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Posts Tagged ‘River Esk’

Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce who was more adventurous than me and went for an outing in the rain.  His reward was a picture of the Byreburn in full flow over the Fairy Loup. (I have put a little video that he took at the bottom of this post for those who like loud noises.)

fairy loup

As you can see from Bruce’s picture, there was a lot of water about today.  It had started raining before two o’clock in the morning and it rained until it got dark in the evening.  At that point 35 mph winds started to blow so it wasn’t in general a very pleasant day.

Dropscone arrived with bonus scones as he had left his hat and gloves here yesterday  and we had a cup of coffee before we went off with them firmly in his grip.

While we were sipping, there was a mass flight of birds from the feeder and when we looked, we could see the reason for the excitement.

sparrowhawk in plum tree

The sparrowhawk lurked in the plum tree for some time but no little birds were foolish enough to come back to the feeder and it eventually flew off.

As it had been raining for 8 hours by the time that Dropscone went off to do some shopping,  I walked down to the river under a capacious umbrella to see if the water was high.  It was surprisingly low…

Wauchope fairly full

…and you can see from the grass on the far bank that it had been higher yesterday after a much shorter but much heavier shower.

Two goosanders found it calm enough to paddle about.

goosanders on wauchope

…and I noticed the usual autumn outbreak of fungus around an old tree stump next to the church wall.

church mushrooms

The rain started to come down a bit more vigorously so I went home and looked at the birds as there was nothing much better to do.

Although the rain was very persistent, it was quite light at times and the birds didn’t get as soggy as they sometimes do in the wet.

I don’t know if we just have one coal tit who visits a lot or several coal tits who come one at a time but I never see more than one at the feeder though I do see it/them a lot at present.

coal tit paying flying vivit

We had a good number of greenfinches today and at times they dominated the feeder, shouting at sparrows…

greenfinch being rude to sparrow

…and grumbling at other greenfinches.

greenfinches squabbling

Between the greenfinches and the sparrows, goldfinches could only sulk in the background.

goldfinch sulking

Some sparrows tried enchantment to get rid of a fellow sparrow on a perch…

greenfinch witching

…while others took a more direct route to eviction.

sparrow kicking sparrow

A greenfinch…

greenfinch on arch

…and a goldfinch rose above the bad behaviour.

goldfinch on arch

A touch of class was brought by the arrival of some collared doves…

collared dove

…but sadly, in a sign of the times, even the doves fell to fighting each other.

fighting doves

I couldn’t look any longer and went off to put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database and practise some singing as I will have two choirs tomorrow.

Since it was still raining in the afternoon, I went down to look at the rivers again but although the water in the Esk was high, it was still lower than it had been yesterday.  I was surprised…

esk fairly full

…but it shows how well our rivers drain the rain away. There was plenty of water going under the bridge…

town bridge with water

…but not enough to wash away a tree which has been stuck under one arch for some time.

I passed another very similar crop of fungus on a different tree stump on my way home.

more fungus

And that more or less completed the events of the day though I did have some stewed apple and custard for my tea which was quite exciting.

The flying bird of the day is one of the greenfinches…..

flying greenfinch

…and the flying water comes courtesy of Bruce and the Fairy Loup.

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Bruce, who by coincidence passed me when I was out cycling this afternoon.  He had visited a distillery on his recent highland tour and was wondering whether he had imagined the rainbow when he came out but his wife confirmed that it really was there.

highland rainbow

There was no chance of a rainbow here today as the sun shone steadily from a clear blue sky from dawn to dusk .

It wasn’t very windy and it was decidedly warm for the time of year so it was definitely a day for cycling.  I had had only one outing on my bike in the past fortnight and as a result I didn’t want to overdo things so I was more than happy to start the day with coffee and scones and a catch up with Dropscone.

He has had a busy time lately so there was a lot of catching up to do.

As the sun stays lower in the sky at this time of year, it takes some time until it gets round to shining in our garden so a breakfast shot of the feeder makes it look chillier than it actually was…

busy feeder

…but by the time that Dropscone left, the garden was full of sunshine…

october flowers in the sun

…though some flowers were still in the shade.

This was my favourite shot of the morning.

delphinium

The delphinium seems determined to go on flowering as long as possible. (The lawn needs mowing again!)

I got my new bicycle out with enough time left in the day for a reasonable ride and set out to see where my legs would carry me.

The green hills around us are definitely brown now….

View from Wauchope School Brae

..but it would be hard to find a better day for cycling in October than this one.

My legs turned out to be in a very co-operative mood and with the wind coming from the south east, I was able to have an easier start than usual and got to Eaglesfield in good time.  Thereafter, I took a route along familiar roads but with variations of direction and combinations of routes that made the ride interesting for me.  I snapped away as I went along.

I was hoping for autumn colour but it was sporadic…

autumn colour ecclefechan

…and it was warm enough for a bovine paddle near Ecclefechan.

cows in pool

I went through a good variety of road side scenery from the enclosed…

hedged in road

…to the wide open.  The sun glinting off the Solway was dazzling.

view over the solway plain

There is no shortage of peel towers in our area.  This one is beside the Annan to Kirkpatrick Fleming road…

tower near Creca

…which I left to follow the small back road down to Rigg and Gretna.  I stopped just before Rigg.

The Gretna to Dumfries railway uses the arched bridge in the foreground while the new main road uses the modern concrete bridge behind, to cross the Kirtle Water.

railway bridge at Rigg

From Gretna, I followed the course of the River Sark to Milltown of Sark.  This picture shows Scotland in the foreground, the river which constitutes the border and then England beyond.  A lot of bloodshed and diplomacy went into creating this mighty barrier between nations.

River sark on Springfield road

On my way to Milltown, while I was in England for a few miles, I passed the migrating geese which feed in the fields near Englishtown farm.  There were thousands of them and my camera could only catch a fraction of them at a  time.  They were too far from the road to get a shot of an individual goose.

lots of geese in a field

I had chosen a route with some fine beech hedges on the way, in the hope of getting some good autumn colour but the hedges were a disappointment and I had to wait until I got to the river Esk near Langholm to find something worth stopping for.

river at landslipriver from skippers looking northriver from skippers looking south

My knees are a bit creaky at the moment so I resisted the temptation to ’round up the decimals’ and settled for stopping after 47 miles at a suitably relaxed pace to match the benign day.

It was such a lovely day that I did think of a walk when I got home but for some reason got no further than the garden where a lone red admiral butterfly was to be seen ignoring the sedum.

red admiral butterlfy october

There was a contrast in clematis – ‘out there’ and ‘in there’.

two clematis

A poppy catching the low sun was the pick of the flowers this afternoon.

poppy in late sun

After tea, I went off to sing with the Langholm Community Choir and had a good time.  I think that my first singing lesson is helping already.  We are singing music from shows as well as Christmassy stuff and there is plenty of work for the basses so there was no sleeping on the job today.

A phone call to see how Mrs Tootlepedal is getting on at her mother’s rounded off the day and I was pleased to have made good use of the best day for some days to come with threats of a new storm hanging over our heads at the weekend.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch coming into the evening sun.

flying chaffinch in late sun

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce’s northern trip.  He had got as far as the Isle of Harris when he took this shot of the  famous beach at Seilebost on a day that was not encouraging any sunbathing…but the view was still good.

Seilebost

It was both less windy and warmer than yesterday here today in spite of the complete absence of any sun.

As I sipped coffee and nibbled scones with Dropscone, who had come in search of a spare mouse for his computer as his had died, Mrs Tootlepedal was clearing off the remaining dahlias from the front beds.

She made short work of the task…

P1140817

…and by the time that Dropscone left, the beds were cleared.  It didn’t take us long to shred  them and add the remains to the green mulch on the back bed.

P1140835

Mrs Tootlepedal has become very fond of green mulching and I have to take care not to to linger for too long in one spot while taking flower photographs for fear of being covered in mulch myself.

I nipped around with the camera just to show that although the dahlias may have gone, there is a good deal still left to delight the eye.

All this….

P1140829

…and these too.

P1140836

We even have what passes for a colourful corner in October…

P1140837

…and of course, there are Special Grandmas.

P1140824

I had a quick check on the birds while we having coffee.  We are getting a steady supply of  greenfinches again though they were rather rude today and turned their backs on me…

_DSC7669

…and a blue tit wasn’t any more helpful.

_DSC7672

Still if the birds won’t ‘watch the birdie’ then there is nothing to be done about it.

After lunch, the warmer weather persuaded me to ignore the possibility of some light rain and go for a cycle ride.  I took the precaution of having my big yellow rain jacket on from the start and a persistent drizzle, which came on almost as soon as I had left the house, made me grateful for the decision.

It was a gloomy day….

P1140845

…with the hills shrouded in clouds and there was quite enough wind to make pedalling into it seem like hard work.

There were reminders along the way of even stronger winds in the recent past.

P1140846

However, as I dropped down into the Esk valley at Canonbie, the rain stopped and the wind became my friend and pushed me back up the hill into Langholm.  The trees along the riverside are among the most colourful around at the moment and the bridges at the Hollows…

hollows bridge view oct 3

Looking north

hollows bridge Oct 3 south

Looking south

And at Skippers…

view from skippers oct 3 2018

Looking north

skippers bridge view south 3 oct 18

Looking south

…gave me the chance to have an uninterrupted view of the colour.

All this tree watching was very tiring and my new bike had to have a short rest on the old A7 between the bridges.

old A7 oct 3

Although it was only my usual 20 mile Canonbie circuit, the ride gave me great pleasure, both because of the views and because my legs had appreciated four days rest since my last cycle outing.

I had a shower and a sit down and then, after a nourishing meal of corned beef hash,  it was time to go out to sing with the Langholm Choir and put my singing lesson to the test.  My teacher, Mary was too busy to take the choir herself this week and sent her husband along to take her place so I don’t know what she would have thought of my efforts but I enjoyed myself a lot so I thought that the lesson had been worthwhile.

I have got several busy days ahead and posts might become a little sketchy or even totally invisible after tomorrow for a while.

Meantime here is a flying goldfinch as a change from the incessant chaffinches.

_DSC7676

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan who met an unexpected animal at St Pancras.  She thinks that there may be more roaming the streets of London.

20180918_120742

I had a day of steady but gentle activity today.  It was rather grey in the morning so I was happy to look at the hymns for next Sunday’s service and then entertain Sandy for a cup of coffee.  We arranged to go for a walk in the afternoon.

When he left, I went out into the garden to see what was going on and enjoyed a dahlia…

dahlia (2)

…and the promise of many more fuchsia flowers to come if the frost keeps away.

fuchsia buds

We are still getting a steady stream of butterflies…

red admiral butterfly

…and Mrs Tootlepedal told me that she saw no less than seven at the same time on this buddleia in the afternoon.

I kept an eye on the bird feeder…

busy feeder

…but there was nothing unusual to see.

goldfinch and chaffinch

I get the feeling that the quality and sharpness has gone out of my flying bird pictures lately so it might be a good idea to take my bird watching camera to get a service to see if I can blame it for the problem.  It may well be me though.

Mrs Tootlepedal had to go off to visit the RBS mobile bank (which only comes once a week) and then we drove down to Longtown to collect her new glasses to go with her new improved eyesight.

Since we were close at hand, we went off for lunch at a garden centre before coming home again.

I didn’t have to long to sit down before Sandy arrived for our walk and we headed south for a couple of short strolls along the river using the old main road, now by-passed and just the place for a quiet stroll.

We are a bit worried that if they persist, the brisk winds will dry out the trees’ leaves and everything will turn brown rather than giving us good autumn colour so we took in all the colour we could see meanwhile.

A7 layby

river at Broomholm

river at seven sisters

hollows bridge downstream

hollows bridge upstream

Esk from Byreburnfoot brodge

It was very enjoyable having a leisurely walk, well sheltered from the breeze, along the river in good company.

We looked about as we went and Sandy spotted a snail on a dandelion…

dandelion with snail and fly

…which turned out to have a fly as a friend.

We disturbed a small flock of mallards on one of our visits to the river bank but they flew off before we could get a good shot.

flying ducks

There are fungi everywhere this year…

fungus

…and quite a lot of them are providing food for wild life.

fungus 2

We could have done with some sunshine to bring a bit of sparkle to the leaves…

byreburn road

…but of course it waited until we got into the car to go home before the sun came out.

Mike Tinker joined us for a cup of tea and remarked that his house seemed very quiet and empty now his visitors had left.

In the evening, we went off to the Buccleuch Centre to hear a concert given by Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain, two of our favourite musicians.  They have visited Langholm regularly over the past years and we go to see them whenever we can, as they provide all the ingredients for a thoroughly enjoyable night out.

For those of you who don’t know them, they are a pair of comfortably built, affable and experienced traditional musicians of the highest quality, playing fiddle (Aly Bain) and accordion (Phil Cunningham).  They are happy to let their music speak for itself so it is played without affectation or over amplification.  The music itself always has the most gorgeous line and does not have an ounce of surplus fat on it.

The music is not the only thing that speaks as Aly and Phil keep up a running commentary between numbers and this is almost as good as the music and contains many jokes and anecdotes that are now old friends and all the more welcome for that.  All in all, it was another evening of great warmth and good cheer.

The flying bird of the day is well up to my current standard, i.e. not very good….and it is only just qualifying as a flying bird at all.

chaffinch landing

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from our son Tony just to show that his life isn’t always glorious sunrises.

Fife stormy weather

We had a dry day today that became increasingly breezy as time passed.  If I had been extremely well prepared and keen, I could have got up at the crack of dawn and done twenty miles in calm conditions before breakfast…but I wasn’t and I didn’t.

What I did do was to have a late breakfast and then enjoy a cup of coffee and some excellent scones with Dropscone when he came to call.  His golf is still causing him some grief but he did tell me that he had noticed the toadstools were out in force among the trees beside the fifth fairway on the golf course.

I couldn’t go up straight away as I had a visit to the health centre to get my three monthly vitamin B12 top up to fit in first.

I had a look at the birds when I got back and was happy to see a calm blue tit on the feeder pole…

blue tit on feeder pole

…and several lively chaffinches coming in for seed.

scary chaffinches

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help out at the Buccleuch Centre cafe and after a light lunch, I headed up to the golf course on a toadstool quest.

On my way there, I saw horses at the bottom of the Kirk Wynd having a snack on the way to their field….

horse on Kirk Wynd

…and a bee having a snack on a dandelion at the top of the slope.

bee on dandelion

I was a bit worried about the toadstools when I passed the green keeper and he told me that they had been mowing the rough but when I got to the trees, there were still plenty to be seen.

They were a little past their best but there was a lot of variety and colour….

golf course fungus panel 1

…and both old and new were to be seen along with other varieties.

golf course fungus panel 2

This was the top toadstool of the day in my opinion.

golf course fungus star

While I was on the course, I took a moment to admire the wonderful new 7th tee, built since my golfing days….

seventh tee

…and the old shelter for benighted golfers on stormy days, still standing after many years but only just.

shelter on golf course

I left the course and headed for the open hill.

I had passed this way last in the middle of the dry spell and the wall at the gate onto the hill had had very little lichen or moss but the recent rains had got things going again…

lichen on moss at top of Kirk wynd

…and both lichen and moss were thriving.

The skies clouded over as I walked along the track to the quarry so I have taken the liberty of ‘zinging up’ the pictures that I took along the way a bit as otherwise the skies looked very dull in the images and the results didn’t reflect the pleasure that I got from the scenery.

My route took me along the hill with views up the Ewes Valley to the north…

 

view of ewes from whita

…past the town….

view of Langholm from Whita

…over the wall at the quarries…

wall and stile at quarry

…and down into the woods….

oak wood path

…which gave me some welcome shelter from the stiff breeze.

oak wood near round house

I walked down to the river at the Skippers Bridge and stopped for the obligatory picture opportunity.

Skippers bridge Sept 18

It is a tall bridge when viewed from the upstream side as can be seen by the tiny figure crossing it in the shot above.

Peering through arch of the bridge, I thought that the river was looking at its best.

Esk below skippers

(Not zinged up at all)

The recent storms have left a lot of broken trees and branches around and I saw a couple on my walk today.

fallen trees

I walked along the Beechy Plains on my way home and in the rather gloomy woods beside the river, I saw both script lichen and fungus…

Easton's walk

…of various sorts.

fungsu on tree stump

I ended my walk with a visit to our corner shop.  It really is on a corner.

corner shop

Mrs Tootlepedal had brought back a slice or two of a delicious sponge cake from the Buccleuch Centre and I ate them with a cup of tea while I rested for a while after battling the breeze.

Then I started the task of sanding down the garage doors which are going to be painted.  Luckily this didn’t require any great skill and I was able to get on with it while Mrs Tootlepedal did some shopping.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to do front-of-house for a ballet screening and on this occasion, I left her to it and spent time messing about with the photo editor instead.

The flying bird of the day is another chaffinch.  There are a lot of them about.

flying chaffimnch sept 18

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Sheffield correspondent, Edward.  He and his wife went to Singapore for the FI Grand Prix and stopped off at Phuket in Thailand where he was very impressed by the wiring.

Wiring in Southern Phuket

I footered away a fine morning, firstly through a failure of communication with Dropscone about the availability of scones and secondly through indolence when the scones turned out to be a mirage.

I didn’t really do anything…

….though I must have gone out into the garden fro at least a moment or two as I did some shredding of fallen sunflowers and noticed a butterfly on the bench…

red admiral butterfly on bench

…and a bee on a lamium.

bee visiting lamium

They were obviously tucked up snugly during yesterday’s gales.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to visit Matilda in Edinburgh, catching the first train to run from Manchester to Edinburgh after the line had been cleared of fallen trees.

I watched the birds.

A blackbird boogied on the lawn….

blackbird dancing on lawn

…a chaffinch put a hex on a goldfinch…

chaffinch putting the hex on goldfinch

…a male chaffinch told a female where the really good berries are….

chaffinch showing the way

…while a determined goldfinch practised its breaststroke…

Goldfinch swimming to the feeder

…and a sparrow kept an eye out for new arrivals.

sparrow checking out a chaffinch

From time to time a jackdaw dropped in to supervise.

jackdaw swing on the fat balls

I had an appointment with the dentist as I had carelessly bashed one of my teeth and I needed to know if I had broken it.  He took an x-ray and reassured me that it was sound.  However, if it is still sore after a few days, it might have to come out so I am hoping for the best and eating very soft food.

On my way to the dentist, I saw many bunches of bright red berries….

red berries by river

…and on my way back, I looked at the foliage that I had seen stuck under the town bridge yesterday.  It turned out to be quite a substantial tree, with its head on one side of the bridge….

tree under bridge top

…and its foot caught on the cutwater on the other side.

tree under bridge bottom

On the bank of the river beside the bridge, I was amused by this little family group of fungi with mother sheltering her two affectionate children.

riverside fungus group

I looked at the forecast when I got home and as it said, ‘rain later’, I decided to go cycling ‘now’.

It started to rain just as I got onto my bike.

However, the rain was very light so I decided to chance it and go anyway.  The rain stayed light as I cycled to the top of Callister and back (13 miles) and faded away as I got back to the town so I pedalled on over the river and went a few miles up the main road. This let me get to the magic twenty miles which is the minimum trip I like to do when I have gone to the trouble of getting the bike out.

After several very windy bike rides this month, it was a treat to find that the wind had dropped entirely and in spite of the light rain, cycling was a real pleasure.

The country is getting browner every day…

brown bracken

…so I looked for a bit of colour in the garden when I got back.  A lot of flowers got blown over yesterday but the verbascum just bent with the breeze rather than breaking…

verbascum leaning

…but the tall cosmos, which should be standing up and looking over the front lawn, is now leaning perilously low over the pond.

cosmos drooping

The Japanese anemone is small and tough enough to have survived quite well.

Tired Japanese anemone

After a nourishing meal of fish cakes, I was picked up by Susan, who was driving her very smart new red car, and driven to Carlisle where we played with our recorder group for the first time for a couple of months.  Roy, our librarian, had picked out a fine selection of music for our delight so we had a very good evening.

It was pouring with rain as we drove home.

I was pleased to find that Mrs Tootlepedal had got home safely in spite of her train being delayed a bit on both the up and down trips.  She had had a good time in Edinburgh.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch yet again.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Andy Little, one of our camera club members.  He very kindly sent me this picture of an unusual bird which he saw when visiting New Lanark.

New lanark perching bird

I had a steadily busy but not frantic day today.  Encouraged by Mrs Tootlepedal, I got up reasonably early and went out for a bike ride after breakfast without even pausing to look round the garden.

The reason for the snappy start was a dire forecast of wind and rain to come later in the day.  Anxious not to be caught out, I pedalled the whole way round my 20 mile Canonbie circuit without stopping at all, most unusual for me.  As a result there are no pictures but I made up for this by looking round the garden when I got home.

The butterflies have slowed down a bit and I was able to take a few close up shots.

butterfly head

It may not be the bee’s knees but it definitely is the butterfly’s proboscis.

butterfly head 2

There was a lot of nectar quaffing going on.

white butterfly on daisy

This shot does include the bee’s knees.

bee on cosmos

The newly sprung up nerines are looking better every day…

nerine flowering

…and the Michaelmas daisies are set to take over the world.

michaelmas daisies

It is berry time and the birds have eaten almost all our rowan berries without letting me catch them in the act.  This is most unfair.

Other berries are available…

snowberry and raspberry

…some more edible than others.

Then I took some postcards and photo cards up to our local newsagent, who sells them and makes a contribution to the Archive Group in return, and pedalled back home for lunch.

I kept an eye on the birds while I was in the kitchen and was pleased to see a coal tit in motion…

flying coal tit

…and at rest.

coal tit on feeder

The seeds are too big for them to eat on the feeder so they flit about in a restless way between the feeder and the plum tree behind.

After lunch, since the forecast rain and wind had not yet made an appearance, Sandy arrived and we drove down to Canonbie for as much of a walk as we could get in before the weather broke.

We parked at the church and walked along the river bank below it….

Canonbie church

…looking out for hints of autumn…

Esk at canonbie

..and noticing the scar in the red sandstone cliff where there has been a rockfall.

In the foreground you can see a fisherman moving along the river to try his luck.

Sandstone cliff at Canonbie

His chances may be affected by the number of other fisherfolk around.

family of goosanders at canonbie

Goosanders like eating fish a lot.

Looking across the river, I could see the hedge that marks the road along which I had pedalled  earlier in the day.  The bank behind is covered with the seed heads of rosebay willowherb.

Old A7 banking

We walked south along the river following a local signposted walk…

Esk below canonbie

…stopping to look at wild flowers on out way….

wild flowers beside esk

…and got as far as this little wood before the rain started to come down seriously enough to make us head back to the car.

riversie walk canonbie

We didn’t get a soaking but we got wet enough to persuade us not to dally taking pictures….except this one….

autumn colour

…and drove home to have a cup of tea.

We were joined by Mike Tinker, who has been enjoying having the company of both of his children and their spouses and all four of his grandchildren in recent days and thus was extremely happy but also in need of a quiet sit down and some refreshment.

In the evening, more rain and some gusty wind arrived in perfect time to welcome Luke for his flute lesson.  It always seems to rain on Monday when he comes.  As he was playing better than me today, I had no complaints.

In the evening, I went off with Sandy to the first Camera Club meeting of the season and with the attendance in double figures (11) and an excellent range of photos  for the members to enjoy, the meeting was very satisfactory.  There were biscuits too.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow getting an unfriendly welcome from a siskin.

flying chaffinch (2)

 

 

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