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Posts Tagged ‘red tailed bumble bee’

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew’s permitted walk today.   He was pleased to see such cheerful blossom.

blossom andrew

We had cheerful flowers in the garden here today.  They were pleased to see the sunshine on another rather chilly day with an east wind sweeping down from the far north.

two tulips

I went out to view them after my standard start for the day (another good crossword helped pass the time)

Mrs Tootlepedal enjoyed a coffee and some of my ginger biscuits in physically distanced but socially integrated conversation with our neighbours, while I did some daffodil dead heading in the garden.

Later on, I clipped and sawed the remains  of the pruned lilac and added the logs to our tidy log store.  I didn’t go so far as to wash the bricks again today (though they needed it) but contented myself with a gentle brush.

And of course, I kept an eye open for birds…

dunnock blackbird goldfinch

…and bees.

red tailed bee

The daffodils are fading but the trout lilies are taking their place with some verve.

daffodil and trout lily

The star of the garden today for me was this freshly flowering Amalanchier.

Amalanchier

Seeing the ducks in the dam behind the house, I put a little bird seed into the flow and this attracted their attention.

female mallard dam

Mrs Tootlepedal made some tasty green lentil soup for lunch with chicken stock from the recent roast chicken.  There is no doubt that real stock is an improvement on commercial stock pots but we can’t eat chicken all the time just to make stock.

After lunch, I idled round the garden a bit and then went for a walk.

In spite of the nippy wind, it was a good day for a walk and as I wanted to get in a view or two, I resolved to walk  up to the monument on top of Whita Hill.

My route took me onto the golf course where I found an old friend.

oyster catcher on golf course

It wasn’t a brilliantly blue sky day but the light was interesting…

view of ewes valley from golf course

…and although there were plenty of clouds about, I seemed to walk under the sun the whole time.

two trees from golf course

I got on to the open hill at the top of the golf course and took the track up the Birnie Braes which is followed by the horses on Common Riding day.

It was very dry and peaceful today.

birnie braes path

Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that is it described as a road 20 feet wide in old documents  but the road has has fallen into disuse and the current path goes to one side of it.

I took this route as it offers a gentler gradient as it goes diagonally across the contours rather than the direct path which goes straight up to the summit.  When it gets to the shoulder of the hill, it joins the vehicle track from the road to the monument and a handy seat has been placed there.

The seat is modest…

seat on whita track

…but the views for a person who sits on it are magnificent.

views from seat on whita track

Looking down to my left, I could see a glimpse of the road up the Wauchope valley which i had followed on my walk on Tuesday.

view of wauchope valley from whita

I arrived at the top of the hill (355m) and paused to enjoy the view…

view from monument

…and inspect the monument, which has some fine algae at the bottom but is pretty clean further up.

monument views

The keen wind made sure that I didn’t hang around too long and I was soon on my way down again, going towards the road and enjoying the contrast between pastoral land on the left of the wall ahead of me and old grouse moor on the right.

view of grouse and sheep moor

I didn’t take the vehicle track back down but followed a charming path through the heather, used by mountain cyclists.

path down whita

There are plenty of cairns to be seen all over the hill and I have put three of them here and a look at one page of the MacDiarmid memorial too.

three cairns and a memorial

When I had passed the MacDiarmid memorial, I followed the road down to the bottom of the hill, passing this unusual tree…

tree copshaw road

…and a delightfully sinuous wall…

sinuous wall copshaw road

…on the way.

On approaching the  town, instead of taking the direct route home, I crossed the Sawmill Brig and headed across the Castleholm towards the Jubilee Bridge in the hope of seeing interesting birds.  I heard a lot of tweets but didn’t see any birds, interesting or otherwise.

However, I was rewarded by this refreshing sight so I wasn’t complaining.

Castleholm trees

My walk ended up at just under five miles and was very satisfying, a joy to the eye, a tonic for the spirit and some healthy exercise too.  Who could ask for anything more?

The mince and tatties made a welcome second appearance for our tea and as I went out and pulled some rhubarb, stewed it and made some custard, we ate like kings and queens to round off as good a lockdown day as we could wish for.

The flying bird of the day is a passing gull.

flying gull

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Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia.  She got down to sea level in Madeira and brilliantly caught this Atlantic spotted dolphin in mid leap.

Atlantoc spotted dolphin

Our spell of great weather is coming to an end but we are being let down gently before rain and gales blow in tomorrow night and we had a calm, warm but rather grey day today.

The iron pills have not worked their magic yet and I am still feeling a little tired so I was happy to spend a quiet morning doing a little business and paying bills after breakfast and then doing some aimless wandering around in the garden.

I said to Mrs Tootlepedal the other day that we seemed to have a lot of philadelphus in the garden and she rather thought that I was exaggerating but when she looked round, and counted, she found that there are at least nine…

philadelphus panel

A small selection

…and as they are pretty well all out, the garden is full of blossom and delightful aromas too.

I kept my eye out for new flowers and spotted the first of many Martagon lilies.

martagon lily

Mrs Tootlepedal is getting very excited by some small but perfectly formed blue alliums which are just about to come out.

blue allium

I was pleased to see a couple of red tailed bumble bees back on the chives.  They are very striking and an ornament to any garden.

red tailed bumble bee

I pulled myself together after a cup of coffee and set about putting some liquid fertiliser on the front lawn. The front lawn is still very mossy and I thought that what grass there is needed some encouragement.  As the fertiliser is applied by watering can, it is a labour intensive activity and kept me happily occupied for some time.  I did a bit of the middle lawn too.

I took time out to do the crossword and watch the birds.  The feeder was quite busy today.

greenfinch

A few greenfinches turned up…

flying siskins

…but mostly it was siskins and some goldfinches again

I was thinking about a gentle afternoon pedal but a few drops of rain put me off the idea and I went for a walk instead.  It seemed like quite a time since I had been up a hill so I went up our nearest one, Meikleholm Hill.

The rain held off as I walked up the track to the hill, admiring the many grasses on the way.  There was a splendid variety…

garsses

…but the star of the grass show when I looked at them on the computer later on, was this colourful spray with added visitors.

grass with insects

Just before I got to the gate onto the open hill, I noticed a few rabbits in the field beside the track.  Most of them scampered away but one remained, pretending to be a blade of grass.

rabbit in grasses

I always like this gate just before the top of the track…

Meikleholm gate

…but I was glad to be finally out on the open hill and looking back across the town towards Whita Hill on the other side of the valley.

View of langholm from Meikleholm

Even on a grey day, it is a view to lift the heart.

There were plenty of wild flowers to look at as I followed the track which curves up round the side of the hill…

tree on meikleholm

There was a lot of tormentil which I failed to record properly and quite a bit of bird’s-foot trefoil and various hawkbits too.

trefoil and hawksbit

I was hoping to see some early orchids too and wasn’t entirely disappointed as there were a few small flowers to be seen.

orchids

There are sheep on the hill and I don’t know if they will nibble off the orchids or not but there should be a lot more flowers as the summer goes on.

They sheep probably won’t eat these marsh thistles though.

marsh thistke

I was considering an extended route when I got to the top of Meikleholm Hill but a look to the north….

rain over Potholm

…and the south….

clouds over solway

…persuaded me that the straight route home might be the best bet.

No sooner had I made up my mind than the rain started and I had to skip down the hill as fast as my creaky knee would let me.

I did stop for one last photo opportunity as the racecourse on the Castleholm looked very attractive but that was the only stop as I was getting quite wet and didn’t have a coat with me.

racecourse castleholm

The rain eased off without entirely stopping as I got down to the town so I was happy to get home without getting soaked through.

That was my last excursion for the day, though I did get as far as the back door later on to take a final picture of the day.

colourful corner

Mrs Tootlepedal finds colours and textures in flowers, grasses and shrubs and mixes them all together in a most harmonious way in my view.  I am very lucky to be the beneficiary of her skills.

In the evening, she went off to the Buccleuch Centre to watch a screening of Swan lake performed by the Royal Ballet.  I stayed at home because although I admire the wonderful skills and fitness of the dancers, I keep waiting for something interesting to happen and as nothing does, I get easily  bored.

The flower of the day is one of our foxgloves.  Some gardeners may turn up their noses at these common wild flowers but I am glad that Mrs Tootlepedal doesn’t.

foxglove

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