Wednesday, 22 March 2023

First Bee for a Hot Minute

 We've had milder temperatures - I'm sure I don't need to tell you that! - and even a bit of sunshine, but nature's calendar has been rather slow to catch up after the two frozen weeks we had. I've seen a glimpse of a small tortoiseshell on the wing, and the queen bumbles are on the move again, but the chiff chaffs aren't singing yet, nor have I seen a beautiful lemon yellow brimstone butterfly on the wing yet. 

Indeed, I've only just seen another honeybee on the wing, a very skittish individual feeding off glory of the snows in Friary Garden, which is well carpeted in blue with them at the moment. 

I hope things are getting more spring like where you all are!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 22.03.23

Thursday, 16 March 2023

Late Night Sketching

 Just dropping my first attempt to do an oil pastel of a natural subject.

I think you could just about tell what it is, even if I hadn't labelled this.

I make no claim on having any talent whatsoever.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 16.03.23

Monday, 13 March 2023


 After the freezing weather of the last fortnight, my hands have only now sufficiently warmed up enough for me to type again.

We had two days of snow, one more or less continuous and a day in which I had to cycle to work in blizzard conditions, which was every bit as much fun as it sounds. Thankfully, unlike the big freeze of 2010, I never had hard ice to contend with, just the inability to see as my eyes were filled with the driving snow as I rode in.

It didn't create particularly attractive snowscapes to look at, but it did make the meadow pipits easier to see.

They merge perfectly into the long grass at work!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 13.03.23

Tuesday, 7 March 2023

Blossom is Out!

 It doesn't look good, because the weather has been so flat and battleship grey, but blossom is out everywhere in town.

Perhaps not 100% yet, some trees still have the flowers in tight white buds while others have opened out, stamen reaching out towards a sun that just hasn't been there yet this spring.

Their blooms wait for the pollinators, but they aren't yet there, hiding away after a nice end to winter, as a freezing front sweeps down upon us. 

Plum, blackthorn, and cherry all - braced for the frost and snow.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 07.03.23

Wednesday, 1 March 2023

A Noble Guest

 So I've long had suspicions about a couple of 8 legged guests I've seen around my flat, but it was only the other day that it suddenly occurred to me that I could google lens them to find out if I was right.

So I photographed the chap who has taken up residence in my bathroom, and quickly confirmed that my hypothesis was indeed correct.

Steodata Nobilis, the noble false widow spider. 

I'm sure that once upon a time, I would have gone half mad with panic and instituted a campaign of "KILL IT WITH FIRE", for after all, maybe as recently as ten years ago, these spiders were seen as a terrifying plague brought to our shores by climate change. Schools were closed down. People sprayed their garden sheds with agent orange and anything small with 8 legs met a sticky end under size ten Doc Martens. 

Nowadays, I'm like - "gosh, that's interesting, he's doing no harm, I'll let him be." 

A state of affairs that will probably last only as long as it doesn't land on my nose on a gossamer thread while I'm brushing my teeth. 


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 01.03.23

Friday, 24 February 2023

A Most Spectacular Display

 There is little I can say about the unbelievable display of crocuses in the cemetery that photographs can't say better.

Suffice to say, it's amazing every year, but this year, it seems especially spectacular. And as ever, its ephemeral beauty will last barely more than a week.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 24.02.23

Monday, 20 February 2023

First Bumbley Bumble of 2023

 I took myself off for a walk this afternoon, on what has surely been the mildest day of the year so far with sun lighting up up the beautiful purple and white crocuses in the cemetery, of which more anon...

Always this is is my favourite time of the year, as regular readers of this blog over the years will know, and at the risk of posting repetitive content, I love to show you the nature landmarks of late winter and spring. 

I'm now getting used to seeing honeybees on the crocuses this February; they seem to have been up and about for a couple of weeks now. But I had not yet seen a bumblebee, and figured the lush crocus crop of the cemetery would be the best place to find one. 

I was frustrated at first, wondering why on earth there wouldn't be a bumble about on a day like this. I had to walk through about three quarters of the cemetery, eyes glued to the ground and being watched quizzically by a number of very chubby squirrels who seem to have wintered extremely well.

And then, lifting its fuzzy body out of a flower cup, was a big buff-tailed bumblebee queen so covered in pollen I initially thought it was a different species. I followed it as it dived into another crocus, and managed to get some photographs as it fed, almost ecstatically. 

Such a cheering sight. I hope you too are starting to see buzzy things on the wing!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 20.02.23