Monday, 27 March 2017

Super-Duper Butterflies and Bees

I've been neglectful of my bridge camera photography lately, so recently I've been trying to remedy that, especially now that with better weather there is more to photograph.

The bees and butterflies in the park have certainly proved a rewarding, if frustrating occupation; to get a shot of a resting brimstone is an absolute miracle and even the small tortoiseshells who sometimes give you a chance, have been fast moving, presumably not finding a lot to guzzle on in each lesser celandine.

Likewise that female tawny mining bee. These things have been hurtling around everywhere there is accessible dry ground to burrow in, so to catch one at rest was pretty amazing!



All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 27.03.17

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Andrena Bees-A-Go-Go

Today, as well as the ever present fast moving hairy footed flower bees, I've seen other little bees on the go, little solitary bees, possibly relatives of the tawny mining bees (Andrena Fulva) that are also hurtling around everywhere.

Indeed Andrena. This is the generic name for the mining bee family, and this specimen is possibly denticulata looking at the guides I've seen. It was enjoying the last blossoming tree in the park orchard, while brimstones, small torts and a comma butterflies around on this most gorgeous day of the year so far.

Enjoy the sun!


All text and images copyright CreamCRackeredNature 26.03.17

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Celandine World

They really are flowering en masse around here at the moment, even in gardens. Today, small tortoiseshells were using them to nectar off on this staggeringly beautiful spring day. It really has been wonderful, but still no chiff chaff song! Have usually heard them by now, the dainty but elusive little sods!

9km of running today, which is good I'd say, the shorts have even reappeared for these purposes, which is scary but as you may have seen I do have good legs you know!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 25.03.17

Friday, 24 March 2017

A Daffodil by Night

I've not been doing much running lately, thinking it had given me a calf strain that was affecting my bowling.

I've learned this week that the actuality is the other way round. I've run 6km tonight with no pain. On Wednesday I bowled one ball before my calf went. I think the issue has been proved!

So, that's a rest from cricket for a couple of weeks before outdoor training starts in April. Meanwhile, I can do some more careful running, with some walking and cycling, and hopefully shift a little weight I've put on.

I've been busy trying to get my wildlife garden plans through at work, all seems good there but I've had to write to the local councils and highway agency about litter picking, and yes, for H and S reasons I've had to contact our insurers.

It's not all that bad, I thought we'd hit trouble over attracting bees in case anyone complained about allergic reaction risk. Not an issue at all!

Tonight's run took me along the edge of the cemetery, and even at night, the daffodils are looking bright and cheery.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 24.03.17

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Miscellaneous Miscellania

Spawn, newts, and heaven knows what else I'll find when I open up my photos folder immediately after this...


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 23.03.17

Monday, 20 March 2017

Magnolia Town

It's that time of the year when all the magnolia trees shed their little furry cases they've been sporting since February, and their magnificent flowers erupt into view, the most beautiful blooms sported by any tree.

Beautiful yes, but useless, I tend not to see any pollinators on these flowers. But at the moment they are making the town look stunning.

This at a time when the crocuses have suddenly gone, and the glory of the snows is on the way out too. Another time of change. The spanish bluebells have started appearing in sporadic locations, and the various white flowers I can never identify are appearing too - by the library where the flower bees feed off them, a few in Friary Gardens.

Soon saxifrage will be rampant in the cemetery. Everything is very ephemeral during spring.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 20.03.17

Sunday, 19 March 2017

First Butterfly Shot of the Year

Today has mainly been about charging about bowling quick (ha!) and trying to bat well in the nets. Mixed results on both fronts, but I'm hopeful of a good season, in a couple of weeks outdoor practice will recommence and I'll be able to enjoy nature while dressed in a too small cricket shirt.

This morning I got out on my bike, it was very very bright but there was a hell of a wind blowing, which meant I didn't think I'd see anything. But when I went over to have a look at the little flower garden - no wallflowers planted this year yet - a bright shape fluttered up from the grass before settling down onto he dark, warming soil to bask.

A small tortoiseshell butterfly, happy to pose for my first snap of the year!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 19.03.17

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Hairy Footed Flower Bees have Woken Up

I've had a busy day of it, with my morning walk, and a 25km cycle ride in the afternoon where buzzards watched me from the trees, and the white rumps of bullfinches, and the sunshine bright faces of yellowhammers popped up from hedges as I headed by at 25km/h - hardly Jason Kenny speed.

But the morning, despite the grey weather, showers and wind, produced a nice little surprise, low down with the flowering red dead nettle. A little brown buzzer, thought it was a little carder out working but no, the characteristic white face gave it away as a hairy footed flower bee.

Normally these very active insects are really really hard to photograph, but with the early season dullness, this fellow paused long enough for me to squeeze off a couple of mobile phone snaps.

Wonder when the tawny mining bees will show up. The females are so colourful!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 18.03.17

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Kite Flying Festival!

This took place on Sunday, a rather damp and windy day that didn't really big up the prospects of major level kite festivities at Sconce Park.

But there were folk there, folk there in their cars with signs and string and kites of fanciful shapes and sizes. One guy just sailed his kite up to a great height, next to a very watery sun, while another chap had a kite that was essentially just a square, but was able to fantastic spins and tricks as he let the line out to well over 100 metres.

Other kites just sat on the ground and didn't do anything so they might as well have been pianos made out of stone.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 15.03.17

Monday, 13 March 2017

Life Exploded Today

March 13th 2017. The day spring officially arrived in my world, as far as I'm concerned. For today was the day when I saw brimstone butterflies up for the first time this year...and as ever in the same sort of place.

Most years, my first brimstone is spotted fluttering along the road that leads to Sconce Park, and 2017 is evidently no exception.

When I got to the park, more appeared, flying along hedgerows, along the river's edge, across the pastures, always in the strong direct flight of theirs, never stopping. And why would they, it was a beautiful morning, with strong sunlight overcoming the breeze and slightly chill tempearature to make it a t-shirt day for some brave souls.

But not me. I was in a quilted checked shirt, the son of grunge or something.

So apart from my official brimstone barometer, there were a few small tortoiseshells on the wing too, and loads of birdsong yet no chiffchaffs. That can only be a matter of days.

Elsewhere, bees were on blossom, and bumbles queenly bumbled. There was such colour to be seen too. My happiest time of the year.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 13.03.17