Saturday, 10 March 2018

friday fun

With Friday afternoon at my disposal I put the good camera, some juice and sports bars in the back pack and ran up to Waverley with enough time to buy a ticket to Dalmeny (againy) and a 99p filter coffee (soy milk thanks!) from Pret a Manger. It was going to be glorious!

this large flock of geese is currently residing just West of the Almond near the airport,
photo taken from train

I can never resist a pic of the view from the end of the platform at Dalmeny

couple frenching beneath the bridge
they were going hard at it - I had to look away!

As the coffee kicked in and the sunshine beat down I got a real feeling of pleasure about being right at the start of Spring with all the year's butterflies and wildlife ahead. All the miles to run, the good weather, the bad weather and adventures stretching out in front of me and that I was blessed with the good health to pursue it all. I felt just brimming with anticipation although to be fair it was probably mostly the coffee.

The trouble with having enjoyed a bit of interaction with dippers and mergansers earlier in the week, is that it makes you want more of the same, especially in conditions that will produce better photos. There is no substitute for the sun lighting up stuff and casting an attractive bokeh behind so that even the mundane riverside wildflowers and last year's dried out seed-heads have an intricate joy revealed by the light. Just can't get that in the rain. 

someone had released this back into the wild, possibly by accident
(sad face emoji)

The amount of time spent walking looking for photos was outweighing the serious running. In fact the serious running was totally sidelined while I ran into the bushes chasing wren sized tweeting birds with brambles and snagging undergrowth scoring lines on my lower legs. I was glad to be on my own and have no obligations to do other than follow my nose.

I try to find new paths and investigate interesting looking trails but inevitably am drawn to places I have enjoyed on previous visits. One such area is at the stream just after the big house where I chased Small Coppers on a couple of occasions. No butterflies today (exactly a year to the day since the first of 2017) but the teasels always present a rich target of great geometric complexity and yet simplistic visual pleasure. Also they stand (nearly) still all day waiting for me to wander around to the optimum angle.

Less pleasant was this deer's head left quite recently in an eddy of the stream. I suspect gamekeeping rather than mafia but all the same something I'd rather not have stumbled upon.

Cramond Island and beyond

this thrush sat obligingly still on the overhead cable as I ran past

Pentlands looking white in the distance

backlit rushes - always popular!

So the plan was to add the airport circuit to the Dalmeny run to take the total mileage into the high teens. I was feeling fine (due to much walking) and so at Cramond Brig went through the lower car park, under the dual carriageway, and followed the Almond upstream to the airport. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hoping for more spectacular wildlife than already encountered, but was also trying to reign myself in. Mary is usually along and gives me a scornful look when I get greedy for more than the day might be offering up, and I was missing her sobering outlook. It was a splendid day and I should appreciate that after all? I took the riverside paths closest to the Almond to see if there were any dippers about. I saw one here a while back. But none today. All that great light going to waste! Contain yourself greedy. 

obligatory ICM

There is a tendency to take similar versions of the same photo when you cover the same route. Now while I am guilty of this I also try to look for stuff I may have missed or never noticed on previous occasions. As I crossed the grotto bridge the river was quite high and offering quite a bit of spectacle. However what really caught my eye was the tiny moss like plants growing in the dirt and mortar between the blocks of stone along the top. Really small and delicate, and forging ahead all the same. (Above.) I reluctantly took a pic of the water as well. (Below.)

Up the river to the rail bridge, and then round 3 sides of the airport "square" and back to the riverside trails. Only I saw something reddish brown crouching in the field, in what could only be described optimistic camouflage. I wandered over really quite close before the brightly painted pheasant gave up the pretence and legged it across the grass, roadrunner style.

fooling nobody

As I returned to the Almond a gang of bullfinches flitted through the trees just ahead; their really saturated vermilion chests fabulous against the blue sky. Unfortunately they mostly stayed out of range of the camera and when in range made sure there was plenty of branches between us. 

goosanders again on the river

As I was running along the path a saw a fluttering on the ground that looked like a small fluffy yellow animal was having a seizure. I got up close before it separated into 2 blue tits who had been fighting on the ground, kicking and punching like Friday night drunks in Leith. They retired to nearby branches despite my encouragement to continue, so I could film it.

Then just before the weir and new fish ladder a black umbrella spiralled out the sky and landed with a flop into the river. That separated into 2 jackdaws or crows, one flying off and the other splashed and swam over to the side where I was watching, shook itself and flew off. A crowd of them flew about the sky as if judging the battle. It's all kicking off!

Oh and the new fish ladder is very impressive. There was a heron waiting at the turn as if for fish to be delivered off a conveyor belt.

the new fish ladder at the weir

By the time I got to the estuary the sun had gone down behind Dalmeny woods and it was really a bit dark for taking photos of the gulls, who are getting their black heads back for summer. They were prepared to do a bit of flying for bread but there wasn't the same feeding frenzy as there had been in the snowy weather. Quite a few sat on the wall right beside where I was handing out bread, which was very friendly, and also made for better photos than using the sky as a backdrop.

The run home along Granton and up the cycle path was probably the most consistent running of the day, with little to distract apart from turning at regular intervals to catch the sunset. The speedo at Granton clocked 12mph thank you before I quickly dropped back to about 8 again. It was almost dark by the time I got home. 

off the train in Dalmeny, along to the Almond, up to the airport,
round the square, back down again and all the way to the front then home.
18.7miles, quite a lot of walking! Far too many photos.

No comments:

Post a Comment