Monday, 24 April 2017

Flies, Flowers, and a Shift into Cold

The temperature noticeably dropped sharply today, as forecast, and the odd splash of rain fell.

The skies have no cleared, and the gritters are out on the roads. In late April. I am still on holiday, and the cold weather will not keep me indoors. Although having to wait for a new bike wheel and trainers from Decathlon may do that tomorrow.

I had a 10km run today on my new usual route across the fields to Hawton village, on the way flushing up a very large and very pale looking buzzard. This one had a lot of pale markings on the upper wing, which I got a good view of as it struggled to gain height from the hedge in which it was sitting before I crashed by with my characteristic lack of subtlety.

Elsewhere there seems to be what I think is herb robert starting to emerge in damp areas, the cemetery is just full of flowers, and although there weren't many insects about in the cold a big drone fly gave me a good little photo opp as it sat on a leaf.

I still haven't done a big expedition this time off. The temperature and the state of my bike doesn't really allow this.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 24.04.17

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Back on the Cricket Field!

So today was my first match of the 2017 season, an intra club practice match which despite the designation of our team as "The Warriors" as if we were a bunch of IPL guys being paid 100 grand a match - IF ONLY - was actually taken very seriously with everyone endeavouring to play their best.

I ended up opening the bowling for these "Warriors" as we fielded first, and despite having bowled really well in recent nets, struggled initially. The first ball of every over was down the leg side, and slow wicket or not, I was really down on pace and not finishing my action properly. So it felt anyway.

Still, I was mainly accurate and I never got hit for 4 once, which is a miracle as far as I'm concerned.

But hey, you are nature lovers, you are more interested in what there was to see around the ground. Well, we had various buzzards flying over, lots of orange tips flitting about, as well as a few small or green veined whites. When we came in from our 40 overs in the field, I headed out for a walk round the ground, seeing what I could find, among the beds of flowering nettle, red dead nettle and ground ivy.

There was plenty, only none of it wanted to be photographed. There were tree bumblebees, various hoverflies and other small buzzing insects, and a few small tortoiseshells that would only be seen by me when they rose up from the patches of dark earth where they were trying to absorb a little heat on a chill day.

I even had time to do some sketching while waiting to bat, this is an ambition of mine this year, to sketch every ground I play on. Which will probably baffle a fair few cricketers, but I try to be a renaissance man ha ha.

So, finished my sketch, and just had to time to get my pads on to go out and score 17 not out, nerves jangling as they always do when I bat!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 22.04.17

Friday, 21 April 2017

Once again, Valerian Corner

It erupts from the ground as if raised by magic. One day it isn't there, and the next day it's erupted.

It first appeared on its corner in Farndon, the red valerian beloeved of bees and hummingbird hawk moths, three days ago. A few plants, red flowers not properly emerged.

Today when I ran past, the amount of it had tripled, and more and more colour had appeared.

The lungwort maintains its solitary vigil.

The cat in the sky looks down on it all.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 21.04.17

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Long Long Long Long Runs and Farndon Church

I've been really good this week! 6 days running out of 7, and the 7th of those was cricket nets.

Two of those runs were 13km, and I managed to keep going although very slow towards the end. I'm not on my best running form thanks to the leg injuries I've had.

But enough of the boring stuff! Who cares about my rancid old leg, and the endless bruises caused by my being a rubbish cricketer as well. The main purpose of today's mission was to head out to Farndon church and try and catch it with its full complement of wildflowers.

I so wanted to show this to my colleagues on my Works walk, and we went too early!

No such misfortune today. It was absolutely beautiful, full of forget me not, dandelion, bluebell, lady's smock and cow parsley. In turn it was full of insect life, with lots of honey bees absolutely orange with pollen from the dandelions, bumblebees and all over a patch of nettles a large number of instar shield bugs of some species or other.

The instars are far faster moving the adults, as it turns out. I was quite surprised by this.

I've just biked back from watching a club evening league game, which we won. In the dark. And I have a very red face from all that running and cycling on a chilly day!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 19.04.17

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Do you want more pretties? Do you? DO YOU?

So cold today my hands went purple when I cycled gloveless, but though my hands were bloodless the world was not lifeless.

I went out running, third day on the bounce, 8.5km, hoping to end up at a garden centre to check up on the price of bee friendly plants for my work project but, hey, it's Easter Sunday, not open.

I rather thought it would be, so never mind.

There was a gentle rain falling, but it didn't bother me, it in fact made my day rather refreshing. It put a bit of colour on all the flowers as well, with many different species now on view in the cemetery, especially around the ditch where the wild garlic grows. Buttercups have now emerged.

I just kept going and enjoyed it all.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 16.04.17

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Lots to See Today!

Sore leg or not, managed to do a gentle 9km today, on a day that started out freezing as I went on a walk this morning, but did improve in the afternoon when the sun came out and I bimbled around on my walk.

Lots of little and large insects about - green bottle fly on star of bethlehem, various andrena type mining bees, a lovely common carder bee and lots of coliurful flowers.

Even the dandelions look gorgeous, and the pollinators love them.

Also about, although I didn't get a shot of it, was the first swallow of the year over town, flying over the marina!

Enjoy my shots!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature