Saturday 30 October 2021

"Stop the Chop"

 Our local library lies adjacent to the old registery office, which was been bought, leased, resold, leased again and god only knows what else; it's a complex process.

The issue is not with the building itself, it lies with the little green space between the two buildings. Part of the leasehold agreement, indeed a contract, is that this area should be turned into a car park, a car park that the current owners of the building do not want, but if it isn't built the council face a 600K bill for breach of contract with a previous owner. 

I think that's the story; I'm probably miles wrong. It's very confusing. The upshot is that three old trees, a lime and two sycamores, are going to have to be cut down, and local people have gotten very upset. Indeed, they have already organised two daytime protests during the last couple of weekends, and tonight, they organised a third, a candlelit vigil by night. 

They say that the car park isn't needed, there is already plenty of parking space in the town, and it sends out a bad message in an age where we shouldn't be encouraging more cars onto the roads, into a town that is already gridlocked at weekends. 

I went down not long before sunset to take photographs, and told the organisers that I would return later with my bat detector; they have put a couple of bat boxes in the trees, and St George's Bat trust say the recorded 108 calls in 40 minutes a few days ago.

If there are bats roosting in the trees, then that automatically ends the threat for at least until spring. I have to say I'd been twice before and picked up nothing, but absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. 

I did return after sunset to see that a crowd of around 200 had gathered, holding lanterns and the like. I walked around with my detector, picking up no bats again while the song "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol was played while the crowd waved their lights in the air. 

I hope the bats like bands that make Coldplay sound like Motorhead. 

There was also some chanting of slogans, which was passionate although slightly...something. 

I do wish them well, and I really hope there are bats in there. I've not picked up a sausage. 



All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 30.10.21

Saturday 23 October 2021

Still life on the Ivy Flowers

Deep into October, and there are still little pockets of flowers offering food to our pollinators. 

I speak mainly of  course of ivy flowers, aside from a few lavender and verbena that are still hanging on, these are the most numerous source of pollen around at the moment. 

All the bushes seem to come into flower at different times; while some have now gone over and all but transformed into berries, others have now come into bloom. 

With the colder weather, honeybees and bumblebees are no longer active, but there are still flies and wasps about, and of course ivy mining bees too, who will keep going into November providing it doesn't get too cold.

It seems strange to me that until a few weeks ago I'd never seen one in my life, and now I'm coming across lots of them when I'm out and about.

They are certainly a beautiful species, up there with female tawny mining bees in my view, with the orange-yellow stripes on the abdomen being a colour that seems so vivid without there seemingly being any reason for it being out of the ordinary. 

Goes to show, always keep an eye on the ivy!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 23.10.21

Sunday 17 October 2021

Wholesome Family Activities

 Over the birthday weekend, my sister and I had a mosey around the family home's garden, and were pleased find some good quality windfall apples from the bramley tree out back.

My sister collected them, and decided that her and I should crumble-ize them the next day. She feels my culinary skills need improving, which considering I am starting from a baseline of zero, shouldn't be hard.

She also thinks I'm rather more capable than I believe.

So, on the saturday, I found myself in the kitchen, attempting to peel apples, a tortuous process where I always thought I was in imminent danger of slicing my own thumb off. My sister did 5 in the time it took me to do one, but I was better at chopping them. I also competent at measuring out the flour and sugar etc etc, and managed to get it all in the bowl without covering myself in anything. 

However the making of the crumble was rather harder than I thought it would be, for some sensory reason I found it hard to tolerate the feeling of butter on my fingers, it was so so wrong. My sister had to do most of that.

All that being said, the crumbles turned out to be delicious. I think I could do one myself, but it would take a long old time!

The next day, I took sis for a walk around the lake, and told her about the wildlife. And as it turns out from later research, bats like it at night!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 17.10.21

Thursday 14 October 2021

A Birthday Bat Detector!

 So, it's been my birthday weekend just gone, hence the reason I've been off the air for a few days, and amongst some lovely presents and a spot of baking and walking with my sister, of which more anon, I was absolutely staggered to be given a bat detector.

A Magenta Precision 4, to be exact.

I've tried it in my garden, but the local pipistrelle that flits about my building is either asleep or off chasing the lady bats. I've walked round town, again nothing. 

Tonight, I decided to go a little less urban.

I first walked along the river alongside the dry dock towards the weir. Not a hint of a click. But then I headed just into the entrance of Sconce Park and along a very dark River Devon - there is a light on the detector but it isn't very bright. 

I turned it on at 45khz, which is the frequency the the common pipistrelle and daubentons bat click at. Nothing there. But when I moved up to 60khz, I suddenly got shorts bursts or rapid fire almost squelchy sounding clicks.

I'd detected bats!

No idea of the species; according to the guide in the box this may be a soprano pipistrelle echo-locating at 55khz or so.

I tuned back to 45khz, and I got more calls. Lots of species operate at this frequency; I know we have common pipistrelles and daubentons bats (which feed over water) so I'd guess at one of those species. 

I was so excited!!!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 14.10.21

Tuesday 5 October 2021

A Dragon Boat Festival

 On one of those fine September days he had, he says digging through his archives, the town had a fantastic festival of Dragon Boat Racing lasting most of the day on the Trent in front of the castle.

36 teams entered, including a team from our workplace who represented us so brilliantly on the day, and it is probably the most populated event I have attended in nearly two years. 

Luckily it was warm and outside, so risk was low, and I felt pretty comfortable photographing and filming the event, while talking to the various charities who were present - who benefitted to the tune of £46,000 - and our crew.

It was an event the town can rightly be proud of.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 05.10.21