This week’s lens artist photo challenge is –
Today we were introduced to some beautiful and very old elm trees. Many elms in Ireland were lost to Dutch elm disease but this is one of a few magnificent specimens that survived.
I haven’t yet introduced you to our new arrivals – they are just over a week old now, seven little chicks!
We have borrowed some much from nature including honey bees. All bees were originally wild bees, Apis melifera, but thousands of years ago humans thought it would be a good idea to provide bees with hives so we could steal their honey! This is an interesting article about the history of honey bees.
And finally something blue. Regular readers may remember a few weeks I showed you the Common blue butterfly – I managed to get a photo today of it’s wings open. This is a female not quite as blue as the male, but still very pretty, even if a little weather-worn.
Mother name it seems is partial to details. It seems a little unfair that this beautiful butterfly would be called the “common blue”. In flight it appears to be a bit of summer blue sky (particularly the males which are bluer than the females photographed below).
But at rest you see these stunning patterns of the under wing.
Today we went for a lovely walk up Croaghmoyle. In Irish it is called An Chruach Mhaol which means the bare-topped stack. Truth be told we did not actually get to the top as it started to rain quite heavily and we had to turn back, but we still got great views. The area is a Natural Heritage Area.
The track is good so it made for easy walking despite the rain. The start wanders through conifer plantations but the edges are packed with flowers, tormentil, heather, heath bedstraw and birdsfoot trefoil. I was amazed by how many ringlet butterflies were about despite the rain. Some seemed to be laying eggs on grasses which is what the caterpillar feeds on.
We also spotted a lovely common blue. The first I have seen this summer. It was trying to shelter from the rain too (so not the best photo). The forewing is an amazing blue in the males, though the females are less showy and more blue/brown.
Some of the sheep (recently sheared) had found some shelter for themselves, from the heavy rain. They are grazing what is known as commonage land – shared by a number of farmers. The farmers colour-code their sheep so they know who they belong to. In the distance of the second photograph you may be able to make out some wind turbines.
In the past, there had been a couple of farm homesteads here. They are long gone and all that remains are the outlines of some fields and the odd building, becoming surrounded by trees.
Back down at the bottom there is a little lake hidden among some of the trees, called Lough Ben. White water-lilies were just coming into flower.