A mixed week but the last couple of days have been frosty and then bright. Feeling very like spring, and first pollinators are emerging so bit of a pollinator theme going on this week. Many thanks for our host “The Propagator” for hosting Six on Saturday. Check out the participation guide.
My first this week is a dandelion with the first of the pollinators, a hoverfly, which I think is Eristalis pertinax. It is really important that we leave dandelions to bloom as they are a very important food source for these early emerging pollinators.
Crocuses are another great food source for queen bumblebees that are emerging from hibernation at this time of year.
Willow catkins, again here being used by hoverflies, and they will also be used by bumblebees.
As will Hellebores.
I love daffodils – and the larger ones are also flowering now – bees will use them but only if they are really hungry and can’t find anything more appealing.
And finally this week the frogs have pretty much finished spawning in the garden pond (this photo is from earlier in the week). I hope the spawn won’t get too frosted.
Winter in Ireland can bring low light challenges and even though there is what we Irish like to call “a stretch in the evenings”, the grey, windy weather this week has given me plenty low light opportunities.
The first image is from near Doohooma on the west coast of Ireland, as hail showers made their way rapidly from the Atlantic.
Back at home the frogs have returned to the garden pond and as Storm Dudley calmed for a couple of hours this afternoon it was dry enough to get out and get some photos.
And then this evening a beautiful moon. Thankfully my camera has a good IAuto function which sometimes works for me in these very low light conditions – needless to say there were some blurred images as well.
Frog spawn – there is a lot of it in the garden pond.
They are over hundred frogs in the pond at the moment and they will start dispersing again soon. During the year, we come across them regularly in the vegetable garden, and in the long grass of the meadows.
It is wonderful to see them all together in the pond though, and they do make a lovely gentle croaking noise. The spawn will take anything from 10-21 days to hatch into tadpoles (it depends on the temperature). The tadpoles will take a further 14 weeks to grow into mini frogs. Of course many of them will become food for newts, dragonfly larva and other predators including themselves.
Well it has been one stormy week. It hardly seems that storm Ciara finishes and we are now getting Storm Denis. I don’t think I have ever seen the place so wet.
These tete-a-tete daffodils are standing in water. I have never had water standing in this bed before and this is the second time in a week.
tete a tete daffodils
2. Earlier in the week between the two storm it got very cold and we woke to semi white – not snow but frozen hailstones. The garlic is just showing through.
3. Despite the cold weather the frogs have decided to spawn anyway – first spawn appeared today. We have not as many frogs as other years (about 50), but it may be due to the fact that there is water everywhere and they are spoilt for choice as to where to spawn!
4. I disturbed a pair of bullfinches feasting on the buds of one of the apple trees so they moved to the blackthorn in the hedge instead.
5. In other years this willow would be buzzing with earlier pollinators. But this year and last year’s early spring means it is coming out before the pollinators emerge. This is one of the problems with climate change – when nature gets out of sync with itself.
6. Winter Purslane – self seeds itself in the greenhouse and polytunnel and is a great addition to winter salads.