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Posts Tagged ‘haws’

Today’s guest picture comes from my recorder playing friend Susan.  She works in Carlisle and had to take the bus to work today as access to her car parking space was impossible.  The lake on the right of the picture is in fact a riverside park and only a temporary lake.

susan's flood carlisle

They may have had too much water in Carlisle but we had snow in Langholm today and this was the view from an upstairs window when we got up.

garden snowy morning

As you can see, there wasn’t a lot of snow in the town but I could see quite a good covering on our hills when I went to the shop after breakfast.

timpen with snow

When I got back home, i discovered that the snow had brought an influx of birds to the feeder and there was a queue in the plum tree.

birds in plum tree

Susan’s father, Dropscone dropped in on his way home from the gym, not to have coffee but to get some documents copied.  He needed them for a battle with the council which was trying to charge him for removing a water meter which didn’t exist.

As soon as he left, more snow arrived.

snowy day

It came down quite heavily but the temperature was just high enough that as soon as the snow hit the ground, it melted.  This continued through the day and although it really snowed quite a lot, there was less snow in the garden by tea time than there had been at breakfast time.

I spent time talking on the phone to insurance companies about our car insurance.  Two minutes on the phone to one company got £100 knocked off their renewal quotation.  Who knows what I might have got it down to if had stayed on the line longer.  I find this sort of thing rather depressing but it does give a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘an old and valued customer’.  They are trying to take advantage of their old customers and extract extra value from them.

I cheered myself up by checking on the birds. The snow had encouraged birds to visit the feeder.

There were some siskins….

a few siskins

…and a lone pigeon.

pigeon

Because it was such a miserable day, Mrs Tootlepedal hit on the happy idea of asking some of our neighbours over for lunch.  I bought some rolls and pate from the shop, while Mrs Tootlepedal made leek and potato soup (the last leek of the year from the garden) and a sticky toffee pudding.

Our neighbours Liz and Margaret and Liz’s daughter, Jane joined us for lunch and we ignored the sleety snow while we tucked in to good food and enjoyed good conversation.  We all agreed that Mrs Tootlepedal had had  a very good idea.

As we ate, we noticed more and more birds arriving outside so I went to check on the feeder.  I was distracted on my way by the sight of two unusual jackdaws on the dam side of the house.

mottled jackdaw

They are a regular pair and we often see them in the garden and round about.

I was even more distracted when two more jackdaws started what looked a serious argument…

jackdaw fight 1

…and for a moment i feared that this might lead to a fatality…

jackdaw fight 2

…but the fight stopped as suddenly as it started and all the jackdaws flew off.

When I turned round and looked at the feeder, I found that it was indeed very busy with a mixture of chaffinch, goldfinch and siskin.

busy feeder chaffinch goldfinch siskin

Very busy indeed.

busy feeder chaffinch goldfinch siskin 2

As time went on and the snow came and went, gradually all the birds on the feeder turned into siskins…

siskin crowd

…and there were a lot of siskins.

many siskins

Far more than we have seen hitherto this year.

flight of soskins

At one time, we counted well over 50 siskins on and around the feeder, the plum tree and the walnut tree.

I put out a second feeder to cope with the rush and by the time that I had got back inside and looked out again, they were both very busy.

two feeders out with siskins

After our lunch visitors had gone, I mooched about for a bit and then decided that I would go out for a walk come what may.  The snow showers had been heavy but none had lasted long so I waited for a gap in the weather, put on waterproof boots and trousers, topped that off with my new warm coat and set out.

There was quite a lot of snow on Whita…

whita with snow

…and the monument on the top of the hill looked very artistic.

monument with snow

Although I was well wrapped up and ready for anything, I was still pleased when the sun came out just as I left the town.

 

wet day at pool corner

As you can see, it was still pretty damp and I was glad that I had wellies on.

haws with raindrops

We have had  light frost, strong winds, heavy rain and now snow over the past few days but the lichens have positively enjoyed the weather and were looking better than ever as I passed them on wall and fence post today.

lichens

The sun persisted as I walked along Gaskells…

gaskell's snowy day

…but when I extended my walk to take in Easton’s on my way back, the snow started again and I had to keep my head well down and my camera in my pocket for the rest of the way.

It must have got a little colder as night fell because as I write this in the evening, more snow is falling, and this time it is settling.  It is still just above freezing so it will be interesting to see if we are going to wake up to a winter wonderland tomorrow morning or just a heap of sodden slush.

We are in for a few cold days and then it is going to warm up a bit to herald the arrival of another storm (called Dennis this time) next weekend.    You can have too much of this sort of thing.  I have always thought that it was a bad idea to give storms names.  It gives them ideas above their station.  You used to get one or two a year in the good old days and now we are getting them once a week!

Still, it stops us getting bored.

The flying bird of the day is one of the fifty siskins.

flying siskin

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary.  She was impressed by Mary Sibande’s exhibition ‘I Came Apart at the Seams’ on a visit to Somerset House.  If this picture is anything to go by, I can see why she liked it.

Mary Sibande, Somerset House

We had another grey and drizzly morning here and I had to put my umbrella up as I walked to church.  Mrs Tootlepedal is more carefree than I, so she cycled as usual. I enjoyed singing in the choir as the hymns were provided with nice straightforward bass parts which I could sing without worrying.  We had 10 in the choir today and our organist is hoping to start practising from next week with a view to an anthem or two.

We had coffee when we got home and then I checked on the birds.  Once again, there was very little light but at least there quite a few birds about today, both waiting on the walnut tree….

goldfinches in walnut tree

…and feeding on the feeder. In fact there were enough birds on the feeder for queues to form…

full feeder goldfinches

…though I was often not quite quick enough with my shutter finger to catch them in the air.

goldfinchlanding

I have lent my tripod to a friend who has gone off in the hope of seeing the Northern Lights so I am hand holding the camera.  This means that every time I look up from the viewfinder to see if a bird is coming, I just miss the one that has sneaked in.

late landers

I had more luck with a dunnock on the ground.

dunnock on tray

It was still drizzling and I thought that this pair of slightly bedraggled goldfinches summed up the day well.

two gloomy goldfinches

As regular readers will know, I have got a new coat (with pockets) so I thought that this dreich day might the ideal time to take it for a walk and try it out.

It really was a miserable day with absolutely no gap at all between the clouds and the ground.

mist on the hill scotts knowe

I walked along the track to the Becks Burn and noticed that there was still a lot of fruit on this tree…

fruit on tree january

…while the nearby apples had shed all theirs.

fruit on ground january

The apples must be very sour to have been left in peace by birds and animals.

People in towns and cities are often vexed by CCTV surveillance.  We have other methods of observation in the country.

sheep with horns becks

I was hoping to see fungi but these two small outbreaks on a pile of logs were all that I noticed.

siggy fungus becks

I crossed the Becks Burn by the bridge and took the road home.  In the hedgerow there was any amount of lichen…

mossy hedge

…and some haws as well.

wet hawthorn

As I got near to Pool Corner, the loud singing of a bird made me stop and look at the river.  As I thought, it was a dipper marking out its territory in song.

dipper inw auchope

A little further on, I found a patch of peltigera lichen on the wall looking very healthy.

peltigera lichen

My new coat kept the drizzle out very well and the pockets kept my camera and phone dry, so it passed the test.  In fact its only fault was that, if anything, it was too warm and I got gently cooked on my walk.  That is a fault on the right side, as they say.

After lunch, we set off for Carlisle where the Carlisle community Choir was having its first meeting of 2020.   During the last few months, the committee have been putting a lot of effort into encouraging more men to come and sing, and this paid off today in the shape of two new recruits to the tenor section.  We hope that they both enjoyed themselves enough to keep coming back.

We have a good range of music to sing in the forthcoming months and I am looking forward to learning new songs.

The forecast for the next two days is terrible so patient readers might have to wait a bit for some cheerful pictures.

The flying bird of the day is a  goldfinch battling through wind and rain to get to the feeder.

flying goldfinch

 

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