Red isn’t the commonest colour in nature – but here are just a few examples. Firstly the Red Admiral butterfly – more brown and black than red, but still a striking beauty.
Secondly, a goldfinch. Not exactly gold – why it wasn’t called a red faced finch I do not know as that is one of it’s most striking characteristics. These finches come to the bird feeders only a couple of times a day. Which is probably just as well as they are feisty little fellows, and they try and keep the other birds away while they are there.
Next our cheeky robin friend. Here in Ireland robin’s are sometimes called Robin Red Breasts.
This is a sundew. A tiny, but extraordinary plant that grows in our bogs. Those sticky leaves, traps insects and then digest them!
And finally Robin’s pincushion. Nothing to do with robins, it is in fact a rose bedeguar gall, formed when a gall wasp lays her eggs, usually on a wild rose stem. When the grubs hatch they produce a chemical which produces this abnormal growth.
After storms and very wet weather the garden is pretty much sodden. Then last night a sharp frost has left everything frozen solid. It was minus 4.5 degrees Celsius this morning – not often we get it that cold here in the west of Ireland.
Poor robin was feeling the cold – all fluffed out trying to keep warm. We put extra food out this morning for all the birds.
2. The pond is frozen too. We did a bit of pond maintenance last week – taking out quite a lot of sedges that had spread through the shallower end and bog bean which had taken over half the deep end. It looks quite a bit better.
Pond – frozen
3. I wonder if the honeysuckle is now regretting send out leaves?
4. The creeping raspberry looks very pretty with its frosted fringe. This is a good ground cover plant but we have never got any fruit from it. The bees do like the flowers though.
Creeping Raspberry, Rubus nepalensis (I think)
5. The poultry were finding it cold this morning too. Nelson (our drake) kept walking a few steps and then sitting down as if he was trying to warm his feet. Junior, the cockerel was crowing standing on one foot.
6. And finally our roof is looking a bit like a green roof at the moment. Possibly because of the really wet winter it seems to have become populated with lots of moss. I don’t really mind – it looks pretty.
This is the view from the summer house at Laugharne Castle in south Wales which we visited last year. The window overlooks the Taf Estuary. Dylan Thomas, the famous welsh author is supposed to have used the summer house to write. And the view is certainly inspiring.
The Mayo coast is one of those places special spots. The north and far north western corners of the coast are a bit off the beaten track. Back in November we had the opportunity to do part of the Carrowtige Loop walk. The full walk is over 10km long but it is possible to do shorter loops (of about 3km), which we did. The walk offers spectacular views of Broadhaven bay, the Atlantic ocean and majestic sea cliffs.
Atlantic ocean with Kid island in the background
We were lucky to have got one of those bright winter days but the wind coming from the ocean was bracing to say the least. In the distance of the photo below you can see the Stags of Broadhaven, some rocky outcrops that jut into the Atlantic.
Coastal cliffs and sea stacks
The surrounding landscape is bogland, a rare and important habitat and an important carbon sink in a time of climate change.
Carrowtige is Ceathrú Thaidhg in Irish. Ceathrú means quarter or quarterland and Thadhg is the name of a person.
Kid island is grazed by sheep – how the farmers get them onto this rocky island is a bit of a mystery to me!