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Posts Tagged ‘raptors’

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who discovered Rio coming to Derby as participants got ready for a procession in Derby marketplace.

Derby Mardi Gras

We had a warm grey morning but after a disturbed night of thunder and lightning, with rain drumming on the Velux windows, quite a lot of the morning passed before we got up.  I just had tome to finish breakfast and have a quick practice sing before Dropscone arrived for coffee.

He had been playing golf yesterday on the course where he inadvertently drove his golf buggy into a bunker and broke several ribs not so long ago.  He didn’t take a buggy this time and went round on foot safely.  Unfortunately his golf ball unsportingly did not avoid the bunkers and proved a bit reluctant to come out of one of them when hit so his score wasn’t quite as good as he had hoped.  Still, the weather had been good and he had enjoyed his day out.

He went off laden with rhubarb and I picked some more sweet peas which are flowering unceasingly.

I had been too late to find any butterflies in the garden yesterday but I couldn’t miss them today.

tortoiseshell buttefly on red buddleia

It was mostly small tortoiseshells and they were on Sweet Williams…

tortoiseshell on sweet william

…and both buddleias, often in groups of two or three….

two small tortoiseshells

…sometimes sharing a flower with the many bees that were about too.

butterflies amnd bees on buddleaia

When I looked at the privet, it was covered with small tortoiseshells too.

privet with butterflies

Several cabbage whites and the  occasional red admiral like this one could be spotted.

red admiral

The sun had come out by this time and the flowers were looking splendid, notably unaffected by the overnight storm.

Roses were making the case for their retention in the gardening scheme of things…

two roses twice

…and generally things were smiling.  I particularly liked the snake’s tongue on the salvia.

clematis, salvia, waterlilly, calendula

The poppy of the day had to share with other flowers as there were so many to admire today.

poppy, fuchsia, rose, calendulas

I didn’t just wander around taking pictures.  I mowed the greenhouse grass while I was out and went round to the corner shop to get some rolls for lunch..

After yesterday’s fifty mile outing, I had a plan to do nothing very strenuous in the afternoon and then perhaps, weather permitting, to go for a short ride in the evening.

I did get some rest in but the day was too nice to sit indoors so I went out and mowed the front and middle lawns, then I edged them and then I trimmed the hedge along the road.  You may be able to guess that we have visitors coming for the Common Riding on Friday.

I hadn’t watched the birds at the feeder so I snapped a passing flock of homing pigeons taking their afternoon exercise just in case I needed a flying bird of the day.

homing pigeons

We had a salad for tea and afterwards, while I was noting the brisk wind which was blowing and considering the effort required to go pedalling, Mrs Tootlepedal asked if I would fancy a drive up on to the Langholm Moor.  That seemed like a much better idea than puffing into a brisk breeze so we jumped into the Zoe and glided up the hill to see what we could see.

This is part of the ground that people in the town are hoping to be able to purchase in a community land acquisition scheme.   There is a good deal of anxiety that it might be covered in commercial forestry if the buy out is not successful.

Langholm Moor July

Mrs Tootlepedal is always hopeful of seeing our local hen harriers in flight when we visit the moor but the moor is big and the birds few in number so we often do not see them.

We look for other things too though and today we couldn’t help seeing large numbers of bog asphodel shining brightly among the heather and grass on the hill.

bog asphodel and fence

This is another flower that repays a closer look.

bog asphodel close up

And then we saw a harrier.  At least we think it was a harrier.  There is always the possibility of mistaking a buzzard for a harrier.    There have been several harrier youngsters successfully reared in three nests this year and we think that this was one of them.

harrier in flight

It was a long way away but I had my big lens with me and was able to get some sort of shot of the bird in flight

While I was snapping away, Mrs Tootlepedal, who had her binoculars out,  spotted a large black bird perched on a wall near the harrier and moments later, it sprang into action.

harrier and raven

We think that it might be a raven and we wonder if this set of birds perched further along the same wall, might be its family…. or they might just be a gang of crows.  They were too far away for us to get a good look.

possible ravens on wall

The bird that was arguing with the harrier flew up into the sky and it certainly looked big enough to be a raven.

raven in flight

Whatever it was, the harrier didn’t like it!

harrier attacking raven

We had a happy time watching harriers and corvids flying.  From time to time they would take a break and if you look carefully, you can see a harrier resting on the wall.

on wall

After a while, we drove on as far as the county boundary and after enjoying the view down the road to Newcastleton..

The road to Copshaw in the evening

…we drove home, passing a definite harrier hunting over the moor as we went along.

In the circumstances, you might not be too surprised to discover that the flying bird of the day is not a pigeon but a hen harrier (or possibly a buzzard).

harrier in flight (2)

 

 

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