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Posts Tagged ‘Small tortoiseshell’

Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce, who is on the island of Arran where he visited the Blackwater Foot harbour.  A harbour, a bridge and a waterfall in one shot is very good value.

Blackwater foot

We had a lovely sunny morning.  This was a great joy after such a gloomy day yesterday but, as is the way in life, I had to spend it sitting in the Welcome to Langholm office putting data into the Archive Group newspaper database and welcoming only two visitors to the office, both of whom were locals.

As I left to walk home, a light drizzle appeared as if by magic.

Still, it was a lot better than yesterday and the drizzle soon faded away and let me mow the greenhouse grass and Mrs Tootlepedal hang the washing out.  Almost as soon as the washing was on the line, it started to rain again.  How we laughed.

Once again, it was only teasing and the washing dried in time and I was able to finish the mowing and enjoy the garden.

The ornamental strawberry has been flowering for ages.  It is very good value.

strawberry

The return of the sunshine brought a crowd of butterflies with it.

Michaelmas daisies with butterflies

Now that the buddeias are almost over, the Michaelmas daisies are the flower of choice for the discerning Red Admiral.

red admiral butterfly

Butterflies seem to be able to cope with quite a bit of damage to their wings.

The butterflies had to share the Michaelmas daisies with bees and hoverflies and the whole clump was literally buzzing.

bee on Michaelmas daisyhoverfly on Michaelmas daisy

A peacock butterfly was making the most of the very last of the buddleia flowers.

peacock butterfly

At the other end of the garden, different butterflies were to be found on the dahlias.

small tortoiseshell and red admiral butterfly

A small tortoiseshell joins a red admiral

That was the first small tortoiseshell I have seen since one in July and as that was the only other one to visit us this year,  this one was very welcome.

Nearby, a clump of dahlia flowers looked around for customers but only one hoverfly found them attractive..

dahlias

I moved on and admired the poppies….

poppies

…who looked grateful for the sunshine.

After a last look at the tropaeolum, looking redder than ever if that is possible…

tropaeolum

…I went inside to put some cycling gear on….

….and it started to rain.

Once again, it was a tease and by the time that I was ready to go, the rain had stopped again.  Just to make sure that it wouldn’t start up while I was out cycling, I put on a heavy rain jacket and that kept it dry while I cycled 27 miles in my ‘outdoor gym’.

It was pretty windy and I had to battle quite hard to get up the road but, of course, that meant an easy roll back down again.

When it is windy, I tend to keep my head well down to improve the aerodynamics while cycling into the wind so I didn’t see much on the way out and on the way back, I was often going too fast to stop in time when I did notice something so it was a quiet ride photographically.

I did stop to check on the sloes near Cleughfoot which I had seen looking a bit scabby early last month…

sloes

….and they were still looking scabby now….

sloe

…though there was fairly healthy looking fruit as well.

At my turning point, I was pleased to see that the farmer had his barn well stocked….

Cleughfoot

…though less pleased to see the black clouds looming up behind it.

They came to nothing though and the sun continued to do its best….

Glencorf burn

…to help me to ignore the brisk northerly wind.

In May, I had stopped to admire the hawthorn blossom on the road back to Langholm…

hawthorns

…and today, I stopped to admire the berries.

Hawthorn

When I got home, I enjoyed a cup of tea and a dainty biscuit with Mrs Tootlepedal and Mike Tinker and then, after a shower, it was time for a visit from Luke for a flute lesson.

He has been practising so the lesson went well.

I hope to be in a better position to make use of a promised sunny morning tomorrow than I was today.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce who was struck by the elegant simplicity of this device for opening all the windows of a glasshouse near Denholm in one fell swoop.

glasshouse window opener

The forecasters tend to look on the gloomy side of things and although we were promised a morning of rain,  thunder and lightning, in the end we got nothing more shocking than another heavy shower and the arrival of Dropscone for coffee.

Dropscone was due to play in a golf tournament near Denholm in the afternoon so he was a bit apprehensive but unless he was very unlucky, he should have been all right because the rest of our day here was fine, often sunny and quite pleasantly warm for once too.

This let me get out into the garden to pick some of Mrs Tootlepedal’s carrots.  We are plagued by carrot root fly so Mrs Tootlepedal has been taking extra precautions this year and they seem to have paid off.  Carrots have joined the beetroot and wild raspberry jam in the home produce section of our kitchen.

carrots, jam and beetroot

The wild raspberries produce a rather ‘pippy’ jam but it does have a very good flavour.

The scientific rain gauge shows just how heavy our brief showers have been…

rain gauge

…but I was able to get out into the garden to do some dead heading and tidying up.  The last of the delphiniums are now assisting the compost.

By early afternoon, not only was the washing hanging out and drying quickly but the poppies were holding their heads up in a very satisfactory way.  I didn’t photograph the washing but I did snap a poppy or two.

 

poppypoppypoppypoppy

Once again the bees had not been discouraged….

bees on poppy and cornflower

…and I was particularly pleased to see a small tortoiseshell as well as the more common large white.

white and tortoiseshell butterflies

The tortoiseshell was hiding in a box ball but I should be able to get a better picture in a few days if it keeps coming to the garden.

I had received an unexpected letter from Germany a few days ago and in it, a lady who has started to read the blog fairly recently introduced herself and told me that she would be coming to Canonbie.  She added that she would be happy to share a cup of tea, a biscuit and some conversation with me.  We had a mutual friend in a colleague who taught across the landing from me in Langholm Primary School some forty years ago.

A cup of tea alone is a considerable inducement but when a biscuit is added, who can resist so I got on the fairly speedy bike, readjusted my new mirror and set off to cycle down to Canonbie by my usual route.

Instead of looking for wild flowers today, I thought that I would look at views on my way.

There was no shortage.

Whita Hill seen from Chapelhills

Whita Hill seen from Chapelhills

Looking down over the Esk valley from Tarcoon

Looking down over the Esk valley from Tarcoon

Cows at Mossknowe

Cows at Mossknowe

Cows at Mossknowe

Cows at Mossknowe: taking the longer view

View through my favourite trees at Grainstonehead

View through my favourite trees at Grainstonehead

Liddle Viaduct at Riddings

Testing the zoom: The Liddle Viaduct at Riddings seen from Grainstonehead about a mile away.

The old road passes Woodhouselees

The old road passes Woodhouselees

As you can see, it was a beautiful afternoon with the added bonus of not being too hot so that when I got to the house that I was visiting, I was in good order to pay a social call.

My welcome was very warm and the tea was refreshing, the biscuit nourishing and the conversation interesting.  It was useful to get a view of Brexit and Britain as seen from abroad as our press is generally very insular and we don’t have much of a view of what is going on over the Channel.  I was pleased that my blog had lead to such a sociable and informative occasion.

I stayed an hour and then cycled on home and took one last view on my way.

Whita seen from the old A7 near Irvine House

Whita seen from the old A7 near Irvine House

I thought that the completed silage and the puddle gave a good reflection of our changeable weather.

The wind was very brisk again and I was happy to find it pushing me back up the hill into Langholm.  We should be grateful for the brisk wind, as it has been helpful in getting things dry after the heavy rain showers.

When I got back home, I had enough energy left from talking and cycling to mow the greenhouse grass and trim back the climbing hydrangea so that it no longer threatens to block our gutter.

hydrangea

I see when I look at the picture, that the trim might need straightening up a bit.

I also had time for a look at two flowers, a nicotiana, a favourite of Mrs Tootlepedal who loves the scent in the evening and a red astrantia, which has waited until the paler varieties are dying back before making an appearance.  As regular readers will know, I dearly love an astrantia so I was very pleased to see this one finally coming out.

astrantia and nocotiana

I was also pleased to see a water lily in flower.  Often when rain fills up the pond, the water lilies get drowned.

Whita seen from the old A7 near Irvine House

It has started to rain again as I write this. We have several more days of sunshine and showers to come but if the balance between the rain and shine is the same as it was today, we won’t complain too much.

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my son Tony who has been experimenting with my old Lumix which I gave to him on Thursday.  This is his ‘flying birds’ taken at none  o’clock in the evening..

Tony's moon

We had a really lovely day today with a cool underlying temperature (17° C at its hottest) and wall to wall sunshine.  For me, this is just perfect as I don’t like it when it gets too hot.

I had to take some Archive Group heritage disks up to the Welcome to Langholm office in the morning so I took my camera with me and walked back by way of the Kilngreen and the new path round the Castleholm.  It was pure pleasure to be and about on such a day.

I took a couple of pictures in the garden before I left….

lilies

second poppy

…and enjoyed my extended walk back from the town.

The Sawmill Brig

The Sawmill Brig

grass beside the The Sawmill Brig

Rather ghostly grass along the river bank above the bridge

Ty Penningham's path

The ‘new’ path

Langholm Castle

Langholm Castle is getting smothered in growth on its ruined walls

I stopped to have a look at the two noble firs at the corner of the path as they are always interesting.  They were more interesting than usual today, I thought.  One of the pair was covered in more cones than I have ever seen before.

noble fir cones

The other had no cones at all but the remains of many flowers.

noble fir cones

I walked on, passing wild flowers….

wild flower

….and hearing odd sounds in the distance.

When I had crossed the Jubilee Bridge….

River Esk above Jubilee Bridge

The river Esk seen from the bridge. The trees make an impressive canyon for it to run through.

…the source of the sound became obvious as I was assailed by the playing of the Langholm Pipe Band…

Langholm Pipe Band

…who were entertaining a crowd of parents and children which had gathered for a junior cricket event.

I had time for a look at two very spiky flowers as I went round the playing field…

nettle and spiky flower

…along with a flower doing aerobics and a fly not flying.

hawkbit and fly

When I got back to the garden, I considered the down side from a lawn maintenance point of view of having a very prolific Philadelphus near the lawn….

philadelphus petals

…and then stopped moaning to myself and enjoyed combining clearing up the petals with mowing the lawn.

Middle lawn

When I had finished the lawn, I turned compost Bin B into compost C.

Then Mrs Tootlepedal came out to give her new secateurs a test.

secateurs

They passed.

The secateurs come with a special sharpening stone of their own and every part is replaceable individually.  They are Swiss made and are well worth the 600 mile round trip to get them.   I was allowed a go and can report that they are as smooth as butter in operation.

There are always roses to look at at present so I looked at some.

special grandma and Lilian Austin

Special Grandma and Lilian Austin

I noted the two different astilbes in the garden…

astilbes

…and was just going in for lunch when Mrs Tootlepedal spotted a butterfly.

small tortoiseshell butterfly

I was doubly pleased to see this small tortoiseshell, not just because it is always good to see a butterfly but also because the small tortoiseshells are said to be getting rather scarce.

After lunch, we went off to Carlisle.

Mrs Tootlepedal did some very good quality shopping (including dates, prunes, tea, coffee and cheese) while I went to a pub and did some unofficial bonding with a group of the basses and tenors from our Carlisle choir.   This involved beer and conversation and while I had very little beer, I did have a lot of conversation.  The bonding was the idea of one of the basses as the choir doesn’t meet in the summer months and a very good idea it was.

The odd thing about the affair was that on a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon, most of Carlisle seemed to think that packing into a pub was the best thing to do and the place was full  to bursting.  I had thought that we might be the only people to be in there on such a good day to be outside.

When I left after a couple of hours to go home with Mrs Tootlepedal, the rest of the bonders were still there chatting away merrily.

Once home, I thought of a cycle ride but the call of the compost was too strong and I finished the compost turning by putting the contents of Bin A into Bin B.  The new demountable wooden compost bins make this a very easy task but I was happy to have got the job finished.  The compost in Bin A was really quite hot in the centre of the heap and I hope it doesn’t get so hot in Bin B that it sets fire to the bin.  That would be a tragedy.

I took a couple of evening sunshine flower shots…

sweet peas

Sweet peas in their protective cage

lupin, foxglove and delphinium

Lupin, foxglove and delphinium

Checked out a bee on a hosta flower….

bee on hosta

…and went in to enjoy some fishcakes, with new potatoes and turnips from the garden, for my tea.

Altogether a very satisfactory day.

Here are two sitting Kilngreen ducks for the flying bird of the day slot today.

Kilngreen ducks

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Today’s guest picture comes from ex-Langholm Archive data miner, Ken who is now living on the wrong side of the country.  He sent me this picture of Monkseaton Senior School, a place where the children obviously get a fully rounded education.

Monkseaton Senior School

Spoiler alert: If you don’t care for big lorries and birds, look away now.  There are too many pictures in this post.

Our spell of dry weather continued today.  This was fortunate as my day started with two outdoor activities.  Much to my surprise, I not only woke up at seven o’clock but I actually  got up at seven o’clock and then Mrs Tootlepedal got up too and we went off on a great windmill hunt.

This was a speculative venture as the offical time for the passing of the windmill procession was between six and eight am but the men whom I had met yesterday had told me that it might easily be much later.  This meant that when we arrived just before eight, we might have missed the thing altogether or still have hours to wait, not knowing whether it had gone past or not.

It was therefore with some degree of triumph (and a relief) that the first thing that we spotted was a police car with a flashing blue light.

windmill transport

We parked our car safely out of the way and I walked back to ask the policeman in the car what was the programme.  He told me that the load for today was turbines rather than the windmill tower itself and I was a bit disappointed until I saw the lorry appear….

windmill transport

with a 60metre blade on board…..followed by a second….

windmill transport

…and then a third.

windmill transport

They had a narrow bridge to cross….

windmill transport

…which needed inch perfect navigation and then they came up the hill from the Gair road…

windmill transport

…crossed the Waterbeck road with more skilful driving….

windmill transport

The back bogey with independent steering

…and drove onto the specially constructed track through a field on the other side of the road.

windmill transport

Soon all three blades were parked in the field.

windmill transport

I needed to use the panorama setting on the Lumix to get them all in from side on.

windmill transport

A remarkable sight.

They had set off from Glasgow at midnight, come down the motorway overnight and them waited at Kirkpatrick until daylight before they ventured onto the narrow back roads to bring them to Waterbeck.  At this point there was still four miles to go before they could get to the windmill site itself.  I could see the site from the field…

Ewe hill windfarm

…and it was sobering to realise just how big those turbines are.

After a pause to ensure that the road ahead was clear, the lead driver got into his vehicle…

windmill transport

…gave a cheery wave and set off for the final leg of the journey…

windmill transport

…very carefully.  Soon the whole cavalcade was on its way.

windmill transport

There were clues that this wasn’t entirely a home grown operation.

windmill transport

Mrs Tootlepedal and I were mightily impressed by the efficiency and calmness of the operation and went home very happy to have got such a good reward from an early start.

I had time for a slice of toast when we got home before Sandy arrived.  I had taken on the job of a fill-in feeder filler at the Moorland Project for an absent friend and Sandy very kindly offered to give me a lift up to the site.  We were fully equipped with cameras and tripods and after we had filled the feeders, we settled down in the handy hide for a bit of bird watching.

There were plenty of birds to watch.  I was pleased to see lots of chaffinches and a bunch of healthy looking greenfinches…

chaffinch and greenfinch

…and a good number of coal tits and great tits.

coal tit and great tit

The chaffinches flew around in all directions…

chaffinches

…but the star of the show was a dozy pheasant….

pheasant

…who walked up a branch and fell off the end.

A couple of woodpeckers put in a very fleeting appearance…

woodpeckers

…but didn’t stay to feed.

There were outbreaks of cuteness…

robin and rabbit

…and a good deal of self conscious posing for the camera.

chaffinch

The lure of a cup of coffee got us moving in the end and after a look round outside the hide…

Langholm Moor

…we headed for home.

After coffee, Sandy went off and Mrs Tootlepedal and I set about reducing the mound of garden clippings….

garden clippings

….to this useful pile of compost.

garden clippings

It is a very handy machine when Attila the Gardener is in full flow.

Then it was time for lunch.

We had just finished when the sharp eyed Mrs Tootlepedal noticed a tiny wren outside the window.  I caught a glimpse of it before it flew off.

wren

With giant turbine blades in the morning and a tiny wren in the afternoon, we had a day of marked contrasts.

I had hoped to continue with my run of short cycle rides after lunch but the wind was just too strong for comfort today so instead I sieved some more compost, mowed the front lawn and ate some raspberries.

Mrs Tootlepedal amused herself by going off to get some muck from her manure mine and when she got back we noticed a lone butterfly on the dahlias. It was a small tortoiseshell.

small tortoisehell butterfly

They have been very scarce this year.

I enjoyed looking at the rich colours still about in the garden.

poppy, rose, cotoneaster and nasturtium

Long may the good weather continue.

We went in for a cup of tea and I had so many pictures to look at already that I decided not to go for a short walk and take some more in spite of the nice day.  This was just as well as looking at the pictures that I had already taken filled in all the available time before it was necessary to get tea cooked.  We had smoked sausage risotto and courgette fritters.  I shall miss Mrs Tootlepedal’s courgette fritters when the courgette supply finally runs out.

After tea, I went off to sing with our local choir, Langholm Sings and we had a really enjoyable rehearsal.  Although our numbers are small, everyone is working hard and we are making good progress.  As she is singing in two other choirs, Mrs Tootlepedal has decided to retire from Langholm Sings.  She will be sadly missed.

The flying bird of the day is that pheasant, recovering (just) from stepping off the end of the branch this morning.

flying pheasant

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who was visiting the Botanical Gardens in Oxford.  She could see Magdalen College in the distance.

View of Magdalen College from the gardens

View of Magdalen College from the gardens

We had the third day in a row of welcome sunshine today and flowers and insects greeted it with the same enthusiasm that we did.

poppy and bee

I am suffering from a little saddle soreness at the moment so I was quite happy that Mrs Tootlepedal had a joint task for us to do in the garden and I gave the bicycle and my posterior a rest.

Before we started on the task, I had a walk round the garden to do some dead heading and have a look at what was going on.

The first Michaelmas daisy and a pair of ripening plums made sure we remembered that in spite of the sunny day, autumn is creeping ever closer.

Michaelmas daisy and plums

The garden was full of buzzing noises and I enjoyed watching insects approach a poppy in their own way.  The hoverfly dances in daintily while the bee hurls itself in sideways and squirms round in circles battering the middle of the flower to bits.

poppy and insects

Then it was time for the task.

A  prunus tree on the hedge with our neighbour was in poor condition and needed to be cut down before it fell over.  This involved stepladders, long loppers, a stout rope and a bow saw but with the assistance of our other neighbour Liz and her grandson, who fortunately dropped in to see what all the fun was about, we got the tree cut down in quick time and with no injuries to the participants.

Shortly afterwards, the branches had been trimmed for sawing up, the twigs stacked for disposal and it was time for coffee.  All this might have been the subject of a photo story if I had remembered to photograph any of it but I didn’t so it isn’t.

After coffee, I took some Archive Group postcards up to the new base of the tourist information volunteers.  It is bang in the middle of the Market Place and as a result, there have been more visitors and more sales of cards.  While I was on the High Street, I ordered some more supplies of coffee.

When I got home, I had another look round.

The buddleia is still drawing butterflies…

rred admiral and peacock butterflies

…though they didn’t always pose prettily for me.

butterflies

I never thought of butterflies as being whiskery until I got a camera.

red admirtal and tortoiseshell butterflies

Then I mowed the middle lawn before it got too warm to work.

I was quite happy to have a reason to go into the cool house after that.  It is the Canonbie Flower Show on Saturday and it has a well supported photography section so I sat down to pick out and print thirteen pictures to enter in some of the many classes it offers.

This simple sounding process literally takes hours.  I have far too many pictures in my files to sift through quickly and my printer, like the wheels of justice, grinds extremely slowly.  Still, I got it done in the end and, for once, I am pretty pleased with my choices.  This probably means that I won’t catch the eye of the judge at all this year but it is taking part and not winning that is the important thing….so they tell me.

I went out into the garden and saw the young robin again so I popped back inside and took my first ‘through the kitchen window’ shot for some time.

.robin

It was such a lovely evening that when we had had a cup of tea, Mrs Tootlepedal joined me on a walk.

We are not the only ones having trouble with sick trees.  We saw this one beside the river with  no leaves left on it….

sick tree

…and with the tell tale fungus at its roots.  Not long for this world.

We crossed the Kilngreen where the gulls resolutely refused to take wing and walked ver the Sawmill Bridge and onto the Lodge walks.  More poorly trees were to be seen there.  Two of the signature beech trees which line the walks have been condemned to be felled and have been trimmed off in preparation and several conifers in the woods beside the road are for the chop as well.  They are all big trees…

trees for fellin

…and the beeches in particular will be sadly missed.

Several trees blew down in the winter gales this year and the estate must have been rightly worried about the chances of more sick trees falling on passers by if the gales return this winter.

We walked across the Castleholm and kept an eye out for signs of the season.  They were to be seen both on a large scale…

Leaves turning

The first hints of leaves turning

…and in smaller things.

oak, hazel and lime

These are oak, hazel and lime

I was intrigued by what seemed to me to be an unusual spider’s web on the Jubilee Bridge.

Spiders web

They looked liked two little baskets prepared to catch things rather than the standard network.  Perhaps they were not made by a spider.  A knowledgeable reader may be able to help me out here.

We saw what we took for crab apples in the Clinthead Garden on our way out and some snow berries beside the Esk as we passed the school on our way home.

crab apple and snow berry

When we got home, in another sign of the times, the starlings were back on our electricity wires.

starlings

There was no flying bird on our walk so a stationary butterfly will have to do instead.

butterfly

They say that we have one more day of good weather to go before the rain returns and the temperature drops.  It was good while it lasted.  I hope the butterflies survive.

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Today’s guest picture is another of my sister Mary’s studies of the lakes and ponds of London’s parks.  This one is the small lake in Parliament Hill Fields

The small lake in Parliament Hill FieldsWe woke to the coldest morning of the autumn so far at a meagre 4 degrees C and to find the town well covered in mist.  It took some time for the mist to clear but by lunchtime, the sun had broken through and the afternoon was well up to recent sunny standards although it never got very warm.

I started the day with a visit to the health centre to get some blood taken for tests which I hope may give me an excuse for stopping taking statins.  While I was there, the nurse took the opportunity to give me my annual flu jab thus hitting two targets with one arrow.

When I got home, it was time for a late breakfast as I had not been able to eat for twelve hours before the blood test.  Then, in an effort to keep up with Mrs Tootlepedal, who was wielding the vacuum cleaner to great effect, I tidied everything off all the surfaces in the front room.  Looking around as I type this in the evening, many things have mysteriously materialised out of thin air and covered some of the surfaces again.  Tidying up is  not my forte.

I had time to make a pot of coffee and stare out of the window though.

blue titsI had put some brightly coloured pink bird food out in the covered feeder and it attracted the blue tits.

blue tits and pink foodI admire the way that blue tits cope with food that is too big to swallow in one go.

A coal tit approached the problem from a different angle.

coal titThere was an early visit from two goldfinches.  I was pleased to see them but I don’t think that they returned the compliment.

goldfinchesWe were intending to go to a garden centre straight after coffee to get some sand for the lawn but there was a slight hiatus while we searched for my debit card which had disappeared.  For a moment, we wondered whether it had been mislaid on the Edinburgh train on Tuesday and this involved a catch 22 conversation with that grand misnomer, ‘customer services’.  The Edinburgh lost property number was faulty and not working so I was advised by a kind lady in Fort William, who was working, to leave a message on the answer-phone at the Glasgow lost property office, the head office for lost property, and they would ring me back.  Luckily the astute Mrs Tootlepedal had found the offending card before they rang and we set off for the garden centre and lunch.

I got the reply from Glasgow later in the day on my answer-phone.  It said, ‘Please ring the Edinburgh Office.’

The visit to the garden centre went well in spite of the fact that they had no suitable sand.  We bought lunch, a moveable bird feeder, some bird food, some peat and logs for the stove in the front room and a small potentilla so we hadn’t wasted our time going there.

By the time we got home, the  sun was in full swing and the garden was full of bees and butterflies.

bees and butterflySomeone suggested that counting the bees must be difficult but as you can see in the picture above, the bees are behaving rather like sheep and are steadily grazing on the sedum rather than buzzing about.  There were well over a hundred here again today.

Unlike yesterday though, there was a good turnout of butterflies too.  There were well over a dozen flitting about, though there were none of the peacocks that looked so pretty yesterday.

Today we had red admirals…

red admiral butterfly…small tortoiseshells…

small tortoiseshell butterfly…and painted ladies…

painted lady butterflyThe painted lady gave me a profile shot.

painted lady butterflyLovers of the 1980s will appreciate the deely boppers which butterflies sport.

There were butterflies and bees wherever we looked.

butterfliesIt seemed that every flower had an insect friend.

poppy and daisy with insectsastrantia with insectsI was dancing about with glee like a little boy allowed a free run in a sweetie shop.

I calmed down enough to take a shot of a poppy for the poppy parade.

poppyI will miss the poppies when the season ends.

We were expecting Mike and Alison to come round for their usual Friday evening visit for music and conversation but Mike rang to say the Alison was unwell and had retired to bed.  This was sad but at least it let me practice a little choir music and write a business letter that had been waiting to be written for nearly a month so some good came out of it.

The flying bird of the day is a bee.

flying bee

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Today’s guest picture, sent to me by her mother, shows the world’s greatest toddler considering hygienic matters.

MatildaJust for the record I note that we had another dry day today with the addition of some welcome sunshine.  It would have been a good day for cycling but there were more important things to think about.

Most of the day was spent taking Mrs Tootlepedal to the hospital in Dumfries where she got a cataract in one of her eyes removed.  Everything went very well and she is wearing a fetching eye patch as I write this and we are looking about for a handy parrot to round off her pirate queen impersonation.

The staff at the hospital could not have been better organised or more helpful and the whole thing was spiritually and physically painless so we were back out in two and half hours and were able to have a late lunch at a garden centre on the way home.

While were at the garden centre, several packets of bulbs and some bird food mysteriously fell into a basket which we were carrying around.  I was quite surprised to see a small tortoiseshell butterfly on one of the plants in their outdoor section.

tortoiseshell butterflyYou don’t expect to see real life among the rather artificial looking serried ranks of plants in a garden centre.

We got home safely and Mrs Tootlepedal went for a rest while I spent most of the rest of the afternoon selecting and printing out pictures for the Westerkirk Flower show tomorrow.  I always find it hard to pick show pictures and often end up choosing unsuitable photos even though I know that they won’t do well.  I have done better this time and at least I am entering eight respectable efforts….but there is still no guarantee that any of them will catch the judge’s eye.

In the morning, before we left for Dumfries, I had been very pleased to see a couple of robins in the garden.

robin

This one was not very well drawn

robin

This one was more the complete picture

In between times, I wandered round the garden…

poppies

Today’s poppy parade

…and was very pleased to find a butterfly here too.

peacock butterfly

It was a peacock butterfly on the Michaelmas daisies

It flew off before I could get a close up but returned a few minutes later and I was able to get penny plain and tuppence coloured members of the butterfly family.

butterfliesI kept an eye on my new feeder and put some of the new bird food into it.  It is proving a popular eating place among birds of taste and discrimination.

blue tit, great tit, coal tit

The tit family was well represented by blue tit, great tit and coal tit.

robin blue tit and siskin

And there was a robin and a siskin too….and another blue tit, the most frequent visitors.

As I was wandering about, I saw another young robin.

robinOn request, it posed properly.

robinI am not sure if this is the same one that I saw in the morning.  My robin identification skills are not good.

I made some bread and went off to get a pizza for our tea and enjoyed sharing it with Mrs Tootlepedal who seems to be none the worse for her adventure.  We have to go back to the hospital on Monday for a check that all is well.

In the evening, we were joined by Mike and Alison and Alison and I worked hard at our new Telemann Partita and were rewarded by some quite musical sounds.  Now that the nights are drawing in, I am going to try and be a bit more methodical about practising my flute.  I am never going to be a good player but I certainly have a great deal of scope for getting better.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

chaffinch

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