Tuesday 31 March 2020

A New Find

The wind has dropped now, so although the temperature is still fairly cool, it is far from unpleasant with the sun out, and not too bad without it.

Alas the sun had gone in and when I went out for my Boris walk, so I had to make do with "not too bad". No butterflies today, but a lot of buff tailed bumblebee queens investigating nest sites, or feeding off blossom or primrose. There was also a solitary hairy footed flower bee, but other than that I saw no insect activity.

I was walking through the old oak wood at Sconce Park - where the owl seat is if you remember that from my photographs - when I saw some white flowers at the base of a tree. They turned out to be wood anemone,  a flower I have never actually seen in town before, let alone in this site.

Apparently in mythology they were sent every year to herald the arrival of the Greek wind god, Anemos, leading to their alternate name of "windflower".

There were a fair few of them, in company with the first emerging non-native bluebells in the wood, while chiff chaffs called out from the high oaks.

I'm still struggling on, hands raw from washing.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 31.03.20

Monday 30 March 2020

Wild Garlic is Out

Ventured further afield today, by lockdown standards, but please don't complain to the authorities as I was still staying local.

Yes, I went to the cemetery, having just paid a sort of socially distant visit to my stepfather that involved me talking to him from about 15 feet away for a few minutes. First conversation I have had in the flesh for weeks, it feels like.

So yes, in the damp ditch in the cemetery, the wild garlic is just coming into flower. Just being the operative word, only one of these slightly silky little blooms was open. But the big flat leaves were out, and as ever, the smell of the crushed leaves was sharply pungent..

No sign of any bluebells yet, native or otherwise. Mainly otherwise in this town, alas.

Next to the blue lake the mandarin drake was having a snooze and I was able to get really quite close to him. And blew the photo opp a bit. Oh dear.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 30.03.20

Sunday 29 March 2020

An Outdoor Refuge

The last couple of days have gone grey and cold, with a scythingly chill wind cutting through from the north east. This has reduced the amount of insect life about, but there's still been a fair few buff tailed bumble queens who have been buzzing about at low level looking for nest holes.

Which in this weather is the best thing to do. I don't mind hunkering down when its like this.

Our cricket ground is a very peaceful place at the moment and unlike Sconce Park there is not need to employ any breath holding techniques when you pass anyone, as there is no-one there. Finally the water has receded, but the main ground has been totally ruined for the season, if it and when it ever happens given we are looking at 6 months of restrictions of one form or another.

I'm also keeping an eye on the place, gutted captain's car and all.

Stay well.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 29.03.20

Saturday 28 March 2020

Trying to Stay on Top of Things

For those of us with "interesting" mental health and neurologies, it's safe to say that this is a pretty awful time of it, although not as awful as it is for an increasing number of us, alas.

Perversely, I seem to feel safest outside of my flat at the moment, in the outside world, away from enclosed spaces. I've had a 90 minute walk today, around the cricket ground, around the park, barely passed another person, and enjoyed it greatly.

Yesterday I watched a treecreeper carrying nesting material up a willow by the River Devon, today I watched buzzards trying to soar in the strong wind and being mobbed by crows. The temperature has dropped sharply, so not too many insects about other than a solitary buff tailed bumble queen.

The problem is when I then have to go to the supermarket, and deal with the OCD anxiety of being in a space where there are lots of people touching everything.

And then when I get back to my flat, my food packaging now has an air of menace it has never had before...there could be contaminants, but gosh I have to eat and drink.

I wish I had a huge ultraviolet light in my kitchen!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 28.03.20

Thursday 26 March 2020

Hawton and a Peacock

Another Boris run today, out to Hawton village to see what was kicking around in the hedgerows and roadsides.

Not a lot, yet, as it turned out! But it was still a nice old trip out really. Enjoy it while I can. Then Boris runs will become Boris banging my head against wall sessions.

Back into town proper, when I ran through the park, I came across my first decent -ish view of a peacock butterfly this Spring as it fed off sun drenched blackthorn. Again, not wanting a close up photo though. Well, I suppose butterflies get fed up of folk shoving cameras in their faces.

Will try for better photos tomorrow.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 26.03.20

Wednesday 25 March 2020

Running and Underwear

So, my state allowed exercise today consisted of a 7.5km run - around the castle and twice around the park basically - on an even more glorious day than the last two glorious days we've had. I've been slobbering around in shorts most of the day and only donned a T-Shirt at one point to do a skype call with work.

More Brimstones about today, including the first female I've seen, and I can now see small tortoiseshells even from my postage stamp sized garden. I want some pollinator friendly plants but fear arrest for non essential purchase of verbena. And Asda's range of plants are shit for pollinators.

Social distancing still being well observed and supermarket well stocked apart from Pasta.

So, when I took this flat on, I think not having a washing machine was no problem, after all my folks are only up the road. Well, a worldwide pandemic shits all over that, and I'm having to handwash like its the 1860s.

Boxer shorts clutter my washing line.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 25.03.20

Tuesday 24 March 2020

Mr Heron is Enjoying the Lockdown

Well, I was able to get out today on my state approved solo exercise today, on a day so warm I was forced into wandering about in a T-Shirt.

The restrictions were being well observed down by the river and in the park, and I had plenty of space to cross the street to avoid other people. Although on the odd occasion when I had to walk by someone a little too close, I employed my (daft) "Hold Breath for 20 second technique."

I bet I'm not the only one either.

Taking advantage of the peace and quiet, a heron was perched in a prime fishing spot on the windowsill of the now quiet Navigation pub, undisturbed by anyone having a lunchtime pint today.

He saw me though, on the opposite bank of the river - hence the poor quality photo - and turned his predator's head to give me a long stare. He didn't fly off though, they normally do when they know they are being observed.

Lots more small tortoiseshells in the air today, including 5 spiralling around each other, and also two copper bottomed signs of Spring - the first brimstone butterfly, and the first singing chiff chaff!



All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 23.03.20

Monday 23 March 2020

A Lockdown Butterfly

I was thinking that today might be the last day I could get outside - it really was a beautiful afternoon. And to be fair, not too many folk around and no gatherings of more than 3 I saw anywhere out.

As it happens, I still can get out. A bit. Big thanks to the idiots out over the weekend.

I walked around our cricket ground, which is finally starting to emerge from its watery grave, and I was flushing up a fair few small tortoiseshells from the long grass; the same when I got to Sconce Park. Some were doing spiralling breeding flights.

I was going to ask the question "Should I still be going outside with all this going on?" after all I some of the comments I've seen on social media made me feel that I was as much of a problem as the hordes of bikers that descended on Matlock Bath.

I live alone, and exercise alone.

Seems a bit redundant.

Stay well everyone.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 23.03.20

Saturday 21 March 2020

Well I didn't Hear a Chiffchaff

I've been out today, gosh for about 3 hours in total, but of course away from people other than those I passed while out walking; I believe that staying active like this is a good course of action, and should we lockdown further I hope we follow the example of Belgium which is still encouraging people to cycle and exercise on their own.

Well I do everything on my own other than play cricket - sadly all activity in that regard has been iced until July at the earliest I suspect - so I don't violate those terms and conditions. Rumbles has now closed even for take outs, but I was still able to get a cup of tea in the market and walk around with it.

I've been listening out for chiffchaffs, turning off my radio in wooded areas and seeing if I could hear one of the little blighters.

No joy in this regard, but instead I actually saw one!

These dinky little warblers, not even the size of a blue tit, are incredibly hard for me to spot normally. For a start they are tiny and brown, and then they are also incredibly adept at throwing their voices. They are never where their call seems to be coming from.

However the chiffchaff I encountered wasn't singing. It was flitting about in low branches over the cycle track drainage ditch, and at first I thought I was looking at a goldcrest, waiting to see the yellow mohican at any point. But I never did, and when I clocked the pale eye stripe I knew what I was actually looking at straightaway.

Far too early for willow warblers, so it had to be a chiffchaff. Only the second one I've ever seen in the flesh - or feather rather.

Stay safe all.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 21.03.20