Beauty and The Beast

Last Thursday was a great day for wildlife spotting. First we headed for a day out at Moorehall. Around the ruins of the hall we spotted a bat flying about in the middle of the day! Not a usual occurrence. The area is well known for it’s bats and includes a population of Lesser Horseshoe Bats, Ireland’s only horseshoe bat. Unfortunately, no photograph of that but we did see this beautiful Silver-washed fritillary (Argynnis paphia) not long after. This large butterfly likes deciduous woodlands so the woods around Moorehall are prefect habitat.

Silver washed Fritillary

Silver washed Fritillary

When we got home from our walk there was a female sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) sitting on the roof of the greenhouse. They nest in the conifier plantation just below the house and we have been treated to views during this last few weeks of the young and adults particularly during feeding time when the adults come home with some tasty morsel between their talons. Again I wasn’t fast enough with the camera. However, more was in store!

And our final wildlife highlight of the day was rescuing this strange creature from the water-butt by the greenhouse! It took a bit of time for it to dry off and probably also warm-up so plenty opportunity for some shots. It’s has two common names including giant horntail and great wood wasp (Urocerus gigas). The long rear appendage, which we originally thought may be a sting, is in fact a harmless oivposter. The females drills homes in wood and uses it to lay her eggs. It is perhaps somewhat unfair to refer to it as a ‘beast’ as suggested by my title, as really it looks pretty amazing. The near furry texture of it’s thorax reminds me of bumblebees. Still it’s probably not something you want to find flying around your bedroom!

Horntail or Wood wasp

Horntail or Wood wasp

Horntail or Wood wasp

Horntail or Wood wasp

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16 thoughts on “Beauty and The Beast

  1. aranislandgirl

    I almost missed the bee in the butterfly shot, glad I looked twice. It really helps with scaling the size of the butterfly.
    On the way up to the bus stop yesterday the children and I observed a moth emerging from it’s cocoon (at least that is what we guessed was happening). It was so interesting, such effort!! No camera with me, but that’s okay. It was a lovely moment in nature we were happy to observe.
    Thanks for sharing such lovely pictures and information. Always a nice reminder to pay attention to the little things going on around us.
    Also so nice that you saved the wasp. 🙂 Happy Day to you Xx

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      The ‘bee’ is a hoverfly – I call them drone flies but not sure that is right name. How cool to see moth emerging from it’s cocoon!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  2. Jane

    Well, I’d certainly missed the hoverfly; what a huge and beautiful butterfly. We had an enormous moth in the hall the other night and my granddaughters were fascinated. The sparrowhawk sightings must be wonderful and the Horntail rescue was a delight.

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. Pingback: Tourmakeady woods | Murtagh's Meadow

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