Posts Tagged ‘tortoiseshell butterfly’

Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my friend Bruce who seems to have popped up in Spain.   He had an excursion today to the monastery at Montserrat and found a statue there of interest.  He claims that its eyes followed him about wherever he went.  Look closely at the triptych which he took and you can see what he means.

MontserratI didn’t need to be followed anywhere this morning as I stayed firmly at home doing nothing more exciting than making some slow cooked lamb stew and a pot of coffee.  Sandy joined us for coffee on his way home from a fifteen mile cycle ride which put me to shame.

Mrs Tootlepedal was hard at work doing preparatory work for the final decoration of the downstairs room and I lent a small hand from time to time.

I did take a walk round the garden.   I found two small tortoiseshell butterflies trapped in a spider’s web in the garage and Mrs Tootlepedal came with her delicate fingers and freed them.  We were worried that they might be fatally injured but after a little basking in the sun…

butterfly…they both flew off looking quite chipper.

New flowers are to be seen.


The first of many tulips


A few forsythia flowers

The tadpoles are beginning to roam free in the pond.

tadpolesSpurred into action by a sardine sandwich for lunch, I put on my walking shoes and walked up to the top of Timpen, a 1000 ft summit behind our house.  I had my cameras with me but I was more interested in walking than shooting so I took my walking poles along and hardly stopped until I had made it to the top of the hill.

Two brief photo ops detained me on my way up.

Hill cattle

With the hill cattle around, I had to be careful not to get between mother and calf.  They can be fiercely protective.

meadow pipits

I saw quite a few of these little birds on the hillside.

meadow pipits

They turned out to be meadow pipits.

There is a trig point with a bench mark on the summit….

benchmarkThe numbers do not refer to the height above sea level which is 1069 ft.  Another benchmark near our house in the town is at a height of 269 ft and this shows that I had climbed exactly 800 ft, as my route had not involved any loss of height.

It was another hazy day but I took a couple of shots from the top of the hill.


The town just visible 800 ft below.


In the other direction I could see Craigcleuch, one of the houses built by mill owners in Victorian times.

The light was very variable but every now and again, a bit of sunlight penetrated the haze and lit up a view.

Castle HillI went (very carefully) down the steeper side of the hill towards the Bentpath road and could see the pheasant hatchery on the Castleholm laid out like a map plan below me.

CastleholmOnce back on the road, I crossed it and walked back to Langholm through the woods to the Duchess Bridge.  I was greeted by a very charming bunch of primroses.

primrosesThe recent dry weather has made the path much less muddy than usual and it was a pleasure to walk along it.

Duchess bridge walkThe bridge itself is very difficult to see because of the trees lining the riverside…

Duchess Bridge…and if I was the landowner, I would make sure that there was at least one gap in the trees so that walkers could admire this historic bridge.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal had reached a natural hiatus in her decorating tasks so we went for a nine and a half mile cycle ride up and down the Wauchope road in the the warm early evening sunshine.  The trees at the school are retreating ever further along the banks of the river.

Wauchope school treesWe turned for home at Westwater and had a quick look at the massive wooden circular construction there which will be used for a falconry centre there.   You can see a picture of it at the end of Gavin’s latest blog.

When we got home, Mrs Tootlepedal washed one of a pair of big velvet curtains from the front room in a large tub and I helped her to hang it out.  I question whether it will ever dry out but we can but hope.

I took a picture of a euphorbia before I went back in.

euphorbiaThe lamb stew turned out very well after my gravy chef had worked her magic and provided us with a good meal.  As I was feeling inexplicably snoozy, the rest of the evening saw no action of note at all.

Bird  action was very limited in the garden during the day but as I was waiting for the stew, I did see a late flying chaffinch.


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Today’s picture, sent by Gavin, shows a pair of Dolphins in Victoria the capital of British Columbia on Vancouver Island.  Very smart work with the clippers here.

A pair of Dolphins in Victoria the capital of British Columbia on Vancouver Island.

As if to reproach us for planning to go away, the day dawned with brilliant blue skies and a radiant sun.  As if to remind us of why we are going away, the temperature was 6°C (47°F) so Dropscone and I were well wrapped up as we went round the morning run.  The wind was lighter than it has been lately with the result that we just hit the magic 15 mph for the 20 mile trip which made a good signing off as it will be Sunday before I am back on a bike (if all our travel arrangements have gone as scheduled).

I have done far more cycling this month than recently and as a result my knees are speaking to me in what can only be described as a rather grumpy manner and they will certainly appreciate a few days off.

There was no coffee and scones as we had quite a bit to do to prepare for going off but this didn’t stop me from glancing out of the window at odd moments.  Chaffinches were the only birds to be seen when I first looked out and the good light made them a pleasure to snap.  They were flying all over the place.

swallow dive

If it wasn’t a chaffinch, I would call this a swallow dive.


Vertical take off. Note the feet neatly tucked in.

Two different approaches

Two different approaches

After I had done some necessary work, I took a break and walked into the garden.

I took this picture of the last of the fuchsia flowers.  They will all be gone by the time I get back.


But some flowers are still trying.  Behind the pink phlox, you can just see some potential blue phlox flowers in the background.

pink phlox

If it doesn’t freeze while we are away, maybe they will be there to welcome us home.

And there are still buds waiting to open on the pink dahlias.  I think they will be lucky to see the light of day as flowers though.

pink dahlia

As I write this, it is pretty cold and it may well be that the garden will be over by the time we get back.

While I was making my lunch, I was entertained by a coal and a great tit arriving at the feeder to join a siskin.

coal and great tit

A sparrow looked morosely down at them…


…as they tucked in.

coal tit great tit

A most unusual sight.

After lunch, I put another week of the 1883 paper index into the database and then set about packing.  As Mrs Tootlepedal says, the art of packing is not putting things in the case, it is taking out the things you don’t really need…and then going out to buy the things that you really do need.  I took a break and looked out of the window.  A chaffinch caught the late afternoon sunlight.


And a great tit posed gracefully for me.

great tit

A particularly well turned out specimen.

I went out to see if the sunshine had tempted any butterflies in spite of the chilly wind.  There was a small tortoiseshell on the Michaelmas daisies.


I love the two striped antennae with apparent LEDs at the tip.

It fluttered a yard or two away and spread its wings for a picture.


As I went in, I saw a siskin in the plum tree.


and passed a peacock butterfly sharing a bit of sedum with a bee.

peacock and bee

The packing was more or less completed and then we had tea and made our way to the Buccleuch Centre to take in a concert by the Water Tower Bucket Boys.  I had seen them last year but Mrs Tootlepedal had missed them so she came along this time and Sandy joined us as well.  The first half of the concert was absolutely splendid  as they gathered round a single microphone and played acoustic instruments.  The repertoire was early American country folk songs and bluegrassy instrumentals and we enjoyed this very much.  For the second half, they plugged up, turned up the volume and shouted at us in a sort of country rock style. While their playing was good, the electronic sound took the individuality out of their playing and they sounded like many other groups playing the same sort of stuff. Although we still enjoyed it, Mrs Tootlepedal and I would have preferred another helping of the first half.  Others in the audience went wild for the second half so there is no pleasing everyone.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch in a classical position.


I am hoping to be able to post while we are away but I am only taking the little camera so there won’t be any bird pictures for a while.  Our next door neighbour is keeping an eye on the house for us and is going to feed the birds for me so I am sure they won’t miss me.





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Today’s picture is a squirrel from Regent’s Park in London. It is from my sister Mary.

Regent's Park Sept 2011 008

We woke to a glorious blue sky and wall to wall sunshine. I rose, ate my breakfast, greeted Dropscone who had arrived for the morning pedal and then went back inside to put on my wet weather gear to deal with the clouds and drizzle that had arrived with Dropscone.  We went round the morning route accompanied by more or less drizzle for most of the journey. We weren’t too bothered by this because the wind was a mere whisper compared with the past two days and it was good just to be out and about again.  I was slightly concerned that my bike was feeling a bit wobbly as we went along but it wasn’t enough to make stop and check.

After the pedal, we enjoyed our coffee and scones and by the time we had finished, the sun was out again. With the sun came a more vigorous breeze so I was happy to have pedalled in the light rain and wind.

As the sun was out and the day was warm, Mrs Tootlepedal set about some garden housekeeping.  I helped her put a good deal of material from the recently cleared border through the shredder. I also threw in some stubborn material from last year which had refused to break down in the compost heap. The shredder made short work of it all. We made room for the new shreddings by turning the last last lot into another bin. This was perhaps a job too far for my back and I left the rest of the hard work to Mrs Tootlepedal. She repaired the bin and put the new stuff in it while I spent some time admiring the grass growing in the new section of lawn.

After lunch I took the camera into the garden.


This petunia looked rich in the sunlight

phlox (2)

The phlox looked blue in the deep shade of the hedge

lush fuchsia

The fuchsia in the chimney was glowing

The good weather reminded me to look at my bike wheel as I was planning a long ride for tomorrow.  The fact that I had felt a wobble was explained by three very loose spokes and when I couldn’t tighten them, I took the wheel down to the Longtown bike hospital where it was unfortunately declared dead. The spokes had actually broken through the rim of the wheel which is why they were loose. The bike doctor looked at me severely and said that the cause might be lack of cleaning of the wheel rims.  I think it was probably the bumpy roads round here but I will take more care of cleaning my bike in future.  He is ordering me a new wheel and I will just have to take the slow bike out tomorrow.

When I got back, Mrs Tootlepedal went shopping and I got my new toy out.  In my recent spending spree, I purchased a little lens that sits between your camera and your zoom lens and doubles the magnification.  It has some drawbacks as you can’t use the auto focus and it limits the f stops that are usable but it should be quite handy when birds don’t come as near as they should.

I went into the garden to try it out. It would be better on a tripod but I took a few hand held shots to see what it could produce.  The photos aren’t very interesting but they do show that the gadget works.

fire tower

The firemen's practice tower two streets away


The monument, a mile away


The emergency services aerial beside the monument. I sharpened this in my editor.

I think that it will have its uses.

When Mrs Tootlepedal came back from shopping, we went for a little tour over Whita in the car. We parked in the shade of the Tarras valley  at the new car park beside Tarras Lodge and walked up the hill opposite into the sunshine.

Tarras Lodge

Above Tarras Lodge

We paused briefly at the White Yett on the way back.  The sun was low in the sky by this time.

Sunset on the hills

Looking over the Ewes valley

During the afternoon, I noticed a flash of colour in the garden.  The sedum had done its work.

red admiral butterfly

Red admiral butterfly

red admiral butterfly

Red admiral butterfly

peacock butterfly

Peacock butterfly

tortoiseshell butterfly

Small tortoiseshell butterfly

It was very pleasing to get three different sorts of butterfly in the garden at the same time after having seen so very few of them lately.

Let’s hope that the forecast is right and we have a warm, dry, windless day tomorrow.

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