It is unnaturally warm. Some parts of Ireland it was 17 degrees Celsius today, here in the west only 15, a temperature we would be happy with in May.
The mild weather has brought out the bumblebees. Queen bumblebees hibernate over the winter. In usual years we would see the first queens emerge in mid-March.
The first bees were spotted by my children on Sunday, and over the last couple of days we have seen some more. This was the first one I managed to get close up to photograph.
The spring flowering heather is a new addition to the garden planted to provide early food for the queens. They need both nectar and pollen after there long winter sleep. Heather, crocus , hellebore, dandelion and willow are all good early food sources.
With Climate Change resulting in much less predictable weather patterns, bumblebees are vulnerable. If the weather turns cold again the queens can only survive a couple of days without food.
We know when spring is coming when the frogs arrive back in the garden pond. Last year they were late (early March), but this year they are already back in force – first ones arrive earlier in the week.
There appears to be a little fewer than last year – about 100, compared to around 120 last year. They are not easy to count though so it is just an estimate!
From early childhood I have felt a connection with Nature. I am in my comfort zone when I am surrounded by Nature’s amazing greenery…..
Or the blue / greens of the ocean.
In my garden, I get a deep sense of pride and joy when the things I grow can, in turn, provide food for our beautiful bumblebees (and hoverflies)…
Bumblebee drone sharing Allium
.. Or butterflies.
And when our unique Irish hares visit, it is an extra special day.
My wish is to stay always like this, living quietly in a corner of nature. Claude Monet
Inspired by this week’s Lens-Artist Photo Challenge – Nature
Landscapes here in the west of Ireland can be dominated by grey, particularly in the winter months.
But the clouds can break to reveal those extra browns and greens.
And if you are lucky the sun will break through, and the clouds will play shadows with the ground.
And if you are near water you will get those amazing cloud reflections, as lake water doubles up as sky.
Water lilies on lake
Here in Ireland, the 1st of February is celebrated as Saint Brigid’s Day and is seen by many, perhaps optimistically, as the first day of spring!
It was great to see the children leave school today clutching their Saint Brigid’s Crosses. We made some more at home.
Rushes are weaved together to form a simple cross. There are a number of different designs. This is the one I have known since I was a school girl.
You can learn more about St Brigid traditions here.