Category Archives: Nature

Lens-Artists Challenge #181 – Double Dipping

This week the Lens-Artist challenge suggests that in addition to their challenge, we link to some of the other creative opportunities our fellow bloggers make available. Cee does a wonderful job keeping us all up-to-date with the current challenges. So I have chosen two of her challenges to link to this week. First her CBWC challenge and this week’s topic is “birds”.

Blue tit on branch

While birds can bring lots of colour into our gardens we can also appreciate their beauty in black and white.

Blue tit from beneath

The second of Cee challenges is her flower of the day (FOTD) challenge. In Ireland, it is mid-winter and really we shouldn’t be finding any flowers around. But I photographed this meadow buttercup, the essence of a summer meadow flower, on the 1st January.

meadow buttercup

FOTD

Wild New Year 5th January

So the final of my 12 days of Christmas wild things I thought I would also choose some of my favourite nature images of 2021, as it also links nicely with this week’s lens-artist challenge.

I took lots of frog photographs when the frogs were mating in the garden pond, and to find a favourite is really hard. But I decided on this monochrome image.

Common frog

Garden robins bring our family so much joy. “Robin friend” was so tame he was happy to preen and sing right in front of us, so I have to include more than one photograph.

I just love ladybirds and getting a good ladybird photograph is hard, but I really like this one.

Ladybird

Once spring comes flowers and bees become my main focus. So I had quite a lot of images to choose from.

White tailed bumblebee checking out wild cherry blossom
Garden bumblebee on knapweed

Seeing a large pod of dolphins from the coast during the summer was a real privilege, so while not the best of photographs this is a special memory for me from 2021.

Dolphins

And below just a few other favourites.

There were quite a few rainbows in 2021 too, so it seems a fitting place to end. And also to thank all those who followed me in 2021, thank you for your support and encouragement.

Rainbow on Lough Carra

Wild New Year 4th January

So I am almost at the end of my 12 days of Christmas wild things, and I am cheating slightly as I am going to show some images from a wildlife camera that is set up in the wood just below the house. It’s taken me a bit of time to get a good location, as I had a lot of half animal and blurry images where the animals have come too close. But here are a couple of the better ones.

Firstly a pine marten. We have seen them in the past and know that they are around, though more by the signs they leave behind (mainly scats, i.e. their faeces). It is great to get an image to be sure.

Pine marten

And a much less illusive mammal, the fox, which we see a lot more regularly.

Fox

And finally for those of you with good eyesight – a little mouse, probably a wood mouse going by it’s shape.

Wild New Year 3rd January

Every new year we have a sort of family tradition to go to the beach. Ross Beach on the north-west coast of County Mayo is one of our favourites. It was a bit dull and damp. Wind and rain were forecast for later in the day and as you can see from the photograph below, the sea was already displaying some impressive waves.

Waves

I took some photographs of some of the sea birdlife as I continue with my 12 days of Christmas wild things. The oystercatchers seemed undisturbed by the wave crashing behind them.

Oystercatchers

There were also some delicate sanderling. You wonder how such small, beautiful birds can withstand the Atlantic storms, but these are obviously tough little things. They are winter visitors to Ireland and most are of Siberian origin.

Sanderling

And finally some Brent geese (light or pale-bellied). I love seeing these winter visitors from high-Arctic Canada. They were drinking some fresh water that was coming over the sand from a small stream.

Brent geese, Brent geese
Branta bernicla hrota

A lovely, exhilarating day.

Wild Christmas 31st December

Firstly, I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year. I hope 2022 lets you find kindness at every turn.

Continuing with my 12 days of Christmas wild things, today we went on a community sponsored 8 km walk to raise funds for a new community park in our small village. Despite being a grey day it brought lots of laughter and joy.

The view, better on a bright day

You may notice in the photograph above that the gorse (bush with yellow flowers) is already blooming. This plant does flower early, but 31 December seems particularly early. We also saw quite a few dandelions in bloom, Herb-Robert and the hogweed shown in the photograph below (with accompanying mating flies).

Hogweed in bloom, 31st December

At least the trees look like they should in winter.

Trees

A big thank you to all the blogging community out there for your continued support and comments. I look forward to reading your blogs in 2022.

Happy New Year

Wild Christmas 28th December

December 28th

So continuing with my 12 days of Christmas wild things, we had a lovely walk at Union Wood in Co Sligo today. Lots of nice things seen but I thought I would just share my favourite shot of the day – taken within Union Wood Nature Reserve, with the lensglobe nestled in a beautiful bed of moss and the majestic oaks reflected in the glass.

Union Wood

Wild Christmas 24th-27th December

Cathy alerted me to the fact that in the UK, the Wildlife Trust challenge people to the 12 Days Wild at Christmas, running from the 25th December to the 5th January. The idea is to do something to help nature but I was thinking it may be nice opportunity to just observe and record nature too. I am going to try and share with you what I see each day. I am starting on the 24th though as this may well be one of my wildlife highlights of the year.

December 24th

We went for a local walk and spotted these two Irish hare in our neighbours field. I think they thought it was spring as they were chasing each other around.

Hares, and particularly Irish hares, are among my favourite animals.

Giving chase

They ran though the whole field, coming quite close at times.

December 25th

All I have to show for this day is our Christmas tree. This year it is a birch tree.

Lensglobe

December 26th

We enjoyed a lovely walk with my sister and spotted this raven who appeared to be cleaning his beak on this old fence post.

Raven

December 27th

A finally a cute little mushroom from our walk today, not sure if it is going to grow to a shaggy ink cap or if it is something totally different.

Fungus

More to follow during the week.