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Posts Tagged ‘great tit’

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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The guest picture of the day comes from a visit to Wakefield that my brother made a few weeks ago.   The theatre there is a  handsome but modest building as befits a down to earth town.

Opera House Wakefield

After some quite heavy rain overnight and a rather misty, murky morning,  today turned into a very pleasant day.  I might well have gone cycling after breakfast but I decided to postpone any decision about that until I had gone up to the Moorland Feeders where I was acting as a fill-in feeder filler for Sandy who is basking in the sun somewhere in the far south.

I was greeted by a rather grumpy pheasant who only got off the gate to let me through with the greatest reluctance.

pheasant

I filled the feeders and found that it was warm enough to sit in the hide without a coat (which was just as well as I hadn’t bought one) and so I sat for a while and enjoyed the birds.

There were the usual suspects both big….

woodepecker and pheasant

…and small.

Greenfinch and coal tit

Greenfinch and coal tit

Great tit and blue tit

Great tit and blue tit

And one or two less usual things as well.

one legged chaffinch

A one legged chaffinch looking fit and well

blackbird

A blackbird on top of the tall feeder

squabbling chaffinches

And the first squabbling chaffinches of the season

There was also a major fungus outbreak at the foot of a tree near the hide.

feeder furngus

I made it home perfectly in time for coffee and then I decided not to go cycling again.

It was a great day to be out in the garden though so I went out into the garden.

I was pleased to see, along with the usual red admirals….

red admirals

Ten a penny this year

…that we had a small tortoiseshell in the garden as well.

small tortoiseshell butterfly

These have been very scarce this year.

There was no shortage of bees and hoverflies (and smaller flies too) once again.

cornflower with hoverfly

icelandic poppy with hoverfly

bee on dahlia

It is very gratifying to find that Mrs Tootlepedal has planted so many attractive flowers   that the garden is filled with flight and sound on any vaguely sunny day.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy developing her new plans for the middle lawn and flower beds and while she was working, she noticed that our silver pear tree had actually produced a few silver pears.

silver pear

They are very small.

Nearby, a cotoneaster was much brighter.

cotoneaster

The walnuts keep falling off the walnut tree, some of them assisted by jackdaws and crows like this one which was perched on the very top of the tree this morning.

crow

I think that there may be a walnut just to the right of the bird.

Soon it was time for lunch and I decided not to go to Edinburgh with Mrs Tootlepedal to see Matilda this week.

After Mrs Tootlepedal drove off to catch the train at Lockerbie, I decided not to go cycling once again but I did get the slow bike out to deliver a message to Nancy, the Archive Group treasurer, with more cash from the Welcome to Langholm sales desk.  They sell postcards, local history books and DVDs on our behalf.

Since I was on my bike, I continued along the waterside in the hope of seeing the dipper.  It was not there but a goosander kindly took its place and posed for me.

Goosander

It really was a lovely afternoon so I pedalled gently on across the Sawmill Brig and up the Lodge Walks.

Lodge Walks

My intention was to take another picture of the tiny fungi on a tree stump which I had seen on a recent walk but they had faded away almost to dust.  I looked around and saw a wonderful display of more conventional fungi on a tree stump on the other side of the road.

tree stump fungus

A veritable feast of fungus

tree stump fungus

A close up

I cycled gently home across the Castleholm and even on such a warm and sunny day, I could easily see why they had had to cancel our local agricultural show while we were away in Marseille.  Putting my foot down incautiously while pausing to admire the view  all too easily led to my whole foot and ankle disappearing into the glaur.  It has rained a lot recently.

When I got home, there was still plenty of time for a trip to Canonbie (or even further afield) but once again I decided not to cycle.

Instead, I retired indoors, practised the awkward song for our concert on Saturday (and all the easier ones a swell) and then had a long relaxing bath followed by a snooze.

It had been hard making so many decisions during the day and I needed a rest.

However, I have got my asthma medicine properly organised again and hope to be a great deal perkier tomorrow.

At last, a traditional flying bird of the day.  This was at the Moorland Feeders.  I am looking  forward to getting the garden feeders up again in the not too distant future.

flying chaffinch

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our neighbour Gavin.  He was walking in Edinburgh when he came upon this recently restored lift bridge on the Union Canal there.

Leamington Lift Bridge

Thanks to another depression coming off the Atlantic, the day started with a light frizzle and developed into some steady rain which lasted until late in the evening.  This gave us plenty of time to watch the telly and follow the devastation wreaked by hurricane Irma (and count our blessings again).

I was acting as fill-in feeder filler for Sandy who had gone off to visit his son and I was lucky that the rain was still at light drizzle setting when I went up.  The views when I got to the hide weren’t up to much though.

View from Laverock Hide

Once again, the glade was full of chaffinches but there were great tits…

great tit

….a blackbird and a single robin…

blackbird and robin

…as well as the usual phlock of pheasants.

pheasants

They became very excited when a woodpecker visited a seed feeder as it was a messy eater and let them have ample seeds to glean.

I was excited when the woodpecker flew across to the peanut feeder as this let me get a shot of it.

greater spotted woodpecker

I didn’t stay long in the gloom and when I got home, the rain was still light enough to allow a quick walk round the garden.

The cosmos is beginning to make a show at last.

cosmos

The tropaeolum, having looked as though it was over and producing nothing but berries, has decide to bloom again.

tropaeolum

The white Japanese anemone seems unaffected by wind or rain but it is well sheltered by the walnut tree.

Japanese anemone

Mrs Tootlepedal’s recently purchased pink Japanese anemone is also doing well…

Japanese anemone

…with plenty of flowers still to come but it is a bit shorter than she had hoped. Perhaps it will grow a bit more next year.

The Hellenium, which I find is also called sneezeweed, is doing its best but looks a little cast down by the rain.

hellenium

hellenium

The bed at the end of the drive continues to shine even on the gloomiest of days…

flower bed

….though I didn’t see a butterfly there today.

And that was it for the outdoor segment of the day.

Luckily, the Tour of Britain is being shown live and in full on the telly so there was always something to watch when I wasn’t doing the crossword, drinking coffee, eating lunch, putting a little music into the computer and practising songs for the choir concert.

The day brightened up metaphorically at least when Susan came in the evening and drove me to Carlisle for a meeting of our recorder group.  We have recently changed from many years of meeting weekly to meeting monthly and it is surprising how much more concentration is needed when you are not playing every week.  I might even have to start practising recorder playing as well as singing. It certainly won’t do me any harm.

I am beginning to get quite anxious to get out on my bike but the forecast for tomorrow is horrible too.

The flying bird of the day is not this gloomy tadpole in our pond….

tadpole

…but an equally gloomy and fuzzy chaffinch at the bird feeders.

flying chaffinch

 

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Today’s guest picture, sent to me by my friend Bruce, shows an impasse between dog and grandchild.  The grandchild would like the dog to come in and the dog would like to come in….but only if the excessively affectionate grandchild wasn’t there.

guthrie

I would have liked,  in theory at least, to have gone out cycling today as it was dry, fairly calm and even occasionally sunny.  It wasn’t warm but it wasn’t too cold.  What was there to stop me?

Me.

I was acting as a fill-in feeder filler at the Moorland Feeders for friends who were away from town on grandparenting duties so my first excuse of the day was a visit to the feeders with Mrs Tootlepedal.  She had a good time watching buzzards, a hen harrier and a kestrel from the car while I filled the feeders and then sat in the hide.

After seeing very few on my last visit, I hardly saw anything else but chaffinches today.

chaffinches

There were no siskins, no greenfinches, no blue tits, few blackbirds and only one or two great tits…

great tit and woodpecker

…and one woodpecker.

The pheasants have been put out from the hatchery on the Castleholm in readiness for the shooting season so there were a lot of pheasants about.  In fact, I had to be careful not to stand on one of them while I was filling the feeders.

pheasant and feet

One came close to the hide for a drink while I was sitting there.

pheasant

I waited for some time in the hope of seeing something interesting but after a while there must have been a raptor nearby because even the chaffinches made themselves scarce and the glade fell eerily silent.    We went home.

I might have gone cycling when I got home but there was coffee to be drunk, a crossword to be done and many poppies to admire.

poppy

The poppies were not just beautiful to look at but they were also hotching with bees and I took so many pictures of them that I am putting a selection of them into a separate poppy post today and those with an inclination can look at it without everyone having to wade through them all.

There were a great many butterflies about too, enjoying the better weather…

peacock and red admiral butterflies

Peacock and red admiral butterflies

…and as usual, the buddleia was drawing them in.

I am still waiting to see a painted lady or a small tortoiseshell but we have had a good supply of red admirals and peacocks.

I enjoyed a sweet pea which has grown so strongly that it is sticking out of the top of Mrs Tootlepedal’s sweet pea fortress.

sweet pea

And I saw a red admiral sitting on the unopened flower of a lily in the flower garden….

lily and butterfly

A butterfly kiss from the lily. It should look spectacular when (if) it opens

Then  it was time for lunch.

I might have gone cycling after lunch but Sandy suggested a walk at three o’clock and as I wanted to mow the front lawn, there wasn’t time to do both before the walk. I chose the lawn.

Front lawn mowing

You can see the poppies surrounding three side of the lawn.

When Sandy came, we went off in his car along the road to the bird feeders but stopped beside the river at the bottom of the hill and walked up the hill through oak woods and fields to Broomholmshiels before coming back to the car down the road.

It was a short walk but full if interest.

There is a mossy wall beside where we parked the car.

mossy wall

And fine trees in the field at Longwood.

Longwood tree

Longwood tree

The walk through the wood is always a delight but it is even better when the sun comes out for a moment or two.

Oak wood

The oaks here didn’t seem to be suffering from galls in the leaves but only one tree that we saw had any acorns on it…

oak tree

…and we were surprised to see the leaves turning so early on another tree that we passed.

The wood is a sea of green and it is a wonder that the power people have managed to sneak power lines through the heart of it.

oak woods

We saw quite a bit of fungus on our walk, some old and some new.

fungus

The thistles have turned to fluff.

Thistles

Once we were clear of the trees, there were views to enjoy, especially when the sun made one of its brief appearances.

Warbla

Looking over the Esk valley

Whita heather

Patches of heather among the pylons on Whita

There was still time for a cycle ride after the walk but it seemed a good idea to invite Sandy in for a cup of tea and a slice or two of the oat, plum and ginger bake.  We made sure that he didn’t get away without taking several courgettes with him.  Mrs Tootlepedal’s two courgette plants are producing more than we can eat.

There might still have been time for a short pedal after Sandy left but it suddenly started to rain lightly and so I mowed the green house grass and waited to see whether it would stop.  It got heavier and I took the hint and went inside and looked at my pictures.

It brightened up later but by that time, I had lost any inclination to put foot to pedal at all.   I have done 470 miles this month so there is no compulsion to do more in these final two days.  I did a lot of eating instead today.

I did manage to catch a flying chaffinch while I was at the Moorland feeders so there is a rather fuzzy but genuine flying bird of the day today.

flying chaffinch

You can click here for the poppies if you wish.

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Today’s guest picture is another from my brother’s visit to Wirksworth.  As well as the train to the museum, there was another connection to Derby and Sheffield by the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway.

Wirksworth

We had been expecting a very rainy day today but it was surprisingly dry if rather chilly when we got up.

The day continued dry and got quite warm and although the sun was mostly absent and a few individual drops of rain fell from time to time, it ranks as one of the better days of the summer.  It would have been a great day for a good long pedal but I had been so adjusted to the possibility of rain and a day indoors that it took me ages to realise that I should be outside.

In the end, I had a look round the garden.

A lot of the dahlias are very spiky this year.

dahlias

The poppies are not.

poppies with no pollen

Many poppies had been visited by bees and abandoned.

poppies with bees

And bees were flying around looking for fresh pollen

Occasionally a poppy was to be found with pollen but no bees.  This was my favourite.

poppy

There were butterflies to be seen too.  We have two buddleias and both were in the butterfly business today.

peacock butterfly

Red Admiral butterfly

I did get my act together in the end and after coffee, I went off down to Canonbie on my customary 20 mile route.  There was only a light wind today and my legs felt quite cheerful so I applied myself to bicycling and only stopped for one cow…

horn cow

…which was too busy chewing to pose for a proper picture.

I got back at a good speed and had a quick look for butterflies on the Michaelmas daises….

bee on Michaelmas daisy

…but there was only a bee

I noticed that the Virginia creeper has some little flowers…

fox and cubs virginia creeper

…and the cubs have come to join the fox in the orange hawkweed.

Mrs Tootlepedal was hosting a committee meeting of her Embroiderers’ Guild group in the afternoon so after a quick lunch and a shower, I packed myself and my new lens into the car and went up to the Laverock Hide at the Moorland Project bird feeders to see what I could see, although the day had got a bit gloomy by this time.

The first thing that I saw was two other other enthusiasts already ensconced in the hide with big lenses at the ready.  I filled an empty feeder and sat down beside them as they clicked away furiously.

There were a lot of small birds to see…

chaffinch

Chaffinch

Great tit

Great tit

Siskin

Siskin

Coal tit

Coal tit

Blue tit

Blue tit

…and some bigger ones too.

Greenfinches

Greenfinches looking as fierce as ever

pheasant

A pheasant not in full feather yet

woodpecker

And a greater spotted woodpecker

The other two bird watchers had left before the woodpeckers came so I sat quietly and enjoyed three woodpeckers chasing each other about the trees.

I had thought of a walk while I was up there but a spell of very light rain for a while persuaded me that a cup of tea at home would be the best thing.

It had got quite warm enough by this time to make it feel quite like summer so Mrs Tootlepedal and I went out into the garden.  She did some heavy tidying up and mulching while I sieved some compost and trimmed one more of the box balls…and admired the combination of crocosmia, cornflower and poppies which the gardener had planned and which has finally arrived.  The camera can’t do it justice.

poppies, crocosmia and cornflower

I’ll try again if we get some sunshine.

I had a look for late butterflies or bees on the daisies again but there were none to be seen. The daisies were quite attractive in their own right though.

Michaelmas Daisies

I have pulled a muscle (even though I didn’t know that I had any) in my left arm and that combined with a nagging back is making me feel my age a bit at the moment so I went in and had a sit down before my flute pupil Luke came.

He tells me that he has passed his Higher music exam which involved  playing two instruments  and written work.  He didn’t get any help from me with his exam pieces so I can’t take any credit for this. He just worked very hard with his grandad and the teachers at the school.  I am very proud of him.

I tried very hard to get a flying bird this afternoon but the light wasn’t good enough so a head and shoulders of a woodpecker will have to do instead.

greater spotted woodpecker

 

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Today’s guest picture of helmet hair was sent to me by my Maine correspondent.  She had been for a 13 mile cycle ride and tells me that she, Laurie is in the picture  with her husband Clif . They live in Winthrop, Maine, and that picture was taken at Norcross Point, which is by Maranacook Lake in Winthrop.

Helmet heads

There was  no chance of me getting a helmet hair shot today as I woke up with a very bad back and struggled to walk let alone cycle.   I have had long standing back problems but today’s trouble was a nasty surprise as I have been quite pain free and flexible for some time.  It was probably caused by something as simple as sitting in an unaccustomed chair and will soon go away with careful use.  Still, it wasted a genuinely warm and sunny day which was a pity.

poppies

I staggered out into the garden after breakfast just to record the sunshine.

I really liked this crumpled paper poppy with a bee flying in.

poppies

That completed my activity for the morning.

The other surprise of the day was a triumph of good service.

A few days ago I decided to take advantage of a part exchange offer from WEX, a photographic supplier.  I sent off the details of the the lens I wanted to exchange and got a very good offer which I accepted. The firm sent me prepaid labels and I posted off my lens on the understanding that they might well alter their offer when they had examined the lens closely.

I thought that the offer was a bit too good to be true and wondered whether my description of the lens as ‘lightly used’ might be a bit optimistic.  The firm rang me and told me that their examiner had indeed downgraded my view of the state of the lens by a grade and naturally, I feared the worst.  Would the offer be halved?  It had seemed too good to be true.  I held my breath.

The price will have to be reduced they said.  Then they told me by how much and I breathed out.  Since the reduction was only about 8% of the total this was but a trifle and I accepted the new valuation with alacrity.

When I rang up the sales team half an hour later, my trade in was safely credited to my account and I was able to purchase not only the new lens that I wanted but a new photo printer to go with it.

This was yesterday.  The printer and the lens arrived today! I don’t believe that I have ever received such prompt, fair and reliable service.

To add to my happiness, the printer was soon set up and worked well.

As far as the lens went, Mrs Tootlepedal drove me up to the Moorland Feeders and I pointed it at some birds.  It is early days but it looks quite promising to me.  Here is a selection of the results.

blue titcoal titcoal titgreat titblue tittree creeperwoodpeckerwoodpeckergreefinchchaffinch

For the technically minded, the new lens is a Sigma 150-600mm and it should let me improve the quality of my bird pictures when I have mastered it.

On our way home, Mrs Tootlepedal first stopped to buy a battery for a humane cat scarer which she recently purchased as she is fed up with cats making a mess of her flower and vegetable beds and then stopped again at the Kilngreen.

I was hoping for a flying gull to test the new lens but instead I found Mr Grumpy sitting down, a most unusual sight indeed.

Heron

Perhaps he had a bad back too.

When  we got home, my back was eased enough to let me mow the middle and front lawns although my mower pushing style was a bit inelegant.

Then I took a picture or two.

Cat scarer

The cat scarer in position. It works with ultrasonic noise.

The handbook says darkly that it doesn’t work at all on deaf cats….or white cats…or very old cats…or perhaps any cats.  They offer no guarantees.  We shall see.

Mrs Tootlepedal was hanging the onions up to dry in the greenhouse.

onions

The last of the rambler roses.

rambler rose

Then I went in and sat down for the rest of the day.

There have been quite enough birds already in the post so no flying bird of the day in any shape or form.

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Today’s guest picture is another from Gavin’s visit to Yosemite and shows a quite well known waterfall there.

yosemite

We had another chilly but dry day today.   This was a bit of a surprise as we had been promised rain.

Dropscone is going on holiday on the Isle of Skye next week so he came round for a farewell cup of coffee.  He completely failed to bring traditional Friday treacle scones with him but made up for this with several hot cross buns which did very well instead.

After he left, I spent some fruitless time on my computer.  National Savings had sent me a letter politely suggesting that I might like to register on line as I am a premium bond holder and this would save them the trouble of constantly sending expensive letters to tell me when I have won a prize.

This seemed fair enough, though they don’t send me many prize letters I can assure you, but having gone through the online process unsuccessfully a couple of times, the website ended up by telling me to print a form out and send my application to go on-line to them in the post.  I was mildly amused.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went up to the Laverock Hide at the Moorland Project Feeding station, she to see if there were any raptors about and I to look at smaller birds.

She did get a brief view of a passing hen harrier and I saw a lot of small birds.

greenfinch

This was one of only two greenfinches that I saw today

great tit

But there were a lot of great tits about

chaffinch

And an unusually marked chaffinch

There were some slightly larger ones too.

woodpeckers

Woodpeckers chased each other round the trees,

woodpeckers

And then this one relaxed

I got a glimpse of a passing jay….

jay

…and couldn’t miss this pheasant which stood right in front of me and stared me out.

pheasant

Two visitors came into the hide hoping to see a goshawk but left fairly soon and then more bird watchers with big binoculars and a telescope arrived and they did see a goshawk…

bird watchers

….but it was far too far away for me to see at all.

Mrs Tootlepedal and I decided that goats on the moor might be a better bet so we went up onto the hill and saw three or four goats wandering around some distance away trying to look like boulders or clumps of heather.

goats

We had thought that we had seen a goat or two near the Tarras Bridge on our way out so we had hopes of seeing some nearer to hand on our way home.

We were not disappointed.

goat

A clue

We parked the car and I walked up the road with my camera at the ready.  I tried to be as inconspicuous as possible but this was a wasted effort as the goats didn’t care how close i got to them.

wild goats Langholm Moor

They just kept munching…

wild goats Langholm Moor

…though they did give me the occasional glance.

There was a small group among the bracken.

wild goats Langholm Moor

It was a very peaceful scene.

wild goats Langholm Moor

People say that kids don’t climb trees any more but some do.

wild goats Langholm Moor

And others joined in.

wild goats Langholm Moor

Weighing up the job

wild goats Langholm Moor

All hands on deck

And then back to mum for a cuddle.

wild goats Langholm Moor kid

We left them chomping away in peace….

wild goats Langholm Moor

…and drove home.

It started to rain as we got back so we went inside and had a cup of tea.  It soon stopped raining but in spite of a temperature of 10°, it felt so chilly and unwelcoming outside that we left the garden to itself and found things to do indoors.

I had a look at our own birds.  They were still arguing.

goldfinch

And even this rather placid looking pigeon…

pigeon

…had chased another three away from under the feeder.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and Alison and I tootled away merrily while Mike and Mrs Tootlepedal watched Gardeners’ World on the TV.

The orchestra and I found some agreeable tempos for the trickier pieces and we had moments when things sounded really good but there were also moments which indicated that a little more practice might not go amiss.  Such is life.

After TV and music, we joined together and put the world to rights.

The flying bird of the day is a garden goldfinch.

goldfinch

 

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