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Posts Tagged ‘robin’

After Ada’s picture of walking in the mountains of Tenerife, I have another mountain scene as guest picture of the day today.  This snowy view from Hoch-Ybrig in Switzerland was sent to me by Dropscone’s niece Hilary, who was skiing there with her family.

Hoch-Ybrig, Switzerland

A click on the pic will spread the picture on a wider scene.

We had a pervasively gloomy day here, a bit warmer but very grey and much windier, not an attractive proposition for cycling or walking.  Mrs Tootlepedal had a busy day with visits to the dentist, the information hub to put up Buccleuch Centre posters and then the Buccleuch Centre itself where she had lunch before doing the front of house for a screening about the Young Picasso.  As she stayed for the screening, I saw very little of her until she came back in time for a cup of tea with me and Mike Tinker who had dropped in later in the day.

While she was out, I tried to avoid walking on my sore foot and passed the time by listening to the radio, doing various puzzles in the paper and of course, watching the birds.

Goldfinches were the flavour of the day.

Sometimes all was calm…

goldfinches quartet

…and at other times it was all go in every direction.

goldfinches coming and going

Occasionally, chaffinches tried to join the fun.

goldfinches and chaffinches

And we have been getting regular visits from collared doves.

doctored collared dove

I used Photoshop to remove a rather messy background from this shot.

I noticed a robin on the arm of the garden chair….

robin on arm of chair

…and then I noticed that there was a robin on the back of the chair…

robin on back of chair

…and then I noticed that there were in fact, two robins, an unusual sight.

two robins

I did have a wander round the garden but there was nothing new to see except a single potential new crocus.

potential crocus

I did pick up a walnut and to my surprise, it was in very good condition and Mike and Mrs T had half each with their cup of tea.

After Mike had left, I got my slow bike out and cycled half a mile round the new town just for sake of getting out of the house.  It had been raining for much of the afternoon, but it had stopped now.  It didn’t make much difference to the gloom though as the clouds were still firmly clamped down over our hills.

clouds over Langholm

A row of ducks were lined up on the edge of the main flow of the river.  They were peering anxiously about and for all the world they looked as though they were waiting for a bus to arrive.

ducks at the waters edge

Since I was having a quiet day in, I got the bread machine to make me some dough and used the result to make 18 rolls.  The bread machine makes a wonderfully elastic dough and the rolls came out well.

bread rools

My flute pupil Luke had missed our Monday meeting because of a cold and although he was hoping to come today, the cold still had him in its grip so we will meet next week instead.  I practised by myself which was no bad thing as I have to work hard to keep up with him as he gets better.

I will get about a bit more tomorrow as I am off to the physio and hope to use the trip to take a picture or two while I am out.

The flying bird of the day is one of those goldfinches, concentrating hard as it comes in to the feeder..

flying goldfinch

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is a follow up to the recent guest picture from Dropscone which showed the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct seen from below.  This is the view from above.  Dropscone walked over the aqueduct.  It would need a team of wild horses to get me across.

Telford aqueduct

We enjoyed a delightfully sunny day today with the only drawback being a frosty morning and a reluctance from the thermometer to rise above 5 degrees.  I would like to have gone for a walk but foot resting is still the order of the day so I spent a quiet morning in waiting for the temperature to rise to safe cycling levels.

I was well entertained by birds while I waited.

Camera shy chaffinches tried to sneak past me undetected….

chaffinch hiding

…while down below, a blackbird eyed up the possibility of fallen seed…

blackbird at feeder

…and a robin took a view from a garden chair.

robin on chair

In the midst of the usual scrum of goldfinches and chaffinches, a splash of yellow caught my eye.  A siskin had arrived, the first for some weeks.

siskin on feeder

It posed for me with a goldfinch to show just how small a siskin is.

siskin and goldfinch

I took a turn round the garden and the sun had encouraged some flowers to do their best, although the first daffodil of the season needed some support to hold its head up.

garden flower feb 11

The garden is amazingly dry considering the amount of rain recorded in  Mary Jo’s scientific rain gauge over the past few days.

rain gauge Feb

I made some vegetable soup for lunch and then set off for a short ride on my slow bike.

I stopped a lot to take pictures.

I like this dangly larch branch…

larch in winter

…and there was no shortage of dangly catkins too.

catkins two

The bullocks were taking a rest from playing king of the castle when I first passed them…

sitting bulls

…but ten minutes later, they were full of fun again.

bullock on mound

My trip took me up the valley of the mighty Wauchope Water and to give the reader some context, I include a map of the three mile long river and its tributaries, with some markers to put the pictures in place.

Wauchope catchment

!. This is the spot where the Wauchope Water descends through narrow rocks to make my favourite little cascade.

bessie bells cascade

2. A view of Logan Water….

logan water

…just above where it joins the Bigholms Burn…

bigholms and logan water

…to become the Wauchope.

3.  A view of the junction of Collin Burn and Glentenmont Burn which together make up the Bigholms Burn.

bigholms burn

When you see these small and gentle streams, it is surprising that they can collect enough water between them to make the Wauchope look like this only five miles away.

wauchope in flood

The Wauchope last week as it meets the Esk

I was detained by some lichen on a bridge and more on a concrete fence post on my way home.

lichen on brodge and post

Altogether I managed to pedal twelve and a half miles between taking the pictures so it was a satisfactory outing.  While I was pedalling, Mrs Tootlepedal was doing good work in the garden and greenhouse so we were both pretty cheerful as we sat down for a refreshing cup of tea as the light began to fade.

A second helping of Mrs Tootlepedal’s excellent fish pie once again rounded off a day on the credit side of the great ledger of life.  I have made an appointment with a physiotherapist for later in the week and as I am expecting a miracle cure, I hope to be back walking very soon.

As the goldfinches were in a co-operative mood, I have gone overboard and used two of them for the flying bird of the day.

flying goldfinch

flying goldfinch (2)

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Today’s guest picture comes from our son Alistair and is a result of a recent visit to Edinburgh zoo where Matilda paid close attention to feeding a parrot.

Matilda and a parrot

In the morning, we entertained Sandy to a cup of coffee and got an update on the state of his walking.  He is suffering a lot more than I am and is not getting about much at all on foot just now which he is finding very frustrating.  I don’t blame him.

He can drive though and after coffee, he drove me up to the High Street where we had our picture taken in the newspaper offices (which are also our new Archive Group base). The resulting photograph will be used in an article in our local paper on the work of the Archive Group.

Sandy then drove home while I went for a short and slow walk of under a mile and a half just to have a look around.  The camera club theme for our next meeting is ‘Street Photography’ so I had a little practice on an unsuspecting couple who were walking down to the Buccleuch Centre to meet friends.

As Mike, on the left, is my cello playing friend and Anne, on the right, is a regular blog reader, I don’t think that they will be too cross to have been spied on.

Mike and Anne

They were walking too fast for me to catch them up so I stopped on the town bridge and had a look around.

The gulls were making a point.

gulls make a point

When I got down to the Kilngreen, I could see that the black headed gulls are beginning to develop the colour which gives them their name.

developing black headed gull

The gulls on the posts were busy moving each other up.  A gull would land on an already occupied middle post and set off a chain reaction along the line.

gulls shoving

Across the Ewes water, I could see the remains of Langholm Castle peeping through the trees.

castle from kilngreen

As I crossed the Sawmill Brig, I had to slow down to let a rush of traffic past.

horse and rider lodge gate 2

And then the rush of traffic stopped for  a chat.

horse and rider lodge gate 1

This was lucky as she told me that in spite of a little sunshine, some of the paths that I had intended to use were still covered in ice where trampled snow had not melted.  As she warned me that they were still extremely slippery, I chose another route.

This took me past a mass of lichen on tree branches…

lichen on tree castleholm 2

A recent post from the New Hampshire Gardener made me look more closely at these.

lichen on tree castleholm 1

Nearby a rook was playing ‘I am the king of he castle’ on an old tree stump.

rook on tree stump

There were interesting needles both on a noble fir tree….

noble fir flowers

…and fallen to the ground in one of the recent windy storms.

fallen needles

I finished my walk by calling in at the Buccleuch Centre, passing this patient lion just outside the door.

pump lion

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy inside the centre helping in the coffee shop and I did think of stopping for lunch there but after greeting Mike and Anne, I went home and had a sardine sandwich by myself.  I wanted to watch our birds.

Unlike Matilda, I had no parrots to feed in the garden but I had filled the feeder and as I ate my lunch, there was steady flow of less exotic birds, led by our usual chaffinches.

chaffinch arriving

Collared doves were keen to join in….

collared dove taking off

…and were soon down at ground level scavenging for fallen seeds.

collared dove on ground

They were joined by a robin who ventured into the tray under the feeder.

robin in tray

Up above, chaffinches were deep in conversation.

two chaffinches eyeing

When I looked at the pictures later, I noticed that this chaffinch had been ringed.  It would be nice to know where it had come from.

ringed chaffinch

It was quite a reasonable day at 5°C with not much wind and I fully intended to go for a 20 mile bicycle ride.  The weather looked set fair so I wasted time listening to the radio, watching the birds and doing the crossword and then I remembered that I had promised to send a picture to the newspaper for a ‘snow picture’ compilation they are putting in this week’s edition and by the time that I had finished this, quite a lot more time had passed than I realised.

I should have been paying attention because a quick look at the weather forecast showed that rain was in the offing so I huddled on my cycling gear and set out in hope.

The hope was soon dashed as it began to rain before I had gone three miles and it was the sort of rain that didn’t look as though it was going to stop anytime soon.  I wasn’t anxious to get cold and wet so I turned for home and soothed my troubled soul with some retail therapy at the Gretna Gateway in company with Mrs Tootlepedal who had some shoes to collect from a shop there.

She had ordered them online and was very pleased to find that although they were on a special offer at the shop, they were still quite a bit dearer than the price that she had paid.  The ways of retail are mysterious.

It was pouring with rain by the time we set off home and I was very glad that I wasn’t out on my bicycle.

Once home, we locked the door, shut the curtains and ignored the horrible weather.

I did manage to catch a traditional flying chaffinch of the day today before the weather turned nasty.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from Tony’s seaside views.  This one was taken on his phone.

another wemyss view

Today’s post may be a little more incoherent than usual because I had a restless night.  The forecast had been for cloudy skies so I went to bed without making any preparations to view the much talked about supermoon.  In the event, guided by fate, I woke up and decided that it might be worth pulling back the curtains and was amazed and delighted to find a clear sky and the shadow of the earth just beginning to fall on the left side of the moon.

I scuttled about trying to shoot handheld shots while collecting my tripod and working out apertures, focusing and shutter speeds. I woke up Mrs Tootlepedal too with some trepidation but she was grateful to see the unfolding lunar drama.

I took many, many shots but ended up with just a few usable efforts showing the eclipse starting, the red moon at the full eclipse and the gradual brightening as time went by.  The first of these shots was taken at 3.28 am and the last at 5.53 am and I have to admit that I may have dropped off from time to time between taking them.

red moon

It was well worth the interruption to my sleep to see such a sight.

I got up late and found that a crisp frost had the garden in its grip.  Under the circumstances, I was happy to have a quiet morning in doing nothing more energetic than walking to the shop 200 yards away and putting some bread ingredients in the bread maker.

I looked at the birds and found that chaffinches were having a hard time landing. One was just hanging on…

chaffinch hanging on

…and this one missed the perches altogether.

chaffinch missing perch

Occasionally they got it right.

chaffinch hitting perch

I was encouraged in idleness by small outbreaks of snow.

snow falling

However, the snow came to nothing and the robin popped up to pose for me.

robin on arm of chair

In the end, since the snow had stopped I went for a walk to keep my foot mobile.  It was gloomy but dry so I set off with hope in my heart if not with a spring in my step.

However, I had just passed some attractive catkins….

long catkins

…when it started to drizzle.

I cut short any thoughts of interesting places and took the shortest route home.

stubholm track

By now, it was raining quite steadily so after a look down to see the Mission Hall where the camera club would be meeting in the evening…

mission hall community centre

…I limped home as fast as I could. The colourful backs of the ambulances outside the Hall, which has an ambulance service base in it, were by far the brightest thing to be seen anywhere.

Mike Tinker dropped in for tea and offered some sound rocking horse advice and then Mrs Tootlepedal prepared a magnificent dish of cauliflower cheese while I entertained young Luke for some fluting duets.  It was one of those evenings when we both realised that more practice would have been a good thing before the lesson.

After tea, I went off to set up the projector and screen for the camera club meeting.  Luckily the members are very helpful so we were soon ready and ten members enjoyed a really excellent selection of pictures.  Seven of us had brought in selections to show and  as there was no theme this month, we had a fine mish-mash of pictures from Africa, continental Europe, the southern borders of Scotland and the heart of Langholm.

As usual ideas and experiences were swapped over tea and biscuits at half time so the meeting went well and we all look forward to meeting again next month.

Mrs Tootlepedal had some fun during the day applying her first ever coats of gesso to the rocking horse.  It was a voyage into the unknown and it didn’t go quite as well as she might have hoped but it turned out that that was probably down to the fact that the temperature in the garage where she was working was too low for proper drying of the layers.  The horse is back indoors now and looking a lot better for a bit of warmth.  I hope to have a picture of progress tomorrow.

There are two eager flying birds of the day today, a sparrow for a bit of a change…

flying sparrow

… and a chaffinch for some continuity.

flying chaffinch

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Alert readers may remember a guest picture or two  showing the recent invasion of Derby by some rather scruffy members of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s army.  My brother went to see the prince in the Derby Museum and Art Gallery and asked him not to invade Derby again.  Answer came there none.

20181230_143942

After the excitements of yesterday, we had a very quiet day today, Mrs Tootlepedal because she was a bit tired after a hard days work and me because I wanted to rest my foot after walking more than I should have done in Edinburgh.

I wasn’t missing any cycling as the temperature only just rose above freezing all day though we were very ice free and I did risk cycling as far as the Buccleuch Centre to buy a ticket for an evening show.

I also had to do a bit of walking from and to our local garage as we had noticed last night that one of our headlight bulbs had expired.  They kindly replaced the bulb very promptly and the car is back in action again.

Apart from a visit from Drospcone for coffee and the subsequent consumption of high quality treacle scones, I had a very peaceful time, occasionally looking out of the window.

It was frosty first thing…

_dsc9465

…but the sun came out and things brightened up.

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A chaffinch with a misplaced sense of humour mocked my ambition to catch a good flying bird of the day…

_dsc9470

…and a pigeon arrived which looked not to be any great need of more bird food.

_dsc9486

Mike Tinker came round for afternoon tea with ginger biscuits so we had good company both in the morning and afternoon.

The highlight of the day was the show for which I had bought a ticket earlier on (Mrs Tootlepedal was doing front of house duties and did not require a ticket).

The event was an illustrated lecture by Laurie Campbell, a wild life photographer who lives not too far from us in the Scottish borders.

He is a photographer of great skill and artistry and on top of that, he is an expert in putting together a show of 400 hundred varied images of which every one is interesting and delivering it at a speed which maintains the interest of the audience from first to last.  Add to that a very pleasant and graceful manner of delivery packed full of interesting technical details and a dry sense of humour and you have the recipe for a perfect evening.

Those interested can visit his website here.

As I had time on my hands today, I managed to find several flying birds of the day.

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A final question: can you have to many cute robin pictures?

_dsc9488

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from Tony, proving that he can take in the bigger picture but not miss interesting detail at the same time.

tony's stone

Encouraged by the splendid picture of a loaf bread which our daughter Annie sent us, I checked the recipe which she had also sent me and decided that it might be within my capabilities to make a similar loaf.   It has an interesting method requiring no kneading at all and cooking in a Dutch oven so it was a journey into the unknown for me.

The result was pretty good for a first go and I would have had a picture for you if half of it hadn’t mysteriously disappeared already.  I can report that as it is made from what is virtually a batter rather than a stiff dough, it tastes much like a crusty crumpet and is very delicious, especially when it is still warm.  I will have another go.

I had plenty of time to look at birds this morning while I was cooking and for once, there were plenty of birds to look at…

busy feeder

…including another visit from our resident robin.

robin on chair

I liked these two goldfinches keeping a communal eye out…

two contrary goldfinches

..perhaps checking for siskins, one or two of which made a welcome re-appearance.

siskin

I did think of going for a cycle ride while the mixture was rising but a rather gloomy forecast persuaded me that a walk was a better option so I went along to check out the Becks wood.

It was reasonably warm but grey and windy so I resolved to try a few black and whites on my way.

bw bench

I thought that this old tree stump, entirely given over to moss deserved the full colour treatment….

moss covered stump

…as did this elegantly gesturing tree…

expressive tree

…but an old shack often looks better in monochrome.

shed bw

In among the hundreds of new trees in tubes in the recently felled Becks wood are some rather weedy looking survivors of the cull.  This one looked as though it was bending down to greet the newcomers.

bending tree bw

The wood has been thoroughly cleared of felled trees and brashings and the scale of the new planting is impressive.  Although some locals mourn the loss of the commercial conifer plantation, I for one look forward to the new deciduous wood and enjoy the much improved views in the meantime.

view down becks burn

I went through the wood, down the road and across the Auld Stane Brig before climbing up the lower slopes of Warbla on the far side of the valley.  I kept an eye out for interesting stones and was much struck by this one with lichens on it nearly as decorative as a Maori tattoo.

warbla stane with lichen

An old tree trunk posed for a picture.

rotting log

I had thought of taking the track to the top of the hill but when I looked around, I could see low clouds coming in from all sides…

mist coming down

… so I took a more direct route home through the Kernigal wood and along the Stubholm track..

bw wood walk

…before dropping down into the park and passing a favourite wall.

moss on wall

When I got back to our house, the snowdrops on the bank of the dam were out…

dam snowdrops flourishing

…as was much of the moss on the middle lawn which had been pecked by jackdaws…

lawn pecking

…and Mrs Tootlepedal who had gone off to an Embroiderers’ Guild meeting.

My timing was good as it started to drizzle as I got home and it kept it up for the rest of the day.

Left to myself, I baked the bread, did the crossword and settled down to trying to learn a Carlisle Choir song off by heart.  This was a thankless task because as soon as I had mastered one phrase, I found that I had forgotten the previous one.

Mrs Tootlepedal returned and in the evening, we went off to the Buccleuch Centre for one of the highlights of its annual programme.   Fresh from touring China and playing in Inverness, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, with 60 players, had come to play their Viennese New Year’s concert to a full house.  I cannot speak too highly of the privilege it is for us to get a full scale symphony orchestra playing in our town of 2500 inhabitants.  We sit so close to the orchestra that the experience is absolutely thrilling and the slightly dry acoustic, which the players find hard work, means that the audience can appreciate every note that is played by every instrument.

The conductor even told several very amusing jokes.

A grand night out in every way.

As we have a full singing day tomorrow, I am expecting the weather to take turn for the better.

Although there were a lot of birds, poor light made finding a good flying bird of the day hard work and this was the best that I managed.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from Tony’s series of perfect weather in East Wemyss.

wemyss view

We were promised good weather by noon and as it was still a bit chilly in the morning, I was more than usually happy to see Dropscone arrive (with traditional Friday treacle scones) for a cup of coffee or two.  I treated him with more than my customary respect as he has had an article printed in our local newspaper this week.  It concerned the great number of shops that there used to be in the town in the days when almost all the money earned in Langholm was spent in Langholm.

After he left, I looked for some bird action on the feeder and although I did catch a robin…

robin on feeder january

…and a coal tit…

coal tit on feeder january

..it was a very quiet day birdwise with only the odd bickering chaffinch to show.

squabbling chaffinches

The temperature crept up to 7°C but sadly the sun did not make its forecast appearance so I had to wrap up well again for my cycle ride.  On the plus side, the wind was very light so I was able to do 33 easy miles, but on the minus side, both the weather and my route were pretty dull so the camera stayed in my back pocket except to take notice of this handsomely decorated concrete bus shelter in Eaglesfield.

bust stop at eaglesfield

The bus shelter is utilitarian and perfectly serviceable without its decoration and Plato may have taken the view that utility is beauty but then he was probably sitting having an ouzo beside the beach in Greece when he thought that and not standing in the cold on a gloomy day in Scotland.  I like the decoration.

The only other picture I took was a colourless view up the River Esk at Irvine House just to show how grey the day was….

esk at irving house

…and I had to wait until I got home to get a glimpse of something more encouraging in the shape of the first daffodil bud of the year.

daffodil showing

Mrs Tootlepedal was working in the garden when I got back and she tells me that she has potted on our Christmas tree into a bigger pot.  It is still getting conditioned to life outside by sitting in the greenhouse for the moment.

There are snowdrops about but to save me crawling about on my hands and knees, I took a picture of two that the gardener has brought into the house.

two snowdrops indoors

It didn’t take long for darkness to fall outside and I settled down to looking at the hymns for church on Sunday while Mrs Tootlepedal made further progress on her crochet blanket.

crochet blanket part two

She has two winter projects ongoing, the blanket for the hours of darkness and refurbishing her childhood rocking horse for the short daylight hours.

She has taken the whole assembly to bits and cleaned, sanded, repaired and varnished the base.  She has fashioned an ingenious method for holding it all tightly together as the glue dries during re-assembly.

rocking horse repairs

You can see the cleaned and sanded horse waiting patiently in the background for its turn to come,  This will involve gesso I am told.

During the day, I did my vocal exercises with the straw and a glass of water a couple of times and I think that they are already having a beneficial effect.  I will persevere.

There was no Friday evening music as my accompanist is still getting treatment for her damaged shoulder which is taking longer to heal than expected.  Still, as I have had five pedals, two tootles and a choir this week, I can’t complain.

I didn’t get a very satisfactory flying bird of the day as what chaffinches there were insisted on approaching the feeder from the wrong direction.  Some birds have no gratitude.

flying chaffinch

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