Saturday 27 February 2021

The Crocuses were Alive

 With the sun shining from a cloudless blue sky, creating some warmth although shady places were still rather chilly, I figured it would be a good day to seek out some bees.

I even wore my T-Shirt from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust to give me luck.

The hunt was a bit of a slow burner. I initially walked along the river - nothing at the lock gardens. There was nothing at the park either on the flowers growing there, although I did enjoy a nice cup of tea while wandering around.

Good old Rumbles.

So I kept on walking, another couple of km onto the cemetery where I could see when I went in the the crocuses are absolutely spectacular; that aforementioned sea of purple and white. 

I could also see that that the crocuses were alive. 

Honeybees where everywhere.

I can safely say I have never seen so many bees on a February day ever. They were loving the crocuses, absolutely coated in orange pollen, their saddlebags bulging. Such a joy for me to see, I love springtime so much and my first sighting of pollinators each year is just a herald of better times, hopefully even more so this year. 

However, I was not done yet. I was after a bumblebee, a big queen bumble like the ones I'd seen at work and not been able to photograph. And I was not to be disappointed.

There was a couple of massive queen buff tailed bumblebees feeding too, larger than some of the crocuses they were munching on, and like the honeybees they were absolutely coated in pollen. It was such a feast for them, the flowers were ripe for harvest and there was barely a couple of centimetres between each of the blooms. 

So, I've survived to see another spring begin. A ever, I just have to keep hanging in.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 27.02.21

Wednesday 24 February 2021

The Queen is not Dead

 Well, we've had much wilder weather the last couple of days, and this seems to have prompted another little set of wildflower emergences around town.

Chief of these has been the appearance of queen of the snows, which for some reason seems to like growing exactly where the snowdrops do, emerging among the white carpets with their flowers, before taking over completely and turning the carpets blue. 

Related to squill, they are a lovely sight. 

I noticed today, as the noisy jackdaws squawked above at work, that common speedwell has also appeared in its quiet fashion, adding more blue to spring. But with nothing to feed on at work yet, I've not seen any bees on campus. 

That will change as the dandelions flower.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 24.02.21

Sunday 21 February 2021

The Crocus Sea

 It's been another fine weekend weatherwise, by February's admittedly very low standards, and I took advantage by getting some serious walking done, to the tune of about 3 hours worth. 

Unfortunately I also did about three hours worth of eating, so it all gets cancelled out. Wish I could lose weight like I did during Lockdown 1. Working during Lockdown 3 has just made me want to eat. 

In the space of a week, the cemetery crocuses have just erupted, turning it in the vivid sea of purple and white once again. It really does look so beautiful. 

I'm not long back in after a 10.6km run tonight, which I'm pretty proud of myself for doing. Two 10km runs in the week, just. 

I hope we are all doing ok, and we get our vaccines soon.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 21.02.21

Tuesday 16 February 2021

Do you want a Beautiful Spring Day?

 Because that's what we had on Monday, seemingly out of nowhere. The nicest day we've had in months, where I was able to go running 11.6km in only a long sleeved top, and the sun shone off the beautiful aconite and made it glow.

There was even a bumblebee buzzing past me over the cemetery crocuses, but rather strangely given the double finger temperatures there was still ice on Balderton Blue Lake, being stood on by some bored looking black headed gulls, some of whom are getting their black heads back.

Of course that was a precursot to me having a pain in the backside day today, where my bike had a puncture and the tyre burst, so tomorrow I will be riding my old bike, which my stepfather has fitted a huge retro horn to.



All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 16.02.21

Wednesday 10 February 2021

Snowy Flowers

 I've managed to get a run in over the last few days, 9.2km in the snow and hail, but then settling snow and icy conditions made running too difficult. So, it was back to walking, and of course the dusting of snow made for some nice photo opportunities.

It also meant the kids could take their sledges out onto the Sconce, and slide down a millimetre of snow which rapidly turned into mud under the plastic armada.

The cold weather has been horrible for cycling, and I've been walking in again mainly because of the pain of Raynaud's Syndrome I get in my hands when cycling. Each night this week has got colder and colder, and I'm nervous of black ice. 

I hope you are all staying warm and safe.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 10.02.21

Friday 5 February 2021

A Deeply Hideous Thing

 I was working from home on Wednesday, and was able to take advantage of this to have a quick afternoon wander along the river and to the park, which was still under a large amount of River Devon.

The eye-catching "thing" I found - and "thing" is the best word, was lurking on a tree stump in the lock gardens, where the cultivated cowslip is emerging, next to a clump of brightly coloured fungi.

And at first, this is what I thought this was. A horrendously awful fungus, looking like a pile of rotten mincemeat, squelched onto the wood like a pile of vomit.

I thought it must have been some sort of particularly ugly form of tremella type witches butter fungus. But researching at home has led me to believe that this was actually an agglomeration of fungus gnat larvae, which have a habit of forming nasty looking bundles that slomp around presumably looking for toadstools to eat.

Posting the picture on Instagram seemed to induce vomiting sensations among viewers, I hope you have stronger stomachs.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 05.02.21