Tag Archives: nature

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #227 – Home Sweet Home

Too many places to choose from this week as Tina asks us where would we bring a visitor to our country? I have to narrow it down to our County – County Mayo, west of Ireland.

Firstly it would be our wild Atlantic coast. Always amazing no matter what time of year you visit.

Lacken Bay

So many beautiful spots to spend a day exploring.

Doohoma

The Mullet peninsula, where I spent much of this summer working, has lots of beautiful coast, but also stunning flora rich machair grassland, buzzing with insects.

Machair grassland

Go a little bit inland and you can explore lakes and peatlands.

Lakes, peatlands and native woodland

The woods are small, but perfect places for early spring or autumn strolls.

Clydagh Bridge forest

And just one more – the Great Western Greenway, 44 km of old railway track that you can cycle or walk free of traffic. Perfect any time of year.

Greenway

Many thanks to Tina for letting us apprecate a bit of home sweet home.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #221 – Flower Favourites and Why

So this week Ann-Christine has set me an impossible task – choose my favourite flowers. I have tried to narrow it down by only including native Irish wildflowers. The why is simple – they are beautiful and they support so much life. It’s a selection of some of my favourites.

First spring flowers – celandine one of the first to show itself; dandelions are just little pots of sunshine loved by pollinators; wood sorrel is so delicate and cuckoo flower so dainty.

If I had to choose one spring flower it would be wild primroses, for the colour and smell, the essence of spring.

Primrose

Then comes summer. Harebells, for the name and the delicate shade of blue; ox eye daisies as they are big, bright and happy flowers and sea thrift because it appears to grow from rocks.

And if I had to choose a favourite I would cheat and choose a whole flowering meadow.

Wildflower in a machair meadow

Late summer and early autumn, there is perennial sow thistles (here with woundwort another lovely pant) and the latest flowering of our wildflowers, devils bits scabious – loved by pollinators.

A big thank you to Ann-Christine for reminding me of the beauties of spring and summer on this dark October day.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #220 – One Subject Three Ways

Herons are quite shy birds, so I rarely get opportunity to get this close.

Secondly an amazing sculpture (known as the Iron Man) by Maurice Harron, found near Boyle in Co Roscommon.

It is said to be of a chieftain, Hugh O’Donnell “Red”, and his horse, who lead a rebel Irish force against an English force in 1599 called The Battle of Curlew Pass. The English were ambushed while marching through a pass in the mountains, near the town of Boyle.

Many thanks to Patti, for this week’ LAPC challenge.

Lens-Artists Challenge #219: Treasure Hunt

This week Tina has sent us off on a treasure hunt.

A pet – one of my daughter’s silkie chickens

Silkie

A moon

Moon

Clouds with reflection

Lake reflection

An umbrella

Snowman needs umbrella to protect it from the rain

A truck

Autumn foliage and child

And something found on a walk – beautiful sea smoothed tree

Thanks to Tina for a great challenge that send me to the archives

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #215

For this week’s Len-artist challenge John asks for “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles… and the Places they take us” – but I have veered off topic a little to talk about places boats have taken me. In recent years, we have had a few interesting trips on boats – or at least the boats got us to our destination. The first trip was to Clare Island off the west coast of Ireland. A small ferry takes about 20 minutes to cross from mainland to the island.

Early morning ferry to Clare island

The island is lovely. We visited in January – but the day was glorious and clear and the light beautiful.

Then home again on the ferry at sunset.

Our next island visit was to Inishbiggle. Also off the west coast, but a much smaller island – talking only about ten minutes in a small boat similar to the small boat in the picture below.

Here crossing over from the mainland.

The island is lovely, exceptionally quiet (there are not many families living on it now) and the only shame was all the abandoned cars (and tractors) that it is too expensive to remove and so are left to rust away.

Great Yellow Bumblebee Project

This year, I have been lucky to be working for the Great Yellow Bumblebee Project. The Great Yellow Bumblebee is Ireland’s rarest bees and it occurs on the Mullet Peninsula and Erris coastal mainland of County Mayo in the west of Ireland.

Great Yellow Bumblebee (Bombus distinguendus)

We have been working with farmers looking at how best we can manage fields in a way that provides lots of flowers for all types of pollinators. This area of County Mayo is stunningly beautiful, and supports a unique flower-rich habitat called Machair.

Machair grassland

Machair is traditionally been used as winter grazing, which has benefitted the wildflowers that grow here and in turn these areas support a wealth of insects including pollinators.

Machair grassland

We find lots of different bees. And finding the the rarest of them all, the Great Yellow Bumblebee, brings deep satisfaction.

Great Yellow Bumblebee (Bombus distinguendus)

Other rare and vulnerable bee species can also be found in this special place.

Many thanks to Ann-Christine for providing inspiration for this post – LAPC #214 Favourite Finds

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #213 – Here Comes the Sun

This week Amy asks is to explore the sun.

I love the sun on water, the way it makes it shimmer and shine.

Achill island from Doohoma, Co Mayo

Without the sun we would not have plants. This one is a native Irish plant called the perennial sow-thistle. But I like to think of it as our own sunflower. They are tall plants – from 80 cm up to 150 cm with these glorious yellow heads and they are loved by bees and other pollinators.

Perennial sow-thistle

With the sun, comes shadows and butterflies too of course.

Wall brown butterfly

And without the sun we wouldn’t have sunsets.

Sunset

Many thanks to Amy for this week’s lovely challenge.