So here in Ireland we should be celebrating Biodiversity week. Usually there would be lots of events on, but of course with lockdown things are postponed or cancelled. But we can still celebrated online. For me it is a week to celebrate our wonderful biodiversity. So I want to start with a celebration of garden biodiversity as it is right outside our door. Just by providing a little bit of wildness in our gardens we can provide homes for some wonderful creatures. (All the photographs below have been taken in my garden).
Our wildlife pond supports frogs, newts and damselflies to name just a few.
We have four nest just on our house alone – two starling nests, a swallow’s nest and one wren’s nest. The young starlings from one of the nests fledged over the weekend. Below are photos of the adults who have been very busy finding food.
Flowers – native and cultivated provide food for pollinators. More on bees on Wednesday world bee day.
Wildflower meadows and wilder areas provide homes for a myriad of insects, and the insects and the seeds of the flowers in turn, feed the birds and small mammals.
A little bit of wildness may also attract some mammals to the garden. We had a hare visit this weekend (photo on left taken by my son).
If you live in Ireland look out for online activities this week.
There is a Backyard Bioblitz from May 22nd – 24th
There is a #LoveNature campaign to share all the things you love about nature.
If you are outside Ireland check out the UN page on biodiversity day.
Yesterday, this little wren accidentally got into the house.
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.
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.
Captivating may not be a word you’d immediately associate with frogs. However, we are spending a large amount of our meal times watching the frogs in the garden pond and my youngest is particularly captivated by their antics. Our kitchen window overlooks the pond and is a perfect place for observing them.
Yesterday’s count was an estimated 150! Last year there was 63, so it is a big jump in numbers. Today is damp and it looks like they are beginning to disperse, as there are a lot more sitting around the top of the pond, and moving away under the beech hedge and through the garden.
I love to see frogs in the garden as I know they will do their bit in keeping the slug population down.
Heritage in Schools is a scheme run by the Heritage Council, here in Ireland. I have recently become a member of the Heritage in Schools panel. This panel is made up of individuals with expertise in various heritage subjects including science, geography, history and culture. Primary schools are encouraged to invite members of the panel to visit their school so that the children may develop a greater awareness of Ireland’s natural and cultural heritage. The children have fun learning outdoors and get to enjoy many different aspects of heritage and the environment. The cost of the visits are subsidised by the Heritage Council.
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.