Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘meadow pipit’

Today’s guest picture reflects the sun, sea and sand being currently enjoyed by Sandy, who is in the Canary Islands having fun.

Sandy's hols

I must apologise for any more than my usual incoherence in today’s post as after several eventful days, I am feeling a bit tired.

I daresay though, that I am not as tired as the visitor we entertained today.  Loyal blog reader, Mary Jo from Manitoba, had decided that our new bench needed an international test inspection and so she came up from London, where she is taking a short holiday, to visit Langholm.

I met her at Carlisle station and brought her to the Muckle Toon.

She declared that the bench was fully up to standard…

Mary Jo

…having tested it in the company of Mrs Tootlepedal.

And then went back to London.

To say that she is a seasoned traveller is to understate her tolerance to going great distances without complaining.  Next time she comes, we hope that she will stay a bit longer.

She was not our only visitor today because as we were touring the garden with her, I saw a large white butterfly settle on a daffodil..

white butterfly

… and then move to a dicentra.

white butterfly

Unlike the butterfly, which soon flitted away, Mary Jo stayed long enough to have a walk, a bite of lunch and a short drive before departing.

She wanted to walk along the Lodge Walks so we did that and here she is in company with Mrs Tootlepedal showing that in spite of the sunshine on the Kilngreen…

Sawmill Brig

…. a brisk and chilly wind meant that coats were still required.

Mary Jo on the Lodge walks

We were not the only ones enjoying a walk and the Lodge walks are not far from being at their spring best.

Lodge walks

But as we said to Mary Jo, “If only you had come next week….”

There were wild flowers to decorate our walk…

Lodge walks wild flowers

…good views of the monument…

monument

…some trees in leaf….

spring leavesspring leaves

…and more wild flowers on our way.

wild flowers Scholars Field

When we got back to the garden, the sharp eyed Mary Jo spotted a bee on the dicentra….

bee on dicentra

…and took a picture of her hosts perched proudly on the new, thoroughly tested, bench…

Mrs and Mrs TP on the bench

…coats still firmly on against the chill.

I took a picture of a tulip and we went in for a late lunch.

tulip

After lunch, we drove up onto the Langholm Moor in the hope of seeing hen harriers and goats.

We saw a meadow pipit…

meadow pipit

… a sheep….

sheep

… a view of the Ewes valley…

Ewes valley

….two buzzards hunting over the hill…

buzzard

_DSC3662

…but no hen harriers.

However, as we were on our way back to the town, we did see a goat.

wild goat

All too soon, it was time to take Mary Jo back to Carlisle for her train to London.  She has sent me a message to say she is back safely, having enjoyed the day.

I found going about 200 miles to Glasgow and back yesterday quite tiring so I wouldn’t be surprised to find that after 600 miles on the train today, Mary Jo sleeps quite well.

We called in at a late opening garden centre on our way back from Carlisle and Mrs Tootlepedal added a few more plants to her collection.

It was absolutely lovely and rather amazing to see a blog reader from Canada in our garden, the second Canadian reader who has visited us in the last 12 months and it is a tribute to the wonderful world of blogging that such a friendship can be created out of nothing more than some agitated electrons.

I am hoping for some rain tomorrow so I have an excuse for a very quiet day.

The flying bird of the day is one of the hunting buzzards.

_DSC3663

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture shows that Bruce was not just looking at trams on the Great Orme. He was looking at the view of Llandudno too.

Great Orme

After yesterday’s miserable day, we had a very pleasant, warm and often sunny day today.

I didn’t make the most of it but I didn’t entirely waste it.

The better weather certainly encouraged my trigger finger and when I downloaded my camera card onto the computer in the evening, I found that I had taken a lot of pictures.  I ruthlessly pruned them down and discovered that I still had 54 so in the end, the number that appear on this post are just a shadow of the ones that I took.

While Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir, I made a beef and mushroom stew for the slow cooker and mowed the greenhouse grass.  No speed records were broken during this process.

I did have time to admire the rambler roses on the arch…

rambler roses

…and to reflect on the downside of a camera which sees the greenhouse, the whirlygig and the houses beyond while the human eye just sees the roses and ignores the rest.

I walked round to the back of the house to admire the excellent display of flowers along the dam.

Dam flowers

In the garden, the privet is attracting bees and it was quite hard to get a shot without a bee in it.

privet

The sparrows stopped eating Mrs Tootlepedal’s vegetables for a moment or two and started pecking my lawn.

sparrows

There are so many berries on our blackcurrant bush that our neighbour Liz came in and picked a colander full…

blackcurrants

…and then passed them on to another neighbour and came back and picked the same amount again, all without making a serious dent in the number still on the bush.  I will have to make more jelly.

After lunch, we settled down to watch the Tour but I felt a bit guilty about wasting such a good day so I put it on to record and went for a walk.

I went along the Kilngreen seeing sparrow and gull….

sparrow and gull

…and thought that the sparrow will enjoy the blackberries when they ripen.

I walked along the road to Whitshiels and then took the track up through the woods.

The track was covered in self heal and occasionally decorated with ragged robin.

self heal and ragged robin

At the top of the track, I took a picture of a remarkable tree.

Tree with hole in trunk

It is one of a row of three which defy the odds and flourish in spite of having only half a trunk and a tenuous connection to the earth.

tree

I walked onto the rough pasture and and saw a good selection of interesting (to me) things.

meadow pipit, cyclist, pylon

The bird is a meadow pipit which was trying to hide from me, the energetic cyclist was in the process of doing five repetitions of the climb to the White Yett and back down again and the pylon was doing nothing much at all.

I enjoyed the views of course…

Ewes valley

Ewes valley

…and took a panorama to show the extent of them.

ewes panorama

Click to enlarge

You can see why I like being up here on a sunny day.

I walked back across Whita Hill, passing these pretty pink flowers on the way….

pink flowers

…which may be lousewort (I am open to correction of course).

I came back to the town by way of the Kirk Wynd.  I was very distracted by the large number of red soldier beetles doing their best to contribute to the survival of the species.  There seemed to be several on every flower I passed at one point.

red soldier beetles

The Kirk Wynd was very flowery.

trefoil, daisy and bedstraw

rosebay willowherb

At the bottom of the Wynd, I passed the old graveyard wall which is hidden by a metal fence while repairs are being done.  I peeped through a gap.

The wall is supposed to be fully repaired by next week.  This seems like one of those targets which may be missed.

Old Kirkyard wall

I will doff my chapeau to the wall builders if the job is finished on time.

At the bottom of the Wynd, I stepped into the Market place and noticed that the Common Riding bunting is up at the Town Hall.

Town Hall bunting.

The Common Riding will take place on the last Friday in July so we are getting very excited already.

I walked down to the river….

River esk

On the gravel bank below the suspension bridge, a man was making a circular bench out of the river stones.

stone bench on Esk bank

This is a real labour of love as it is very likely that it will either be covered up or swept away by the next flood to come down  the river.

I got home and sat and watched the end of a very exciting stage of the Tour and followed that by eating the beef stew with peas and potatoes from the garden for our tea.  The presence of peas in the meal was a tribute to the fine pea fortress erected by Mrs Tootlepedal.  The sparrows’ frustration was our treat.

After tea, I got out the fairly speedy bike and had a fairly speedy trip down to Canonbie and back by my usual route but in the opposite direction.  It was a lovely evening but the brisk wind made the return part of the journey quite hard work.  Fortunately, I didn’t take my camera with me!

The sitting bird of the day is a blackbird which was keeping an eye on Liz as she picked the blackcurrants.

blackbird on fence

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture was sent to me by our daughter Annie who has been visiting her granny.  It shows Mrs Tootlepedal’s mother Mauri, who is 99 and 51/52ths years old.  We are going to her birthday party next week.

Mauri

It was a grey day and I had meant get up and get out early as there was a threat of rain later but it was one of those days when spring and footsteps were not related to each other so it wasn’t until after coffee that I finally got on the road.

Feeling that I had been over the same roads rather too often lately, I chose to head south out of the town to visit a different area of England.

This entailed a hilly route…

garmin route elevation26 July 2016

…which got hillier as I went on and didn’t have much in the way of flat bits on which to recover.  Also, as you can see from the elevation above, the downhills tended to be rather steep and as I am of a cautious disposition (especially on roads that I don’t know well), this entailed going very slowly down some of the hills as well as up them.

All this meant that I was never going to break any speed records and since this was so, I stopped quite a lot to take pictures as I went.

flowers by the road

There were plenty of wild flowers beside the road

I crossed into England over this fine bridge over the Liddle Water at Penton.

Penton Bridge

The ramp on the right of the bridge is a natural rock formation

I crossed back into Scotland by a much less impressive bridge over the Kershope Burn about 18 miles later.

Kershope Bridge

Riparian owners should be prevented by law from letting scrubby trees spoil photographers’ views of bridges.

In between, there was never a dull moment.

Tunnel of trees

I like this tunnel of trees near Catlowdy

I was often up on a ridge with good views.

Lyne valley

Just before I got to Roadhead, I turned left and took a road that was new to me back towards Newcastleton and Scotland.  I was surprised to find a little church in the middle of nowhere.

Bewcastle Reform church

It turned out to be the Bewcastle United Reform Church and has services once a month.

Past the church, I got into some high moorland…

Bewcastle fells

…but it wasn’t long before I was back among flowery verges.

Bewcastle fells

I had met one sharp shower a few miles after I had left Langholm but I had a rain jacket with me and it hadn’t lasted long so I wasn’t discouraged.   As I got near Newcastleton though, I could see a heavy rainstorm over the Langholm Moor, my route home.

As the wind would be against me, this was rather discouraging but I stopped and put my rain jacket back on in Newcastleton and plucked up some resolve and started to pedal up the steep hill out of the town in a steady drizzle.

I was rewarded by the rain stopping almost immediately and the only difficultly that I had in getting up the hill was having to stop and look at orchids all the time.  Mike Tinker had told me that there would be orchids and he was right. There were orchids lining the road the whole way past the golf course.

orchids

The hilly golf course itself can best be described as ‘sporting’ ….

Newcastleton Golf Course

..and it really pays to keep your ball on the fairway there.  I never played well on it.

I was having one last look at the roadside flowers…

orchid and pipit

…when I was distracted by the cheeping of a meadow pipit on a fence post.  It may have been hopping mad.

I toiled up the long and straight road to the county boundary….

Hill road

Looking back

…but the wind wasn’t as bad as I had feared and I finally reached the summit.  The ground there was liberally sprinkled with yellow flowers.

yellow flowers on Langholm Moor

I would welcome a suggestion as to what they might be.

Coming back down to Langholm from the county boundary is not the breeze that it should be as you have to cross the Tarras Valley on your way…

Tarras valley

The valley is marked by the line of trees.

 

..and this involves yet another down and up but at least the monument is in sight and you are not far from home.

Looking down the valley from the far side, I could see Cronksbank, a childhhood memory for one of the blog’s regular readers.

Cronksbank

Although I had only done 35 miles by the time that I got home, I had climbed about 3000ft so it was no surprise that I had struggled to keep my average speed above 10mph.  This was 4 miles an hour slower than I had managed for the whole 100 miles on Saturday and only increases my respect for the Tour de France professionals who fly up hills faster than I can go along the flat.

It had been rather chilly on the cloudy ride with a nip in the wind and temperatures only in the high fifties so it was a bit annoying that the sun came out just as I turned into the drive.

Still, it gave me the motivation to have a walk round the garden.

phlox

The phlox is really beginning to cut loose

dahlia and knapweed

Mrs Tootlepedal had been visiting Gretna in the pursuit of shopping bargains while I was out and after she came back, I went off in the car in search of wild raspberries.  I found enough bushes to pick a pound and while I was doing this, I saw a striking caterpillar on a ragwort plant.  When I looked closer, every ragwort plant seemed to have its own caterpillar (or two).

ragwort with cinnabar moth caterpillar

A little research when I got home told me that these are cinnabar moth caterpillars.

In the evening, I turned the wild raspberries into two jars of raspberry jam while my tea was cooking.  Raspberry jam is brilliant as it only takes about ten minutes to make it.  The downside is that using this ‘quick’ method means that it has to be eaten quite soon. Mrs Tootlepedal thinks she may be able to bear up under the strain.

There is no flying bird of the day but I think that the crocosmia, the flower of the day, looks remarkably bird like so that should make up for it.

crocosmia

Those interested may click on the map below for details of the ride.  It is a lovely route.

garmin route 26 July 2016

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my friend Bruce who seems to have popped up in Spain.   He had an excursion today to the monastery at Montserrat and found a statue there of interest.  He claims that its eyes followed him about wherever he went.  Look closely at the triptych which he took and you can see what he means.

MontserratI didn’t need to be followed anywhere this morning as I stayed firmly at home doing nothing more exciting than making some slow cooked lamb stew and a pot of coffee.  Sandy joined us for coffee on his way home from a fifteen mile cycle ride which put me to shame.

Mrs Tootlepedal was hard at work doing preparatory work for the final decoration of the downstairs room and I lent a small hand from time to time.

I did take a walk round the garden.   I found two small tortoiseshell butterflies trapped in a spider’s web in the garage and Mrs Tootlepedal came with her delicate fingers and freed them.  We were worried that they might be fatally injured but after a little basking in the sun…

butterfly…they both flew off looking quite chipper.

New flowers are to be seen.

tulip

The first of many tulips

forsythia

A few forsythia flowers

The tadpoles are beginning to roam free in the pond.

tadpolesSpurred into action by a sardine sandwich for lunch, I put on my walking shoes and walked up to the top of Timpen, a 1000 ft summit behind our house.  I had my cameras with me but I was more interested in walking than shooting so I took my walking poles along and hardly stopped until I had made it to the top of the hill.

Two brief photo ops detained me on my way up.

Hill cattle

With the hill cattle around, I had to be careful not to get between mother and calf.  They can be fiercely protective.

meadow pipits

I saw quite a few of these little birds on the hillside.

meadow pipits

They turned out to be meadow pipits.

There is a trig point with a bench mark on the summit….

benchmarkThe numbers do not refer to the height above sea level which is 1069 ft.  Another benchmark near our house in the town is at a height of 269 ft and this shows that I had climbed exactly 800 ft, as my route had not involved any loss of height.

It was another hazy day but I took a couple of shots from the top of the hill.

Langholm

The town just visible 800 ft below.

Craigcleuch

In the other direction I could see Craigcleuch, one of the houses built by mill owners in Victorian times.

The light was very variable but every now and again, a bit of sunlight penetrated the haze and lit up a view.

Castle HillI went (very carefully) down the steeper side of the hill towards the Bentpath road and could see the pheasant hatchery on the Castleholm laid out like a map plan below me.

CastleholmOnce back on the road, I crossed it and walked back to Langholm through the woods to the Duchess Bridge.  I was greeted by a very charming bunch of primroses.

primrosesThe recent dry weather has made the path much less muddy than usual and it was a pleasure to walk along it.

Duchess bridge walkThe bridge itself is very difficult to see because of the trees lining the riverside…

Duchess Bridge…and if I was the landowner, I would make sure that there was at least one gap in the trees so that walkers could admire this historic bridge.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal had reached a natural hiatus in her decorating tasks so we went for a nine and a half mile cycle ride up and down the Wauchope road in the the warm early evening sunshine.  The trees at the school are retreating ever further along the banks of the river.

Wauchope school treesWe turned for home at Westwater and had a quick look at the massive wooden circular construction there which will be used for a falconry centre there.   You can see a picture of it at the end of Gavin’s latest blog.

When we got home, Mrs Tootlepedal washed one of a pair of big velvet curtains from the front room in a large tub and I helped her to hang it out.  I question whether it will ever dry out but we can but hope.

I took a picture of a euphorbia before I went back in.

euphorbiaThe lamb stew turned out very well after my gravy chef had worked her magic and provided us with a good meal.  As I was feeling inexplicably snoozy, the rest of the evening saw no action of note at all.

Bird  action was very limited in the garden during the day but as I was waiting for the stew, I did see a late flying chaffinch.

chaffinch

Read Full Post »