Monday, 25 March 2019

Snapped a Butterfly!

It's been a cracking Spring day today, albeit a rather chilly one this morning, and the main effect of that has been a large amount of insect life today.

In addition to the bumbles and hairy foots that have already been very evident, some new players entered the seasonal game today. Rusty orange glints in the sun indicated that tawny mining bees were about today, then a gorgeously striped female sat on a path briefly for me to get a look at, if not a photo.

Saw a white butterfly on the flutter today, whether that was a female brimstone or one of your actual whites I don't know. But the only butterfly that gave me a chance to get to photograph it was a comma I found by the cycle path sunning itself, although it didn't let me get very close.

Quite a few commas in the air today, I noticed.

I made another discovery today...when the mandarin duck isn't on the Blue Lake, it is on someone's garden pond next to it!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 25.03.19

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Ladybirds and Cricket

Another bright but slightly chilly day in the wind, but this didn't stop the hairy footed flower bees from carrying on their always slightly demented looking feeding amongst any food sources they could find.

They fly incredibly fast, never settle for a second, and with the white hair on their faces looking rather skull-like at times, always seem rather angry to me. Today, they were probably angry at themselves for trying to feed off pansies, which seem to be utterly useless to any pollinator.

However, their little black pansy faces were useful to other insects, with plenty of 7-spot ladybirds warming themselves up on the black parts of the petals.

I have been at cricket practice this evening, which at my age means getting battered around the nets by 14 year old kids, my illusions of being the next Harold Larwood being shattered by the second. However, my batting is getting better.

Not that it is starting from a very high level in the first place.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 24.03.19

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Now the Chiff Chaffs are Singing!

So, I heard my first chiff chaffs today, rather a lot of them in fact. But I had to leave Newark in order to do it.

I biked out to RSPB Langford Lowfields today, to see if the warblers out there were louder than their urban relatives, on a day where all the roadside verges seemed to be full of spring flowers; red dead nettle, violets, celandine and daffodils, although a cold northerly wind wasn't quite so seasonal.

It took about 30 seconds after entering the reserve to hear the first chiffy, making its repetitive call that sounds nothing like its name at piercing volume. I reckon I head at least 7 or 8 around the site.

I also heard a cetti's warbler as well, a loud bubbling song that I have to admit was pointed out to me by another visitor. Hopefully I will recognise it again. I've barely ever seen a chiff chaff so I have no chance with these elusive recent colonists. But I'm pleased to have heard one.

Sadly, there wasn't much out on the water today on Phase 1, just the usual common waterfowl. Less interesting than Balderton  Lake in fact! The birds of course are smart, there were all sorts of goodies on parts of the site where there is no public access apparently.

Didn't bother me, I just happily walked around the reserve and over the wobbly bridge in a very pleasant setting, listening to squabbling geese, the fighting coots, and the screeches of gulls around the edge of the water, before the hawthorn hedgerows produced songbirds singing their avian hearts out.

I did get my camera out to take shots of the birds on the feeders, which I'll put on a different post. This one is just about enjoying being in a place, and enjoying the journey to and from.

Been a long time since I've been here.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 23.03.19

Friday, 22 March 2019

Back out for a Gentle Run

Fed up of feeling rather fat and bloated and energy-less, and as previously reported feeling a bit less discomfort in my feet, I thought a gentle run would be in order today.

I'd only intended to go for two or three kilometres to try and get my heart going, but despite the fact I felt pretty unfit and tight chested, I found I was able to run at a good pace. I was also running largely pain free too.

I ended up doing the full tour of the two lakes, just under 7km in 45 minutes. Some sub 6 minute kilometres in there. Pleasing, but I must be careful not to overdo it.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 22.03.19

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Pictures of this and That

It was our annual works party last night, and although delicate, did manage a walk today to go with the one I had yesterday, just taking  photos of whatever I saw.

And as I type this, with Paul Bettany on the TV as a mad monk with a cross tattooed on his face, I wonder what I will see tomorrow as I head out on my bike somewhere.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 21.03.19

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Out on the Bicycle at Last

Yesterday was mild, today was milder still and downright pleasant out in the sun, of which there was a little from time to time. I didn't see any butterflies once again, and the two ladybirds I found in my ivy bush were still asleep.

Having pottered around town and the park in the morning, I then decided to take advantage of the lack of wind - for a change recently - and have a gentle bike ride around Farndon and Hawton just to get my legs back into the habit of riding further than my commute distance.

It was a nice little ride out, only about 15km or so, but it felt good to be doing "real" exercise for a change. The walking is nice, but doesn't get your heart pumping like getting going at a slightly higher clip does!

Speaking of which, my foot is enjoying my time off work, and feels like it might withstand a run, but I'm not going to try, for now.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 19.03.19

Monday, 18 March 2019

Three Walks and Glittering Waters

I have been outside for about 4 - 5 hours today, all told, seeking out what was there to be seen, and generally enjoying the rather better weather conditions on offer today.

Better weather yes, but still no sign of a fluttering brimstone or a singing chiff chaff. After the awful weather of last week, there were bees back out and feeding; as well as some honeybees I saw a fantastic buff tailed bumblebee queen out investigating possible nest sites in a sandbank by the new athletics track.

I think a single goosander on the Blue Lake, but we may well be reaching the end of the season for "exotic" visitors, but we shall see.

Enjoy the views!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 18.03.19