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Posts Tagged ‘b;ue tit’

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who found a heron in Regents Park which has taken to the law.  Well, at least it is sitting on the bench.

Mr G's London cousin 001

In contrast to the yesterday’s gloom, today dawned bight and sunny and the day was made even sunnier when Dropscone arrived with treacle scones for morning coffee.  We were joined briefly by Sandy who came to pick up some parish magazines for processing for the Archive Group website.  We arranged to go for a walk after lunch and he went off leaving Dropscone and me to finish the scones and coffee.

We managed.

Easily.

After Dropscone left, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to to have lunch with friends at the Buccleuch centre.

I watched birds…

chaffinch

…and was rather baffled by this chaffinch which looked at first sight as though it had been pumping iron and was auditioning  for a super hero role.

I walked round the garden in the sunshine and enjoyed the snowdrops….

_DSC1209

snowdrops

…and the magnolia by the front gate.

magnolia

In a vain effort to improve my brain power, I had sardines for lunch and then went off to pick up Sandy.  We started our outing by visiting the Moorland Feeders by car but although the light was good, interesting birds were scarce.

There were a lot of great, blue and coal tits about…

blue tits and great tits

Great tits and blue tits share the peanuts with a chaffinch.

…and a single pheasant who did some world class strutting.

phreasant

It turned out to be rather chilly sitting in the hide in spite of the sunshine so we didn’t stay long.

Our thoughts turned to snowdrops and we drove down to the Lodge Walks, stopping at the Kilngreen where I failed to take a picture of a flying seagull as they all stuck obstinately to their fence posts.

We left the car and walked through sun dappled woods….

Near Holmhead

…until we got to the snowdrops.  They were worth the walk.

snowdrops at Holmhead 2018

snowdrops at Holmhead 2018

P1070192

They are still not fully out so another visit may be in order (if we get another fine day next week).

We walked up through the snowdrops and strolled back to the car by the top path.  This used to run through woods but there has been more felling recently…

felling

…and only a few trees have been left standing.

There are soon going to be more though….

new trees

…as we passed many bags of new trees waiting to be put into the ground.

The top track offers a terrific view of Whita on a fine afternoon…

Whita

…as well as a walk through a delicate tree tunnel…

Path near pathhead

….and a look at the town through the trees.

Town from pathhead

On our  way back down to the car, we passed a splendid mossy wall but my plan to take yet more mossy pictures was sidetracked by an outstanding lichen…

peltigera lichen

…and a pair of ferns on the wall.

ferns

Asplenium scolopendrium, the harts tongue fern and Polypodium vulgare, the common polypody

In spite of the brilliant sunshine, it was exceedingly cold on our walk because the wind was very unforgiving so we were pleased to get back in the car and go to our respective homes.

If you are interested, you can see Sandy’s take on what we saw here.

By this time, the crossword and a cup of tea was all the excitement that I needed, though I did go out with Mrs Tootlepedal to see what all the banging and sawing had been about at the dam bridge.

It was totally shuttered….

dam bridge repairs

…and Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that the men are going to pour concrete tomorrow.

While we were looking at the works with our neighbour  Kenny,  something glinting on the exposed bed of the dam caught Mrs Tootlepedal’s eye and Kenny kindly fished it out.  It turned out to be a 1928 penny….

1928 penny found in dam

…which may well have been lying in the dam for anything up to 90 years.

The channel through the bridge looks rather narrow but the builders say that it is exactly the same size as the previous one.

My Friday night orchestra is visiting her son and his family so there was no traditional evening tootle today and we had a quiet night in.

The flying bird if the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from the Menger family’s Highland meander.  It shows the daughter of the house holding a cushion starfish which they met on on a fishing trip they took from Islonia, an island kingdom near Gairloch.

cushion starfish

For the second day running, I was acting as a relief feeder filler for the Moorland Feeders as for the second day running, the designated feeder filler had made a break for Edinburgh. The astute reader may notice a pattern here and it is probably connected with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Mrs Tootlepedal came up with me today and for the second day running, the bird hide was occupied when I got here. Fortunately on this occasion, the family left the hide shortly after I had finished filling the feeders and I was able to settle down to watch the birds while Mrs Tootlepedal scanned the skies for raptors from the comfort of the car.

She saw one bird of prey briefly but I saw a lot of small birds.  Among them were…

chaffinch

A chaffinch

four siskins

Four siskins

Great tit and robin

A great tit and a robin

blue tit

A blue tit (which came and went at speed)

tits on feeder

Two great tits and a coal tit

pheasant

A pheasant

woodpecker

And a woodpecker

In fact for almost the whole time that we were there, there was at least one woodpecker on each side of the clearing.

woodpeckers

The only time when I wasn’t watching birds was when Mrs Tootlepedal’s raptor flew over the clearing and the small birds cleared off.  They soon came back though.

We got home just in time for coffee but the rest of the morning was wasted on the phone as a result of an email from my internet provider telling me that they were “upgrading my service by removing my email provision”.  Some one should be arrested for this act of violence against the English language.

However, several phone calls later, I got my email account reinstated for a price which means that I will reluctantly after many years as a loyal customer move to another provider.  The nice lady on the phone assured me that the decision to remove my email facility without notice had been a commercial one.  What a surprise.

After an early lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to Edinburgh to visit Matilda and her parents and I made and ate some potato soup for my lunch.  Then I settled down to some work in the garden.

I started with a little compost sieving to warm up and followed up by mowing the drying green, the greenhouse grass, the middle lawn and the front lawn in that order.  In actual mowing time, this is not a long job but once getting out the different mowers required, pausing for heavy breathing, sitting down for a rest and just standing at the end of a row and looking around vacantly have been factored in, the job took most of the afternoon.

I did find time for a shopping trip to the High Street to acquire more coffee beans and two nectarines.

Mrs Tootlepedal and I had considered the poppies in the garden during the day and we were struck by how various they are in colour and design.

poppies

poppies

poppies

Although they may look superficially alike, a closer look reveals all sorts of subtle differences.

The Rosa Wren is doing very well and comes up with a fresh replacement as each bloom fades.  It is hard to believe that these two flowers are from the same stem.

Rosa Wren

I made a visit to our corner shop after I had finished the mowing and purchased a smoked sausage, a pepper and some mushrooms and then with the help of an onion from the garden made them into a risotto for my tea.  It went down well.

In the evening, Susan appeared and gave me a lift to our recorder group in Carlisle for our first play for several weeks.  Considering that we were all a bit rusty, we played well and enjoyed a varied selection of music from Hindemith and Gershwin to Palestrina and Farnaby with others in between.

Susan got us back to Langholm at exactly the same time as Mrs Tootlepedal returned from Edinburgh and as she had enjoyed her visit a lot, we sat down to watch the highlights of another interesting stage of the Vuelta in a very good mood.

The light in the morning wasn’t good enough to let me catch a flying bird at the Moorland feeders so once again, a flower of the day is all I have to offer.  But what a flower it is.

pink poppy

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Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia who was visiting Aldeburgh.  She took this picture of The Scallop, a  4m high sculpture by Maggi Hambling, dedicated to the memory of the composer Benjamin Britten. The piece is made up of two interlocking scallop shells, each broken, the upright shell being pierced with the words: “I hear those voices that will not be drowned.”

ScallopIt was another gloomy, windy day with a promise of rain so I was happy to be able to entertain Scott, the minister and Dropscone to coffee instead of wearing myself out battling against the breeze.  Scott has persuaded me to enter for a 50 mile cycle sportive in Cumbria in early May so I will have to try to get a bit of work in before that.  Dropscone may be tempted too.

I should say that a cycle sportive is an organised but non competitive timed ride and it is good fun to ride with a group of other riders for once even if I can’t keep up with them for long.

We were nibbling scones and sipping coffee when my attention wandered for a moment to events outside the window.

Sparrowhawk

There was no snack for the sparrowhawk today

Sparrowhawk

A quick look round and it was off.

The sparrowhawk did not put off the other birds for long because after the ‘boys’ left, we were visited by a great tit, a very rare visitor these days.

great titA little while later, I received a call from a friend who lives just across the river to say that two partridges where wandering about her garden.  Would I like to come and photogrpah them?  I would.

I set off as soon as possible on my bike, camera in hand but when I got there, there was no sign of the partridges.  I waited long enough to drink a cup of tea but they didn’t return so I took a shot of the resident sparrows….

sparrows…and pedalled home.  It is a mystery to me why we don’t get more sparrows at our feeder when there are so many about the town.

I had a quick walk round the garden….

yellow tulips

These yellow tulips just need a touch of sun to come out fully.

fritillaria

The fritillaria are doing fine without any sunshine.

…before going for lunch.

A blue tit paid us a lunch time visit.

blue titThe forecast was confident that it was going to rain in the mid afternoon so after lunch, I scuttled out for a brief walk not stopping for many photographs.  As it happens, I could have taken my time because the rain seemed to pass us by and the day remained dry.

I did spot a goosander in the Esk.

goosanderIt took off soon after I spotted it…

goosander…but only for a few yards as it was trying to muscle in on a pair just down the river.  The female goosander is a delight.

goosander…but her partner saw off the intruder.

goosanderI wish that they were less agitated by human presence because it is very hard to get a good picture of them at the best of times and harder still when they keep swimming away from me.  They are great fun to watch though.

I walked back along the top of the banking and was amused to watch a rabbit dash across the path in front of me and then hide in full view.

rabbitOnce home, I put in a little Mozart practice and then entered a week of the newspaper index into the Archive database but to tell the truth, I did quite a lot of aimless mooching about too.  The changeable weather is making me restless, unwilling to settle down indoors to do tasks which need doing and unable to get outside usefully because the weather is so unpredictable.

In the end, when it became plain that it wasn’t going to rain, I went out and mowed the back lawn and drying green.  This didn’t help much.

Mrs Tootlepedal is continuing with the preparations for her decorative border in the front room.  She has applied the first coat of paint.  It is a time consuming business as it requires a lot of sanding and filling of the floorboards for a perfect finish.

In the evening, Susan drove me to Carlisle where we enjoyed a good session of recorder playing with our group to round off the day.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch battling towards the feeder against the brisk breeze.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture is a deeply weepy  shot from Regents Park.  It was one a recent set taken there by my sister Mary.

Regents parkAfter a couple of reasonable days, the Met Office foreboding came true today and we started with a cold, grey and windy day and ended with a slightly warmer, much greyer and very wet and windy day.

I am still acting as substitute feeder filler for Gavin who is disporting himself in the Californian sunshine so my only outing of the day was to the Moorland feeders.  I was joined by Sandy after I had filled the feeders and we spent some while sitting in the hide watching the birds.  The light was poor but there were plenty of birds to watch.

woodpeckers

pheasants

Two pheasants pretending to be chaffinches

great tit

A great tit showing just how windy it was

blue tit

And a blue tit sensibly keeping its head into the breeze

Sandy came back for coffee and we discovered that all three of our сafetières were in the washing up machine on a long programme so we had to make the coffee in a jug in the old style,  It tasted very good all the same.

The influx of siskins into the garden has discouraged the chaffinches and for most of the day, the feeders were covered in the little yellowy green birds.

siskinsI did venture out into the garden to see if the daffodil had made it into flower in February.  It had tried hard but it hadn’t quite arrived.

daffodilThe frogs are back in the pond after a few cold mornings but the water has become so clear that they can see me coming and crash dive before I can draw a bead.  There was only one today with its back to me.

frogThe siskins were as quarrelsome among themselves as ever…

siskins…even though there was almost always a spare perch to be had.

They arrive on the feeders with no hovering so it is quite difficult to get a flying siskin shot when the light is poor and I just missed the chance to get a flying hawk shot for the second time running…

sparrowhawk…much to my annoyance.

It was such an unforgiving day that I gave up any thought of cycling or even walking and after some sporadic and unfocussed flute practice,  I spent the afternoon sunk in a stupor in front of the telly, wasting my time watching rugby matches.

As I write this, the wind and rain are howling round the house and we are grateful that our new wall is well wrapped up behind its scaffolding covers.

It is supposed to be the official first day of spring tomorrow but the forecast makes it seem unlikely that I will be out at dawn dancing on the lawn to welcome it.

In the absence of hovering chaffinches or obliging sparrowhawks, a very fuzzy siskin appears as flying bird of the day.

siskin

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