Saturday 30 March 2019

Butterfly Love

During my afternoon walk, I spotted what I thought what would be the main subject of today's post. While examining a patch of flowers looking for insects, I spied a tawny mining bee, a dazzling female, and was able to follow it back to its burrow, a pronounced little mound with a hole in the top.

I kept an eye on it, and was able to photograph this beautiful insect as it emerged and sat quietly on the edge of her burrow.

But the poor buzzer got upstaged!

As I neared home after my second walk of the day, walking through the library gardens drinking a can of the divine Rubicon guava, I noticed some fluttering near a bush in the distance. Closer, and I could see it was a pair of gently spiralling small tortoiseshells, seemingly engaged in some kind of courtship routine although the male didn't seem to be getting very far.

All his attempts to move in however meant they stayed still just long enough for me to photography them.

Best pic of spring so far!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 30.03.19

Friday 29 March 2019

RSPB Langford Songbirds

On my pleasant trip to RSPB Langford Lowfields, I only bothered to get my camera out to take "cheap" photos of the local songbirds visiting the feeders, while the cetti's warbler sang loudly out of sight.

So here we have the only 4 useable (maybe!) photos I took; a reed bunting, yellowhammers and a pair of goldfinches. I dread seeing how they look when I post them!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 29.03.19

Thursday 28 March 2019

Nature Bits at Work

Round about lunchtime managed to get out for a quick walk and take in the sights on campus; what was growing? What was flying?  What was buzzing?

At the moment, we have speedwell, coltsfoot, red dead nettle, centaury, gorse, daffodil, dandelion, forget me not and one or two other bits and bobs in flower, while above the campus kestrel watches from his favourite tree or a lamp-post- he let me get quite close today. A heron also gave an elegant flyover.

In between, the blue bush in the mini garden attracted a lot of bees, mainly honeybees but a one point a flash of dark orange indicated a brief, indeed a flying, visit by a tawny mining bee.

Sadly next week spring will be put on hold as a cold week awaits.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 28.03.19

Monday 25 March 2019

Snapped a Butterfly!

It's been a cracking Spring day today, albeit a rather chilly one this morning, and the main effect of that has been a large amount of insect life today.

In addition to the bumbles and hairy foots that have already been very evident, some new players entered the seasonal game today. Rusty orange glints in the sun indicated that tawny mining bees were about today, then a gorgeously striped female sat on a path briefly for me to get a look at, if not a photo.

Saw a white butterfly on the flutter today, whether that was a female brimstone or one of your actual whites I don't know. But the only butterfly that gave me a chance to get to photograph it was a comma I found by the cycle path sunning itself, although it didn't let me get very close.

Quite a few commas in the air today, I noticed.

I made another discovery today...when the mandarin duck isn't on the Blue Lake, it is on someone's garden pond next to it!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 25.03.19

Sunday 24 March 2019

Ladybirds and Cricket

Another bright but slightly chilly day in the wind, but this didn't stop the hairy footed flower bees from carrying on their always slightly demented looking feeding amongst any food sources they could find.

They fly incredibly fast, never settle for a second, and with the white hair on their faces looking rather skull-like at times, always seem rather angry to me. Today, they were probably angry at themselves for trying to feed off pansies, which seem to be utterly useless to any pollinator.

However, their little black pansy faces were useful to other insects, with plenty of 7-spot ladybirds warming themselves up on the black parts of the petals.

I have been at cricket practice this evening, which at my age means getting battered around the nets by 14 year old kids, my illusions of being the next Harold Larwood being shattered by the second. However, my batting is getting better.

Not that it is starting from a very high level in the first place.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 24.03.19

Saturday 23 March 2019

Now the Chiff Chaffs are Singing!

So, I heard my first chiff chaffs today, rather a lot of them in fact. But I had to leave Newark in order to do it.

I biked out to RSPB Langford Lowfields today, to see if the warblers out there were louder than their urban relatives, on a day where all the roadside verges seemed to be full of spring flowers; red dead nettle, violets, celandine and daffodils, although a cold northerly wind wasn't quite so seasonal.

It took about 30 seconds after entering the reserve to hear the first chiffy, making its repetitive call that sounds nothing like its name at piercing volume. I reckon I head at least 7 or 8 around the site.

I also heard a cetti's warbler as well, a loud bubbling song that I have to admit was pointed out to me by another visitor. Hopefully I will recognise it again. I've barely ever seen a chiff chaff so I have no chance with these elusive recent colonists. But I'm pleased to have heard one.

Sadly, there wasn't much out on the water today on Phase 1, just the usual common waterfowl. Less interesting than Balderton  Lake in fact! The birds of course are smart, there were all sorts of goodies on parts of the site where there is no public access apparently.

Didn't bother me, I just happily walked around the reserve and over the wobbly bridge in a very pleasant setting, listening to squabbling geese, the fighting coots, and the screeches of gulls around the edge of the water, before the hawthorn hedgerows produced songbirds singing their avian hearts out.

I did get my camera out to take shots of the birds on the feeders, which I'll put on a different post. This one is just about enjoying being in a place, and enjoying the journey to and from.

Been a long time since I've been here.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 23.03.19

Friday 22 March 2019

Back out for a Gentle Run

Fed up of feeling rather fat and bloated and energy-less, and as previously reported feeling a bit less discomfort in my feet, I thought a gentle run would be in order today.

I'd only intended to go for two or three kilometres to try and get my heart going, but despite the fact I felt pretty unfit and tight chested, I found I was able to run at a good pace. I was also running largely pain free too.

I ended up doing the full tour of the two lakes, just under 7km in 45 minutes. Some sub 6 minute kilometres in there. Pleasing, but I must be careful not to overdo it.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 22.03.19