Monday, 3 October 2022

Studies in Bees

 We are now into October, the middle month of autumn and it is true that the nights are chilly even if the odd day has a bit of warmth when the sun shines, 

You know the cold is coming when late into the night you see the stars of Orion peeping over the rooftops. 

Nonetheless, there are still pollinators about; large white butterflies to watch while I have my tea at Rumbles cafe, and bees and wasps upon ivy flowers, sedum and - at my workplace - coral berry flowers which are a major attraction for both bees and bumbles alike in this late season. 

I always find joy in their autumn flight, it takes my mind off the "dead months" until the snowdrops appear in December. 

Si

All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 03.10.22









Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Geese on the Move

 It's the early autumn, the time of year when waterfowl start to return to our local waters for the winter to join the local birds who were too lazy to go on holiday and decided to have a staycation instead.

The first skeins of pink footed geese have been seen all over the county, high in the air with the harshness of their honking rendered more mellifluous by the height. I myself saw a twilight flight of about 60 make their way over the cemetery as I was out trying to film bats - apparently the chapel holds roosting pipistrelles and noctules. 

Of course, the most dominant geese locally are the greylags and the canadas, with the canadas being the dominant birds in terms of numbers. They have a large daily festival on the muddy banks of the Trent opposite the South Marina, where they entertain boat dwellers with their trumpeting racket. 

Then in the evenings, large numbers of them take off and head for their roosts who knows where, and their echelons make their way over the park and the river. I'be veen lucky enough to catch a few of them in flight, and they are far more beautiful in the air than they ever are on land or water. 

Si

All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 28.09.22






Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Ivy Mining Bees...and a Fat Spider!

 As is the case at this time of year, as the ivy blooms with its strange corona-virus looking flowers, the ivy mining bees emerge to gather with the honeybees, hoverflies and wasps who also make use of this vital autumn supply of pollen. 

With their vivid yellow-orange stripes, they are probably the second most beautiful bee species, after the female tawny mining bees that fly at the opposite end of the season in early spring. They are fast moving and to get good photos of them is a bit of a challenge but my Pixel 6A seems to be a lot better at focussing quickly that my Motorola G7 was. 

Also lurking was about the fattest, palest orb spider I've ever seen.

Perhaps it has eaten a good few ivy mining bees!

Si

All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 20.09.22






Saturday, 17 September 2022

Winthorpe Lake Trek

 Badly hindered by my ankle injury I'm really not getting out and about as much as I'd like to during this time out, making me feel frustrated and overweight. So my walk out to Winthorpe Lake for a couple of hours, listeing to cricket on the radio and enjoying the mental helath boost the outside world gives me. 

It isn't the most scenic route in the world, I have to say. The walk along the River Trent is rather bleak, with the monotony of a bank given over to the needs of angling broken occasionally of a flushed heron making its way over the water with great, slow wingbeats. Then you get the somewhat nicer stretch along the old elevated railway line before arriving at the lake itself.

Well known locally for the giant concrete barge that ran itself agroung after some kids set it free, I always find this a bit of a sterile spot for wildlife purposes; you don't see many birds here and the ones you do see are fairly unremarkable. 

It never crops up in any local birds of interest report either. 

I don't know why this is, perhaps with Langford Lowfields and Besthorpe nearby the birds have somewhere nicer to go without risking being tangled up in fishing line. 

Still, I enjoyed being out, sore ankle and all reminding me with every step I should give up bowling at cricket. Grrrrr.

Si

All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 17.09.22










Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Boultham Park Lincoln Trip

 Tired of being stuck in this town, I decided to risk the anxiety of using public transport for the first time since the pandemic started. 

My goal was Boultham Park in Lincoln, a half hour or so walk from the railway station down the Sustrans Route 92 that runs alongside the River Witham. I soon wished I'd had a bike with me, as the route would have taken me 7 miles out to the Whisby Park nature reserve. 

"Get a folding bike, idiot!" I told myself as I walked along the not massively scenic path by the river, although the presence of dragonflies, including a first for me in the form of a black darter checking me out, livend things up as did the sighting of a kingfisher on the way back. 

Why visit a public park in another city? Well, long time readers will know that I am fascinated with the public use of open space, and what goes on there, and I'd seen that this park was an important community space for activities. 

Certainly when I arrived there after leaving the main path to head through some woodland, you could see what the main focus had been in the last few days - the bandstand was covered in flowers in tribute to the Queen, and a few children's drawings of her, and also Paddington Bear, who seems to have become enshrined in this event. But there wasn't a lot going on on a week day.

The lake was rather disappointing, not much of interest to see there, although the metal sculptures around it were really attractive. For some reason I was expecting there to be more planted areas with wildflowers; I know its late in the season but there just wasn't anything; one rather sad rock garden, and a fountain garden with no plants in it. 

The cafe was a friendly little space though, well used by the local community; lots of elderly folk having a spot of lunch and the staff and students of what I think must be a small school for adults with learning disabilities next door. 

Cake selection looked excellent too, both normal and vegan, too bad I feel fat as soon as I even look at a piece of cake.

So that was very nice. Journey back was horrendous though, train replaced by a bus crammed full of college kids; incredibly uncomfortable and the cause of rocketing covid anxiety. 

Yes, I am still that person.

Si

All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 14.09.22











Monday, 12 September 2022

Just More Bimbling

 It seems crazy that I haven't been around the Blue Lake in such a long time. It was a gloomy wet day, but I got fed up with that stopping me last week, so got out the waterproof jacket and headed out.

As usual, I think I would have ended up drier if I hadn't worn the bloody thing.

I wandered through the library gardens first, the now preserved "Stop The Chop" mini meadow which doesn't have a massive amount happening yet, but there are plans i tow to do a "natural" landscaping job on it. Nearly a year ago all those protests were happening. The years fly ever faster as I get older. 

The cemetery is very dappled and green, and the lake was still with very few waterfowl about. They are still protesting the prospect of canoeing here, a campaign that in my view has nothing to do with wildlife, but is rather a NIMBY campaign that other elements have cottoned on to. 

The birds are at no risk whatsoever; they happily co-exist with boating activities elsewhere. 

Si

All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 12.09.22









Sunday, 11 September 2022

Traditional Village Green Cricket

 Today saw us go out to play Car Colston, a ground so pastoral it could bark and round up sheep, for our second last Sunday match of the year. 

I can't say I was feeling massively enthusastic this morning , but having succeeded in getting a lift at the last minute - thanks stepdad! - the really rather beautiful setting, complete with pub beyond the far boundary, lifted the spirits somewhat, as did the totally unexpected decently pleasant weather. 

No doubt fed up with losing the toss every match, the skipper sent his son out to toss with the strict instruction to bat first if he won on pain of eternal torment, and lo and behold it worked. 

It meant that us senior players - excluding myself we had probably our strongest side of the year - could get on with the serious task of sitting our arses on chairs and not having to get changed for hopefully another couple of hours, while our juniors got on with doing the batting. 

WE sent out our young opener alongside our youngest opener, and they made a fine start on a really testing wicket, with a hostile pace bowler making the ball spit nastily and jag around. Scoring runs was difficult, but of course, the young opener was able to, and he nearly made it to his 8th 50 before spooning a leading edge to slip. 

Nonetheless, an opening stand of over 50 represented a really good start. 

The problem was, we had slightly misjudged our batting order by backloading the big hitters, which meant we had too many of the young lads batting together to really hit the accelerator towards the end of the innings. It was still good for the young lads to get used to batting time and building an innings, we could have just done with an adult at the other end. We had the first team captain in the side, left unused in the hutch. 

Although to be fair, he wasn't exactly rocketing off his chair to put himself forward to bat, perhaps because his cricket trousers have two large holes in the knees. I didn't feel like batting either, knowing that the opening fast bowler still had two overs left and in no confidence in my ability having not played in a month.

I think we also thought the the young lads would get out, but they didn't. The skipper's son made an excellent 42, the keeper worked hard for 21. But we needed our power hitters to be out there for more than the two ball "cameo" we had at the end from one of them. 135 off 35 overs never relt like a good enough score. 

It was then tea time, and here my admin really failed badly. Or rather my phone did, setting my new phone up meant I missed the text message offering us tea.This really did not go down well with the senior pros in the team, and they kept reminding me of my ineptitude all afternoon. 

So as well as being a hopeless player, I'm now hopeless at everything else. 

So, tea time with nothing to eat, not that I eat at tea time anyway. It gae me a chance to have a walk out of earshot of my grumbling team-mates, and take in the highly picturesque setting. It is deep into September, but the open setting and large numbers of insects on the wing meant that at last I was able to watch swallows swoop low over the ground, while higher up flocks of house martins twittered while their white rumps glittered in the occasional sun showers. 

The chairman having been successfully annoyed by my nature digression no doubt, I can then move on to our bowling, which was opened by our first team captain, who hasn't bowled in Saturday cricket for years, steaming in like a rutting stag and trying to put the batters in fear of their lives with some classic tennis ball bouncers on the spongey wicket. It worked as well, as he had one of the openers caught just about two handed by the skipper's son. 

I did my best to field at sqaure leg, dreading a hard shot being blasted at me but fielding with good energy and enthusiasm - wearing a fitness band has helped greatly with this although not with anything that might be useful to the team like, I don't know, being any good at the game. 

The wicket never seemed to play up as much for our bowlers as it had Car Colston's, and we couldn't take wickets often enough to put any real pressure on the opposition. The chairman bowled well without luck, the skipper's son bowled well to take a wicket first ball but nothing else, and I came on to bowl an over of painful utter rubbish, my arm not coming over properly and my ankle swelling while I bowled. 

I haven't bowled for about 5 weeks to be fair, but it's just physically becoming impossible now, which is making me rather sad. I made the throat sltting sign after just that one over.

We did take a couple of late wickets through some deviously cunning off spin deployment, but all anyone was thinking about now was getting to the pub for roast potatoes. 

Which after we lost, we did and very nice they were too. Feel very fat tonight. 

Si

All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 11.09.22