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Posts Tagged ‘goldfinch’

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew, who was half way up Snowdon in Wales when he saw this view yesterday.  He says that the best thing about climbing Snowdon is that you can get a cup of tea at the top but the view is pretty good too.

Snowdon

Our spell of dry and windy weather continued today with both more sun and more wind than yesterday.  It seems a long time now since we had any serious rain.

The garden is enjoying the weather and doesn’t seem to be needing rain yet though.  It is hard to beat a sight like this when I went out into the garden after breakfast.

apple blossom

It is apple blossom time.

Mrs Tootlepedal’s front beds don’t get the sunshine until a bit later but the mixed tulips were quite bright enough without any help.

tulip beds

I had intended to go for an early bike ride but I wasn’t feeling very perky, probably because my asthma was playing up a bit and definitely because the wind seemed to be very strong so I idled quite a bit of the morning away before I finally chased myself out of the house.

I was glad to be out.  It was a sparkling day and the wind blew me up the hill and made the start of my ride very easy.  Because of the stiff breeze, gusting at well over 25 mile an hour at times, I decided to use my valley bottom ‘outdoor gym’ and cycle 25 miles by repeating the four mile trip up to Cleughfoot and back three times.

The wind was so strong that I took more or less exactly the same amount of time to cycle up the hill as I did to cycle back down again and on the third iteration of the route, I set my fastest ever time for the three uphill miles from Pool Corner to Wauchope School.

I also stopped for photos, as my modest speed let me keep an eye for points of interest like these bright things on a conifer.

Spruce flower cones

Spruce flower cones

I couldn’t miss the gorse which is as good as I have ever seen it this year.

gorse

There were lambs bleating in every field.

lambs

And the blackthorn blossom at one point was sensational.

blackthorn

My favourite cascade on the Wauchope has been reduced to a mere trickle…

Wauchope cascade

…but this did let me appreciate just how bent the rocks beside it are.

bent rocks

Our peaceful countryside has been the subject of some powerful forces not so long ago.

I had another look at the apple blossom when I got back to see if there were any bees about.

bee on apple blossom

Good work.

The bird seed was going down at the usual speed.

redpoll, siskin and goldfinch

A redpoll looks rather disapprovingly at a goldfinch tucking in

Mrs Tootlepedal had been helping out with the lunches at the Buccleuch Centre so we had a late lunch when she got back and while she had a well deserved rest, I pottered around the garden, dead heading yet more daffodils and some of the early tulips.

I roused Mrs Tootlepedal and we drove down to the animal feed shop south of Longtown where I get my bird seed.  I bought a big bag of seed which I got free, courtesy of a generous bribe from BT in the form of a prepaid card which they gave me when I changed my internet supplier to them recently.   I may well repay them by changing to another supplier when my cheap first year runs out.

We stopped in Longtown on our way home and I took a quick walk along the river.  The bridge of many arches was looking good in the sunshine.

Longtown Bridge

In fact it was looking so good that I thought I might try taking three pictures and merging them using Photoshop, a technique I learned at the last Camera Club meeting.

This was the result.

Longtown Bridge 2017 photomerge

You can click on the picture for a larger view.  The technique works pretty well. I couldn’t see the joins.

The river looked inviting….

River Esk at Longtown

…so I strolled down the riverside path…

Longtown path

…and in the shelter of the trees, it was a beautifully warm day.

I was delighted to see an orange tip butterfly and even more delighted when it thoughtfully posed for me.

orange tip butterfly

A small tortoiseshell was not so obliging.

There were wild flowers on view as well.

nettle and silverweed

Some sort of dead nettle and the aptly named silver weed

umbellifera

Various umbellifera which I should be able to identify but can’t

Between the cycle ride, pottering about the garden and the riverside walk, I took far too many pictures today but the weather is due to be fine again for the next two days so I will have plenty of opportunity to take many more.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to an Archaeological Society meeting and I went to sing with the Langholm Community choir.  When I came out, there was a very beautiful sunset to round off an enjoyable day.  Luckily I didn’t have my camera with me as I think that the 80,000,000 pictures of lovely sunsets already on the internet are probably more than enough….but it was a particularly good one.

The title of the blog today refers both to the wind, which was hard to beat when I pedalled against it in the morning, the beautiful river views at Longtown in the afternoon which were looking as good as I have ever seen them and finally the speed at which our conductor in the evening took one of our pieces.  A beat that I found it was very hard to keep up with.

I didn’t have much time for flying birds today and this goldfinch, threading its way towards the feeder, was the best that I could do.

goldfinch

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Today’s guest picture, sent to me by Sandra Waller, shows a good crowd at the Garden of Cosmic Speculation.  It is a 30 acre sculpture garden created by landscape architect and theorist Charles Jencks at his home, Portrack House, near Dumfries.  The reason for the crowd is that the garden is only open for one day in the whole year.  Sandra says it took her an hour to get out of the car park but the visit was still well worthwhile.

image001

I had little time this morning for speculation, cosmic or otherwise, before setting off straight after breakfast for a ride round my Canonbie route.  The reason for the prompt start was an appointment to eat some of Dropscone’s scones with a cup of coffee later in the morning.

The wind wasn’t very helpful, being across for much of the trip, so I only had time for two picture stops.

Canonbie trees

My favourite trio of trees are beginning to burst into leaf.

Irvine House

The river Esk at Irvine House looking very fresh and green

I got back within a a minute of the appointed time for coffee and enjoyed the subsequent scones a good deal, having worked up an appetite for them.  Dropscone was in good form after his two recent holidays and is already considering his next one.

When he left, bearing a gift of rhubarb, I took our car up to the garage to get the winter tyres taken off and the summer ones put on.  I hope that I have not been too optimistic about this but the forecast looks quite settled for the moment at least.

I dawdled my way home, visiting the chemist, my coffee bean supplier and the Welcome to Langholm office on the way so it was almost time for lunch when I got back.

I had a moment for a walk round the garden…

tulips

There are still plenty of tulips on the go

…and a look out of the window….

busy feeder

…and plenty of birds too

…before I had the last of the leek soup with some excellent Northumbrian cheese which we had bought in Alnwick.

After lunch, I got busy in the garden.  First I sawed and spilt some more of the cherry branches which Dropscone had pruned from the tree in his garden and given to us.  I bought a new blade for the bow saw yesterday and it made the task a lot less like hard work than using the old blunt blade.

Then I mowed the greenhouse grass, did a bit of dead heading and looked at the flowers again.  The plant with the most flowers on is a berberis and the one with the most elegant is an alpine clematis.

berberis and clematis

A loud buzzing drew my attention to our apple blossom and I was able to point out a tree bumblebee to Mrs Tootlepedal.

tree bumblebee

I have seen one before but this was the first that she has seen.  They are recent arrivals in Scotland.

In spite of the bee, I spent a little time with my soft paint brush being a bee myself as our apples have a lot of blossom and one bee is not enough.

I went inside for a refreshing cup of tea and had a look out of the window while I was there.

siskins

Siskins don’t let trying to eat get in the way of having a good row.

siskins

The perching redpoll of the day

It was such a nice afternoon that I was able to tempt Mrs Tootlepedal to come on a short cycle outing to see nuthatches and dippers.

On our way round the Scholars’ Field, we stopped to look first at wild flowers in the verge beside the path…

wild flowers

The plant on the right is ribwort or P. lanceolata which I learn from Wikipedia is used frequently in herbal teas and other herbal remedies. A tea from the leaves is used as a highly effective cough medicine. In the traditional Austrian medicine Plantago lanceolata leaves have been used internally (as syrup or tea) or externally (fresh leaves) for treatment of disorders of the respiratory tract, skin, insect bites, and infections.  It seems to be more useful than you would think from its modest appearance.

…..and then at a pretty yellow flower growing on the wall at the end of the pitch.

Corydalis aurea

It was new to Mrs Tootlepedal but some research when she got home showed that it was Corydalis aurea, another plant much used in herbal medicine.  After looking up the side effects, we have decided not to test it out.

When we got to the Jubilee Bridge, we did see a couple of nuthatches at their nest but only for a brief moment and the only shot I got was of one of them coming out of the nest and making off at speed.

nuthatch

We waited for a while but it didn’t return so we cycled off on a tour of the Castleholm and pheasant hatchery.

Pheasant hatchery

It was a very green experience.

We were well sheltered from any wind and although the sun was sulking, it was a lovely spring day to be out and about.

copper beech

A copper beech among the greens

Castleholm tree

A tree revealing exactly how tall local cows are.

There were wild flowers, fresh leaves and an azalea to enjoy as we pedalled along.

azalea, primrose and leaf

When we got to the Sawmill Brig, there was a dipper perched on a rock just below us but we were too much for it and it flew off up the river and did its dipping there, in plain view but annoyingly, too far away for a picture.

We watched it for a while and then cycled back home past the nuthatches (no show) and a very pretty  lesser stitchwort…

stitchwort

…and got back just in time for me to go and collect the car with its seasonal tyres properly adjusted.

The winter tyres have been very successful in a way because since I bought them, we have had two mild winters and I have never had to drive in snow or ice.  Obviously they have been well worth the money.

When I got back, Mrs Tootlepedal showed me some shy violets under one of our hedges.

violets

I curried the remains of the sausage and bean stew for my tea and spent a little time going over some of the many songs which I need to know for forthcoming concerts with two choirs.  I don’t know why people are so keen on concerts.  I would be happy just to go to the choirs for the sheer pleasure of singing.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch, concentrating hard.

flying goldfinch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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As it is National Hedgehog Awareness Week, I was very happy to be sent this picture by Fiona, my Newcastle correspondent, who is taking care of two rescue hedgehogs.

Hedgehog Awareness Week

Our spell of dry weather continued but I was glad that I had decided not to cycle today as there was a very fresh wind blowing and as a result, it felt quite chilly.  It would have been hard and unforgiving work on a bike ride.

As it was, I made a sausage and bean stew for the slow cooker while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing with the church choir and then went out for a walk.  I was hoping not only that our bluebells would have reached their peak but that the woods would be full of wild garlic too.  Sadly, the cool weather has slowed things up and there were only a few garlic flowers to be seen…

wild garlic

…and the bluebells were not much further forward than on my last visit…

bluebells

..though they are still delightful, whether seen from a distance….

bluebells

..or close up.

They might have looked better if the sun had come out properly but it carefully waited until I got home before putting in an appearance.

I did see these….

seeds

…and a few of these…

wild flowers

I don’t know what these are. I thought they were daisies at first.

…and a lot of this…

saxifrage

…which I think is golden saxifrage.  It has done very well this spring and the woods are full of it.

The show stopper was a rhododendron in the park.

rhododendron

If you could get out of the wind, it was quite a springlike day.

Stubholm

I went down to the river before going home and was pleased to see a pair of goosanders cruising along….

goosanders

I  followed them downstream.

goosanders

I hoped to catch them from closer up as they went under the suspension bridge but they were too quick for me so I settled for some stationary trees.

River esk

Just before I got home, I stopped to take a picture of this very fine marsh marigold in the dam.

marsh marigold

This was when the sun came out.  Too late for the bluebells alas.

When I went in, I had to practise some songs for our Carlisle choir session in the afternoon but I had a moment to look at the birds in the  garden.

redpoll

A redpoll made sure that I got his best side.

goldfinch

The sun came out again to illuminate this goldfinch

Mrs Tootlepedal arrived and started on some garden tasks so I went out and mowed the drying green and was pleased to find a bee on the rosemary…

bee

…though I would have been happier still to find it on the apple nearby.

I couldn’t get past the anemone in another bit of sunshine.

goldfinch

Mrs Tootlepedal is going to plant some more for next year.

There was time for another quick practice and some leek soup before we went off to sing with the Carlisle Community Choir.  Our conductor worked us very hard as usual and I was quite pleased to be able to relax when we had finished.

The sausage and bean stew turned out to be rather dull (but nourishing) and may have to have some additions when it returns tomorrow evening.

The flying bird of the day is a rather grumpy looking siskin.  He probably thought that it was a bit too windy as well.

siskin

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my friend Bruce.  He was much taken by this planting on the course of the Hawick Golf Club.  It must be just about the neatest planting ever ( and helpful to senior golfers who can’t remember where they are).

IMG_0427

There are strong winds forecast for tomorrow so that made today the last comfortable cycling day of the month.  It was theoretically a degree or two warmer than it has been lately but it was still struggling to get up to 10°C (50°F) and even with the wind coming from the south, it felt chilly as I went out in the morning.

I decided that the best plan would be to start by pedalling 25 miles into the wind and then, as the wind got stronger, I would get the benefit of the breeze at my back for the 18 miles home.  Regular cyclists will be well aware of just how unreliable this sort of planning is as the wind is very unpredictable.   Today however, the plan worked to perfection and by keeping calm and pedalling gently into the wind, I managed the first 25 miles at  12.5 mph and still had enough energy (helped by a guava energy bar) to pedal the 18 miles home at 15.2 mph.   I love it when a plan works out.

The first 25 miles was slow enough for me to keep an eye on the verges and there was plenty to see, though the dull weather and being slightly puffed didn’t make for great photography.

wild flowers

wild flowers

wild flowers

I stopped for a banana at the 25 mile mark and looked at trees on both sides of the road.

catkins and flowers on trees

I passed a very fine clump of pink bluebells (if that is the correct term and not pinkbells) near West Linton….

bluebells

…and shortly afterwards saw the real things at Alstonby Hall.

bluebells

It certainly cheers a cycle ride up when there flowers to look at.

I have passed a Historic Scotland sign pointing to ‘Merkland Cross’ near Kirkpatrick Fleming many, many times and today I finally took a moment out to cycle up a side road to visit the cross.  I had to walk the last quarter mile through wild  flower strewn meadows beside the motorway while being observed by cows…

Merkland Cross

…but…

Merkland Cross

…the cross itself, carved from a single piece of stone, was a bit of a disappointment.  I had been hoping for an elaborate  Celtic cross of great antiquity but this one was rather plain and  from the middle ages.  At least the sign was honest.

Merkland Cross

Between the kindly wind, the flowers and the antiquity, I really enjoyed my ride.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal had cooked some leek soup with the last leeks of the season from the garden and together with some cheese and home made bread, it went down very well for a late lunch.

After a shower, I went out into the garden and did some dead heading and mowed the front lawn.

We have three trilliums in the garden  (three trillia?) and the first one has come out.

I passed a very fine clump of pink bluebells (if that is the correct term and not pinkbells) near West Linton.... ...and shortly afterwards saw the real things at Alstonby Hall.

I was just looking at the birds….

redpoll

A pensive redpoll

goldfinch

A startled goldfinch

…when, rather belatedly, I remembered that I was supposed to be filling the Moorland Bird feeders in place of Gavin who is on holiday in the north.

The glade at the bird hide has gone green.

Moorland Feeders

The birds themselves were in a very uncooperative mood and insisted on using the feeders furthest from the hide.  A woodpecker did turn up and i was hopeful but almost immediately another one arrived and they spent so much time chasing each other around that there were very few posing opportunities…

woodepeckers

…so I got fed up and after photographing a blackbird with its mouth full….

blackbird

…and a pheasant on the road outside the hide…

pheasant

It looked exhausted from chasing lady pheasants about

…I took a last look down towards the Tarras…

Tarras valley

…and went home.

I had persuaded Mrs Tootlepedal to come out with me to the Buccleuch Centre in the evening to see a group of six singers called ‘The Westenders’ give a concert of songs from West End musicals.  I could understand Mrs Tootlepedal’s initial reluctance to come because it is very difficult to know what a show like this is going to be like but on this occasion, we made a very good decision and had a grand evening out.

The six singers had a small but competent quartet of musicians behind them and they put everything they possibly could into a very well planned and musically arranged evening of songs.  We both went home positively uplifted by the sheer verve and professionalism of their performances.

I only just caught the flying bird of the day in the nick of time.

siskin

Those interested in the bike route can click on the map below.

garmin route 29 April 2017

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Today’s guest picture shows Sandend harbour in Banff, on the north east coast of Scotland.  Gavin passed it on a walk today as he is on holiday up there.

banff harbour

We had another dry day here today, although one or two spots of rain did fall in a half hearted way in the afternoon.

After breakfast I had to frame a couple of wild goat pictures for a Moorland Exhibition in the Welcome to Langholm Centre in May and then I had a walk round the garden.

in spite of the frosty weather earlier in the week, many tulips have done very well and even some of the Ballerinas have survived….

tulips

…and more tulips are arriving every day.

tulips

The tulips that Mrs Tootlepedal bought at Alnwick have survived the journey home and the cold and are looking very healthy.  Here are three of them.

tulips

I couldn’t pass the anemone by without taking a picture….

anemone

…because they are delicate flowers and it might be gone if there is a heavy shower of rain.

Although progress is slow because of the recent chilly mornings, new flowers are arriving.

Solomon's seal and lithospermum

Solomon’s Seal and Lithospermum

I was very impressed by the volubility of a blackbird as I went down the drive in front  of the house.

blackbird

I didn’t have long to look around though because I was delighted to leave the garden to partake of some treacle scones brought round by Dropscone to go with our first cup of coffee for a while.  Dropscone followed his trip to Skye with a golfing break so he has hardly seen his home for a fortnight.

He hasn’t lost his scone skills though.

After he left, I had to go to the health centre for a routine check but i had time to check on the perching redpolls first.

redpoll

After lunch I went off for a cycle ride.   The wind had dropped considerably from recent days and had moved round from the north so it was both quite a bit milder and much more helpful as I cycled back to Langholm from Canonbie.    I concentrated so hard on the pedalling that i forgot to take any pictures at all.

When I got home, I took my framed pictures up to the town and helped hang them on the wall beside some offerings from the local art club.

goat pictures in WtL

The Moorland Exhibition has been well publicised so I hope that they get plenty of visitors.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and Alison and I had an enjoyable time playing as always.  On a sobering note though, we put a metronome on as I felt that we were slightly rushing a slow movement in one of the pieces. ‘ Slightly rushing’ turned out to be an understatement as were well ahead of the pace after only four bars.  We shall have to learn to apply the brakes.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch, looking a bit shifty I thought.

flying goldfinch

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary, who visited  Dulwich Park opposite the Dulwich Art Gallery in South London today.  It is an oasis of peace in a busy world.

Dulwich Park, opposite the Picture Gallery

We had another chilly morning followed by another dry day with a north wind.  More tulips fell under the heavy hand of the cold but some survived…

tulips

…and new tulips have come to join them.

tulip

I killed a bit of time while I was waiting for the thermometer to rise to 7°C by looking at sitting birds in the sunshine from an upstairs window.

goldfinch

siskins

… and when the temperature finally got there, I went off on the fairly speedy bike to test how strong the north wind was.   It was brisk but tolerable and blew me down to the bottom of the Canonbie by-pass at a very satisfying rate of knots.

Of course the  return journey, uphill and into the wind, wasn’t quite so carefree but it was far from being just a slog and I enjoyed my ride a lot.  I only stopped once, on the bridge at The Hollows, to show the gradual greening of the landscape.

River Esk at Hollows

Downstream

River Esk at Hollows

Upstream

The river level is very low, a testament to the dry spell that we have had lately.  A couple of warm wet days wouldn’t be entirely unwelcome.

When I got home, I found Mrs Tootlepedal hard at work in the garden and after a shower, a quick lunch and a look out of the kitchen window….

redpolls

More redpolls seem to appear every day.

…I joined her.  I employed myself as usefully as I could by doing some dead heading of daffodils, which have suffered from the cold and are getting to the end of their lives anyway, some sieving of compost, which is needed for planting out the early vegetables, and mowing the middle lawn, which wasn’t really needed because of the chilly weather but I like mowing lawns.

And of course, I looked at flowers.

It was surprising to me how some flowers seemed untouched by the cold mornings.  This lamium is thriving….

lamium

…and a new anemone came out today…

anemone

…and the curious tulips seem unaffected by the frosts….

tulip

…though it might be a bit hard to tell.

We are getting very excited by a trillium which should be open soon.

I was pleased to see a bee or two about….

marsh marigold with bee

This one was on a marsh marigold in the pond

…because fruit flowers will need all the attention that they can get.

gooseberry and blackcurrant

The gooseberry has a wasp at work and the blackcurrant is producing flowers in spite of a bad attack of ‘big bud’

apples

The espalier apples are starting to flower

The cold weather has held plants back a bit but there are hopeful signs.

lupin

The lupins are looking healthy.

I spent some time trying to catch more sitting birds to please Mrs Tootlepedal who finds constant flying birds rather fidgety.  The next two pictures were taken with my Lumix while I was outside int he garden which is most unusual for me.  The birds were sitting on the feeders very calmly as I approached.

redpoll

siskins and goldfinch

When I went in, I looked out again.

redpoll

It was a redpoll heavy day today.

I put in a bit of time preparing an MP3 file of a tenor part for one of our Carlisle songs to send to a fellow singer.  It is a tricky number and there are fears that the conductor might try to make us learn it so a practice aid will be helpful.

I noticed a blackbird outside as I came through into the kitchen after emailing the music file.

blackbird

By now, it was time for tea and I cooked myself a nourishing corn beef hash with added onions and mushrooms and fortified by this, I then went off to sing with our Langholm choir.

 

It was one of those evenings when the songs we sang were songs that by and large I could sing and the three tenors in the choir were in good humour and sang well together as a team so that by the time the two hours were up, I was on a musical high and came home in a very cheery mood indeed.  Singing is wonderful when it is going well.

The flying bird of the day is looming more than flying.

flying chaffinch

Note:  A helpful correspondent pointed out that yesterday’s post came without a comments facility.  I don’t know how that happened and I will try to make sure that there is one today.  If there isn’t, I apologise.

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Today’s guest picture was taken by my friend Gavin’s son Fraser when Gavin went to Yosemite with him.  I gather that you may have to knock other photographers out of the way to take this stunning view.

Yosemite

We had another day of mostly sunny weather but with an even stronger and colder north wind than yesterday so we were not as appreciative of the sunshine as we might have been.  The clear skies had brought low temperatures which had done a bit of damage to tulips and azalea alike.

frost damage

I have been rushing about a bit lately so I had decided that this would be a day of mainly doing nothing.  This gave me the opportunity to take a few bird pictures and see if I had learned anything from last night’s camera club meeting.  I tried to get some slightly sharper flying shots.

flying siskin

flying chaffinch

flying goldfinch

…with variable success but with enough progress to keep me trying.  For some reason, the flying birds went better than a sitting redpoll.

redpoll

In this way, I passed a leisurely morning though the sunshine got me out into the garden for long enough to do some dead heading of daffodils and mowing of the greenhouse grass.  It is very satisfying to find myself throwing the dead headed daffs into a sparkling new compost bin.

After lunch, the lure of the sunshine drew me out for a walk.  I took a fixed lens pocket camera with me in an effort to take some better quality pictures here too.

I was a bit handicapped though by the changeable conditions.  I was just heading up past the golf course and this stunning garden escape…

berberis

…with a view to going up on to the hill for some expansive views when the wind became even gustier, the temperature dropped and it started to sleet with a vengeance.

Luckily there was a handy tree under which I was able to shelter until the shower had passed.

The open hill had somehow lost its attraction so I headed down Drove Road (so called because it allowed those driving livestock through the town to avoid the toll bars in times past) and waited for the sun to come out again.

It didn’t take long to arrive and I walked along a picturesque path….

Lamb Hill gate

(I was looking for black and white opportunities but the colours were so delightful that I didn’t find any)

Lamb Hill path

(See what I mean?)

Lamb Hill path

…..until I came to the hill road and walked down that to the main road and set off away from the town towards the High Mill Brig.  I had to cross this handsome little bridge under the main road at Whitshiels….

Whitshiels Bridge

…before getting to the High Mill Brig…

High Mill Brig

…which became a subject for experiment later on.

I crossed the bridge when I came to it and took the path above the fields on the other side of the river to get back to the town.

Ewes valley

Click (if you want) to get the bigger picture as I looked back down towards the Ewes Water

The path was dry underfoot and had several high quality gates along it…

Pathhead gate

 

…but the brisk wind blew the next sleet and hail shower along before I had got to the end of it.  Once again I was lucky to find a suitable tree to hide under and although i could have done with a few more leaves on the bare branches to shelter me from the storm, it kept me dry enough to enjoy the rest of the walk home when the sharp sleety shower had passed.

I passed the old Episcopal Church….

Episcopal Church

…and waited in vain for a sight of nuthatches before giving up and heading for home before the next shower came.

Mrs Tootlepedal had a busy day today, helping at the Buccleuch Centre both at lunchtime and in the evening as well as doing a lot of gardening and some preparation for interior decoration.    She showed me a gardening disaster when I got back from my walk.  The Ballerina tulips had suffered badly from the morning cold which had attacked their stalks just below the flowers so many of them had lost their heads entirely…

Ballerina tulip.

…and ended up in a bowl in the kitchen.  This was a tragedy as they had looked at their best yesterday evening.

Mrs Tootlepedal has put in a request for less fighting birds and more peaceful scenes of perching so I got the camera out again and had another go.  I filled the feeders and the wind immediately blew the lid of one of them open which gave an opportunity to an enterprising pair of birds.

redpoll and siskin

Other birds waited in the plum tree, swaying about  in the brisk breeze…

chaffinch

…and the flying bird of the day is a pair of matching perching redpolls (who had been flying earlier).

redpolls

I completely failed in my effort to to take fewer but better pictures today.

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