Wednesday 30 December 2020

Icy Golden Days

 Managed a two hour walk today, walking through puddles that had frozen hard overnight and had then been mined by passing children, carrying away glass like shards of broken ice the size of car windows. 

We haven't had snow, nor does it seems likely we will now. But it is very cold and at night the moon sports angry halos.

Sconce Park was full of robins, one which let me practically walk over it, and squirrels were running riot among the oaks. The good stuff was around Balderton Lake though - 2 drake and 6 duck goosander, 4 of which were close enough in for me to get a quarter decent shot off before they tore off  like powerboats, a kingfisher at the north end of the lake, and a lovely little watch of a goldcrest impersonating a hummingbird.

By now the sun was setting, and we had a firey rosey gold lake again. 15000 more steps.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 30.12.20

Tuesday 29 December 2020

A Muddy Trek to Winthorpe Village

 Decent weather this afternoon meant I felt like taking myself out for a couple of hours, and wondered where I could walk that I haven't visited in a while, and wouldn't be a mud bath.

It was always optimistic thinking anywhere would be an easy walk today, and so it proved, although to be fair my trip to Winthorpe wasn't all that bad, and rather better than Clay Lane, say, would be at this time of the year. 

It isn't an attractive walk at all, it's rather featureless, in common with anywhere maintained for serious angling, I find. It also takes you under various road and rail bridges, and alongside a sewage works. 


However, saw some interesting birds; colourful deep pink bullfinches in the hawthorn heshes, and a lovely group of reed buntings. In Winthorpe village, there were long tailed tits and chaffinches and above isolated gulls rode the breezes. 

Not such a bad trek, occupied a couple of hours, had a nice listen to the radio, and got my 15000 steps in!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 29.12.20

Thursday 24 December 2020

Christmas Eve

 I was grateful to be allowed to leave work early, and so took a walk to the park, where unlike the albeit very high Trent, The Devon has burst banks.

Happy Christmas everyone, doubly so to all spending the day alone in this insane year.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 24.12.20

Tuesday 22 December 2020

More Snowdrops

 The weekend weather was so atrocious that I barely left my home at all, and instead worked out hard on my exercise bike and pondered what my first Christmas alone would be like.

Monday I was able to get myself out and take myself around the two lakes, where I could see that more snowdrops were now in flower, and that also that lots of other shoots were piercing the thick wet soil of the cemetery - lots of crocus spears I think.

Above, two squirrels crashed about in the trees fighting over whatever squirrels fight over. 

On the lake, I was wondering if the goosander were about, and found them relatively close in at the south end of the blue lake, as ever the moment I tried to get my camera-phone the drakes accelerated like Donald Campbell in Bluebird and were in the middle of the lake in seconds.

Powerful paddlers are goosander! Very shy birds and not like obliging mallards or even tufted duck to get a photo of. A little egret hung like an empty plastic bag in the trees overlooking the carp lagoon.

Down on London Road Pond, the depressing lack of anything interesting continued. Best bird I've seen on here is a shoveller, which says a lot really.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 22.12.20

Tuesday 15 December 2020

Out to Farndon Ponds

 More fine weather yesterday, and with my ankle by much less of a pain, I was able to plug my brain into a good Radio 4 sci fi drama and take myself out to Farndon to see what sort of waterfowl I might find in the little Farndon Ponds reserve next to the marina. 

It's not the most exciting trek to get there, along the old A46, but eventually you get to the church turn off and can make your way towards Willow Holt, which looked rather on the muddy side and was filled with sheep.

For some reason, the sheep were an enticing photographic prospect to a pro looking snapper, who was stood there with a tripod and a towel over his head. Maybe there was an interesting bird lurking. Or perhaps he is very shy. 

I walked past the marina, around the ponds and here things got rather muddy. I might have to buy myself wellies for Christmas. I managed to get a lucky half decent mobile shot of a long tailed tit, but the waterfowl weren't up to much; a few bored looking gulls and a couple of mallards. 

At least the river painted itself gold for the evening.

There's plenty of berries in the hedgerows, but there weren't any redwing like I sometimes see in this part of Farndon. It takes colder weather to the winter thrushes in town.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 15.12.20

Sunday 13 December 2020

Photos from a Two Hour Walk

 I've been off the exercise bike for a couple of days, as I seem to have done a mischief to my right achilles, but yesterday I was still able to get in a two hour walk.

It wasn't supposed to be, I had just wanted to take my sore ankle to the park for a couple of tea then go shopping. But as the Ibuprofen kicked in, I felt able enough to turn right before the supermarket, and head to the cemetery and the two lakes to take photos in another golden sunset. 

The squirrels are busy; the cemetery and the church grounds are always the best place to see them so I'm guessing they must be religious little mammals. That and all the trees and the goodies they provide. 

It had been raining, but as I walked along the path, the sun broke through as it began to begin its evening kiss of the horizon, and light everything up in gold beneath the grey clouds. 

Plenty of other folk were out walking, enjoying the views. Again, the illusion of normality. 

There was even a rainbow.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 13.12.20

Monday 7 December 2020

Right where I was Expecting them

 A longer walk today, out round the two lakes, and I'm happy to report that after the fallow autumn months, new life is returning to the leaf covered ground.

Walking through the cemetery as sunset approached, I thought I'd have a cheeky little look for an early snowdrop, the ground being so full of emerging shoots in the past couple of weeks. And lo and behold, right where they were last year, and out on about the same date, a couple of dinky little snowdrops were in bloom.

New flowers are back, and slowly but surely, fresh colour will return to this blog!

On the water, I kept my eye out for goosander, to see if their early arrival last year would be repeated this year, and sure enough they were, a handsome drake with his duck mate. No others yet, but I'm sure more will arrive; I think we had 12 at one point last winter. 

Lots of geese were on the water, but I couldn't spot the pinkie, or indeed the glorious mandarin drake. 

It's been a very cold day, and I'm anticipating a freezing ride to work in the morning. But the colours this evening have been beautiful; I'll take that.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 07.12.20