In birding circles, there is a grouping of birds called LBJ’s – small brown jobs, and it generally refers to small brown birds that fly way before you have time to identify them properly. Some butterflies could also be lumped into this category.
Gaiainaction has inspired me to write a post on spring and sense of place. All around spring is in full flow. Fruit blossom burst forth not just on the trees in the garden but also along the hedgerows that line our roads and divide the fields around us.
On the hedge banks primroses, my favourite spring flower, release their delicate scent.
In the trees, blackbirds and pigeons are building nests. Robins are finding the highest branches to sing and proclaim their territories. In the sunshine of the afternoon, sleepy butterflies, recently woken from their winter hibernation drink thirstily from the nectaries of flowers.
Red Admiral on plum blossom
As I walk up the road there is a spring in my step. The grey, dark days of winter are finally over us. Each walk brings new highlights. The first bumblebees, the first violets. Whatever it is. These little gems cannot be seen from the inside of a car, so it is important to get out and walk. Experience nature. Immerse yourself in the sounds, scents and joys of it all. Go outside. See if you can find something different, something you have never noticed before.
Well since then, the dandelions around us have really come into their own. They adorn my “lawn”, the road verges and many fields. They are like a milky way of yellow and green. Often seen only as a “weed”, the dandelion has so much to offer. You can make salad from the young leaves, wine from it flowers, and a coffee substitute from its roots.
As some of you will have heard me say before, dandelions are also great for bees, butterflies and hoverflies. These pollinators were all using the flowers when I completed my bee and butterfly transect last Saturday. Pollinators can collect both pollen and nectar from the flowers.
Hoverfly on dandelion
Green veined white butterfly and hoverfly on dandelion
If you let your dandelions go to seed, you will also provide a valued food source for birds such as chaffinches, bullfinches and goldfinch.
Bullfinch eating dandelion seeds (not best photo as taken from inside)
This week’s photo challenge is Favourite Place. There are too many of them. In County Mayo alone I could list half a dozen. So I decided to stay close to home – my own garden. I would happily spend all day pottering, planting, weeding. Here are some glimpses of the garden in it’s glory – summer time. A nice reminder of things to look forward to on a cold wet March day.
Today, our amble was at Tourmakeady Woods in County Mayo. It is a lovely woodland walk. We took the path along the River Glensaul, then followed the red walk loop that goes around the lake, past Tourmakeady Lodge.
The sun was shining and there were lots of butterflies about, but the stars were the Silver-washed fritillary, of which we saw seven. These large butterflies are often seen in deciduous woodland. The caterpillars feed on violets.
Silver-washed fritillary, hiding in the falling leaves
The woodland, was one of sixteen chosen to be part of the People’s Millennium Woods to commemorate the new century. The project involved the planting of 1.3 million native Irish trees.
Not having been there before, and only reading up on the site on our return, I see that we missed what is supposed to be a lovely waterfall which was on another path than the one we took!! Never mind, something to see the next time we visit.
Peacock, determined not to show it’s beautiful colours!