It is warm today. Close to 20 degrees Celsius. Tomorrow temperatures are going to drop again, to about 11, so it is from one extreme to another. We got a small amount of rain last week but it is still exceptionally dry for the west of Ireland.
I am not sure if it is the hot temperatures or the dry weather that has driven some of the frogs back to the pond. We saw four today – just chilling in the water.
2. Also in the pond, one large great diving beetle.
3. By the pond is also one of my favourite damp habitat flower – Ragged robin. There does not seem to be as much as last year, but it is just coming out.
4. Lavender is in flower – the bees don’t seem to have found it yet.
5. The bees are preferring the sage flowers in the greenhouse.
6. And finally for this weeks six, some Aquilegia flowers.
After an exceptionally wet winter here in Ireland, we have had a really dry spring. But we did have some rain overnight and this morning. This allowed me to take some photographs of some wet plants for the lens-artist challenge this week – all wet. In order to increase the impact of the raindrops, I did a bit of adjusting of the shadows afterwards.
If you read this blog regularly you may remember a couple of weeks ago I was talking about oil beetles. Will today, we discovered some carrion or sexton beetles. Now if you are in any way squeamish you may not want to read the rest of this post. The name sexton beetle comes from the British words sexton of a church – some one who would look after a graveyard. It turns out that sexton beetles are natures undertakers.
Sexton beetles will use dead mice, shrews or birds to lay their eggs in. If you look in the photo above you can see two or three beetles under the shrew.
Here the shrew had the misfortune to meet it’s death on a gravel track (probably by a feral cat that we saw hanging about today). If the body was on soil the beetles would bury their find after laying their eggs in it. Also usual among beetles is that both parents will mind the young. We are pretty sure that this one is the Nicrophorus vespilloides. I have read that the clubs on the bottom of their antennae are black while other similar species are orange.
How did we get to May so quickly? It is a busy time in the garden, there is lots to plant but also lots to enjoy. So here are this week’s six on Saturday.
Chaffinches, along with goldfinches and bullfinches are enjoying the dandelion seeds on the lawn.
2. You may remember I posted the autumn olive last week. It has been buzzing with bees, but today we also had a couple of butterflies feeding on it, including this little bit worse-for-wear red admiral.
3. I am struggling this year with getting vegetable seeds to germinate successfully, particularly lettuce and brassicas. I managed to get my hands on some new seed on Friday, so I am hoping for better results.
4. One thing that has germinate well is the runner beans. They are ready to go out but I am little worried that it is too early. Last year we had a frost in early May. Will hold off for a few more days.
5. Herbs in the greenhouse and poly are doing well and I just enjoyed my first cup of fresh chamomile tea. Also in the photo is chevil, now with it’s pretty delicate white flower.
6. And finally bog bean. Another one of our native pond plants. I had to take quite a bit out last winter because it was taking over a bit but it has such a petty flower.