Posts Tagged ‘dove’

Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia.  Knowing that I like trees, she sent me this sunlit picture from Margery Fish’s East Lambrook Manor Garden which she recently visited.  She tells me that it has excellent plant sales.

Margery Fish’s East Lambrook Manor Garden

I could hear some heavy rain in the night so I woke up expecting to see that the snow in our garden had disappeared.  It had hung on so it appears that the rain must have been rather sleety.

The lawn covering is more ice than snow but it had survived yesterday’s sunshine and the overnight showers so it get prizes for pertinacity even if it doesn’t look very sparkly.

snowy lawns

The poor crocuses have been sitting around for ages now,  waiting for a warm and sunny day to open their petals…

drippy crocuses

…but the honeysuckles are getting their spring leaves out regardless…

honeysuckle leaves

…and the snowdrops continue to shine.

snowdrops front lawn

While I was out in the garden, I noticed a reflective chaffinch pondering on life, the universe and everything.

cross chaffinch

We should have been going to Edinburgh today to see Matilda but an appalling weather forecast had persuaded us to tell her parents that we would probably not be coming.  It tuned out that the morning wasn’t too bad and we could have driven to Lockerbie without too much difficulty.  All the same, the gloom of the forecast had pervaded our minds and left us unwilling to risk a long journey, so we rang to confirm that we wouldn’t be going.

The day improved as it went along and in the end we decided that we ought to got to Carlisle to buy a baby car seat as our other granddaughter is coming to visit us next week.  We felt a bit guilty about this but our guilt was assuaged when we checked the railway company’s app and found that trains to Edinburgh from Lockerbie had being cancelled anyway as a result of overhead line difficulties.    We had made a good decision.

I spent some time before lunch watching the birds.

There was a good deal of posing going on.

A chaffinch was being cautions and quizzical on the feeder pole…

quizziczl chaffinch

…a blackbird was checking to see if the seed was too his taste…

hungry blackbird

…a siskin was out on a limb…

siskin out on a limb

…while another was having a snack.

happy siskin

On the ground, a dunnock was pretending to be a rock..

dunnock being a rock

…while up above, a chaffinch was obeying her mother’s instruction to sit up straight.

chaffinch sitting up straight

We were visited by five pigeons today…

pigeon strut

…and two doves.

collared dove

When it came to approaching the feeder, different techniques were in operation,

There was sneaking in from the back….

siskin sneaking

..putting your best feet forward…

goldfinch putting its feet up

…and using no feet at all.

siskin feet tucked in

After lunch, we drove to Carlisle in amazingly friendly road conditions and when we got there, the friendliness continued.  A very helpful man at Halfords met our wish for a car baby seat by installing the showroom model in the car, checking that it fitted and that it was what we wanted, taking it out again, selling us a new one in a box, taking it out of the box and fitting that one in the car and finally waving us on our way.  Amazon can’t do that.

As regular readers will know, we suffered a disappointment on our wedding anniversary  in January when we drove all the way to Carlisle to go to the pictures only to find that the cinema was unexpectedly closed because of a problem with the water supply.  We were more lucky today.

The cinema was open, the  film which we wanted to see was still on and there were plenty of seats available.  We took two of them and watched The Private Life of David Copperfield.  It was a very interesting film.  Mrs Tootlepedal enjoyed it without reservation.  I enjoyed it too but would have enjoyed it more if the camerawork and editing had been a bit more restful.

The drive home went without trouble, although we passed a large sign warning of of impending heavy rain.

We have had quite enough rain already and when I looked at Mary Jo’s scientific rain gauge this morning…

rain gauge

…I found that it was full to the brim, showing over six inches of recent rain.  I emptied it and I hope that it will take some time before it is filled up again.

The flying bird of the day is an expansive siskin.

flying siskin

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He lives in Derby and sent me this picture of Bonny Prince Charlie.  I asked him if the statue celebrated the Prince’s arrival or his departure from the city and he said it was probably both.

Bonnie prince Charlie

It was another frosty morning here but without being seriously cold and the goldfinches were early arrivals at the feeder.


You can see the frost covered lawn in the background.

I had to go up to the Day Centre to collect a key for Mrs Tootlepedal’s embroidery group who have a meeting there tomorrow but I got home in good time to have coffee and treacle scones with Dropscone.

His golf game has been depressing him so much that he has been cycling this week instead of golfing.  I was quite envious.

However, my cough was much better today and I am very hopeful of getting back to regular cycling myself in the near future.

After coffee, I had to wait in for a parcel so I spent some time looking out of the kitchen window in between doing the crossword and some tidying up against the return of Mrs Tootlepedal from the south.

A collared dove was taking life very seriously.

collared dove

There were a lot of blackbirds about but by the nature of their colouring, they don’t show themselves off to the camera very well on a dull day so I got a lot of fuzzy blackbird pictures.  This was my best effort.


The goldfinches were pushed off the feeder by greenfinches later in the morning.


In our garden feeder world, what a greenfinch wants, a greenfinch gets as there are no other birds that can shift them if they don’t want to be shifted…..

…except perhaps a starling.



I really like the heart motifs on the starlings’ breast.  It makes them look as though they are wearing Christmas jumpers that their grannies knitted for them.

At one point,  I moved the camera to the open back door and got a different background to the feeder shots but there was not much of interest, just the usual chaffinches…


…and a blue tit.

The parcel arrived just after lunch.  It was the refurbished tiller that Mrs Tootlepedal had sent away for servicing as she wants to use it in her winter reshaping of the middle lawn.

As a witty reader has pointed out, she may need renaming as A-tiller the Gardener when she is using it.

I was hoping for a walk when the parcel had been delivered but it started to drizzle and looked so grey that I only went as far as the river to collect a bucket of sand for Mrs Tootlepedal’s path and then I retreated back indoors and looked out of the window instead.


After a while, it had got so gloomy outside that I lit a fire in the front room and wasted a lot of time on the computer.

I was disturbed by a huge racket outside the window and went out to see a large flock of rooks shouting and screaming about something.  I didn’t have the right lens on the camera for whole flock shots….


…but it was quite spectacular and noisy while it lasted.

Somehow, the afternoon contrived to slip away without me making much of a dent on it and after tea, I went down to Carlisle to collect Mrs Tootlepedal from the London train.

She has had a pleasant time in the south, visiting her mother who is 101.  While she was there, our daughter Annabel came out for a visit.  It was her birthday and they had a celebratory meal with Granny and Mrs Tootlepedal’s brother and his wife who share a house with Granny.  Her sister-in-law’s fish pie was delicious.

I was very pleased to have Mrs Tootlepedal at home again  as life is much duller when she is away.

The flying bird of the day is a back door chaffinch.

flying chaffinch





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Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia who is very proud of her pond’s first crop of tadpoles.  She sent me a video of them wriggling  but I thought it would be too exciting for the readers.

tadpolesAfter yesterday’s busy day, I took things quietly today.  I was helped by a very windy day which discouraged any thought of cycling and I managed a morning without doing anything more strenuous than drinking coffee with Sandy and Dropscone and putting a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.

It was very gloomy and drizzly at breakfast time so I cheered myself up by snapping some pretty flowers which my daughter Annie had sent Mrs Tootlepedal for Mothering Sunday.  They have lasted very well.

mother's day flowers

Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that the yellow flower is a fancy buttercup.

I did look out of the window from time to time.

blackbird and dove

A blackbird and a dove were lurking among the flowers.

We had quite a bit of rain overnight and this had encouraged a quite a few birds to visit the feeder.  Some were the usual suspects.

robinAmong the visitors once the sun came out was one goldfinch which defied the windy conditions and took the topmost perch in the plum tree.

goldfinchIt couldn’t hang on for long and soon sought a more stable base…

goldfinch…before popping onto the feeder….

goldfinch…and snarling at any other bird which came in range.

goldfinch and chaffinchI did get out as far as the pond….

frogsMrs Tootlepedal had driven off to Lockerbie to catch the train to Edinburgh to visit Matilda.  When she got there, she found that a broken down goods train had closed the line for an indefinite time so she decided reluctantly to come home again.  As she managed to fit in a useful visit to a retail outlet on her way, she was less disappointed than she might have been.

She is working hard with a home made poultice to draw the ingrained soot residues out of our sandstone fireplace lintel. After lunch,  I left her to this and went for a well sheltered walk round the Pheasant Hatchery and the Kilngreen.   This modest two mile sunny but windy walk took me nearly two hours and it wasn’t because I was stopping to take a lot of pictures on the way.

I had my cameras with me but nothing much caught my eye which I hadn’t taken before.  A recent post by the New Hampshire Gardener made me keep a look out for lichen on trees  as well as my usual walls.

tree lichenThere trees themselves were a treat to look at, both singly in the middle of a field…

pine…and in groups along my path.

treesI saw a quick movement by the fence that you can see beside the path and peering into a bush, I saw a thrush.

thrushWhen I got to the Kilngreen, I was hoping to nod to Mr Grumpy but he was elsewhere.  A pair of ducks flew off and disappeared into the blue before I could get a good shot of them flying….

flying ducks…but too my surprise, they circled round and swooped low across the car park before landing back in the river.  I just caught one of them.

duck in car parkI was strangely tired by the time that I got home and a plan to go up to the moor and watch owls died a silent death in the face of some concentrated inertia.

In the evening, I went up to the Archive Centre with Sandy and was pleasantly surprised to find that our internet connection was working very well.  In fact it was working so well that Sandy and I put two weeks of the newspaper index into the database in double quick time.  It helped that they were fairly light weeks as far as items of news were concerned.

The flying bird of the day is one of the goldfinches.


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Today’s guest picture, sent to me by my sister Mary, shows my daughter Annie in the act of taking yesterday’s guest picture at Kew gardens.  Self referential or what?

Annabel in photoshoot mode

The day started with Mrs Tootlepedal getting up at crack of dawn to visit the world’s greatest baby in Edinburgh.  Matilda was very pleased to see her.


Photo by Mrs Tootlepedal

I got up later and went off to the Health Centre again, this time for a blood test.  It turned out that I still had some so I came home again quite pleased.

At coffee time, Dropscone appeared bearing the traditional Friday treacle scones.  He had been round the morning run in a good time but he was unhappy because his golfing career has been scarred by an outbreak of shanking.  For non golfers I should say that shanking means that when you try to hit the ball in one direction, it flies off in a completely direction.  This makes good scoring very hard indeed.  It comes out of the blue with no warning and is very upsetting and  hard to cure.  As a former sufferer myself in my golfing days, I could feel his pain.

While we were sipping our coffee, it started to rain very heavily.



The birds took a dim view of this.

Sandy appeared as Dropscone left.  He had very kindly agreed to give me a lift up to the Moorland bird feeders.  I was going to cycle up as Mrs Tootlepedal had gone off in the car but the heavy rain had made that an unattractive proposition.  We filled the feeders and came away without spending any time bird watching.

The only bright thing about the morning was the clump of sunflowers outside the window.


I pottered about until lunchtime, occasionally looking out of the window…



…until it was time to walk round to the Tourist Information Point in the rain.  I wasn’t expecting any visitors in the miserable weather but I was pleasantly surprised to receive two sets of visitors from the continent and one pair from England.  This helped to pass the time and when Sandy appeared to offer me a lift home and the rain stopped, the world seemed to be a better place.

When I got home, I spent a little time watching some blue tits come to the feeders…

blue tits

…before taking a quick stroll round the garden.

The new lilies are looking more impressive every day.


…and Mrs Tootlepedal will be very pleased to find out that the yellow crocosmia are at last coming out to join the Shirley poppies.

poppies and crocosmia

The poppies were crying with joy.

shirley poppy

After a dreich morning, the afternoon had turned out so pleasantly that I was tempted out onto my speedy bike.  The road mending bodgers have been busy and filled every pothole between Langholm and Waterbeck so the journey was much more relaxing than when I had to keep a sharp eye out for danger all the time.  It was warm and the wind was light so I was able to thoroughly enjoy my ride.

I didn’t take any photos on the ride as I was concentrating hard on cycling in a  low enough gear to keep my pedalling cadence up to 80 rpm for as much of the time as I could.  I don’t have a cadence meter so the only way to check is to watch the seconds go by on the bike computer and count the pedal rotations and see if i can do 13 in each ten second segment.  I checked regularly and I was able to keep to the target most of the time.  Of course, I probably pedalled a little harder when I was counting than when I wasn’t so I might have to upgrade my computer to get  one with a cadence meter to get the true picture.

To make up for not taking any pictures while I was cycling, I took one of my speedy bike resting at the end of the ride.

Speedy  bike

It is a few years old now and apart from having two new wheels, several new tyres, new brakes, new handlebars, a new seat, new mudguards, new pedals, new front sprockets and several sets  of new back sprockets and chains, it is exactly the same as when I bought it…..but to be fair, it has done over 25,000 miles.

There was still enough light to look at  flowers so I took the opportunity to catch a white nicotiana. They are at their best in the evening…


…and I enjoyed a lofty sunflower which has just opened.


This one is well above my head height.

I had two choices for flying bird of the day and being in a cheerful mood with much less pain from my hip, I have put them both in, though neither are brilliant photographs as it was raining when I shot them.

flying sparrow

flying chaffinch

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Today’s picture shows a clump of phlox in the garden at their best in the strong sunshine.


Strong sunshine was not in short supply today.   It was there in the morning and it was there in the afternoon and it was still there in the evening.  We are making the most of it because the rain is forecast to come back on Monday.  Meanwhile, it is wonderful to be able to sit out in the garden, walk around in a tee shirt and cycle without having to put three layers on.

Dropscone arrived after breakfast in his shorts and we went round the morning run the wrong way again.  I am finding this suits me quite well and we  managed to creep our average speed up over the last eight miles of the circuit even though it is gently uphill.  Dropscone is still politely waiting for me as we go round but the half minute we cut off last week’s time meant that we sneaked over the magic 15 mph barrier.   We celebrated with an excellent batch of Dropscone’s Demerara sugar flavoured girdle scones.

As he left, Dropscone commented on a handsome dove on one of our wires.


He told me that he wasn’t so happy about the wood pigeon that starts cooing outside his bedroom window at five o’clock every morning.

The dove was joined on the wire by what looked very like the same young swallow as we saw yesterday.


I took a walk round the garden before going for my shower.

alstroemeria with bee

An alstroemeria with additional bee


Annoyingly, the best of all the sunflowers keeps its face firmly turned away from the sun. Our neighbour is getting the benefit from it, not us.

There were a lot of white butterflies crossing the garden.  They are very restless and hardly stopped for a second.  I chased them all day but this was the only shot that I got.

white butterfly

They must tot up quite a distance in their fluttering travels.

Mrs Tootlepedal loves tall grasses and she is quite pleased by this combination which she planted out for the first time this year.

grass jungle

Colour provided by orange hawkweed and cosmos

Mrs Tootlepedal had been to work in the morning and when she came back we had a sit down and stare at the Olympics while we ate our ad hoc lunch and then we set to work in taking even more things out of the kitchen in preparations for Monday’s visit by the joiners.  It is amazing how much stuff there is in our kitchen.

kitchen stuff

Crockery on the back stairs, pots, plates and pans on the sitting room floor and dry goods on the hall table.

…and that’s just part of it.

In between shifting things, I stared out of the window.

bird feeder

Siskins surround a chaffinch in an aerial ballet.

Our son Anthony suggested that we should put at least one of the units that is being replaced in the kitchen into the garage.  They were all made and installed by Mrs Tootlepedal with her own fair hand thirty years ago and he thought it would be a pity to throw away such durable work.  We were struck by this and agreed to keep one piece.  This meant a whole lot of reorganising in the garage but it has led to the decision to throw away a lot of stuff that had been lurking unused for many years in dark corners there so the work was well worthwhile.   Not to mention the fact that it will give Mrs Tootlepedal another chance to visit the council dump.

We took breaks from shifting things to sit in the garden from time to time (did I mention that it was a sunny day?) and this gave me a chance to look at some flowers.


A paler blue delphinium survived the rain but as you can see, it has been beaten down a bit.


The hostas have positively enjoyed the cooler, wetter weather and flowered very well.

We had to stop shifting things when the plasterer came to skim the ceiling and while he was working, I mowed the middle lawn and went off for a short walk.  I strolled through the park and along Easton’s walk.  Then I turned back and went up the road to the Stubholm.  I came from the shadows…

The road from the Murtholm

The road from the Murtholm

…into the sunlit uplands…

the road to the Murtholm

The road to the Stubholm

…from where I got an excellent view of the town and hills beyond.

Castle hill

As I came back down through the park, I admired the rich hostas there, around the war memorial.

war memorial with hostas

When I got home, the plasterer had finished his work and was looking at it with satisfaction.


We looked at it with satisfaction too.

That is another stage in the kitchen refurbishment completed.  There will be a pause over the weekend before hostilities resume.

In the evening, we went to visit Mike and Alison and Alison and I, apart from one intractable bar, had a very nice evening tootling away.

Today’s flying bird is a pale siskin, probably a juvenile.

pale flying siskin

Note: The happiness engineer from WordPress has pointed out how to get my images to enlarge when you click on them.  That should happen now.  I don’t know why it stopped.








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