New arrivals

I haven’t shown you our new arrivals – only two, but very cute! They will be a week old tomorrow – but the photo was taken when they were just a couple of days old.

chick

chick

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Structure of flowers and bees

For bees the structure of flowers is important. The reason being (no pun intended) that different bee species have different tongue lengths.

So for short tongued bees like White tailed bumblebees, simple flowers are often best. In my garden these bees feed on the small oregano flowers, and bramble and I have even seen them feeding on buttercups.

In contrast, Garden Bumblebees have the longest tongues. So they visit plants like runner beans and foxgloves.

Common carder bees lie somewhere between the two and so you will see them feeding on many different flowers – today I even saw one trying to get at a runner bean flower.

Of course bees are clever and some will “rob” nectar. They do this by drilling little holes in the side of the flowers, to get at the nectar (without pollinating the plant!).  I have seen them do this with comfrey flowers. Other bees (and different species too) will come along and use the holes too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thistles

A gallery of sharp thistles for this week’s – one a week photo challenge. While thistles can be invasive and are seen very much as “weeds”, they are a great source of pollen and nectar for late summer pollinators.

 

 

 

 

Homage to Heritage Week

Today, Sunday, 27th August makes the end of Ireland’s 2017 Heritage Week. Thank you to all those that attended the three events I was involved in over the last nine days. Yesterday, we enjoyed our pollinator walk along the River Glore. While Carder bees were plentiful other bees were very scare. But we did see lots of peacock butterflies, one speckled wood and one red admiral.

Lots of us got up close and personal with some great minibeast at the Country Life Museum, at our biodiversity event and the children all went home with some flower seeds potted up to help our pollinators next year.

Last weekend we saw plenty of wild flowers along the banks of the River Moy at the Riverfest.

This post was my own little homage to the Heritage week.  It is a great way to get people out and about exploring their own local heritage, be it nature, built heritage, geology, what ever it is. While I look forward to doing it again in 2018, it is important that we all continue to get out and explore the wonderful heritage Ireland has to offer. One thing you can do is Make a Pledge for Nature. The Heritage Council is asking each of us to make a small pledge to help nature in our gardens, or communities.

Street art with a difference

Last weekend, we attend the Foxford Riverfest, a celebration of fishing and nature based around the River Moy, in Foxford, Co Mayo. There were lots of fishing competitions, wildlife walks, crafts, civil defense rescue boat, and lots of fun activities for the children.

But the things which seem to have caught everyone’s attention were these knitted and crochet items on the street corners.

The aptly named “Yarn Bombing” was a street art initiative organised by the men and women of Foxford as a means of brightening up their town for the Riverfest. More of the wonderful creations can be seen on the Riverfest facebook page.

Little visitor

This week’s Photo Challenge was all about things that distract us, or make us stop what we are doing.  Seeing any kind of wildlife is going to distract me. It could be a bumblebee buzzing around a flower, a beetle scuttling into a hiding place, a bird flying overhead. But this little fellow, who popped into our garden yesterday evening, holds a particular place in my heart.

Irish hare leveret

Irish hare leveret

This is an Irish hare leveret,  a young hare maybe 4-5 months old.  I spent a number of years studying these amazing animals.  Irish hares (Lepus timidus hibernicus) are a unique sub species of hare found only in Ireland. For hares, their ears are quite short. They have a white tail and their fur colour can vary from dark to reddish brown and even sometimes light brown.  Because we have very little snow in Ireland they don’t go white in the winter. But sometimes piebald ones are seen, with splashes of white fur.

Leveret

Irish hare leveret

They are shy, secretive animals, so having one come into the garden was a real treat. The photos were taken through the window so not great quality, but great to get a photo at all.

Irish hare leveret

Hare, unlike rabbits, do not use burrows. During the day the will find areas with good cover, where they will make a nest like form in long vegetation (grass, rushes).

Modern intensive farming methods are probably one of the main reasons for the decline in numbers. However, they are still a widespread species and occur in many habitats from uplands to coastal dunes.

You can find out more at the Vincent Wildlife Trust – mammals in Ireland section.