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Posts Tagged ‘white butterfly’

Today’s guest picture is another from my sister Mary’s visit to Kew Gardens.  As well as the glass sculptures, she met this imposing dragon.

dig

The rain stopped on cue over night and we woke up to a calm and sunny day with the dam looking as though butter wouldn’t melt in its mouth.  All the same, the first business of the day was to ring up the people responsible for the maintenance of the dam and its sluices.  They promised to look into the matter straight away.

Mrs Tootlepedal went off with her committee to visit another group interested in a community buy out and while she was away, I had a busy morning.

I entertained Sandy to coffee.  If all has gone well, he should have acquired an electric bike this evening, so we are planning to go for a pedal tomorrow to see how much faster he will be able to go than me.

Then the dam manager rang up to tell me that the defective sluice should be repaired as soon as possible and the storm wall will be strengthened as soon as conditions allow because they realised that it has cracks in it.  This is quite comforting but we can only hope that there isn’t another testing flood before the work gets done.

When Sandy had gone, I set to work in the garden, anxious to be of use while Mrs Tootlepedal was otherwise engaged.

First I pruned the new growth from the espalier apples…

pruned espalier apples

…which let some sunshine in on the ripening fruit.

apples after pruning 1

The crop on two of the tree bushes is looking promising.

apples after pruning 2

When I had shredded the prunings and added them to the compost, I mowed the two lawns and the greenhouse grass.  They have been neglected during the rainy days.  Amazingly, in spite of a lot of rain, the ground was firm and the grass mowed well.

lawn after rain

It has been pretty warm lately and the rain had not discouraged the grass from growing, so there was a great deal of cuttings to add to the compost.

Then I trimmed the hedge next to our neighbour Betty’s drive…

trimmed hedge

…and this led to more shredding and composting so it was a very productive morning.

I kept an eye out for butterflies while I worked.  There was more than one kind of white butterfly on the buddleia….

two white butterflies

…but only the peacock of the coloured butterflies, though there were plenty of them about.

peacock butterfly after the rain

The big lilies are unperturbed by the weather and keep looking very serene in wet or dry.

lilies after the rain

A rather smart Japanese anemone has arrived to cheer us up…

coloured japanese anemone

…and the zinnias are all smiles.

dazzling zinnia

It was very good to see flowers in the sunshine.

clematis in sun

It was cooler today than it has been, but when the sun was out, it was still pretty warm and the blackbird family was scattered across the lawn dealing with the heat.

panting blackbird on lawn 1

Some better…

panting blackbird on lawn 2

…than others.

panting blackbird on lawn 3

Mrs Tootlepedal  came home, having had a very interesting meeting, and I spent quite a lot of time in the afternoon picking and printing pictures for the Canonbie Flower Show competition this weekend.

I haven’t got the requisite skills to get my printer to print out exactly what I see on the screen, so I wasn’t going to enter any pictures this year until Sandy told me this morning that he had got a good number of pictures to enter.  As a result,  I thought that I better make an effort too.

As always, I found it very hard to choose just a few from the many hundreds of pictures that I have taken in the past year, and once again I feel that my selection is far from ideal.  Still, it is taking part and not winning  that is important….or so I have been told.

I was going to go for a pedal in the afternoon, and I had just changed into my cycling gear when Mike Tinker dropped by for a cup of tea.  He very wisely pointed out that I hadn’t got time to go for a pedal if I was expecting my flute pupil Luke to arrive.  I hadn’t realised that it was so late, and I had forgotten about Luke anyway, so it was just as well that Mike came when he did.

As it started to rain quite heavily soon afterwards, I was doubly grateful to Mike.

Before he came, I had had time for a quick look round the garden and was pleased to have the right camera in my hand to take this shot when the opportunity arrived.

two white spots

It may not look much to you, but it is two white butterflies fluttering by.  This is a very common sight in the garden just now but I have never been able to catch it.    Just to prove it is two butterflies, here is an enlargement.

white butterflies close

It may not be good, but it is the best that I could do.

The rowan tree berries are looking juicier every day….

rown berries

…and the blackbirds are beginning to eye them up.

blackbird among rowans 2

There was more posing than pecking today…

blackbird among 1rowans

…but I hope to get some blackbird berry pecking shots shortly.

Luke came and we enjoyed playing a Haydn sonata that we haven’t played for some time.

We are promised more sunny weather for tomorrow so I hope to get out and about to make use of it.

The flying bird of the day is a very large bumble bee.  It was camera shy and made off as soon as I tried to photograph it so once more I can feature the bum of the flightlebee.

enrmous flying bee

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Today’s guest picture comes from Matilda’s grandfather Francis.  He was there to watch Matilda trying out Mrs Tootlepedal’s restored rocking horse a day or two ago under the watchful eye of her grandmother, Eileen.

(Those wondering about Matilda’s hand gesture are obviously not familiar with Woody from Toy Story.)

dav

We have had several inches of rain this week, either in short, heavy thundery downpours or persistent rain like yesterday’s, so it was good to have a fine and mostly sunny day today.

I went out into the garden after breakfast to find that the bees had been busy visiting our poppies.

opium poppy

It was still very humid and singing in the church choir taxed my breathing skills to the limit so I was glad to have a sit down and a cup of coffee when we got home.

It didn’t take me long to perk up after the coffee and I went out into to the garden where Mrs Tootlepedal was hard at work.

I helped her pick the last of our first crop of peas and beans and then I cut as many of the sweet peas as I could before my patience ran out.

Then I had a look round.

Poppies were doing their best to look presentable after yesterday’s soaking…

six pink poppies

…and there is plenty of growth still going on.   Buddleia and rambler roses compete for attention and Mrs Tootlepedal has filled the new bed by the new electricity pole with mustard as green manure again.  I may have remarked before that she is very keen on mustard.

roses, mustard, phlox, sweet peas

The sweet peas are growing faster than I can cut them and we have several vases on the go in the house.  And the phlox is phlourishing.

The garden is full of birds as well as flowers.  We have families of starlings in a neighbour’s holly tree and blackbirds have been nesting in the garden.  This one was standing on our neighbour’s shed roof…

starling and blackbird

…but the biggest gang of birds at the moment is made up of sparrows.

sparrow horde on gfence

After a couple of days of neglect while visitors and rain where about, grass cried out for care so I mowed everything, the front lawn, the middle lawn, the greenhouse grass and the drying green. The combination of warm weather and rain had made the grass grow but it also meant that things looked good when the mowing was finished.

Mrs Tootlepedal made some delicious soup from the peas and beans that we had picked, together with a potato and an onion from the garden, and using some chicken stock that she had made while cooking a meal for our visitors.  This was a meal with food metres rather than food miles.

I had another look round the garden after lunch. I would have liked to go for a walk but my feet are not being very helpful so the garden is the limit for most of my walks at present.

I was pleased to see that the clematis along the back fence is growing well…

clemtais back fence

…and The Wren goes from strength to strength.

wren rose

It was not hard to find butterflies on the two buddleias by the back fence and I was happy to find a couple of peacocks among the small tortoiseshells.

tortoiseshell and peacock butterflies

There were probably more white butterflies flitting about than coloured ones so I sat on the bench outside the kitchen window and waited to see if I catch catch one sitting still, or even better, catch one actually flitting about.  Patience paid off.

white butterfly panel

You can never rest on your laurels where grass care is concerned, so after the butterfly capture,  I spread a little of the fertiliser that contains the magic moss eating ingredient on the middle lawn.  I will be most interested to see if I can keep the lawns a bit more moss free over the winter than they were last year.

While I was waiting for the white butterflies to come along, I saw a siskin keeping a wary eye out.

siskin staring

When I went in and looked out, I could see why a wary eye out was probably the thing to keep.  The action was non stop again….

busy siskin panel

…and led one poor sparrow to bang its head against the feeder pole in sheer desparation.

headbanger sparrow

Mrs Tootlepedal sat down to watch the final stage of the Tour de France and I went out for a short cycle ride in the real world.  I was a little worried that it might be too hot but luckily the sun went in and my ride was merely warm.  Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that it rained in the garden shortly after I set off, but I missed that and had a dry run.

My cycling camera is playing up a bit but I liked this family cow portrait at the Bloch farm so I have put it in even though the focus isn’t quite right.

staring cows

I don’t think that I have had a picture of my three favourite trees at Grainstonehead on the blog since they got their leaves on.  They always look to me as though they are about to break into a wild dance.

three trees

New and bigger daisies are out on the Canonbie by-pass and ragwort is appearing all over the place.

daisy and ragwort

I pottered round my habitual Canonbie 20 mile circuit, worried about a brisk wind but finding it more across than against or behind for most of the ride so I was able to enjoy myself.

I had a last look round the garden when I got home and noted the first zinnia of the year..

first zinnia

…and a rather lonely fuchsia flower.

first fuchsia

It has not been a good year for our permanent fuchsias.

I was able to have my evening meal and still be in time to watch the very final moments of the final stage of the Tour de France.  It has been one of the best tours to watch for some time and we will miss it now that it has gone.

The flying bird of the day is a greenfinch which appeared among the clouds of siskins.

flying greenfinch

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary.  She took it a week ago at the height of the hot weather in London and it shows a fine crop of green algae on the canal.

Canal basin, King's Place

The mornings are getting chillier now and I had to wait for a bit until the thermometer hit 10°C, which I thought was warm enough to start cycling.

It was an excellent day for a pedal with sunshine and clouds giving a perfect temperature and with a only a light wind which wasn’t a nuisance at all.

It might have been a day for a long ride if I hadn’t had something to do in the early afternoon.   With that in mind, I stuck to the main roads and cycled down to my favourite bench in Newtown and back again.   I was going to go on a more interesting route but I found that the Cumbria Highway Authority had just spent a lot of money resurfacing some of the bumpiest bits of the road south of Longtown so I thought that it would be rude not to go and try the new surfaces out.

They were very smooth and any cyclists will know just what a treat it is to cycle on a really smooth surface.

I was concentrating really hard on pedalling and forgot to take any pictures until I reached the thirty mile mark on my way home.  This is the broad sweep of the Esk…

River Esk at Longtown

…but the real reason that I stopped was to take a picture of this fine bunch of machines in a lay-by.

road menders vehicles

They are going to smooth out another bumpy section of the main road next week, this time to the north of Longtown.

With light traffic and winds and lots of good surfaces, I was able to average over 15 mph for my 40 miles, a very rare thing these days.  My new bike, although admirable in every way, is a little heavier than my old bike and thus a little slower.  I have done 1500 miles on it now and have no complaints about the extra weight as this comes with increased stability and comfort, important elements for the older cyclist.

I had time for a very quick look round the garden….

dahlias growing well

The dahlias are enjoying the weather a lot.

white sweet peas

Paper white sweet peas.

Mrs Tootlepedal occasionally buys gardening magazines and sometimes they have free packets of seed taped to the cover.  She has done very well out of two of these lately as the lilies were free…

big white lilies

…and so were the zinnias.

zinnia

After a quick lunch and a shower, I was ready for the next item on the calendar, an organ recital in the Parish Church in aid of the organ restoration fund.

As we got to the church, I looked back and saw the Kirk Brig looking decidedly overgrown.

kirk brig

The Wauchope Water is down there somewhere.

Once inside the church, I admired the bright colours in the stained glass windows…

Kirk window

…in front of which a former congregation in their wisdom erected a large sounding board above the pulpit.  This ruins the view of the window from the body of the church and I am told that there are plans to remove it but to place it elsewhere in the church as many parishioners like its ornamental carving a lot.  The minister is ‘miked up’ these days so the need for a sounding board has gone anyway.

The organ recital, given by Dr John Kitchen, a very competent organist from Edinburgh,  was excellent.  He had a delightful touch and was able to make the organ sound very musical to my ears, not something that every organist can manage.

Dr Kitchen is the official Edinburgh City Organist and gives many recitals in the Usher Hall there so he had no difficulty in preparing a varied and interesting programme for us.

It was a still a fine day when we got home and Mrs Tootlepedal sat on the new bench with a fellow soprano from the church choir who had been at the recital  and considered the joys of gardening.

sopranos

They couldn’t help noticing a pair of butterflies making sure that there would more butterflies available in times to come.

white butterflies mating

I had a look on the buddleia….

another peacock butterfly

…but there was a disappointing turn out of coloured butterflies with just a couple of peacocks, with no small tortoiseshell, painted ladies or red admirals to be seen.  It is looking as though it is going to be a very poor year for coloured butterflies after all.

And although there are quite a few bees about…

lamium

…other insects are in very short supply with many less hoverflies about than I would expect and no clouds of small flying insects in the sunny evenings.

I thought that I ought to take a bit of action after a slow day yesterday so I mowed and edged the middle lawn, then did the same to the front lawn and while I was in the mood, I trimmed a couple of the box balls on the edge of the front lawn as well.

After a short sit down, I went out and mowed the greenhouse grass and the drying green.

I paused long enough to admire the clematis on the fence…

fence clematis

…and then went inside to enjoy a delicious meal made by Mrs Tootlepedal.

Luckily, there was a great deal of interesting athletics on the television in the evening so I refrained from any more activity.

There was no opportunity amid all this fun to set up the camera to watch the birds so the flying bird of the day is a close look at the Ooh La La clematis.

clematis centre

 

 

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The guest picture of the day is another teapot spotted by my brother Andrew.  He has a knack for finding big teapots although he tells me that he thinks that this one is a bit of a Mickey Mouse affair.

teapot

My day can be summed up very simply: got up, saw a butterfly, went for a cycle ride, saw another butterfly, mowed the lawns, had tea, went to bed.

I saw two butterflies after breakfast.

two spot white butterflymorning peacock butterfly

The buddleia is working hard.

As you can see, the sun was shining and as the forecast suggested a dry day, I left the butterflies behind and headed westward into the wind.  The first twenty five miles took me two hours and eight minutes.  The next thirty took me two hours and three minutes.

The verge mowers have been everywhere so I didn’t stop for a picture until I came across a patch of yellow flowers that are not dandelions.  Each one came with its own insect.

insects on wildflowers

As I was on a longish ride, I stopped frequently for a stretch and a drink but wild flowers were hard to find so I settled for a lichen encrusted twig instead.

yellow lichen on twig

I took a picture of the old main road near Lockerbie to show the state of the verges.

old A74 near Lockerbie

Very neatly mowed!  The white line on the left marks off a cycle lane.  As you can see, on a Saturday this is a pretty quiet road considering it used to be the main western  road between England and Scotland but it is busier on a weekday and the cycle lane is welcome.

I was stopped in my tracks by this bright red burst of berries, sticking out of a hedge all by themselves.

red berries

I crossed the River Annan twice but waited until I got to the town of Annan itself before taking a picture of a bridge.

Annan bridge

A party of goosanders was cruising up the river nearby.

goosanders

Passing through Annan, I stopped a few miles later for a fruit scone and a coffee at a museum in Eastriggs.

devil's porridge

It celebrates the story of the largest munitions factory in the world  during the First World war.  They manufactured cordite there and this accounted for the size of the factory which was spread over several miles of deserted sea coast. (You can find out more by clicking this link.)

I didn’t go into the museum but had my coffee outside beside an impressive flower pot.

When I got to Gretna, I was going to go down to the sea shore to take exciting pictures but when I looked…

Solway at Gretna

…I saw that the sea was out so I turned and headed for home.

My route was planned to make the most of a friendly wind on my way back westwards and you may be able to tell that all the leaves on these trees have their backs to me…

Glenzier road at KPF

…so the plan worked out well.

I did worry for a moment when some threatening clouds loomed up when I was about ten miles from home…

 

dark clouds

…but they blew away and the sun was out when I got back to the garden.

And so were the butterflies.

I only saw peacock butterflies today but there were a lot about…

afternoon peacock butterfly

…and the buddleia was heaving with them.

pair of peacock butterfly

I mowed both lawns and then, since I thought that they were looking quite neat, I went round the edges with the strimmer too.

Next, while Mrs Tootlepedal did some ‘neatening up’ in the vegetable garden, I dead headed poppies, mallow and calendula and took a few pictures.

One of the new lilies looks right at home among the phlox, zinnias and mallow.

lily with zinnia, phlox and mallow

The buddleia may attract butterflies but the dahlias are a treat for the bees and it is rare to pass them without finding a bee about.

dahlia with bee

And I like the poppies.

pink poppy

I was taking the dead headings to the compost bin when I noticed that the snow berry which grows behind the bins is out.  It is a bit of a pest but I like it.

snowberry

If the blog stops appearing and there is no sign to be seen of the Tootlepedals, it is most likely that we will be found buried under a great heap of courgettes.  The supply is never ending at the moment.

courgettes

I had courgette soup with potatoes for my tea.

I sadly neglected to take any bird pictures today so the flying bird of the day is the giant flower pot at the Devil’s Porridge Museum.

giant flowerpot

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Mary Jo in Manitoba.  She really does have a scientific rain gauge and she was very pleased to find it had some rain in it, as they too have been suffering from a drought.

mary jo's rain gauge

We had a gentle spot or two of rain today but once again it was not enough to do the watering job for us.

We haven’t been suffering from the heat wave that has been hitting the south but at 22°C on a cloudy day, it was still unusually warm.

All the same, Mrs Tootlepedal made the most of our relatively cool weather by working furiously all morning in the garden.  Hedges were trimmed…

trimmed hedge

…and plants were uprooted to make space.  I did a lot of shredding and then seeing that the mound of material was going to overwhelm Compost Bin A, I turned the contents of Bin A into Bin B, which luckily was empty.  By lunchtime, Bin A was half full again.

I also sieved some of Bin D to make room at the far end of the composting process.  The results were soon back on a flower bed.

The lawns are  surviving much better than I thought that they would and I was able to mow the middle lawn.  I have been keeping the mower blades quite high but  the faint and very occasional mists of drizzle must be to the liking of the grass as I took several boxes of cuttings to add to the compost.

The result was not too bad under the circumstances.

middle lawn

Mrs Tootlepedal trimmed the edges later on.

There is a bit less colour in the flower bed at the far end of the lawn than Mrs Tootlepedal had planned because one of the sets of plants turns out to be biennials.  She tells me that she should have read the catalogue more carefully but they will doubtless make a good show next year.

There are white butterflies all over the garden and one settled on a lobelia beside the new bench while I was having a cup of coffee with the gardener.

white butterfly on blue

There are two dahlias out now and the other plants are looking quite healthy so there should be more soon.

two dahlias

They will come in fancy and plain varieties

More poppies appear every day and we greet them with a cry of “Better late than never.”

pale poppy

The brown trim on the calendulas is very striking and I turned a flower over today to show what it would look like if I was lying flat on the ground underneath it.

back of calendula

Different bumble bees were visiting the stachys.

white tailed bee on stachys

I am always happy when  a new clematis comes out.  This one is on the metal fence along the edge of the vegetable garden.

purple clematis

A second perennial wallflower has appeared in the new bed.

perennial wallflower

And sadly, the elegant yellow lilies are fading slightly as they come to the end of the flowering season.

lily

I put the bird spotting camera up over lunchtime and enjoyed chaffinches approaching the feeder.

chaffinches at feeder

A little while later, Mrs Tootlepedal looked up and said, “There are greenfinches everywhere.”

This was true.

greenfinches in control

Chaffinches hovered around but they didn’t get a look in.

greenfinch flying in

…and even the greenfinches found maintaining a seat at the table was hard work.

greenfinch beak to beak

Some made a rather huffy exit.

greenfinch flying off in huff

In the afternoon, the joiners came back and did useful work on keeping the house in good condition.

It started to drizzle and the wind was quite vigorous so I abandoned thoughts of a walk or a cycle and put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.  I have still got about six weeks waiting to be entered so it will have to rain a lot more if I am to catch up.

I did get out into the garden for other walks round in the afternoon.

A blackbird is never far away wherever you are.

blackbird on bench

This one was on the bench under the walnut tree watching me trying and failing to get a good picture of bees on the privet flowers.

I noticed that the ligularia needed watering and took a good look at it once I had done the job.

ligularia close

The late afternoon and evening were spent tootling.  First my flute pupil Luke came and we worked on smooth playing and controlled breathing.  Then, after tea, I went off to try to put some of my own advice into practice while playing trios with Isabel and Mike.

We played three trios, all by G P Telemann and that guaranteed us a most enjoyable time.

When I got back, a good day was rounded off by some very tasty courgette fritters that Mrs Tootlepedal had made while I was out.

The flying bird of the day is one of the chaffinches visiting the feeder before the greenfinches came.

flying chaffinch

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who was visiting the Derby Silk Mill when he found that it was an absolutely windless day.

Derby Silk Mill

It was a pretty good day here today too and after I had made a lamb stew for the slow cooker, I went out to see the poppies.

poppies

Not a drop of rain to be seen on them!  Mrs Tootlepedal has got a very good variety of specimens from her packet of mixed seeds.

The bees were exceedingly happy…

poppy with bees

…and were lining up to visit this well stocked larder.

poppy with bees

This poppy was just as beautiful but was less popular, having less to offer.

Poppy with insect

A late Fuchsia is waiting to deliver.

fuchsiaIt was difficult to walk round the garden without being buffeted by white butterflies.  They were everywhere.

white butterflies

As were sparrows.

sparrow

I went upsatirs to get my cycling gear on and when I looked out of the window, blackbirds were taking in the rays down below…

blackbirds

…in a rather anguished way.

I got on my bike fairly gingerly as I didn’t know how things would go but in spite of the odd twinge, I was able to pedal at a gentle pace without any great trouble.

John, the purveyor of all things useful from his corner shop, had suggested that I should look at an arboreal dog near Hagg-on-Esk so I did.

dog tree

I have cycled past this spot many times without seeing the poodle in the trees before.

I chose a very flat route (650 ft of elevation in 27 miles) so I was able to turn my legs over gently without putting any pressure on my back and thanks to a gentle wind, I managed a reasonable speed.

I didn’t want to get off and on the bike more than necessary but it was such a nice day that I stopped for a few photo ops.

Woodhouselees

I lied the sheep marching along below the ha-ha at Woodhouselees.

Penton road

The trees near Longtown definitely seem to be getting an autumn tinge

Monkey Puzzle

A monkey puzzle tree commands the view over the Knottyholm

Hollows Tower

The roof of Hollows Tower rising above the trees

I took another look at the ‘poodle tree’ on my way back.

prancing horse

More like a prancing horse with rider perhaps from this angle

I got home in time for a late lunch.  I looked at a poppy before I went in.

poppy with crocosmia

The crocosmia is trying its hardest join in.

I had made some more baps yesterday with the help of the breadmaker and they were just as good as the first lot.  I had one with lettuce and marmite for my meal.

After that, it was back out into the garden for an afternoon of useful, gently paced work.

I strimmed the clippings of the rambler rose which Attila the Gardener was attacking with her new secateurs, I mowed the green house grass, I sieved a couple of buckets of compost, I mowed the green house grass and I emptied the strimming receptacle into compost bin A twice.   In all, this was about half to three quarters of an hour’s work spread over three hours so it wasn’t quite the hard labour that it might seem.

Then I had a last walk round with a camera.

Michaelmas daisies

Michaelmas daisies arriving well before Michaelmas

The evening sun was catching the poppies…

poppies in the sun

…but it caught this one the best, I thought.

poppies in the sun

The lamb stew turned out very well after Mrs Tootlepedal had worked a little magic on some last minute flavouring.

The breadmaker makes dough for more baps than we can eat at one go so I had saved half the dough from yesterday and kept it in the fridge  over night.   I knocked it back and made another set today and we were pleasantly surprised at how well they turned out.  They went very well with the stew in place of potatoes.

Sadly, the very good weather of the day had clouded over by the time that I wrote this so our chance to watch the meteor shower had gone.  I did wake up at three o’clock last night when there was a clear sky but I couldn’t make myself get up and go out and just rolled over and went back to sleep.  I am sorry about that now.

Tomorrow, it says, it is going to rain all day so I am glad that I made good use of today.

No flying bird but I did catch a flying butterfly as it passed a nasturtium.

flying butterfly

 

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Today’s guest picture shows a fine waterfall visited by Dropscone and family on his Skye holiday.

Skye waterfall

In spite of a forecast of rain, we had yet another dry, cool day with a brisk wind until the evening.  I should have gone cycling (my neighbour Ken did 40 miles in the morning) but I was feeling lazy so I had a cup of coffee with Sandy instead

After coffee, I combined doing the crossword with some lawn mowing and compost shredding and occasionally looking at the birds.

greenfinch

A greenfinch dropped in

I had yet another go or two at photographing the rosemary.

rosemary

The slightly different colours reflect the fact that I tried with two different cameras.

I did some deadheading too and looked at flowers as I went round.

tulips

The chilly weather means that daffodils and tulips are still our staples but I was pleased to see a butterfly although I couldn’t get a very good picture of it.  It was struggling to get enough warmth to fly.

white butterfly

Mrs Tootlepedal was in Attila the Gardener mode and started on giving our topiary chicken a very severe haircut after lunch so I had plenty of clippings to put through the shredder.

I had to stop though when Sandy reappeared for a prearranged outing.

We went up to the Moorland bird feeders at the Laverock Hide in the hope of seeing something interesting.  We did see a couple on unusual sights.  A hare ran across the clearing right in front of the hide and a goshawk made a pass up the clearing and then flew across it later on. All three of these events were good to see but unfortunately too quick for catching on camera.

One thing we couldn’t miss was the male pheasants….

pheasant

…strutting around and pestering the females.  Some of the females were chased about on the ground and got rather ruffled while others took to the trees to escape unwanted attention.

female pheasants

Of course there were plenty of small birds to see too.

chaffinch, blue tit and robin

After the goshawk had thoroughly cleared the clearing for the second time, we gave up and went down to the Castleholm to see if the nuthatches were at the nest by the bridge.

Two were to be seen.  One arrived at the tree and flitted from branch to branch before perching and singing furiously.

nuthatch

It flew off and almost immediately, another nuthatch emerged from the nest hole, gave a backward glance….

nuthatch

…and flew off.

After a moment or two the first nuthatch returned with something in its beak…..

nuthatch

…which it dropped into the nest hole without entering and then it too flew off and all was quiet.

We waited for a bit and then the call of teatime became too insistent and we left.

We did see some promising bluebells on our way to the nest….

bluebells

..and some fine primroses on our way back to the car.

primroses

…as well as any amount of attempted growth on the trees.

leaf buds

There had been a lot of waiting for some indifferent bird pictures but seeing the nuthatches and goshawk had made the outing worthwhile.

When I got home, the formerly plump chicken….

topiary chicken

…had been reduced to this….

thin chicken

…by Attila but she is hoping that the end result will be a slimmer and better looking bird.  Think of it as a work by Brancusi meanwhile.

A little sunshine had arrived rather late in the day and it lit up a tulip for me….

backlit tulip

…before I went in for my tea.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came and Alison and I played music in a style which fairly accurately reflected the lack of practice opportunities for us both during the preceding week.

It is the London Marathon on Sunday and while we talking about it after playing, Mike revealed that he had run no less than seventeen marathons in his younger days.  Mrs Tootlepedal and I were very impressed indeed.  We knew he had run several marathons but had no idea that he had done so many, quite a few in under three hours, a very respectable speed indeed.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch about to give a siskin a hard time.

flying goldfinch

 

 

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