Category Archives: Nature

Sunlight

This month’s monthly meetup from Wild Daffodil is Sunlight. We’ve had a lot (for the west of Ireland, at least) of sun over the last couple of weeks – with temperatures well above normal.

So on Monday, because it was a bank holiday here, we had the opportunity for our first summer day at the beach – one of our favourite summer-time activities. The sunlight shinning though the clear water and the shadows of the seaweed were very inviting, and I couldn’t resist having a quick refreshing dip!

Seaweeds, like terrestrial plants, will use sunlight to photosynthesis. So generally you will only find seaweeds in water of certain depth and clarity. And some seaweeds like the one below have air bladders to help keep them afloat, and so, close to the water surface.

 

Wren’s nest

Regular readers may have read my previous post about the wren fledgling. The photo below is a wren’s nest, and the very reason why you shouldn’t get rid of the moss on your lawn.

Wren nest

Wren nest

Male wrens build a couple of nest at the start of the breeding season and the female decides which one she wishes to lay her eggs in. This year, our resident female chose the one the male had built in the old swallow’s nest. It appears to have been a good choice, as we found this one in the middle of a comprey plant. Heavy rain had caused the tall comprey stems to fall over, exposing the nest.

 

 

Heath Bumblebee

We only occasionally get these little heath bumblebees in our garden. As the name suggests they are more common in upland areas, particularly bogs and heaths but they are recorded in gardens too.  I took these photos on the shores of Lough Cullin here in County Mayo, last weekend.

Bombus jonellus

Bombus jonellus Queen

There was a couple of queens and one very small worker, who practically dissappeared into the flowers as it searched for pollen and nectar.

Bombus jonellus

Bombus jonellus worker

Heath bumblebees are one of the smallest of Ireland’s white tailed bumbles and they have three yellow brands making them look quite yellow.

 

A bird in the hand

Yesterday, this little wren accidentally got into the house.

Wren fledgling

Wren fledgling

Most of the doors and windows are open as we experience exceptionally warm days, with yesterday temperatures reaching 25 degrees Celsius. Normal May temperatures in the west of Ireland tend to be in the mid-high teens.

The wrens had converted last year’s swallow’s nest into their own nest and have been busy feeding the chicks the last couple of weeks. The young appear to have just fledged. This little fellow proved hard enough to catch! But my husband, a trained bird ringer, got him eventually.

We didn’t think it would wait around to be photographed, but either because of the shock of being caught, or the near-by presence of one of it’s parents (with beak full of food), it stayed long enough for me to get a couple of shots, before making a short, yet confident¬† flight to the beech hedge.

During lunch we watched both parents come and go with more food to the hedge.  The fledglings remained concealed though so we are not sure how many there are.

Wren

Wren fledgling

Wrens are among Ireland’s smallest birds. The female lay clutches of 5-8 eggs, and she alone will incubate them. They feed on insects and spiders. Both parents will help feed the young. For more information can check out Birdwatch Ireland’s Wren page.