I have always liked shieldbugs. We don’t see them that often despite their colourful appearance, because they are also good at hiding. I am using my camera phone as my own camera is out of action, so not the best image!
They belong to the order Hemiptera, which is the same order as aphids, pond skaters and frog hoppers. They have a sucking mouthpath which they use to extract fluids from plants.
How did we get here so quickly ? It seems like only a short time ago we were shivering in January and suddenly it is the longest day of the year.
In the garden, the early summer lupins and irises are going over. The day lilies and tall campanulas are close to opening. Most of the queen bumblebees are now nest bound, while their workers do all the foraging for nectar and pollen.
Common carder bee on comfrey
Also joining in with Cee’s black and while photo challenge – any animal.
A photo from my archives. Hoverflies are important pollinators in Ireland and elsewhere.
Regular readers will remember we had plenty of frogs in the pond earlier in the year and lots of spawn. The tadpoles are now developing into little frogs. My youngest spotted a couple moving from the pond to the hedgerow.
A frog in the hand
They are so tiny. The fact that any of these creatures can make it to a full -sized adult frog is truly amazing. How big the world must seem to them!
Red-tailed bumblebees are lovely looking bees. The workers and queens as below, are jet black with a red tail. The males are similar but have a yellow band on it’s head and yellow face hairs. They are only occasional visitors to my garden but they are around at the moment, though this one was photographed on the West coast of Ireland. They have a “near-threatened” status in Ireland.
We are already half way through Ireland’s biodiversity week, and computer issues and work have meant that I am only now getting around post about it. Biodiversity Week, which runs from 17th to the 27th May 2018, aims to celebrate all of Ireland’s wonderful biodiversity and looks at connecting people with nature. There are lots of events, walls, talks and workshops.
There are many simple things you can do to connect with nature in your own garden. Since starting my garden here 13 years ago, one of my main aims has been to increase biodiversity.
Here are some of my tips.
- Plant trees. Fruit trees are a great option as they provide spring blossom for many pollinators and of course fruit later in the season.
Green veined white on apple blossom
- Plant flowers. I love native wildflowers and have flowers meadows as well as including wild flowers in my flowers beds and vegetable patch.
- Plant a hedge. We have blackbirds, and dunnocks nesting in our hedge this year.
hedge with climbing rose
- Dig a pond. Ponds attract frogs, newts and many aquatic insects including amazing dragonflies.
Frogs in pond
- Put up some bird, bat and solitary bee boxes.
- Get involved in some citizen science Programmes. This week the National Biodiversity Data Centre are encouraging everyone to send in their butterfly records.
The photograph below shows hawthorn branches encrusted in various different lichens. Trees are not just trees, but living ecosystems in their own right.
There are at least eight different lichens here, and these are all on the same tree! It is estimated that there are 1,165 species lichens growing in Ireland, so maybe eight on one tree isn’t that many after all!
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