Tuesday 30 June 2015

Cricket and Swifts

Sport with balls for a change! None of my solitary, self indulgent running and cycling tonight, I actually mixed and did sport with other people, many of whom were talking about my third team colleagues who (without me) conceded 303 for 2, before being bowled out for 25.

Would never have happened if I was there, twitching around the outfield and dropping catches, before bowling like a drain and batting like a blocked one.

Speaking of twitching, cricket is good for this, providing I'm occupied with batting or bowling rather than being out out to grass in the outfield. Never twitch while I'm batting. Good job, as I have enough trouble hitting the ball as it is.

Cycling home, was really able to see how many swifts have arrived with the heatwave. It was avian carnage by the Chinese takeaway, as around a dozen birds circled low over my head, occasionally approaching the eaves of buildings as if to fly into a nest hole before turning away at the last minute.

One or two birds even came at me at little over head height before climbing up and over the roof of the florists on the other side of the road, wings fluttering seemingly far too weakly to obtain such speed.

The earthbound cyclist is a feeble thing by comparison.


All images and text copyright CreamCrackeredNature 30.06.15

Sunrays kiss the pavilion

Early practice

Out on the greensward

Purveying a bit of leg spin

Thunder calves

Monday 29 June 2015

The Swifts are Gathering

I've been mentioning a lot on social media how the swift count here seems to be rather down on previous years; whereas before you'd get groups of 6-8 swifts or even more screeching in circles around their usual nest sites, this year there's never really been any more than 4. I know they've been investigating their nesting holes on the old church hall and the Chinese takeaway, but whether they've actually "laid, hatched and raised" any young, I have no idea.

Tonight however, on my evening slow crawl of a run - still nowhere near pain free, alas - I noticed that there were many more swifts engaged in joyous flight all over their town colonies - there must have been 20 plus on Balderton Gate alone between the hall and takeout joint!

Does this mean fledglings are now among the adults as they hurtle round the sky? I wouldn't know, other than to say that none of the birds have had a juvenile look about them.

I think its more likely that the godforsaken Norwesterlies that have plagued the UK with freezing breezes for most of June have now gone south, and with the warmer air, we've got swifts now able to move up from continental Europe without having to pack two overcoats and an electric blanket.

Perhaps they will stay later into late August or even September!

Also very glad to spot a sand martin nest on the artificial bank of what I always call "Newark Island". Lovely little birds.

Enjoy Newark sunset rather than sunrise.


All images and text copyright CreamCrackeredNature 29.06.15

Sand martins nesting behind the clump of grass in the middle

Fishermen have a camper van tonight

How different it looks in the evening

Likewise the lock

View from the bridge

The Barge, a floating pub

Hello metal ghost signs!

Friday 26 June 2015


Still got sticky old warm weather although that largely unfamiliar celestial yellow thing has had a couple of days off, and hopefully will not clock back in until I'm next off work.

Today was tea in the park in the morning, while watching the swallows perform aerobatics far in excess of The Red Arrows. It's my favourite time at Rumbles cafe, when these beautiful birds fly in over the cafe roof and then drop to ground level - almost literally, they are barely an inch off the grass - and sweep up insects, by now starting to fuel for their migration.

I watched one pull 360s in the air, turning in a circle barely a metre across while flying at full pelt over the flower beds, its tail fanning out to act as a brake, it's white belly presented to me for a split second.

And then it was gone, dipping its feathery shoulders, and diving down low with those characteristic powerfull "pulled back" sweeps of its wings so very different from the jittery flutters of a swift.

No swallows seen in the afternoon, as I ran around the two lakes, where a charming elderly couple with a bag of brown bread and some grain, had attracted every canada goose in the county. It was a lovely vignette, not so lovely underfoot however...

I had to run rather gingerly!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 26.06.15

Thursday 25 June 2015

Newark in the Dawn

I'm having a lot of trouble sleeping at the moment; I think the trouble is that at night there is less to distract a racing brain, and I end up too tired to actually rest as well. If that makes any sense.

So I decided to make the most of it, and strode out of my flat at just before 4am into the lightning indigo skies and a hail of birdsong. Oddly enough, the night had already been productive nature wise; the local vixen was prowling again - I recognised her tail - and on my drive a hedgehog scuttled along the hedge, raised up on its little legs like one of those old Citroens.

I could have headed out for the poppies again, but I figured I'd leave them be for a bit (as it turned out, I was back in the poppy field at 1030AM) so instead I headed for the river to take the shots below. I wasn't alone. Birds were busy, rabbits were plentiful and a huge female toad popped her head out from under a bush to take a look at the funny man on the riverbank.

The water was mirror smooth, and tinged with pink. All was calm.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 25.06.15

At the lock looking NE

Castle, sun rising behind it

Closer at the castle

Looking SW to the locks

Like the tree reflection and the orange water

Sleepy fishermen just visible

Needle in the lightning sky

Wednesday 24 June 2015

There is Never Enough Time

I'm a very tired writer today, having been awake most of the night after discovering that an old friend of mine from a few years ago had died ten days ago of an overdose. I'd been only in intermittent contact with her over the last couple of years, seems that was true of everyone.

Addiction does that apparently.

She was 33 years old.

Time, ultimately, is very short, and sadly for some it is even shorter than that.

Thus I was determined to be up at dawn to be walking and photographing. However, my body knows when I'm pushing it too hard and mercifully knocked me out until 9. Then I did my walking, and later running, and might even have found a small blue butterfly for you, a rather uncommon species in a year when butterflies haven't been very numerous full stop.

It would be nice if I could get up at 9 and then go and get a really good job where I might be paid for sharing my love of nature and the outdoors. Because, as I have stated, there just isn't enough time to waste a single second.

But we all do.


All images and text copyright CreamCrackeredNature 24.06.15

Sleep well Lala.

Banded demoiselle by River Devon. Tricky blighters to snap

Common blue rolling in clover

This one is a bit ragged, like yesterday's

At a different angle

First meadow browns are up too now. This one was sneaky

Now, is this a small blue I have here? 

It was tiny, smaller than the common blue

Bees like red

Bees like yellow

And bees like whatever colour this is

This one had a good long feed

Hmmmm. Viper bugloss?

Tuesday 23 June 2015

Flutterers are Aloft!

Finally, after I had sightsee'd the poppies, I was able to continue my 10km run and happily report that there were a fair few butterflies aloft! Large and small skipper are newly out today, and I saw common blue, large white and common blue as well.


Please enjoy!


All images and text copyright CreamCrackeredNature

Small skipper

Large skipper takes flight

Lovely pink dog roses

Twin bee action

Bee on lady's bedstraw

Common blue

It was very fond of birds foot trefoil

Rather crop zoomed, I'm afraid

About face

Deeper blues

The Newark Poppies have now Transcended Beauty

I ran to the poppies again today, where a very moving little vignette was taking place.

An elderly couple, certainly well into their 80s if not 90s, had been driven out to the field by their care home, where two staff spent some time taking some photographs of them standing together against the background of incredible blooms. It may well be the last time they get to do something like this, these displays certainly don't take place every year, so full marks to their carers for doing this for them.

A young family were also having a joyous look round, while in the corner a very professional looking photographer had set up his camera and tripod.

Such a simple thing,  and it has brought so much happiness and pride to this town it is unreal.

Without further ado...


All images and text copyright CreamCrackeredNature 23.06.15