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Posts Tagged ‘Small tortoiseshell’

Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my friend Bruce.  He was impressed by the size of this nail brush.  Its owner must have very big hands.

Bruce's big brush

I was awoken by a loud cry from Mrs Tootlepedal.  “There’s a partridge in the garden,” she said.  I had hoped that by the time  that I had got organised with a camera, the partridge would have flown up into our pear tree, which would have been a great gift.  No such luck though as the partridge had walked out of the front gate and down the road.

partridge

It will do well to stick around in the town and take the risk of being run over.  It it goes back out into the country, it is likely to get shot.

The forecast had been for another cloudy day but we were lucky and the clouds had passed over us and gone on their way and it was sunny all day.

The elder tree feeder lived up to its promise this morning and attracted interesting small birds to the garden.

great tit and robin

A great tit and the first robin for some weeks.

It was a little chilly after breakfast so I took my time getting ready to pedal and made some apple jelly after breakfast.  Sadly, I might have rushed the job a bit and although the result tastes quite nice, it hasn’t set properly and may need reboiling.

Then, even when I had pumped up the tyres and filled my water bottle, I took more time to admire the poppies…

thre poppies

…and salute the butterflies on the buddleia.

three butterflies

Small tortoiseshell, peacock and red admiral

The wind was coming from the north east so instead of heading south as usual and then having to face the wind coming home, I headed north out of the town.

The trouble with starting in this direction is that there is a steep hill almost as soon as you leave the town.  I am not supposed to cycle up steep hills with my tin knee but I adopted a very low gear and eased up the hill so gently that my knee did’t even notice.

Peden's View

Looking back from the top of the hill.

It was a good day for a pedal as the wind was light and even when it was in my face, it didn’t make me cry.  The hills were looking good with bracken and grasses making a patchwork of greens and browns.

Criag hills

I had to stop to take my favourite view, The Gates of Eden.  It really was that green today.

Gates of Eden

I was cycling up the Esk towards its source and this is the peaceful view of the valley at Bentpath.

esk at bentpath

You can see that the farmers have been busy getting silage cut and bagged.

The Black Esk and the White Esk join forces about ten miles north of Langholm and this is the bridge over the Black Esk just before the junction.

 

Black esk bridge Tanlawhill

I crossed the bridge and followed the White Esk for the rest of my outward journey, stopping in this delightful wood beside the King Pool for my first snack of the day.

King Pool wood

The valley of the White Esk is a perfect example of the ‘sunlit uplands’ on a day like today…

Upper esk valley panoramaIt may not be so welcoming in the winter though.

I pedalled past the Samye Ling Tibetan Monastery without taking a picture (which took a lot of restraint) but was stopped in my tracks a little further on by a beautiful rose and some impressive hips in a bush beside a bridge.

rwild rose and hips

The bridge looked interesting so I followed a steep path down to the river and was most alarmed when I heard an almighty splash as I got near to the water.  What had fallen in, I wondered.

It turned out that nothing had fallen in, but a large family of goosanders had been disturbed by my arrival and had taken off from under the bridge in a great hurry.  I caught a glimpse of them as they disappeared downstream.

flying goodsanders

Not a great picture but it was just to record that ten or eleven goosanders taking flight can sound like a boulder falling into a river.

The bridge itself was worth a look.

Eskdalemuir birdge

Although it looked like a traditional stone bridge, the arch had been strengthened by concrete.  This was doubtless to withstand the battering it gets from the many timber wagons which roll over it.  I am not entirely sure but I think the stream is Garwaldwater.

I pushed on, climbing gently but steadily until I could see the start of the White Esk where the Glendearg Burn comes down from the hills to join another little stream and turns in to the Esk.

Upper Esk

When I got to my turning point, the regional  boundary between Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders….

County boundary

…I could hardly recognise it as the timber farmers had been hard at work here and cut down all the trees that used to mark the border.  It looks rather nondescript now.

Nevertheless at 1100 feet above sea level, it seemed like a good spot to rest and munch an egg roll before rolling down the 22 miles back to Langholm.  I say ‘rolling back’ but in spite of losing 850 feet overall, there is a never ending amount of undulation on the way so it was still hard work.  As the route back was exactly the same as the route out, I have not illustrated it.

I was extremely pleased to find that my knee stood up well to this hilly ride and might try to do some more adventurous rides if time and weather permit.

When I got home, I mowed the middle and front lawns.

When i say that I mowed them, of course it was the wonderful Webb Witch which did the work…

Lawn mower

…I just walked along behind it saying encouraging things.  They don’t seem to sell push mowers like this any more.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy sowing some field beans for green manure in the now empty potato bed and we took time out to watch the many flights of bees and butterflies on the buddleia and Michaelmas daisies.  I actually saw a bee push a small tortoiseshell off a daisy flower.   The butterfly came back sharply and knocked the bee off in turn.

The same three varieties that I had seen in the morning were still about ….

P1130964

…but they were joined by a couple of beautiful painted ladies in the afternoon.

painted lady butterfly

One posed for me on a daisy.

The garden was full of insects.

insects in garden

I finished my camera tour with an Icelandic poppy.

icelnadic poppy

Then we uprooted the gooseberry bush as part of the vegetable garden remodelling.  We are going to try to do a little work on this scheme every day that the weather allows so that the work doesn’t overwhelm us.

We were spoiled in the evening with the highlights of both the Tour of Spain and the Tour of Britain bicycle races to watch.

The flying bird of the day is another sparrow.  Birds do keep their heads still when they are flying.

flying sparrow

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Newcastle-on-Tyne correspondent and shows her children posing beside Stephenson’s Rocket.

rocket with mengers

It rained several times today but disappointingly not enough to register any amount on Mary Jo’s scientific rain gauge.  Still, the lightness of the occasional drizzle and the sunny spells in between allowed me to spend a productive and enjoyable day.

We were both surprised (and pleased) to find that yesterday’s furniture removal work had not had any bad effects and Mrs Tootlepedal was out working in the garden at every opportunity.

I had a wander round while dead heading after breakfast.

I was impressed by the very straight back of the big white lily…

big lily two

…and the fact that its flowers don’t talk to each other at all.

They are big flowers.  By comparison,  a new white poppy looked very modest.

white poppy

The arrival of Dropscone bringing the traditional Friday treacle scones brightened one of the gloomier weather moments of the morning.  It was good to catch up on his news after a gap of two weeks.

When he left, Mrs Tootlepedal decided to stop gardening and go off to buy some more plants and other necessities like fertilizer and bamboos sticks.

While she was gone, I sieved all the compost that was left in Bin D and then turned the contents of Bin C into the empty Bin D.  To save my back a bit, I employed a nifty raking and kicking process which left me with minimum lifting to do.  I haven’t taken any pictures of this as I felt that too much excitement might not be good for some of my more elderly readers.

I went in and had another round in my fight against the whimsicalities of my printer.  I did a lot.  I updated the printer operating system, I muttered imprecations both loudly and under my breath, I turned things off and on.  I worked hard.  The score so far?  Printer 3 Tom 0.

I had lunch (courgette soup) and then set the camera up to look at the birds.  Goldfinches have been scarce lately so I was pleased to see one today.

goldfinch

A rather ragged jackdaw dropped in too.

jackdaw molting

There were plenty of greenfinches again and the contest for available perches was continuous.

flying goldfinch triptych

Mostly the sitting tenants won today.

Birds keep producing young and I saw a chaffinch feeding a youngster in the plum tree.

chaffinch and young

Mrs Tootlepedal eventually returned after visiting two garden centres in order to find what she wanted.  As this meant that she had been able to buy some good cheese for me from the one that has a food hall, I was very happy.

I had a walk round the garden with her and we saw some peacock butterflies on the buddleia but I couldn’t get a good picture.  The weather looked to be set fair for a while so I took a picture of the colourphul phlox…

phine phlox

…and then put my camera away and got out my bicycle.

It was one of those days when the shelter of the garden gives a false impression of how strong the breeze is.  When I got out of town, I found that there was a decidedly brisk breeze in my face.  Not wanting to overtax my legs, I settled for an up and down the road twenty miles so that I didn’t have to face into the wind for too long at a time.

As I cycled towards the bottom of Callister, a buzzard took off and flew lazily up the road ahead of me.  It turned and flew over my head a couple of times and then hovered in the wind above the banking beside the road.  I stopped, got my camera out and pointed it at the spot where the buzzard had been until two seconds before I pressed the shutter button.

wauchope road no buzzard

A buzzard fee zone

Apart from the breeze, it was a perfect day for a pedal, warm but not too hot and with a little shade provided by white fluffy clouds from time to time.

My route took me through the town and out on the north side before I turned back and rounded off the trip with another six miles to Wauchope Schoolhouse and back, keeping in the shelter of the valley bottom.

The countryside is looking a lot fresher after our recent rain.

wauchope view

Looking down the Bigholms Burn

Ewes valley

Looking up towards Ewes

wauchope white bull

The white bull looked just about as happy as can be.

When I got back, I noticed a flurry of movement on the buddleia.  We had been invaded by a small army of butterflies.  There were our usual white butterflies but there were also several peacocks…

peacock butterfly on buddleia

…two small tortoiseshells which I spotted…

small tortoiseshell butterfly

..and a single painted lady which caught Mrs Tootlepedal’s eye.

painted lady butterfly on buddleia

It makes the heart sing to see such beauty.

I had time to enjoy the flower of another of the big lilies among the rose mallows….

big lily

…and to reflect on the clematis on the fence which apparently produces flowers with different numbers of petals.

clematis 6 petalsclematis 4 petals

…until you look more closely, before I went in for my shower and a catch up on my correspondence.

Mrs Tootlepedal used some of our courgette mountain to make courgette fritters for tea and then Mike and Alison came round for their customary Friday visit.  Before we played, Alison told me that their buddleia too had been covered on butterflies this afternoon.  This is good news as there were worries that the butterfly population might have been hit by the cold late spring this year.

The music was as enjoyable as ever and sometimes we both played the right notes at the right time and this created a very pleasing effect and rounded off a good day.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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