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.
Moth on dandelion (sorry haven’t been able to ID yet – possible dart or clay)
Common carder bee
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.
Wildfowers along the Moy
Ragworth along river Moy
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.
Tomás Murray from the National Biodiversity Data Centre will be teaching two bumblebee identification workshops here in County Mayo this coming weekend, 6th and 7th May 2017. I can highly recommend Tomás’s workshops, as it was where I first started to really learn about bumbles.
In addition, participants will learn how to monitor bees in their own areas and feed results back to the National Biodiversity Data Centre.
I would encourage anyone, who is in anyway interested in bees, to come along. The workshops are free and I can guarantee you will learn lots. See details below.
This morning on the radio they were talking about bumblebees seen on Christmas day around Dublin (Ireland). Female bumblebees should be hibernating during the winter! So what is happening? Has it got anything to do with climate change?
Here in Ireland, we certainly seem to be having milder winters. This year we are fluctuating between cold days and exceptionally mild days (sometimes up to 12 degrees). Bumblebees wake up if it is warm. The problem for a bumblebee waking at this time of year is that it may find it hard to find food. Not many plants flower during the winter and those that do may not have a nectar source. There are some exceptions of course (e.g. Mahonia, winter flowering heather) but often these are not native plants and are only found in gardens. In the UK, there is some evidence that suggests Buff tailed bumblebees are managing to feed winter colonies. However, this is only in areas where there are plenty gardens with winter flowering plants. If you are a bumble that wakes up in the countryside where are you going to find food?
When we have a winter like this one, with fluctuating temperatures, a bee may wake up a number of times. Each time it wakes it uses up vital energy resources. By the time spring really comes the poor bee may be too weak to build a nest, and start a new colony.
Fewer bees means less pollination. Less pollination means less fruit and vegetables and poor quality produce.
Climate change was in the news too this morning, with scientists saying that things may be worse than we thought. The question is where are we heading? And it’s not just bees I am worried about. It’s all of us!
Another frosty Friday though they tell us things may get milder next week. The blackbirds have been enjoying the windfalls and some of the apples that remained on the tree (I picked the rest yesterday). I think the frost has softened the skin making it easier for them to get at the juicy insides and of course the frost is preventing them finding worms and other things so the apples are proving very popular. Yesterday there were ten blackbirds and today I counted twelve along with two lovely fieldfares. A robin and chaffinch are occasionally dropping by to see what they may find too. Unfortunately, the zoom of my lens doesn’t work so this is the best I can do in terms of photos!
Yesterday they were all eating happily but today some arguments are breaking out – probably because supply is dwindling. Thankfully with a good apple harvest this year it is nice to share them.