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Posts Tagged ‘Michaelmas daisies’

Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce, who is on the island of Arran where he visited the Blackwater Foot harbour.  A harbour, a bridge and a waterfall in one shot is very good value.

Blackwater foot

We had a lovely sunny morning.  This was a great joy after such a gloomy day yesterday but, as is the way in life, I had to spend it sitting in the Welcome to Langholm office putting data into the Archive Group newspaper database and welcoming only two visitors to the office, both of whom were locals.

As I left to walk home, a light drizzle appeared as if by magic.

Still, it was a lot better than yesterday and the drizzle soon faded away and let me mow the greenhouse grass and Mrs Tootlepedal hang the washing out.  Almost as soon as the washing was on the line, it started to rain again.  How we laughed.

Once again, it was only teasing and the washing dried in time and I was able to finish the mowing and enjoy the garden.

The ornamental strawberry has been flowering for ages.  It is very good value.

strawberry

The return of the sunshine brought a crowd of butterflies with it.

Michaelmas daisies with butterflies

Now that the buddeias are almost over, the Michaelmas daisies are the flower of choice for the discerning Red Admiral.

red admiral butterfly

Butterflies seem to be able to cope with quite a bit of damage to their wings.

The butterflies had to share the Michaelmas daisies with bees and hoverflies and the whole clump was literally buzzing.

bee on Michaelmas daisyhoverfly on Michaelmas daisy

A peacock butterfly was making the most of the very last of the buddleia flowers.

peacock butterfly

At the other end of the garden, different butterflies were to be found on the dahlias.

small tortoiseshell and red admiral butterfly

A small tortoiseshell joins a red admiral

That was the first small tortoiseshell I have seen since one in July and as that was the only other one to visit us this year,  this one was very welcome.

Nearby, a clump of dahlia flowers looked around for customers but only one hoverfly found them attractive..

dahlias

I moved on and admired the poppies….

poppies

…who looked grateful for the sunshine.

After a last look at the tropaeolum, looking redder than ever if that is possible…

tropaeolum

…I went inside to put some cycling gear on….

….and it started to rain.

Once again, it was a tease and by the time that I was ready to go, the rain had stopped again.  Just to make sure that it wouldn’t start up while I was out cycling, I put on a heavy rain jacket and that kept it dry while I cycled 27 miles in my ‘outdoor gym’.

It was pretty windy and I had to battle quite hard to get up the road but, of course, that meant an easy roll back down again.

When it is windy, I tend to keep my head well down to improve the aerodynamics while cycling into the wind so I didn’t see much on the way out and on the way back, I was often going too fast to stop in time when I did notice something so it was a quiet ride photographically.

I did stop to check on the sloes near Cleughfoot which I had seen looking a bit scabby early last month…

sloes

….and they were still looking scabby now….

sloe

…though there was fairly healthy looking fruit as well.

At my turning point, I was pleased to see that the farmer had his barn well stocked….

Cleughfoot

…though less pleased to see the black clouds looming up behind it.

They came to nothing though and the sun continued to do its best….

Glencorf burn

…to help me to ignore the brisk northerly wind.

In May, I had stopped to admire the hawthorn blossom on the road back to Langholm…

hawthorns

…and today, I stopped to admire the berries.

Hawthorn

When I got home, I enjoyed a cup of tea and a dainty biscuit with Mrs Tootlepedal and Mike Tinker and then, after a shower, it was time for a visit from Luke for a flute lesson.

He has been practising so the lesson went well.

I hope to be in a better position to make use of a promised sunny morning tomorrow than I was today.

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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 was sent to me by my neighbour Gavin and shows the harbour at Crail on the east coast where he is on holiday.  We have booked a holiday cottage nearby for next April and I can guarantee that the weather won’t be this nice then.

CrailIt was a day of perfect autumn weather, crisp in the morning, pleasantly warm in the afternoon and cooling down as the evening wore on. There was not a cloud in the sky all day and the conditions above the town were such that  passing aircraft were not leaving vapour trails to spoil the blueness.

After putting a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database, I spent the morning entertaining first Sandy to a cup of coffee when he had finished filling  the Moorland bird feeders and then Dropscone, when he had finished a few holes of a golf with a friend.

In between times, I walked round the garden enjoying the colour in the sunshine.

poppies and marigoldpoppy and dahliaThe colour didn’t just come from the flowers.

peacock butterfly

Peacock butterfly

red admiral butterfly

A red admiral

The were several peacocks and red admirals about, the first time that there have been a lot of butterflies in the garden this year.

red admiral butterfly

Sometimes they were side by side.

The Michaelmas daisies and the sedum were the two favourite attractions but almost anything that was out had a visitor or two.

sedum and astrantiaThe bumble bees preferred the sedum and in the afternoon I counted over 150 bees on the plants beside our bird feeder.  It was quite an amazing sight.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help with the driving for the disabled and I watched the birds for a while.

great tit and coal tit

Great tit and coal tit

I have put some tasty morsels into the new covered feeder and they are being eaten but never when I am watching so I was pleased to see these two at the other feeder.

A dunnock crept around under the feeder…

dunnock…and a chaffinch pretended to be a flower.

chaffinchThen I took a walk up Warbla to enjoy the day.

Things are definitely running to seed on all sides…

seedy…but the views remained very satisfying.  I looked across to Meikleholm hill where I had seen the scabious plants.

MeikleholmI walked up the track to the top of the hill and looked around.  The phone panorama function looked around too.

Warbla panoramaI had Pocketcam (Nikon J1) with me and it has an ingenious mount so that I can attach my DSLR lenses to it and get a vastly increased zoom. The fine weather gave me a chance to try this out.  I put my 70-300mm lens on the mount and looked down towards the town….

Langholm…and the river.

Langholm BridgeThe bridge is a mile (1.6km) away from where I was standing.

I was quite impressed.  I would need a tripod and delayed shutter release to get the best out of it but it obviously has great possibilities.  I looked east and west.

Monument and Craig windmillsThe monument is just under 2km away and the windmills are 3½km off.  It amuses me that some people can regard the monument to a colonial administrator in India with equanimity while being appalled by some elegant renewable energy devices.  (They weren’t generating any electricity today though.)

Although the sky was cloudless, the views were a bit hazy but I did my best.  I used the zoom again, out…

View from warbla…and in…

Langholm…and my phone again for a wider picture….

LangholmIt was good to be alive on a day like this, with a gentle breeze keeping me cool on the top of the hill.

I walked back down and took a shot on my way with Pocketcam with its own 10-30 lens on.

Whita from warbla I was just thinking that whatever the charms of the walk were, a lot of wild flowers were not among them when  a splash of colour caught my eye.  It turned out not to be a wild flower though but my friend Tom, taking a little fresh air after a morning conducting mock interviews with fourth year school pupils.

Tom on warblaI exchanged greetings with him and made my way home via Gaskell’s Walk.  Tucked away in a little valley with no cooling breeze, the heat was considerable and I was glad to get back into the cool of the house.

I went up to the town to do a little business and when I got back Tom appeared with some coffee beans.  He had inadvertently picked them up while shopping, not realising that they were beans so I ground them up for him and recommended buying a grinder of his own so that he could always have freshly ground coffee at home.

Mike Tinker dropped in and was impressed by the great bumble bee collection on the sedum.  We keep on being told that our bees are declining in numbers so perhaps they have all come to our garden this week.

Mrs Tootlepedal returned from her pony driving and claimed to have seen a cloud in the south as she drove home.  We didn’t believe her.

In the evening, I went off with Sandy to do some work at the Archive Centre and with the internet connection working well, we got quite a lot done.

The forecast says that our spell of good weather may be coming to an end in a day or two but it has been great while it has lasted and I apologise for the flood of pictures it has unleashed on you long suffering blog readers.  Things should calm down soon.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from a visit to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park by my friend Venetia.  The park has a lot of water in it.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic ParkMy get up and go took some finding this morning but it eventually emerged only to be immediately discouraged by some threatening rain drops.  In the end though, it laughed at a few rain drops and set out for a gentle pedal taking me with it.

It continued to rain but in such a desultory way that there was no danger of getting wet and before I had got home, it had stopped completely.  I had intended to do a few leisurely miles but I was overtaken by a couple of young chaps after three miles.  They were pedalling along in such a relaxed fashion while chatting away that my legs were affronted by the ease with which they had passed me and encouraged me to make an effort to keep up with them.

Three miles later they were still just in sight when they turned off my route.  My legs were in fine form by this time though and kept on pedalling whether I wanted then to or not and I got to Paddockhole, my turning point at just over ten miles, in a very reasonable time.

I turned for home with a light breeze in my face and with every intention of relaxation when I was passed again, this time by a couple from Langholm.  Once again my legs got the better of my good sense and I tried to keep them in sight for as long as possible.  I couldn’t keep up with them but they were still in sight eight miles later.

The result of this senseless rushing about with no stopping for photos was a very respectable (for me) average speed of 15 mph, though I had to sprint along Henry Street flat out to knock the average up that vital last tenth of an mph before I stopped.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy in the garden….

heap of branches

Heaps like this appear all the time, ready for shredding.

…so I helped where I could.  In between times I mowed the middle lawn and looked at a flower or two.  There are new ones…

orange crocosmia and Michaelmas daisies

Orange crocosmia and Michaelmas daisies

…and long standing old friends.

geraniums

These geraniums have been going for months

I took a close look at some unfolding phlox….

phlox…and some elegant dill.

dillThe apples are looking better all the time.

applesMrs Tootlepedal took a water lily out of our overcrowded pond and out neighbour Kenny planted it in the dam behind our house.  It will be interesting to see if it can survive in the flowing water there.

Somehow, the afternoon slipped away between gardening and the occasional sit down to do the crossword and in the early evening, Mrs Tootlepedal suggested a short cycle ride round Potholm.  I was determined to take a picture or two this time.

We followed the trail of the lonesome pine…

lonesome pine….and while I stopped to record one of my favourite views, Mrs Tootlepedal sped on ahead.

PotholmI stopped again at Potholm to take a view from the bridge….

Potholm Bridge…and once again, Mrs Tootlepedal sped on ahead.

I made one last stop to capture the Esk below the road to the Breckonwrae…..

Esk…and you’ve guessed it.

BreckonwraeIt is only a five mile ride but it offers a wide variety of views as you go along.  This was the third carrot of the day.

We stopped once more when we met a friend trying out her new electric bicycle.  This was her first go on it and she was very pleased with the way it had floated up the first hill that she had met.  I have my eye on one of these for when the time comes.

After tea, the sun came out for a while but this was a false dawn, or rather a false evening, because not long afterwards, we were subjected to thunder and lightning with heavy rain.  Luckily this seems to have passed over as I write this and we are promised some sunshine tomorrow.  This will be very welcome.

I have just heard another roll of thunder in the distance so I will sign off while the internet is still working with a customary flying bird.

flying chaffinch

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