Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Got some Buzzers for you

 We've had a couple of bright days so far this week, and I'm pleased to be able to present to you some really nice bee shots - some interesting species too.

I've got a super capture of a buff tailed bumblebee queen from by Balderton Blue Lake, a slightly lower quality set of what I think is a vestal cuckoo bumblebee judging by the yellow edging of the white tail, some shots of a solitary bee on dandelion which I can't ID, and finally from our cricket ground a hairy footed flower bee working quickly around the ground ivy. 

Too cold for flutterers though, I really haven't seen that many yet this rather chilly spring. 


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 13.04.21

Saturday, 10 April 2021

A Few More First Sightings

 Not really up to a long walk, as my knee is a little sore and I feel very tired - az shot reaction? - but I took myself down the park for an hour to see what I might see. 

It ended up being a very worthwhile enterprise despite the fact it was a cool day that went rather grey while I was out. I spotted a skulking chiff chaff in the old oak wood, and a female orange tip butterfly on the flutter, but of course being female she didn't actually have any orange tips.

Didn't manage to get a photograph of them, however. 

What was more amenable to photography, just about, was a chilly tree bumblebee queen trying to regain her strength, a busy common carder bumblebee feeding off flowering currant, and I finally managed to get a snap of a stunning female tawny mining bee, the most beautiful of our bees in my view, as she fed off hawthorn blossom and filled her weighty saddlebags. 

I was supposed to go and have a spot of solitary cricket practice, but today my body is telling me no.


All text and images copyright CrackeredNatureNature 10.04.21

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Vaccination Planes

 So, I've been for my shot yesterday, and today enjoyed all the news about how my Astro Zeneca shot might give me a blood clot if I'm horribly unlucky!

On balance however, I'm glad I've had the shot. 

It was quite a strange feeling. Most of the folk were older people there for their second shot of Pfizer, while us very few younger ones - I reckon I was the youngest - were ushered down the fast lane for AZ. 

I say fast lane, but there was an awful lot of paperwork that seemed to be needed to be done in triplicate as I'm sure many of you will know. There shiny clinical setting that the jabs were done in was also slightly offset by the fact that the reception area, and then the post jab area you had to sit in for 15 minutes afterwards in case you keeled over, were both essentially cowsheds used for the agricultural shows that the showground puts on. 

What was surprising was that the injection itself I never felt at all, unlike the flu shots which seem to need screwing into my bicep. Sadly, I didn't get a massive plaster over the jab to show off, although I did get a sticker.

Afterwards I treated myself by riding over to the air museum and getting a few closer up shots of the planes. And then having a bag of chips from the works canteen.

Because that's healthy, right?


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 07.04.21

Saturday, 3 April 2021

Journey to Vulcan

 A later start today but I still got out and walked for just over two hours. 

It was an odd sort of walk really, for it was hardly a scenic or pleasurable route. The main purpose was actually to see how long it would take me to walk from work to my vaccination appointment on Tuesday. Gee the glamour of the outdoor life. 

However, it wasn't all tarmac and traffic fumes, although it was mostly that. I saw a massive hare on the showground, a hare so big that I thought it was a deer when I first glimpsed its flashing white tail. Buzzards were circling in various places, and once the sun was out it was a reasonably pleasant day. 

I also saw the big Vulcan bomber at the air museum, although I couldn't get as close as I thought. It's a historic aircraft that arrived at the museum by actually landing on the runway next door, part of the old RAF Winthorpe site. 

I remember seeing a Vulcan Scramble at an air show at RAF Waddington. Those aircraft were BEASTS!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 03.04.21

Friday, 2 April 2021

The Fearless Goldcrest

 Not at work today, and for once on a day off I was up early, so I was out of the house in the morning and on my way on what ended up about a three hour walk, with a cup of tea stop. 

Despite the cold and the wind, happy Easter everyone, it was still a productive trip out, with a fair few firsts.

I saw my first non-native bluebells in flower.

I saw my first sand martins over by the North Marina, a flock of about 10 of them scything about. 

I saw my first solitary swallow over London Road Pond, no doubt arrived on the warm southern winds of early in the week.

But it was a more commonplace sight that was more captivating. I visited my stepfather for a bit, and as we chatted over the front garden wall about how to my total surprise I'd received a text telling me to book my covid shots - I'm going in on Tuesday, probably a month earlier than I thought - a goldcrest arrived to feed in the silver birch tree that has been in the garden for at least 30 years or more. 

We watched it for ten minutes, as it fearlessly paid us no attention as it flitted like a hummingbird among the budding leaves, about a yard from my face. They never seem scared of humans. Yet, happy to feed amongst 6 foot giants, it was chased off by a 4 inch blue tit. 

Hopefully I'll get more long walks in this long holiday weekend.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 02.04.21

Monday, 29 March 2021

The Warmth Sends the Flutterers Aloft

 I knew today was going to be the first big butterfly day of the year, the weather forecasts had been so good that to see butterflies today was expected, rather than hoped for.

And so it proved. 

I got to the park, and as I walked up to the old oak wood, a peacock was flitting about, occasionally settling on a plant for a sunbathe, but not letting me get anywhere near it. A brimstone, the true harbringer of spring, flew by in the opposite direction, glinting lemon yellow in the sun. 

As I got on the field, small tortoiseshells flew up from the path in front of me. Others spiralled in mating flights, or seemed to fight with peacocks in the air. 

The blossom is starting to fall, and there were less bees working on it than I thought there would be. I remember springs when the blackthorn trees were alive with with buzzing. 

What was interesting that in the glimpses I got, the peacocks were in much better condition than the small tortoiseshells, which looked a little ragged. 

After the park, kept on walking, lots to see but not near enough to photograph. It was once again next to the cycle path where I was able to photograph a settled peacock and a comma, albeit very awkwardly indeed, ankles wrapped in undergrowth and trying to lean over as much as I could. 

Lluckily for me, these two flutterers were a bit less skittish!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 29.03.21

Friday, 26 March 2021

Balkan Anemones

 In the cemetery, this sweet sort of little alpine meadow has appeared by one of the trees, surrounded by flowers I'd seen before but had never before bothered to identify properly. I just thought they were some kind of cornflower.

Well, on closer inspection, and the help of my Flora Incognita app, I was able to identify them as a balkan anemone, a species not native here and so either seeded here, or an escapee from a nearby garden.

It doesn't really matter, as they are very pretty. Although I did notice that the bees ignored them, preferring to concentrate on the glory of the snows mixed in with them. 

A small area, but a beautiful one.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 26.03.21