Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Another Nighttime Friend

I've had a really blank day today - late night and the bad weather has decided to knock me out today and I spent it having a short walk,a bath, and a session on the shredder I've bought to help me declutter.

The wind was blowing, it was cool and there wasn't a lot to see.

Last night, however, there was. South Parade Gardens has already produced one hedgehog for me and last night I came across another young hoglet - smaller than the other one - snuffling along in the damp grass.

I took a very quick photograph and then left it to its slug hunting.

Two in a week, I hope that's a good sign.

Si

All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 24.04.18



Monday, 23 April 2018

Just Ambling in the Breeze

I've been at cricket nets tonight, struggling to bowl "pace" and swing into a screaming headwind that got up in the early evening. However, I've been trundling about for chunks of most of the day, and it has been blowy all day.

What I've really noticed today is how glorious the dandelions are at the moment. A really under-rated flower, there's some areas of town densely packed with these vivid yellow-orange flowers, and they seem to be really large this year too. They are an important source of pollen for the early rising insects, especially queen bumbles who seem to love them.

Speaking of bumbles, saw my first common carder of the year, a very vivid orange specimen I found feeding on the honesty randomly growing along my drive. I'd been beginning to worry about carders, you normally see them quite early as they seem to be pretty tough.

Getting chillier by the day again. What an odd spring.

Si

All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 23.04.18














Sunday, 22 April 2018

The Town Lock Gardens

Wanted to show you something new today, so on my morning walk I was trying hard to think of somewhere to photograph for you.

As I walked past the lock I noticed that the old sensory garden was open, and it's had some new additions put in. The old (not very) musical metal fence is there, but the fountain I used to enjoy cooling off in on hot runs is no longer in operation.

The whole thing feels a lot more cared for now, with nice flowers planted - alas not too pollinator friendly by the look of things - and various bird and insect boxes. Indeed a pair of great tits were flying about on some form of avian mission.

Lots of boats have been keeping the lock keeper busy during the hot weather.

I've been lucky enough to do some birdwatching out of my living room window - I had a chiff chaff in the sycamore yesterday, and today a blackcap. Both seemed to feeding off the leaf buds, or something that was  on the leaf buds.

It's all go here, but things will quieten down with the worse weather this week.

Si

All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 22.04.18











Saturday, 21 April 2018

A Night and Day of Firsts

So, mooching along last night, one guess as to where I was going, I came across my first tiggywinkle of the year on South Parade gardens. Very happy to see it, looked a young sort of hedgehog to me, and although it was keeping very still, it didn't curl up into a ball.

If I were a hedgehog, and was looked at by someone twenty times my height, curling up into a ball would not be the only thing I'd be doing.

Today was another nice day, although it did cloud over and give a few splashes of rain for a short time, and during my mooches around I came across my first speckled wood on some wild garlic. As they say it was fresh out of the packet and in beautiful condition.

It looked quite a pale variation, almost thought it was a wall brown at first.

Lots of other pretties to see of course, and despite not having run anywhere I've walked around 10 miles today, which is pleasing.

Si

All text  and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 21.04.18











Friday, 20 April 2018

Recent Oddments

Well, during the last few days of activity - there was a 5km walk and a 9km run today to go with  the  visits of the last couple of days - I've accumulated some other photographs from various places. Just a few splashes a colour.

The main news nature wise is the emergence of holly blue and orange tip butterflies - indeed I've had a couple of holly blues spiralling away in my garden today.

What's coming up as the temperatures drop a little over the weekend? We shall see.

Si

All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 20.04.18















Thursday, 19 April 2018

Kehaar and his Noisy Friends

Well today I took to two wheels rather than two legs and cycled out to RSPB Langford for the first time in ages.

Today the heat was blistering. And suncream tends to rub off while cycling. And now I look like a lobster.

But a happy crustacean, one who has seen his first orange tip and Holly Blue butterflies today, one who spotted his first mediterranean gulls out on the water, and one who took some nice songbird shots. Reed bunting and yellowhammer. Yay!

The most striking thing, however, was the most ordinary. A colony of black headed gulls has nested on Phase 2 of the site, and the constant noise and aggro in this town of several hundred birds is shocking! I've never seen a gull nest site, sheesh I bet it's filthy as hell in there.

One bird however remained aloof from it all for a preen.

Si

All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 19.04.18












Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Wollaton Deer Park Adventure

Today was the day for my much mentioned Nottingham adventure. The day was just too nice to waste bumbling around  town, and I needed new sights to see.

The original plan was to follow "The Big Track" in Nottingham, a council designated walking and cycling route that goes out along the Nottingham and Beeston Canal, and comes back in along the Trent for a distance of ten miles.

Then this morning I bricked it a little bit, thought 1) It was a bit ugly and urban and 2) Aren't towpaths well known crime hotspots these days?

I confess 2) was more of a (non) worry. How pathetic. The cycle path here is probably more dangerous at the moment.

In the end Wollaton Park seemed a better idea, which was daft because to get there I had to walk two miles along that same canal towpath. As it happened it was a pretty nice walk, apart from an amusing interlude between a couple of  lowlifes outside the Magistrates Court. "I'll effing eff you up mate!" all that kind of stuff.

I didn't have a clue where I was going by the way, I was hoping to emerge near Nottingham University campus, which I did after two miles of barges and butterflies and geese. Years since I  had last been here, to a three day science conference when I was 17. What a growing up that weekend was.

The campus lake looked nice for boating, but not much life, and after I navigated through the campus - the smell of cut grass was a first for the year! - I crossed the road and found myself on Wollaton Park for the first time since I did a Bob Geldof SPort Aid run here when I was 16.

Next thing I saw was a woman on the golf course hitting her shot into a pond. I laughed.

I walked round the lake, and straight away my ears were assaulted by a mocking screech from the trees above. "Jay" I wondered. "Green woodpecker?"

Then I saw bird high above, with slim falcon wings but a long drooping tail, and I understood. It was my first ring necked parakeet.

Further around  the lake, more surprises awaited me. I actually shouted "WOW!" out loud as I beheld my first mandarin ducks; the male exotic and glamorous, the female subtly beautiful.

I then hunted for deer, I found them in the next field - fallow deer at a distance, not an easy shot. HOwever, in front of the hall itself, used in the recent Batman movies as signs in the shop tell  you a  lot, was a herd of red deer so tame you could walk right up to them. Makes a mockery of the "Do not approach the deer within 50 yards" signs. Apparently some idiots have been trying to put their children on the stags' backs. Some other chap got gored, but this lot were knackered and panting in the heat.

I then headed back to the station  via St Martin's Pond, the dinky nature reserve near where I worked at Siemens - now empty. I've outlived my old workplace.

In the end I did 20km in the heat, and was out for about 6 hours in all. Face has caught the sun, but at least I didn't get mugged.

Si

All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 18.04.16