtholm

…and crosswort…

crosswort full

…at which I took a closer look.

crosswort close

I paused on Skippers Bridge to record just how low the river is.

low water in esk from skippers bridge

It will be interesting to see if we get enough rain to raise the water level noticeably as the ground is so dry that it will surely soak up anything less than a downpour.

I took a picture of this view a few days ago but it is still so beautiful to my mind, that I took it again today.

skippers bridge from north

As I walked along the river bank back to the town, there was plenty to admire.

six things beside the river

I saw two contrasting birds as I got up the suspension bridge, a very noisy thrush singing fit to bust on a rooftop on one side of the river and a very quiet oyster catcher sitting on her nest on the other side.

thrush and oyster catcher

When  I got back, Mrs Tootlepedal had just about finished her work on the flower bed.

bed improvement

I like the big red poppy at the back of the house so I went for a look at it…

big red poppy panel

…before getting ready for the Zoom choir meeting.

While I was waiting for the meeting to start, I made a mixture for some chocolate biscuits and put it in the fridge to cool.

When the appointed time came, lots of choir members attempted to join the meeting but unfortunately, there was a glitch in the Zoom technology (not our fault) and the meeting had to be cancelled.  We are going to try again next week,

The fault, which also affected a government briefing later in the day, must have been partial as I had a one to one meeting on Archive website business with my younger son and a family meeting with my siblings later on with no problems at all.

After the failed choir meeting, I baked the biscuits and while they were cooling, our neighbour Liz rang up to say that a starling was feeding its young in her garden if I was interested.

I was interested and went out and leant over her wall to see the group in action.

liz's starlings

I took the biscuits out of the oven and left them to cool and then I had time to watch a blue tit coming to the feeder…

blue tit in garden

…before chatting to my brother and sisters with Mrs Tootlepedal.

We tried the biscuits after our evening meal.  There was an initial shock when they did not taste as we expected them to, but we enjoyed them enough to have another each.

The rain, which finally started shortly after I came home from my walk, has persisted in a mild and desultory way all evening.  There is some more in the forecast over the next two days but as it is only a few millimeters, whether it will be enough to do some good is still a moot point.

All the same, any rain, after two dry months when at times it seemed as though it might never rain again here,  is to be welcomed.

The flying bird of a day is a bee.

flying bee

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who managed to find some splendid blossom on a recent permitted walk.

mary's blossom

Although the forecast for today was for a worse day than yesterday, it was in fact just as good a day, not quite so warm in the morning when it was cloudy but sunny and springlike in the afternoon.

I resolved not to mooch about aimlessly as I did yesterday but to take advantage of the time on my hands provided by the lockdown and enjoy life.

I was greatly helped by a WhatsApp chat with our daughter Annie and her daughter Evie followed by a convoluted but enjoyable, and ultimately solvable, extra big holiday crossword.  This passed the morning until coffee most pleasantly.

The garden was in good form too, with plum and pear blossom brightening things up.

pear and plum blossom

The Brunnera is adding new flowers every day, and nearby, Honesty has arrived…

brunnera honesty pulsatilla dame flowrs

…while the pulsatilla is realising its potential and aubretia drips over the side of the dam at the back of the house.

Not everything in the garden is showy like the primroses  and I really liked this tiny white flower….

bittercress and primroses

…until Mrs Tootlepedal told me that I was not to like it as it is called hairy bittercress and is a pest in the garden.

I resolved to put a dry day to good use and shifted more compost from Bin C to Bin D and then I scarified the middle lawn.  I have a little electric machine which does the hard work of digging the moss out and it leaves the lawn looking like the panel on the left.  Then the push mower acts as a sweeper and collects all the moss which ends up in the wheelbarrow….

middle lawn after scarifying

…and the lawn ends up looking like this.

middle lawn afetr mowing

There is still a lot of moss there but there is a lot less than there was half an hour earlier.

After lunch, I went out into the garden again and enjoyed the tulips and daffodils in the sunshine.

tulips and daffs

We filled the pond and the tadpoles were grateful for some extra water to swim about in.

tadpols daffs marsh marigold dicentra

Marsh Marigolds have come out in the pond and together with backlit daffodils and richly coloured dicentra, everything was good.

I took my bird camera into the garden and sat on the new bench hoping for interesting birds to arrive.  This did not go to plan and I pointed the camera rather randomly at flowers instead…

tulip primrose magnolia

…though I took care to line up this shot properly to do justice to the cowslips.

cowslips parade

I did more sitting down on different benches and watched bees and flies enjoy the delights of a euphorbia and a bumble bee visit the berberis

bee fly frog bumble bee

…and I followed up that with a pond inspection with Mrs Tootlepedal where we met a frog.

Mrs Tootlepedal went in and I thought that I might as well scarify the front lawn too and when I had done that, I mowed the greenhouse grass as part of the neat and tidy garden project.  There are now peas and potatoes, radishes and beetroots in the raised beds.

greenhouse grass

A blue tit arrived on the rowan tree to check out the work.

blue tit in roawn

After all this, I took a moment just to enjoy the views.

middle lawn top bed

I had put a diagonal stripe on the front lawn.

diagonal front lawn

Wauchope Cottage was looking quite contented in the sunshine.

wauchope cottage blue sky

And the pond was grateful for being filled up.

filled pond

Then, after all this contemplation,  I thought that it was time for some action, so I got my cycling clothes on and went off for a short pedal.  To be truthful, I got my cycling clothes on, then watched the ‘Flash Bang Wallop’ routine from Half a Sixpence which  Mrs Tootlepedal was watching on the telly, and then went for a pedal.

It was five o’clock by the time that I left, but it was still warm so I was able to wear a layer less which made the ride more comfortable.  Needless to say, there was a brisk wind blowing but it suited the route that I took on my familiar 20 mile Canonbie circuit and kindly blew me home up the hill to Langholm.

I didn’t stop for many pictures as I had promised Mrs Tootlepedal that I would be home in time for tea, but I couldn’t resist this little lamb…

lamb bloch

…or the view back down Wauchopedale.

wauchopedale

Cycling is a great pleasure at this otherwise rather gloomy time because there is little or no traffic on either the side or main roads, and as a result of the lockdown and the pause in economic activity, the views are often much clearer than usual.  I could almost count the sheep on the English hills when I looked over the Solway plain from the top of the hill at Tarcoon.

penines from tarcoon

I stopped for a look at Whita Hill and the monument as I got near to Langholm just to show that good weather accompanied me all the way home.

whita from seven sisters

To round off an excellent day, Mrs Tootlepedal cooked corned beef hash for our tea and I had a little pudding of stewed rhubarb and ice cream.

It wasn’t a day for flying birds so a greenfinch is the perching bird of the day today.

greenfinch

Footnote:  I took the precaution of not listening to the news today.  That helped.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary.  She didn’t have to go far to find this cheerful pieris as it is at her own front gate.

Mary's front garden

We are in no rush to go anywhere or do anything these days, so I had my usual morning routine of a leisurely breakfast followed by a close reading of the newspapers and doing the crossword.  With careful time management and a suitably difficult puzzle, this takes me nicely up to coffee.

It was very cool again and still grey but the wind had dropped a bit so it wasn’t too cold when I went out after coffee to have a look round the garden.

There were a few more flowers out on the drumstick primula….

nearly drumstick primula

…but the tulips were still in a state of suspended animation.

nearly tulip

On the other hand, the scillas don’t seemed to have been upset by the lack of warmth at all.

scilla april

The garden task of the day was shifting some old compost bins.  They are relics of the time when the council was keen to encourage home composting and these bins were available at very reasonable rates.

The two bins in the foreground have been migrated from near the drive to the back corner of the garden to join a rather battered friend.  One of them was promptly used as a home for all the grass sods that we took off the top of the paving stones round the woodshed yesterday and the day before.  Mrs Tootlepedal will dobtless find a use for the other.

three bins

They had been lying unused for a bit but there was still a small amount of good compost at the bottom of one of them and it quickly found its way onto a veg bed.

new compost on veg bed

I went in to make some beef and tomato soup for lunch and by the time that we had had our midday meal, it had started to rain lightly.

Before the rain came, I had seen a hedge sparrow….

dunnock on ground

…and after the rain started, I saw a house sparrow.

sparrow in rain

There was an encouraging trickle of birds back visiting the feeder and we saw a siskin…

siskin april

…and a chaffinch today.

chaffinch swallowing

They were overseen by a pigeon.  I always think that the person who originally designed pigeons must have been an apprentice, as they definitely got the proportion of head and body quite seriously wrong.

doubting pigeon

While the rain was still very gentle, I had a walk round the garden and enjoyed the freshness of the leafs on a Philadelphus, water droplets on foliage…

april garden panel

…and encouraging growth on an espalier apple and the silver pear.

A little more colour was added to the garden scene by a dicentra in the back border.

dicentra back border

The resident blackbird was a bit annoyed when I caught him in an unguarded moment….

blackbird wings splayed

…and returned later on for a full studio pose.

blackbird in filmstar mode

I spent most of the afternoon not going for a cycle ride because it was cold, wet and gloomy.  But I didn’t spend all the afternoon not cycling because I spent quite a lot of time not going for a walk either.

In the end, I watched more birds and was pleased to see a goldfinch…

goldfinch april

…a dunnock, which rudely turned its back on me…

dunnokc watching out

…and a blue tit.

blue tit april

The dunnocks were highly entertaining as there was a lot of furious action as they chased each other round the garden.  We seem to have at least three on the go.  I read on the RSPB website that they have very variable mating habits according to the supply of birds and food.  We may be watching any of the following.

  • A male paired with a female (monogamy)
  • More than one male paired with the same female (polyandry)
  • A male paired with more than one female (polygyny)
  • ‘Pairs’ with two males and two females (polygynandry)

Meanwhile, the jackdaws were pecking at the lawn again.

mottled jackdaw lawn pecking

I did find time to put another parish magazine from 1968 on the the Archive Group website.  Sandy does the scanning and OCR and then formats the HTML so my part of the task is quite simple.

Mrs Tootlepedal’s shrewd purchase of the brisket of beef paid off when it made its third appearance in a row, this time as the basis for a mild coconut flavoured curry on a bed of rice.  It will make its final appearance as cold meat for lunch tomorrow.  Money well spent.

We passed a quiet evening insulated from any bad news by watching Gardener’s World and The Repair Shop.   It was very peaceful.

The sparrow on the feeder below was almost the flying bird of the day but I was half a second too late.

nearly flying sparrow

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who took it on one of his walks.  A local farmer has fenced off a section of a field for the convenience of walkers passing across his land, and fortunately it is just wide enough to allow for social distancing as required these days.

andrew's walk

Although it wasn’t actually freezing here today, there was such a chill in the wind that my head actually hurt when I went for a morning stroll round the garden and I was happy to go back inside and have coffee and a biscuit in the warmth of the kitchen.  If those minor deities who helped me out yesterday had been alert and on the job, I would have stayed in the kitchen for the rest of the morning, and the afternoon too.

But they were sleeping at work, so I went out into the garden to help Mrs Tootlepedal with the general tidying up.  The log shed also holds the sieved compost tubs and I went to move one of these to a better place.  It was quite heavy and I leaned forward as I went to put it down briskly, and then, in an echo of one of those scenes from early silent movies that are so amusing to watch, the tub landed on one end of a short plank which I hadn’t seen.

In obedience to the laws of physics, the other end of the plank rose up sharply and cracked me on the nose with some force.  I did not find this funny at all but like the poor cat in the cartoons, I saw stars.  In no time at all I was back in the kitchen being tended to by Mrs Tootlepedal with Dettol and paper towels.

I was not only hurt but very embarrassed by the fact that I might have to seek medical help at a time when the health service has other things to worry about.  However, the damage was not too bad and I had only suffered a cut and some bruising.  By great good fortune, the swinging plank missed my glasses by a millimetre and the main damage was to my pride, though my nose may bear a scar or two.

After a paracetamol and a shrewdly placed piece of tape, I was able to have my lunch and then to venture (very carefully) out into the garden again.

It was still cold, but the wind had dropped a bit so I wandered (carefully) about.  There was enough to look at to keep my mind off my nose if you see what I mean.

The fritillaries are coming on regardless of the cold…

fritillaries blooming

…and the blue tits were back again.

blue tit in silver pear

Daffodils are multiplying…

triple daffodil panel

…the scillas are improving and a tiny aubretia has started to come out too.

scilla and aubretia

By half past three, (really only half past two but the clocks went forward last night), the wind had calmed down enough and my fettle had improved enough for me to go for a short walk.  It was a day for a cycle ride on my alternating walk/ride schedule but I felt that that would be really pushing my luck so a (careful) walk it was.

Pool Corner looked very peaceful for a day which was still very cold and had been so windy earlier…

pool corner peace

…but as I went on, the wind continued to drop and the sun had enough warmth in it to make it a good day for a stroll.

I went to the Auld Stane Brig and then  walked up the hill, enjoying trees…

tree above auld stane brig

…and views on my way.

view from lower warbla

I didn’t go far up the hill and soon turned back towards the town.  Clouds had blocked the sunshine over me…

sunshine on distant hills

…but there was enough wind left to blow them away again as I walked through the Kernigal wood…

kernigal wood track

…enjoying the varied treescapes…

kernigal wood trees

…as I went.

kernigal wood

A fallen branch was covered in script lichen and buds on the hawthorns promised blossom to come.

script lichen and hawthorn buds

As I came back down the hill into the valley…

above the murtholm

…there was enough sunshine and warmth to make me feel very cheerful.

beechy plains

I enjoyed the contrasts of sunshine and shade as I walked back along the river…

easton's walk sunbeam

…and the blossom in the park was the icing on the cake.

blossom in park

My attempt to take a picture of the mass of daffodils on the banks of the Wauchope at Caroline Street was thwarted by Mr Grumpy getting in the way.

heron and daffodils kirk brig

I extended my walk by going along the banks of the Esk where the calm scene was a world away from the swirling floods of February.

bridge with low esk

The pair of oyster catchers were once again beside the water…

pair of oyster catchers

…with a third one a few yards away.

lone oyster catcher

I managed to get home without falling over or knocking into anything which was a relief for Mrs Tootlepedal.

And to me.

The non flying bird of the day is a collared dove which had being flying very shortly before I took this picture of it on our drive.

collarded dove

 

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Today’s guest picture(s) shows the wonderful flowers organised by Valeria, Joe’s sister-in-law, for Joe and Annie’s recent ceremony …..

cake

….some of which turned out to be entirely edible, pot and all.  There were made by the Botanical Baker.

cake cut

We had another fine day here and we are in danger of getting so used to good weather that it will come as a nasty shock when it starts raining again.

In the meantime, we are enjoying it.

We spent the morning in the garden, Mrs Tootlepedal working, and I wandering  about.  It was she who spotted the visitors though.

We usually have to wait until next month before we see a small tortoiseshell or….

small totoiseshell butterfly on chionodoxa

…a peacock butterfly…

peacock butterfly on chionodoxa

…so I don’t think that I can have ever taken a picture of a butterfly visiting scillas before.

And although the sight of a small tortoiseshell butterfly warming its wings in the sun on a paving stone is quite familiar…

small totoiseshell butterfly sunning

…I am pretty sure that this is my first ever shot of a peacock on a daffodil.

peacock butterfly on daff

To add to the garden of delights, a little flock of blue tits passed through and one sat one enough to get its picture taken.

bue tit in garden

At different times I took my pocket camera out to admire the flowers….

pulmonaria, buttercup, fritillary, scilla

…and my bird camera to do the same, though on this occasion my shot of the scillas was photobombed by a butterfly.

daffs, primrose and tortoiseshell

I spent some fruitless time trying to catch any of the many bees that were buzzing about but they would visit the hellebores and disappear into the down facing flowers.

The tidying up bug was in evidence again today, and we added a second shelf to our library of logs…

log library

…I finished the transfer of Bin B to Bin C (and an overflow to Bin D)…

compost in progress

…and Mrs Tootlepedal tidied up the greenhouse sufficiently to give her somewhere to have a rest after all the activity.

Mrs T resting

For the first time this year, it was positively warm in the garden and there was no need for a coat.

Once again, birds didn’t come to the feeder but the garden wasn’t entirely birdless by any means.  We have resident blackbirds and dunnocks.

blackbird and dunnock on fence

I made some brown lentil soup for lunch.  This was a triumph because to make brown lentil soup you both have to remember to soak the lentils over night, and then crucially, to remember that you have got soaked lentils ready for soup making the next day.

After lunch and a bit of a rest, I went out for my permitted exercise of the day.  (Mrs Tootlepedal is taking her exercise in the garden.)

As I had cycled yesterday, I walked today, and was quite happy to do so as by this time, the wind had got up and, coming from the north as it was, there was a distinct nip in the air at times.

Still, in sheltered spots, it was warm and I chose a few sheltered spots to pass through on my way.

Walk 2 Duchess Bridge

I was following the route of Walk 2 of the Langholm Walks, though in the ‘wrong’ direction.

wood at Breckonwrae

When I got out of the woods and onto the road to Potholm, the views of the woods…

Potholm hill ridge

…and hills on the far side of the river…

Potholm Hill

…..were quite good enough to make me ignore the breeze.

And if I got bored with the views, the famous two headed lambs of Milnholm were always a distraction.

milnholm lambs

I crossed the river by Potholm Bridge and and walked up the hill to the track back to Langholm,

This seat came in handy after the climb up the hill from the river and I rested there for a moment.

bench above potholm

There were plenty of clumps of wild primroses beside the track…

primroses Langfauld

…and views back towards the road that I had walked along earlier…

Looking back over Milnholm

…and I got back to the Castleholm in good order.  I spent some time there trying to see if I could spot the nuthatch that I saw the other day, but it wasn’t playing today so I went home.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy while I was out and had made another shelf for the log library.  We will fill it up tomorrow.

We had baked potatoes for tea followed by the forced rhubarb, glazed and roasted and served with custard for afters.

Once again a standing bird is standing in for the flying bird of the day.  In saw this lone oyster catcher as I came along the Esk  at the end of my afternoon exercise.

evening oyster catcher

 

 

 

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