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Posts Tagged ‘fungus’

Today’s guest picture was sent to me by Marianne, our son Tony’s partner.  It shows Tony getting some sausage making tips at the ‘Bowhouse Food Weekend’ in St Monans yesterday.  Marianne tells me that they intend to eat the sausages that he made.  They are very brave.

Tony at St Monans

After two days of miserable rain and wind, the weather gods relented and laid on a calm, fairly warm and dry day today, ideal for cycling.  Of course they knew that I had choirs to go to both in the morning and the afternoon with no time for serious cycling in between so they must have laughed themselves silly.

Still, the choirs were very enjoyable so I had no complaints.

After the church choir,  I had time to walk round the garden.

We have a little horizontal cotoneaster against the house with bright red berries and colourful leaves.

berries and leaves

Wet flowers were to be found. The striking clematis in the top row is is the only flower that the plant has produced all year.

Octcober flowers

We have our own autumn colour provided by the climbing hydrangea and one of the azaleas.

hydrangea and azalea in autumn

I looked at the birds while I attended to the tricky culinary task of preparing baked beans on toast for my lunch.

A collared dove appeared and didn’t start a fight.  This was possibly because it was the only dove there.

Collared dove at rest

There were several goldfinches only too ready to argue.

goldfinches sparring

I got the chance to catch  welcome visits from a dunnock…

dunnock Oct

…and a robin.

october robin

After my baked beans, I had just enough time to go for an amble round Easton’s Walk.

As I got to the Wauchope Water, I found that it had gone down enough to allow a dipper to do some dipping in the calmer current near the bank.

dipper dipping

The recent rain has encouraged the moss on the park wall.

spangles moss

I came down the track to the edge of the Murtholm fields….

Easton's Walk in autumn

…and enjoyed the colourful trees behind the farmhouse at the far end.

Murtholm in autumn

As I walked back along the river to the park, I spotted two ghostly fungi, one on a fallen tree…

white fungus

…and one unusually white one, part of a small bunch of fungi on the banking in the shadow of old tree roots.

very white gungus

The thorny hedge round the war memorial provided a resting place for water droplets.

thorn hedge with raindrops

When I got home, the sight of the winter jasmine in full flower at the back door  was a reminder of the march of the seasons.

winter jasmine

The weather gods had one last little joke to play.  The sun came out just as I was preparing to go to Carlisle for the afternoon choir so I only had time for a glance out of the kitchen window to watch a siskin hanging about…

siskin depending

…and a chaffinch weighing up his options …

flying chaffinch in sun

…before I went off to Carlisle to sing, driving down the road in beautiful weather and muttering under my breath as I went.

Our new musical director continues to be very lively and amusing so we all worked hard for her in return and as a result, we had a useful practice.

I am hoping for some kindly cycling weather tomorrow.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow in torpedo mode as it heads for the feeder.

flying sparrow missile

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone who was at the Roxburghe Golf course when he came across a reminder of the strong winds that battered us last month.

roxburghe tree snap

There was a brisk wind here today but not as brisk as the one that had knocked that tree to bits.

I had time for a quick look at the birds after breakfast….

low flying chaffinch

A chaffinch trying to sneak past the window without getting its picture taken.

…before the wind  blew me down the road to Brampton as I went off in the car for a singing lesson from the lady who conducts the Langholm Choir.  I was a bit worried in case the car gave me warning messages again but the garage had done the trick and everything went smoothly.

Mary turned out to be an excellent teacher, patient, supportive and very clear in her suggestions.  It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks as the saying goes but she managed very well and I came away with a good idea of what to work at and a bit of confidence in my ability to sing which had been lacking before.  We are going to arrange another couple of lessons when time permits.

I had a meeting arranged in Langholm at midday so I couldn’t stay around to explore the surrounding area which would have been fun and found myself back home in time for lunch.

Two friends of Mrs Tootlepedal came to visit the garden after lunch and when I went out to see them, I noticed the butterfly of the day on a dahlia.

buttefly on yellow dahlia

When they left I had a look about.

Most of the dahlias have come to the end of their useful life but one or two still look good…

last dahlia

…and others still had bees visiting.

I noticed that another clematis had sneaked a flower out behind my back…

late white clematis

…and all three buds on the Lilian Austin had lived up to their promise.

triple Lilian Austin

The Japanese anemones are still out in numbers…

bright Japanese anemone

…and the last of the hostas have a few flowers left.

dark hosta

It was far too windy to make cycling a pleasure but it was sunny enough to make being outside a good idea so I went for a walk up Meikleholm Hill.

There is an old tree stump beside the track up onto the hill that acts as a fungus collection and it was well supplied with specimens today.

fungus on Meikleholm track

A bit further up the track, I came upon another casualty of the recent strong winds.

fallen tree on Meikleholm track

I was amazed by how shallow the root system was , being no more than a foot in depth and with no roots protruding through the banking that the falling tree had lifted up.

fallen tree roots on Meikleholm track

On the other hand, it was very wide.  It is wonderful that any trees stand up at all on our very shallow soils.

There were no sheep or cattle on the hill today so I had a peaceful walk on a rich growth of grass.  There were not many wild flowers to be seen….

yarrow

…because the sheep had made a good job of eating everything interesting before they left.  However, there were a great number of these small fungi scattered all over the hillside.

mushrooms on Meiklholm Hill

And of course there were any amount of views…

Esk valley from Meikleholm Hill

…with just a hint of autumn about them…

Casdtleholm from Meikleholm Hill

…though the hint was quite marked in places.

track on Meikleholm Hill

I caught the town lying below me in a sunny moment…

view of Langholm from Meikleholm Hill

…but as I walked back down the hill, ominous clouds rolled up overhead and I abandoned a plan to extend my stroll and walked back in the company of another camera club member whom I met on the way.

Needless to say, almost as soon as I had decided to go straight home, the clouds vanished as if by magic and it was a bright day again when I got back to the garden.

When I went in, I found Mrs Tootlepedal chatting to our neighbour Liz who most unluckily broke a bone in her foot recently and is now hobbling about on crutches.  She had told me about the fallen tree on the Meikleholm track.  She had seen it on one of her last walks before her accident.

When Liz left, Mrs Tootlepedal came out to join me in the garden and I took on the role of Attila the gardener’s henchman and dug up a lot of the worst affected dahlias in one of the front beds and shredded them.  I laid their shredded remains reverently on Mrs Tootlepedal’s new bed along the fence as a green mulch.  Life goes on.

Mrs Tootlepedal edged the lawns and then we went in.  I noted some cheerful colour on my way.

red flowers october

I made  baked eggs and spinach in a cheese sauce for my evening meal and picked some of our autumn raspberries for my pudding.

We had a quiet evening in.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy in the kitchen earlier on so I went to look at the birds from an upstairs window and from there took this picture of the flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch concentrating

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who visited Tamworth recently and found the castle gardens looking well kept.

Tamworth

We had another fine day here today and indeed there was only 1 cm of rain in Mary Jo’s rain gauge when I looked this evening so we have had a pretty dry week.  It has been a windy month though and the wind was nagging away again this morning.  I did get into my cycling gear but some really heavy gusts persuaded me that yesterday’s ride was enough for the time being and I changed back into my lounging around clothes and lounged around in a very professional manner for the rest of morning and a lot of the afternoon.

I roused myself enough to cycle round to the corner shop to get materials to make a sausage stew and then had to rouse myself again to go back and get the sausages which  had forgotten to buy.

I filled the bird feeder and had a brief look at the birds.

chaffinch posing

chaffinch arguing

The women’s race in the cycling world championships gave both Mrs Tootlepedal and me a good excuse to watch others taking exercise but when it finished, we thought that the sunny day made some outdoor activity more or less compulsory.  She did some gardening and I went for a walk after spending a few minutes looking for flowers in the garden.

late september flowers

As long as there are flowers with butterflies in them, I will keep taking their pictures.

buttefly on dahlia

My walk was a short three bridges affair because although it was sunny, there was a distinct nip in the air from the breeze.

I saw two lonely gulls beside the river….

gulls by river

…and an old friend near the Town Bridge.

heron

I looked back as I crossed the bridge….

bewteen the bridges

…and then headed along the Kilngreen and across the Sawmill Brig onto the Castleholm.

I enjoyed the sunny views….

Trees from castleholm

…and the hints of autumn colour….

trees on back of Lodge walks

…which were quite pronounced in a few places.

autumn colour

Sadly this promising spot of colour had been laid low by the recent storm.

fallen tree castleholm

There were several crops of fungus on old tree stumps…

fungus on Duchess Bridge path

…and I wondered if I could see a small gnome glaring at me from the back of this bunch.

fungus on Castleholm

When I got back, Mrs Tootlepedal was hard at work and I thought that I ought to try to be useful so I mowed the middle and front lawns with the mower blades set suitably high for a late season cut.  I was surprised how much growth there had been in the grass and was able to add a handy amount to the compost bin.

I had to have a sit down when I had finished.

mown lawn september

The dry week had left the lawns quite easy to mow and although the moss is making a come back, they are looking as well as can be expected at this time of year.

When I was putting the grass in the compost bin, Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out how well the leycesteria formosa is doing.

leycestera

It was an uninvited guest but it is looking so good that it may well become part of the new planting scheme at the back of the vegetable garden next year.

I made the sausage stew and ate some of it for my tea.

We have a busy day of singing ahead tomorrow so I have finished my cycling for September.  In spite of some very windy weather, I have managed to keep up to my mileage target for the year although I didn’t get as many miles in as I had hoped.  I will need a kindly October or some very good wet weather clothing to keep me up to scratch.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch caught in one of the cloudy moments of an otherwise lovely day.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from our son Tony just to show that his life isn’t always glorious sunrises.

Fife stormy weather

We had a dry day today that became increasingly breezy as time passed.  If I had been extremely well prepared and keen, I could have got up at the crack of dawn and done twenty miles in calm conditions before breakfast…but I wasn’t and I didn’t.

What I did do was to have a late breakfast and then enjoy a cup of coffee and some excellent scones with Dropscone when he came to call.  His golf is still causing him some grief but he did tell me that he had noticed the toadstools were out in force among the trees beside the fifth fairway on the golf course.

I couldn’t go up straight away as I had a visit to the health centre to get my three monthly vitamin B12 top up to fit in first.

I had a look at the birds when I got back and was happy to see a calm blue tit on the feeder pole…

blue tit on feeder pole

…and several lively chaffinches coming in for seed.

scary chaffinches

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help out at the Buccleuch Centre cafe and after a light lunch, I headed up to the golf course on a toadstool quest.

On my way there, I saw horses at the bottom of the Kirk Wynd having a snack on the way to their field….

horse on Kirk Wynd

…and a bee having a snack on a dandelion at the top of the slope.

bee on dandelion

I was a bit worried about the toadstools when I passed the green keeper and he told me that they had been mowing the rough but when I got to the trees, there were still plenty to be seen.

They were a little past their best but there was a lot of variety and colour….

golf course fungus panel 1

…and both old and new were to be seen along with other varieties.

golf course fungus panel 2

This was the top toadstool of the day in my opinion.

golf course fungus star

While I was on the course, I took a moment to admire the wonderful new 7th tee, built since my golfing days….

seventh tee

…and the old shelter for benighted golfers on stormy days, still standing after many years but only just.

shelter on golf course

I left the course and headed for the open hill.

I had passed this way last in the middle of the dry spell and the wall at the gate onto the hill had had very little lichen or moss but the recent rains had got things going again…

lichen on moss at top of Kirk wynd

…and both lichen and moss were thriving.

The skies clouded over as I walked along the track to the quarry so I have taken the liberty of ‘zinging up’ the pictures that I took along the way a bit as otherwise the skies looked very dull in the images and the results didn’t reflect the pleasure that I got from the scenery.

My route took me along the hill with views up the Ewes Valley to the north…

 

view of ewes from whita

…past the town….

view of Langholm from Whita

…over the wall at the quarries…

wall and stile at quarry

…and down into the woods….

oak wood path

…which gave me some welcome shelter from the stiff breeze.

oak wood near round house

I walked down to the river at the Skippers Bridge and stopped for the obligatory picture opportunity.

Skippers bridge Sept 18

It is a tall bridge when viewed from the upstream side as can be seen by the tiny figure crossing it in the shot above.

Peering through arch of the bridge, I thought that the river was looking at its best.

Esk below skippers

(Not zinged up at all)

The recent storms have left a lot of broken trees and branches around and I saw a couple on my walk today.

fallen trees

I walked along the Beechy Plains on my way home and in the rather gloomy woods beside the river, I saw both script lichen and fungus…

Easton's walk

…of various sorts.

fungsu on tree stump

I ended my walk with a visit to our corner shop.  It really is on a corner.

corner shop

Mrs Tootlepedal had brought back a slice or two of a delicious sponge cake from the Buccleuch Centre and I ate them with a cup of tea while I rested for a while after battling the breeze.

Then I started the task of sanding down the garage doors which are going to be painted.  Luckily this didn’t require any great skill and I was able to get on with it while Mrs Tootlepedal did some shopping.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to do front-of-house for a ballet screening and on this occasion, I left her to it and spent time messing about with the photo editor instead.

The flying bird of the day is another chaffinch.  There are a lot of them about.

flying chaffimnch sept 18

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from ex-archive group member Ken, who now lives in the north east.  He spotted a mother gull teaching her children where food comes from if people are careless enough to overfill their bins.

scavenging gulls

We had a dry, often sunny but breezy day today and I might have gone for a pedal if I hadn’t had a hospital appointment in Dumfries to look into my hoarse voice.

There was time before we left, for Mrs Tootlepedal to start work in the garden clearing the flower beds beside the front lawn.  The combination of the passing of time and the strong winds and rain had left the mixture cosmos, cornflowers and poppies looking past their sell-by date…

border before

…even though some of the tallest cosmos haven’t even started to flower.

We left for Dumfries with enough time in hand to visit a garden centre near the hospital for lunch and for Mrs Tootlepedal to buy two plants for for next year’s garden.

The hospital appointment was very satisfactory, being bang on time and very short.  The consultant poked a tube up my nose and by some magic declared that my throat was free from any damage, other than, he said looking me in the eye, that caused by the ageing process.  Still, he is referring me to a speech therapist which was what I wanted to happen three months ago so I am very happy.

To make the most of the day out, we visited a farm shop near the hospital on our way out and made some judicious purchases.   Then we took a round about route home, starting with the road along the Nith estuary.

We parked the car and went down to the river’s edge…

Nith estuary shore

…or at least to where the river’s edge would have been if the tide had been in.

The breeze was ruffling the reeds nearby.

reeds in the wind

We drove down to the very corner of the estuary and walked through the Caerlaverock nature reserve.

We could hear the cry of a curlew but couldn’t pick it out against the marsh so I looked for fungus instead as we went along.  There was a good selection.

caerlaverock fungus

We mostly walked through an old wood but occasionally we could look across the marsh and the Solway Firth to the English side

caerlaverock view across solway

We ate a few blackberries as as we went along but weren’t tempted to try any of this rich bunch of elderberries.

caerlaverock elderberries

It is a place of big skies.

caerlaverock big sky

I enjoyed this notice beside the path as it was living up to its words and providing a temporary haven for a butterfly.

caerlaverock butterfly

The clouds scudded past overhead and the when the sun came out, the wood looked at its best.

caerlaverock wood walk

We went back to car and drove a mile or so onward until we came to Caerlaverock Castle, where….

caerlaverock castle view

…Mrs Tootlepedal sat in the cafe and enjoyed a cup of tea, while I took a brief tour round the premises.

The battery gave out on my phone as I approached the front door but luckily I had my phone in my pocket.

caerlaverock entrance

I love this castle and enjoyed my short tour of the inside…

caerlaverock big building

…and then a walk round the moat on the outside.

caerlaverock side views

caerlaverock moat

caerlaverock view across moat

I like the way that a late owner of the castle built a rather smart town house in the middle of the fortifications.

We left the castle and drove home in an unhurried manner and this enabled us to miss a sharp shower over the town, judging from the sodden state of the roads for the last few miles of the trip.

The sun was shining when we got out of the car and after a cup of tea, Mrs Tootlepedal went out to finish clearing the flower beds along the lawn.

border after

I had done a lot of shredding by the time she had finished.

I looked around in the evening sunshine.  There are still plenty of flowers left.

evening colour september

..but the stars tonight were two lots of ‘pretty in pink’.

nerines

Lilian austin rose

We had driven about eighty miles for a ten minute hospital appointment, but as we had fitted in a garden centre, a farm shop, a nature reserve and a castle, we felt that the day had been a genuine outing and very worthwhile.

I got out my bird watching camera when we went in but after a short spell of bird watching, the odds of seeing many more birds were greatly shortened by the arrival of a sparrow hawk…

sparrowhawk

…who reduced our resident population by one while it was there.

I cooked some of the purchases from the farm shop for tea and that rounded off the day very nicely.

The light was a not quite right for flying birds but quite a few tried to get into the picture before the sparrow hawk came so I have included them all.

four flying birds

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Sheffield correspondent, Edward.  He and his wife went to Singapore for the FI Grand Prix and stopped off at Phuket in Thailand where he was very impressed by the wiring.

Wiring in Southern Phuket

I footered away a fine morning, firstly through a failure of communication with Dropscone about the availability of scones and secondly through indolence when the scones turned out to be a mirage.

I didn’t really do anything…

….though I must have gone out into the garden fro at least a moment or two as I did some shredding of fallen sunflowers and noticed a butterfly on the bench…

red admiral butterfly on bench

…and a bee on a lamium.

bee visiting lamium

They were obviously tucked up snugly during yesterday’s gales.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to visit Matilda in Edinburgh, catching the first train to run from Manchester to Edinburgh after the line had been cleared of fallen trees.

I watched the birds.

A blackbird boogied on the lawn….

blackbird dancing on lawn

…a chaffinch put a hex on a goldfinch…

chaffinch putting the hex on goldfinch

…a male chaffinch told a female where the really good berries are….

chaffinch showing the way

…while a determined goldfinch practised its breaststroke…

Goldfinch swimming to the feeder

…and a sparrow kept an eye out for new arrivals.

sparrow checking out a chaffinch

From time to time a jackdaw dropped in to supervise.

jackdaw swing on the fat balls

I had an appointment with the dentist as I had carelessly bashed one of my teeth and I needed to know if I had broken it.  He took an x-ray and reassured me that it was sound.  However, if it is still sore after a few days, it might have to come out so I am hoping for the best and eating very soft food.

On my way to the dentist, I saw many bunches of bright red berries….

red berries by river

…and on my way back, I looked at the foliage that I had seen stuck under the town bridge yesterday.  It turned out to be quite a substantial tree, with its head on one side of the bridge….

tree under bridge top

…and its foot caught on the cutwater on the other side.

tree under bridge bottom

On the bank of the river beside the bridge, I was amused by this little family group of fungi with mother sheltering her two affectionate children.

riverside fungus group

I looked at the forecast when I got home and as it said, ‘rain later’, I decided to go cycling ‘now’.

It started to rain just as I got onto my bike.

However, the rain was very light so I decided to chance it and go anyway.  The rain stayed light as I cycled to the top of Callister and back (13 miles) and faded away as I got back to the town so I pedalled on over the river and went a few miles up the main road. This let me get to the magic twenty miles which is the minimum trip I like to do when I have gone to the trouble of getting the bike out.

After several very windy bike rides this month, it was a treat to find that the wind had dropped entirely and in spite of the light rain, cycling was a real pleasure.

The country is getting browner every day…

brown bracken

…so I looked for a bit of colour in the garden when I got back.  A lot of flowers got blown over yesterday but the verbascum just bent with the breeze rather than breaking…

verbascum leaning

…but the tall cosmos, which should be standing up and looking over the front lawn, is now leaning perilously low over the pond.

cosmos drooping

The Japanese anemone is small and tough enough to have survived quite well.

Tired Japanese anemone

After a nourishing meal of fish cakes, I was picked up by Susan, who was driving her very smart new red car, and driven to Carlisle where we played with our recorder group for the first time for a couple of months.  Roy, our librarian, had picked out a fine selection of music for our delight so we had a very good evening.

It was pouring with rain as we drove home.

I was pleased to find that Mrs Tootlepedal had got home safely in spite of her train being delayed a bit on both the up and down trips.  She had had a good time in Edinburgh.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch yet again.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone and reveals that the path in yesterday’s guest picture did indeed lead to a lighthouse, though the lighthouse is rather unusual.  It is opposite the port of Port Ellen next to Carraig Fhada at Kilnaughton Bay. The lighthouse was commissioned in 1832 by Walter Frederick Campbell in memory of Lady Eleanor Campbell. This is a very characteristic lighthouse with two square towers connected to each other.  It is a working lighthouse.

Islay lighthouse

Both Mrs Tootlepedal and I had a lie in today so things started slowly and it was very hard to distinguish between breakfast and morning coffee.

It was a cool day but dry and with not anything like as much wind as we have been having recently so I eventually got my bike out and set off to see how far my legs would carry me.  I was feeling pretty creaky at the outset but once again the good Dr Velo provided if not a complete cure, at least some relief from creakiness and my legs took for me for an enjoyable 30 miles.  I might have gone a bit further but I had no food with me and I had told Mrs Tootlepedal that I was going to do 20 miles so 30 miles seemed sensible.

The farmers have managed to get a second cut of silage in and my route was dotted with green fields where the sheep were grazing and pale fields where the grass had gone.

fields near gair

I kept my nose to the wheel for the most part and didn’t stop to take pictures, except for one of the river at Irvine House with just one hint of autumn among the trees.

Irvine House

There was a bigger hint a few hundred yards further along the road.

autumn bracken

When I got home, I found Mrs Tootlepedal in the garden chatting to our neighbour Liz. Liz was taking a break from hard work in her own garden but it wasn’t long before both the gardeners were back at work.  I had a sandwich and then came out to do some dead heading and supervising.

We have got some late orange hawkweed to keep things looking bright.

orange hawkweed

And if you think that this dahlia looks a little crowded with insects…

insects on dahlia

…what about this dandelion?

insects on dandelion

I went in for a cup of tea and then there was a smir of rain which brought Mrs Tootlepedal in too.

The rain didn’t last long and the afternoon brightened up again so Mrs Tootlepedal went back out to the garden and I went for a short walk.

The park wall showed that moss is getting back into its stride after the dry spell in the summer.

park wall moss

..with some spleenwort too.

There was lichen and a flower on the wall…

park wall lichen and flower

…and sloes and fungus beside the path as I walked up past the Stubholm…

sloe and fungus

…where I found that there was indeed light at the end of the tunnel.

Stubholm track

Gaskell’s walk had a lot to look at as I went along.

seed head

There were rosebay willowherb seed heads in abundace.

fireweed seed

…and a lot more fungus…

gaskell's fungi

…although one patch turned out to be fallen leaves.

The small lichen garden on the fence post at the Auld Stane Brig was still flourishing

Auls stane brig lichen

It has been there for years.

On the other side of the bridge, two cows did formation grazing.

two cows eating

The road back to town was colourful in places….

wildflowers by the road

…and there was another hint of autumn when I looked back over the graveyard to the woods that I had just walked through on the far side of the Wauchope Water..

A hint of autumn

At Pool Corner, the slow worms, both old and young, were still above ground (but under a sheltering piece of roofing felt).

slow worms

My walk was noted by interested spectators.

cows and sheep

Between the late start, the cycling and the walking, I didn’t have much time for looking at birds but in spite of that I did recognise how lucky we are to have a good variety of bird visitors.  Today we had starlings, blackbirds, blue tits, coal tits, sparrows, goldfinches, chaffinches, greenfinches, siskins, jackdaws, pigeons and collared doves.

You will have to take my word for that though as the only pictures I have is of the flying bird of the day, a chaffinch, going to join a goldfinch, sparrow and greenfinch on the feeder.

busy feeder

Looking at the picture, I notice that the chaffinch looks a little upset and this may have been because the perch that the chaffinch was hoping to land on has become unscrewed.  I will have to look for it tomorrow.

Mary Jo’s scientific rain gauge shows 6 cm of rain for the week or just about 2¼ inches, almost all of which came in one night early in the week so our weather has been better than expected.

 

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