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Posts Tagged ‘peltigera lichen’

Today’s guest picture comes from a recent visit to Liverpool by my brother Andrew.  He found it in a colourful mood.

liverpool

After some very grey days, we had a much more colourful day here today.  The sun shone and the wind dropped and it looked liked a good day to go outside.

As usual, I found a number of things to do indoors before getting organised, and of course, the birds needed watching.

I hadn’t had to fill the feeder for a couple of days, and although it was getting near the bottom today, it was still of interest to the chaffinches.

chaffinch panel

Seeing these two pecking at the last of the seed made me go out and change the feeders over.

two chaffinch little seed

The new feeder, well filled, proved attractive to chaffinches too.

chaffinches at full feeder

I finally ran out of excuses and got my bike out and set off up the Wauchope road.  I passed a man with a tractor with a flail attached, and found out that he had been doing quite a lot of violence to anything that he could reach beside the road.  It was lucky that he was on one side of the road and I was on the other as I might have had some difficulty getting past the debris that he left behind.

flailings on road

I decided to turn off at the first opportunity and I was soon heading uphill, away from the carnage and with my favourite view behind me.

Blocxh view january

Although the 40 mph winds of yesterday had subsided, there was still a brisk breeze left behind and I had to battle my way down the hill to Gretna Green where I was happy to take a rest and look at the clasped hands sculpture at the Old Blacksmith’s Shop tourist centre.

gretna handshake

There wasn’t a tourist to be seen today as I took a picture of the art work.  I can see what it is supposed to symbolise and newly married couples often have their picture taken under its arch, but it always looks rather creepy to me as though someone has been buried under ground and is praying to be let out.

But there are some very decorative berries in the hedge at the entrance.

gretna berries

Ignoring the cross winds, I pedalled down the new road beside the motorway into England and when I reached the outskirts of Carlisle, I turned and headed back towards Greta, going through Rockliffe.

The wind was still across but now it was marginally behind me so I made good progress.

This tree in a field at Rockcliffe looks as though it has had some battles with strong winds itself.

rockliffe tree

The wind was certainly ruffling the waters of the Esk as it flowed under the railway bridge before it meets the Solway.

troubled esk at metal bridge

Once I had reached Gretna, the way home was plain sailing as I cycled up the main roads to Canonbie with the very helpful wind pushing me along.

I turned off onto the old main road to Canonbie which has triple delights, like these three trees at Grainstonehead…

three trees grainstonehead

…and the three shaggy cows in the field, two of whom were more interested in eating than having their picture taken…

two cows at canonbie

..but one was in a more accommodating mood.

one cow at canonbie

I took one last stop for a drink and snack before getting back to Langholm and noticed some healthy peltigera lichen on the wall against which I had propped my bike.

peltigera lichen irvine house

I saw that I had done 43 miles by the time that I got back to the town and was pedalling on up the main road, thinking happily that 50 was a nice round number when we had a vote and my legs voted for stopping.  I am a democrat so I turned back and ended up with a satisfactory 45 miles for the outing.

Mrs Tootlepedal had also made good use of the better weather by going for a good walk and getting some light gardening done while I was out.  She was very cheered by seeing an actual bud forming on a daffodil in the garden.  There may be light at the end of the tunnel.

Still, we needed to replace a little of the energy expended and very fortunately she had bought some cream which, when whipped up, went perfectly with meringues.

A goldfinch arrived at the new feeder.

goldfinch at full feeder

I had a shower and then went out to investigate a claim from a blog reader that there is a small murmuration of starlings in Langholm.  The claim turned out to be quite true.

starlings over esk

By some murmuration standards, it is a small flock but it still had about a couple of hundred birds in it at its busiest.

starlings over esk 2

The starlings circled round above the Esk at the Town Bridge and from time to time, other things caught me eye.

Ducks and gulls took to the air, Mr Grumpy supervised more ducks on the river and the moon shone in the background.

duck, gull, heron and moon

In order to capture the moon, I had to make the sky dark but as you can see in the picture below, it wasn’t really as dark as that.

After they had finished murmuring, the starlings fell out of the sky in dramatic fashion and disappeared into a remarkably small bush in front of Greenbank.

starlings landing

I got home in perfect time to have a cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal.  Our friend Mike dropped in for a cup and helped us out by eating one of the remaining meringues.

There is talk of snow on the hills tomorrow morning but I will only believe that when I see it.

The flying bird of the day is one of the chaffinches.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from Jenni, my highland correspondent, and shows a flock of long tailed tits enjoying her peanuts.  They are beautiful little birds and we are very envious as we would like to see them in our garden.

longtailed tits

We had a generally sunny and cheerful day here today; cheerful that was as long as you weren’t exposed to the very strong wind which made it feel decidedly chilly.

After going to church to sing in the choir, there was a moment when I had time for either a short cycle ride or a walk before the trip to our Carlisle choir in the afternoon.  The wind, gusting up to 40 mph made the decision for me and I went for a walk.

I didn’t have to waste any time watching birds in our garden because there were no birds to be seen, the wind proving too strong for them too perhaps.

If you could keep out of the worst of the wind though, it was a beautiful day for a stroll…

ewes at kilngreen

…and although all the gulls flew off as soon as I got near the Kilngreen, I did find two or three ducks lurking in the shelter of the river bank on the Ewes Water.

female mallard drinking

male mallard

I crossed the sawmill bridge and walked up the hill past the Estate Offices.  The road verge and walls here are home to a considerable number of hart’s-tongue ferns…

harts tongue fern ewesbank

…and a grand display of dog tooth peltigera lichen.  This crop was about two feet in width.

dog tooth peltigera pathead track

Three trees further up the hill have been artistically arranged by nature to make a pleasing combination.

three trees pathead

And there was plenty of shelter as I walked along the track above the trees to let me enjoy the view of Whita without getting blown away.

vierw of whita

A lot of trees have been felled along the track, leaving the pines still standing.

pines on track

I followed the track until I came to the north lodge…

north lodge

…and there I enjoyed a view up the Esk valley which has only been recently been made available to walkers by the felling of yet more trees.

view up esk valley from north lodge

Time was pressing a bit so I had to hurry home, stopping only for a view of an as yet unfelled wood…

bw woods

…and making it just in time to have a slice of bread and honey before setting off to Carlisle.

The choir practice was well attended and we set about learning another of the songs that we will take to the choir competition in Manchester in March.  We  also went through one of the songs which I have been trying to get off by heart….more work required!

When we got home, Mrs Tootlepedal tried out a new recipe involving leeks, feta cheese and puy lentils.  It made for an enjoyable meal.

We have been watching the television adaptation of Les Miserables and it has been an interesting but chastening experience for me.  I read the book a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I thought that I would remember it well and be able to compare the book with the TV programme but it turns out that although I do recall a lot of the scenes and places from the story, many of which don’t figure in the musical version, I have also forgotten much more than I thought. As a result, I have confidently said to Mrs Tootlepedal on  more than one occasion, “Well, that didn’t happen in the book,” only to find that it did.

No flying bird today but I did get the briefest glimpse of a robin.  It was flying a second or two later.

fleeting robin

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my neighbour Liz and shows a Spanish butterfly which she met on holiday.

spanish butterfly

We couldn’t run to any butterflies here but we did get a reasonable February day with a temperature of 6°C and not a drop of rain all day.  There was a brisk drying wind and all sorts of things happened as a result.

Some were quite normal:

The day started with a trip round the morning run with Dropscone.  The brisk drying wind added seven minutes to our standard time for the first eight miles but after that, it rather helped than hindered and we got home in a satisfactory time without having to kill ourselves.

Birds were watched.

chaffinch

A chaffinch showing off its full wingspan.

chaffinch

The wind was rocking the feeders so that landing accurately wasn’t easy.

 

But other activities were a welcome change from recent days:

Washing got put out (and dried and taken in again).

Some gardening was done and a little lawn spiking took place.

I walked round the garden and noticed that the snowdrops are trying really hard now.

snowdrops

Even a crocus is poking through.

crocus

And I had to give our primrose a chance to star in a solo role.

primrose

Mrs Tootlepedal and I were able to take a walk after lunch.  We went along the route I had used a few days ago so that we could have another look at things that I had seen then.

The things that look like flowers were really standing out from the wall on this peltigera.

peltigera

As were these curious fungus stalks on the same wall a yard or two away.

fungus

I re-photographed some other fungus which I saw last time…

fungus

This is a shot from above showing the delicate blue of the surface.

I can’t find a picture of anything like this at all.  There seem to be tiny growths to the right of it.  Other shots were of fungi that I had missed last time.

These were new this time.  They look like coriolus versicolour but I am not sure about that.

They look like coriolus versicolour but I am not sure about that.

birch polypore

This is a birch polypore doing well to fight through the moss.

It almost looks like a mossy face sticking its tongue out.

We admired these well defined galls.

Galls

We had a pause on our walk while Mrs Tootlepedal put her hydro-engineering skills to use and unblocked a culvert which was full of leaves and spilling water across our path.  There was a most satisfying gurgle when she got the water away.

At the end of our woodland walk we came to an old gatepost and wall.

gatepost

wall

As we walked back along the Lodge walks to the car, we spotted a laurel ready to flower.

laurel

All this was rally quite springlike and we live in fear of a severe frost arriving and throwing everything into reverse with possibly disastrous consequences.   We were talking to our local cider maker on Saturday and he is very worried about his potential crop.

The late afternoon and evening were given over to music.  First I went up to Isabel’s to hear my flute pupil Luke play his grade pieces with her at the piano.  They have some time in hand still and the results were very promising.  After a an hour or so, Luke came for his regular lesson and we worked on some of the detail that is necessary for a good score in an examination.

Then after my tea, I went back to Isabel’s, this time to play trios with her and Mike on piano and cello.  There isn’t  a flood of music for piano, flute/recorder and cello but we have found pieces by Mozart and Quantz which are a treat to play (and not too hard which is lucky).

This brought the most satisfactory day for some time to a close.   A tootle and a pedal and a walk…..who could ask for anything more?  Well perhaps a ray of sunshine would have been welcome.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

 

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