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Posts Tagged ‘collared dove’

Today’s guest picture comes from my Friday night orchestra, Alison, who recently visited Caerlaverock Castle with her granddaughter (and got served in the cafe).

caerlaverock castle Alison

I was mugged by the weather today.  It was generally cloudy but still very warm and with no wind about, it felt very airless and close.  I noticed that as I sat down to write this post in what should have been the cool of the evening, our local weather station was saying the the temperature was 70°F and was feeling like 78°F.  That summed up the day well.

I filled the feeder at breakfast time and watched the birds for a while.  There was a steady demand for seed.

flying sparrow

Later in the day, we were visited by a collared dove looking quite smart…

collared dove

…and a blue tit, looking decidedly scruffy.

blue tit

I did a little early watering after breakfast and also took a look at the flowers.

The Wren and Lilian Austin roses have been hanging in very delightful bunches this year…

rose Wren

…and it dawned on me that this is a by product of having had no rain.

rose Lilian Austin

Usually by now, any fragile heads would have been pummelled to the ground by our standard summer rain showers.

Some roses are always clumpy and Bobbie James is one of those.

rose Bobbie James

The Ginger Syllabub rose doesn’t look very ginger but it does have pretty pink fringes.

ginger syllabub

The poppies are thriving and were working in pairs today.

white and red poppies

pink poppies

I had to work hard to find a poppy which didn’t have a bee on it.

These tiny little white flowers don’t seem to mind the dry conditions…

little white flower

…but in Mrs Tootlepedal’s absence, I can’t tell your their name.

 

I put down the camera and the watering can and went off to sing with the church choir but as there were only six of us there (there were road closures in the town which made getting to church tricky), we didn’t add a lot to the service.

When I got home, I spent an hour pottering around the garden doing useful tasks and taking a couple of pictures.  I picked all the blackcurrants left on our bush but it only came to a very small pile.

The Martagon lilies have gone over but fortunately other lilies are available…

lily

…and the hostas are flowering furiously.

hosta flower

This burst of activity pretty well finished me for the day as I had to go in and sit in a darkened room.   Because the house has got pretty warm too, this was not as much help as it might have been.

I picked some beetroot and a lettuce and dug up a potato and had a very healthy home grown vegetarian lunch before collapsing and watching almost the whole of a Tour de France stage, falling asleep from time to time.

When it was over, I staggered out into the garden and did some more watering and mowed the middle lawn.

The growth of grass on the lawn was very variable but in places it had defied the dry weather and grown vigorously and in other places weeds were shooting up too so the lawn needed trimming just to stop it getting out of hand.

I was very interested to see this little burst of colour…

flowers in lawn

…in the middle of the lawn after I had mowed it.  Talk about lying low. I try not to use weedkiller on the lawn as it means that you always have to use the box while cutting and composting the mowings is a problem.

I checked on the Queen of Denmark and found that she is well….

rose Queen of Denmark

…and while I was passing the cotoneaster, I noticed a young blackbird lurking on a branch deep within the bush.

young blackbird

I was watering the carrots when I saw this handsome flower beside the carrot bed.  I wondered if it had arrived by chance…

french marigold

…but talking to Mrs Tootlepedal on the phone later in the evening, I learned that it is a French marigold and it was planted on purpose as it is supposed to deter the carrot root fly.

I found a silver pear on my little pear tree…

silver pear

…but I haven’t been visited by the Queen of  Spain’s daughter.

I took another wider view.  This is one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s new beds this year, made by remodelling the lawn a bit.

P1120130

The bright red flowers that you can see are miniature nicotiana.

nicotiana

Our local council, instead of mending potholes, sometimes puts white lines round them.  I wonder if they got the idea from these flowers.

I picked some peas and beans and dug another potato as a gift for our neighbour Irving and then went in to have home made fish and chips (with beans) for my tea.  Irving rang up later to say that Libby and he had had some of the potatoes for their tea and found them very good.

With Mrs Tootlepedal away at the moment, we definitely have more veg than I can eat on my own so it was good to find an appreciative home for some of the surplus.

We are promised a cooler day or two before the temperatures rise again and there is some wild talk of a millimetre or two of rain later in the week.  It will be most welcome if it actually arrives.

I did find a genuine flying bird of the day today as a chaffinch squeezed between the feeder and the pole.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

 

 

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In lieu of any new material, I have returned to Venetia’s  trip to Madeira for the guest picture of the day.  Somewhere between the mountains and the sea, she passed through this narrow gap.

Madeira

Being Friday, I had made an arrangement to have coffee and treacle scones with Dropscone.  The forecast for the afternoon was rather dubious so I had made a vague plan with myself to get up early and go for a bicycle ride before coffee.  I didn’t have any great confidence in the plan but much to my amazement, I did in fact get up early and cycled 20 miles before breakfast.

The wind had dropped since yesterday but there was still quite enough of it (and from an unhelpful direction) to keep my head down so I didn’t see a lot more than the road in front of my nose.   However, just at the highest point of the trip, I was going so slowly that I had time to notice a good crop of yellow rattle…

yellow rattle

…and stopped to take a picture.

Mrs Tootlepedal had also got up early and was hard at work in the garden when I got back, tidying up unruly plants and picking up debris from yesterday’s strong winds.

I lent a hand by shredding what I could of the material and then and took the opportunity to admire a couple of yellow roses.

Crown Princess Margareta

Crown Princess Margareta, a long time resident of the garden

golden wedding rose

And a newcomer.  This little rose came in a presentation pot from a friend as a present for our golden wedding and has now found a home in the garden.

The coffee and scones were well up to standard and Dropscone was very cheerful because he had been part of a golf team which had recently come second in a competition.  He went off to play more golf and I mowed the middle lawn and took more pictures.

There were quite a few bees about but they were concentrating on a few plants, the hydrangea, a martagon lily and nectaroscordum.

bees

The nectarosordum proved very popular and there were still bees visiting it several hours later.

It was pleasing to see that the peonies had survived the wind and the rain very well indeed.

peony

New flowers have come out to join them.

clematis

Another clematis by the front door.

campanula

The first of many campanulas

moss rose

A moss rose

perennial nasturtium

A perennial nasturtium

Although it is not new, I couldn’t pass by the pale astrantia without clicking the shutter finger as it was looking superb.

astrantia

Over lunch, I took time to watch the birds.  The feeder was busy….

busy feeder

…and I had to fill it twice today.

busy feeder (2)

Doves and pigeons came to cast their beady eyes on fallen seeds.

dove and pigeon

And sparrows flew this way and that.

flying sparrows

There was more shredding to do after lunch as Mrs Tootlepedal had kept busy and then I mowed the front lawn.  The forecast rain stayed away so I went off for a walk.

There were lots of wild flowers (and a rabbit) to look at as I went round Easton’s and Gaskell’s walks.

Eastons and gaskells

I would welcome suggestions as to what the very small yellow flower is

The wind had torn a lot of leaves from the trees and you can see in the top right panel above that one section of the walk was carpeted by the results.

The summer growth is in full swing on Gaskell’s Walk…

gaskell's

…and I found geums, hawkbit with friends and ragged robin beside the path.

wild flowers

There was reedy grass and the first bramble flowers too.

grass and bramble

I wasn’t unobserved as I walked past a field at the Stubholm.

watching sheep

Several days ago, my neighbour Liz told me a story about finding a host of flies on the gate at the end of Gaskell’s Walk.  I didn’t have an opportunity to check the gate out and had forgotten all about it until I came to the gate today…..

flies on gaskells gate

…and found the flies were still there.  They were quite alive and flew off when I got too close.  You might wonder what they would find so attractive on the metal bar of a gate.

I was just going to take a truly wonderful picture of the Auld Stane Brig when my camera battery unexpectedly gave up so you will just have to take my word about the picture and for the fact that I passed two unicorns on my way home.   It was a bit annoying as I had put in a fresh battery before I set out and can only assume that I had failed to switch the charger on.

The sun was out and it was a very nice afternoon by the time that I got home and Mrs Tootlepedal and I sat on the new bench and enjoyed the sights and smells of the garden before going in for a cup of tea.

I watched the birds again and saw a young greenfinch falling off its perch at the feeder.

greenfinch

You don’t often see birds falling off a perch.

Mrs Tootlepedal cooked a healthy meal with spinach and broccoli for our tea.  I am eating so much iron rich food that if it rains a lot, I feel I may be in danger of going rusty.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and while Mike and Mrs Tootlepedal chatted, Alison and I played music.  Several of the notes were in the right place, at the right time and in the right key.  We enjoyed ourselves.

The flower of the day is another of my favourite peonies.

peony (2)

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from a boat trip that Dropscone took while on his holiday in Majorca.  He saw these  interesting rocks.

majorca cave

The forecast drop in temperature came about but it was not quite as dramatic as it might have been.  All the same, some light drizzle and clouds made the day seem very gloomy compared with the last two days.

It rained while we singing in the church choir in the morning but by the time that we emerged, it had stopped again and I paid a visit to the dam at the back of our house before going inside.  On our side of the new bridge, aubretia is beginning to drip down the concrete…

aubretia

…and on the other side of the new bridge, our neighbour Liz has a striking clump of marsh marigold.

marsh marigold

In the garden, evidence of the morning drizzle was to be seen…

daffodil

…and so I turned up the flower of a dog’s tooth violet to get a sunnier view of it.

dog's tooth violet

I went in and prepared a beef stew for the slow cooker, checking on the birds outside from time to time.

The siskins seem to have found somewhere more attractive to eat and we are left with mostly goldfinches and chaffinches at the moment…

busy feeder

…who are always ready to exchange a few well chosen words.

_DSC3414

Once the stew was started, I took a second walk round the garden.

The hyacinths looked cheerful enough…

grape hyacinth

…but the tulips were missing the sunshine and stubbornly refused to display their charms.

closed tulips

After lunch, I had time for another quick look round.

There are some weather conditions which seem to make the hellebores lift up their heads. I haven’t quite pinned down what the requirements are but today was one of the days when it happened.

hellebores

The hellebores have been very good value this year and have been out for ages.

Something has been eating the petals of the daffodil of the day.

daffodil

We made an early start on the trip to Carlisle for our afternoon choir as we had some shopping in mind.

We visited a bookshop first and then went to a specialist tea and coffee supplier where I bought tea from India, China and Sri Lanka to go with the African teas that I am currently drinking.  Two packets of coffee beans from Nicaragua and Brazil also found their way into the shopping bag.  Sometimes, we take the wonders of international trade for granted but I reflect on a small part of it every day as I drink tea and coffee.  And am grateful.

We concluded the shopping by going to a well known clothing store where I bought a shirt just like that.   My ability to make such a bold and swift decision was greatly helped by the fact that my personal shopping adviser was holding my hand and she suggested that a shirt might be a good thing to buy.

The afternoon choir session did not turn out as expected.

We got there to find that our conductor and accompanist, who come down from Glasgow each week, had found that railway maintenance which should have stopped in time for them to get to the practice was still ongoing and they were trapped on the wrong side of it.

In the absence of anyone else, a pianist from the choir stepped forward to act as accompanist and I got the chance to take the choir for a shortened session.  As there is nothing more magical than waving your arms about in a casual way and being greeted by the sound of glorious singing, I enjoyed myself thoroughly.

The sun had come out by the time that we finished and the evening was so lovely that we took a longer and more scenic way than usual to drive home.

The stew was good too so the day ended very well.

A collared dove sat in the plum tree.

collared dove

I checked a weather site for local weather and it said that yesterday’s high was 69.3°F and today’s was 60°F and tomorrow’s will be 51°F.  This translates roughly as a drop from 20°C to 10°C so we will back to feeling the chill again.   April showers are also likely and I may be a bit pressed to get as many miles in on the slow bike as I would like before the new bike arrives with the new month.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

A literal footnote:  Mary Jo kindly sent me a picture to cheer me up.  It shows her husband leaving his mark on lawn in Denmark that is so mossy that it makes mine look not too bad at all.

moss in Denmark

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew in Derby.  They had a spot of snow there.

Derby snow

We had a spot of snow too but not nearly so much as they did and this was the scene that welcomed us when we got up this morning.

snowy lawn

The chaffinches watched the continuing arrival of more snow rather morosely.

chaffinches and snowflake

And the daffodils and crocuses looked a bit oppressed.

daffs in snow

We went off to church where there was a rather diminished choir and came back in a mini blizzard but luckily the snow didn’t stick…

snowy lawn

…and the road surfaces must have been quite warm because in spite of the thermometer staying at a miserable 1 degree above freezing, the snow on the roads melted and we felt that it would be completely safe to drive to Carlisle after lunch for our other choir.

Over lunch, I kept and eye on the bird feeders.  The feeder  traffic was totally chaffinch.

Sometimes they all watched what was going on with interest…

chaffinches

…and sometimes, eating was  more attractive than watching squabbling…

chaffinches

…and sometimes there was so much going on that a bird simply couldn’t watch it all.

flying  chaffinch

In the snow below, a steady stream of visitors provided interest.

robin

Two old friends, a robin and a dunnock…

dunnock

…and two less frequent visitors, a wood pigeon…

pigeon

…and a collared dove.

collared dove

A blackbird kept everyone in order,  a teacher perhaps in a former life.

blackbird

The roads stayed clear and the trip to Carlisle was completed satisfactorily.  We had a substitute conductor today as Andrew had another choir’s concert to worry about.  Alison has taken us before and she is very good but as she thinks that we are bit better at picking things up quickly than we actually are it was a challenging session for someone who had not sung one of the pieces before and the other only once some years ago.

But it was all good fun.

Mrs Tootlepedal had prepared an evening meal in the slow cooker so we had a warm welcome home.

We have one more cold day in store and then things should warm up again.  Considering that in the south and west of the country roads were closed because of the snow, we seem to have got off lightly again.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.  It had to be as there were no others.

flying chaffinch

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan.  She was told by our brother Andrew that she might find an interesting house in Chiswick.  This was it.

London House

As we are going to have a very long day in a bus going to Manchester to sing in our choir competition tomorrow, I had a very easy day today to try to get myself in good condition.  My face has got a lot better over the week so I won’t look quite such a fright when I am standing on stage.  This is a relief.

I had a lie in after breakfast and finally got round to topping up the bird feeder after coffee.  This stimulated a lot of action.

chaffinch and goldfinch

But the nearest that a robin got to it was peeping out from behind a leaf some distance away.

robin

After a rainy start to the day, the weather cleared and there was even a little sunshine to encourage the birds.

busy feeder

I rather think that the chaffinch approaching the feeder is more concerned about getting his photo taken than shifting the siskin.  He certainly seems to be checking on where the cameraman is.

The bridge repairers turned up early and poured some concrete in the rain.  I don’t know much about concrete  (I don’t know anything about concrete to be more truthful) so I hope that getting wet doesn’t bother it.

Dam bridge repairs

You can see the ‘in’ and ‘out’ pipes on the pump in the picture and how close the bridge is to our house.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to a meeting of her Embroiders’ Guild branch and I went for a short walk which included getting some snacks for tomorrow.

There was not much in the way of views as the sun had gone in and it was rather grey so I kept my eyes down today.

There were plenty of opportunities to look at mosses….

mosses

…and for once, the light seemed to be just right for looking at catkins and tree buds.

catkin and bud

The alder catkins are colouring up well.

alder catkins

I liked this oak branch near the old distillery.  There is some wood under all that lichen.

branch with lichen

The retaining wall on the far bank of the river looks as though it might need a little work.

Wall damage

I crossed Skippers Bridge and walked back on the town side of the river.  There is a fence on the way which had some good lichen on it last time that I passed and it was still looking good today.

The yellow lichen is absolutely tiny and needed a really close look look.

lichen on fence

I did my shopping and continued home.  When I was walking up Caroline Street, I noticed a quartet of ducks all having a siesta.

headless ducks

And on my side of the river, a little patch of jewelled moss caught my eye.

wet moss

Just down the road from our bridge, there is a pile of concrete beams and I presume that these are going to make up the new bridge once the concrete has set.

dam bridge repairs

I walked along the dam and crossed it by stepping stone and went through the gate into our garden.  As I went past the drying green a lone crocus stood out among the grass….

crocus

…though when I looked at the picture later, I saw that it was actually standing out in the middle of a lot of moss with hardly a blade of grass to be seen.  Did I mention that it has been a very wet year?

Looking up at the walnut tree before I went into the house, I could see a good number of starlings perched on the highest branches….

starlings

…and knowing that they like pink pellets, I put some out.  In less than ten minutes, they had scoffed the lot.

starlings

Three collared doves also visited us and I was quick enough to catch one today.

collared dove

Once inside, I settled down to catch up on the Winter Olympics and the rugby and in this way, the rest of the day slipped by.  I did take time out to practise the songs for tomorrow and make some bread for sandwiches to eat during the day.

We have got to get up not long after six in the morning tomorrow so it will be an early night for us tonight.  I am not expecting to have the opportunity to post anything as we won’t get back until late.

Not one but two flying birds today, both of them goldfinches, neither of them very good pictures.  I couldn’t choose between them.

flying goldfinch

flying goldfinch

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is a Paddington Basin sunset captured by my sister Mary.  I don’t usually go for sunsets but this is a cracker.

Paddington Basin

We had another even colder day today, without the benefit of any added sunshine.

Thanks to a very slowly dripping but unnoticed tap in the guest bathroom, it was cold enough to freeze the pipe when the trickle of water got to the outside wall of the house.  In turn this caused the condensate pipe from our boiler to stop working and we woke up to a rather chilly house and no hot water.

We have fires to put on so we were in no danger of freezing ourselves but the lack of hot water and the chill in the unheated rooms was annoying.

After trying and failing to do some ad hoc thawing of pipes with hot water and hair driers, we gave up and I went for a walk. The forecast is for a thaw over night so we are keeping our fingers crossed.

When I looked down the frozen dam at the back of the house, I saw that there was a small unfrozen patch which had attracted a lot of blackbirds.  I counted ten at one time spread along the dam but they didn’t all stay in place for this picture.

blackbirds on dam

They were very busy popping on and off the ice at the water hole and one of them got very indignant when some starlings had the effrontery to want a drink too.

blackbirds on dam

The starlings retreated to a wire and waited for another chance.

starlings

There had been a hint of mist about when I got up so I was hoping for some ice covered trees but after a promising start at the park…

frosty trees

…the rest of the walk was a bit disappointing as the taller tree seemed unaffected.  There was plenty of ice about…

ice

…and the view up river at the Meeting of the Waters was very wintery.

meeting of the waters

As I crossed the Sawmill Brig, I could see a little cave of icicles where a small steam joins the Ewes from an underground pipe.

icicles

Langholm Castle looked quite forbidding….

Langholm Castle

…and as always, I was keeping an eye out for fence posts.

frosty fencepost

It was too cold to linger for long and I didn’t want my camera to freeze so I didn’t dilly dally and was soon looking over our front hedge into a very frosty garden.

frosty garden

I had stopped to look at the gulls at the Kilngreen on my way round.  There were a lot about today, including a headless gull…

gulls

…and the gull (very) close formation flying team.

gulls

Although these are black headed gulls, they haven’t got their black heads yet but they do have very decorative feet and beaks.

gull

Once inside, I didn’t go out again but I did keep looking out of the kitchen window when any movement caught my attention.  The sub zero temperatures brought a lot birds to the feeders.

There were siskins…

siskin

…and the chaffinch aerial ballet corps…

chaffinches

…which descended into arguments when it was time for a seed break.

_DSC9823

The feeder on the left of the pole was busy today and this gave me the chance to get some left to right flying chaffinches instead of my usual right to left shots.

chaffinches

Other flying birds were available.

siskin and goldfinch

As well as flying birds, there was some top quality posing too.

robin

blackbird

And a collared dove won the trophy for the most fluffed up bird of the day by miles.

collared dove

I could have spent a lot of time enjoying the birds but the kitchen, which has no heater, was rather chilly and as I couldn’t stand the cold, I got out of the kitchen.

I went into the computer room and spent a happy afternoon putting music onto the computer for my flute pupil Luke and doing some flute practice too.

As we can’t leave the fires on overnight, it is going to be very nippy when we get up tomorrow so I hope that the pipes will have taken advantage of the slight lift in the temperature and unfrozen themselves.  If not, we may have to call for assistance.

One of the Kilngreen gulls is the flying bird of the day.

gull

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our older son and shows a pleasant reservoir near Edinburgh round which he walks his dogs.

reservoir

After yesterday’s warm, calm and sunny weather, today was rather chilly, always grey and sometimes rainy.  It came after yet more heavy rain overnight so everything is decidedly damp.  It got me down a bit and I had a indifferent day, largely wasted.

I did make some soup for lunch but that was the only noticeable activity of the morning apart from a dahlia census….

dahlias

…which I conducted because Attila the Gardener is threatening to have them all up any day now.

I checked on the poppies too.

poppies

Alert readers will realise that one of the poppies is a rose but five is an awkward number for a frame so it got included to make up numbers.

It has been so frost free that odd unseasonal flowers keep on appearing.  Today I noticed two blooms on the Weigela.

weigela

I did put the camera up at the kitchen window and there was continuous activity at the seed feeder.

busy feeder

Sparrows, chaffinches and goldfinches competed for spare places at the feeder

goldfinch

Leading to some face to face confrontations

sparrow and goldfinches

A sparrow gives a goldfinch a hard stare

sparrows

Another one actually assaults a fellow sparrow

There were some peaceful moments though.

A chaffinch tries to remember what he came out for.

chaffinch

A collared dove displays very fashionable bootees.

collared dove

A robin practices his “Rod Steiger as Napoleon”  pose

robin

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal, who is pretty well recovered now, went off for an Embroiderers’ Guild meeting and I sieved a bit of compost and mowed the drying green.  Both these tasks were made tricky because of the general sogginess so I stopped gardening and rang Sandy to see if he fancied an outing.

He did.

It was really too grey for a proper walk so we went to the bird hide at the Moorland Feeders for a while.  I saw coal tits, blue tits and great tits….

coal tit, blue tit and great tit

…sometimes at the same time.

coal tit and great tit

There were lots and lots of chaffinches too…

chaffinch

….but it was chilly sitting in the hide and no unusual birds turned up so we drove back down the hill, stopping at my favourite spot…

Skippers Bridge

….which was also looking rather grey today.

There is a bit of colour in the trees along the river here….

River Esk at Skippers

…but in general, the trees seem to be losing their leaves without putting on much of a display for us.

We drove on down the river and stopped again.  There were spots of colour to be seen…

autumn colour

…and some impressive roots on a river side tree….

riverside roots

…but there seem to be as many bare trees about as trees with leaves on.faded autumn colour

We might have explored a bit more, as it was the sort of day when fungus might be found but some persistent rain persuaded us that home was the place to be.

Sandy dropped me off and I spent some useful time practising songs for tomorrow’s rehearsal with our Carlisle choir.

Mrs Tootlepedal returned from her meeting which had been very successful (and well supplied with delicious cakes) and we settled down for a quiet evening at home.

In spite of the much heralded arrival in Britain of Storm Brian, the forecast for Langholm tomorrow is quite cheerful.   I live in hope.

The flying bird of the day is two goldfinches having an argument.

flying goldfinches

 

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