Tag Archives: pollinators

Six on Saturday

We have had a few visitors this week in the garden. First the hawthorn shield bug. This I think is it’s final instar before it becomes a full adult.

Hawthorn shieldbug

Hawthorn shieldbug, final instar

The second visitor was a red-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lapidararius). I very occasionally get red-tailed bees in my garden, though I see them elsewhere in Mayo. For some reason they don’t seem to like my garden. This chap is a rather worn and weathered male.

red-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lapidararius)

Red-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lapidararius)

And yes the pumpkins are getting to pumpkin size. My children are already claiming theirs for Halloween! They have five to choose from. I have one decent sized squash and one little one.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin

We have plenty of autumn raspberries this year. If the weather stays mild we should be able to continue harvesting for a couple of weeks yet.

Raspberry

Raspberry

I just wanted to share this photo, I did mean to take the carder bee, but the hoverfly popped in too! Comfrey is still flowering and the bees love it.

Comfrey with bumble and hoverfly

Comfrey with bumble and hoverfly

I know I have shown this poppy before. It is always popular with pollinators. Here a hoverfly and a solitary bee are sharing the same flower. Pollinator season is nearly over so I have to get my fill in!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Poppy with pollinators

 

Thank you to The Propagator for hosting Six on Saturday.

 

 

Beautiful Burren

Last weekend, we had the opportunity to visit County Clare for the annual bee recorders event held by the National Biodiversity Data Centre. This is the second such event I have attended and it is wonderful to learn more about our amazing bees as well as meet like-minded individuals who are happy to run across a meadow chasing a bee with a net! This is the bee we were searching for. The Shrill carder bee, Ireland’s second rarest bee. It’s stronghold is County Clare, probably due in part to the flora rich habitats.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Shrill carder bee (Bombus sylvarum)

I have not been to County Clare for many years. It is renowned for it’s spring flowers but it’s late summer flowers are just as amazing and brilliant for pollinators.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Exposed limestone pavement and wild flowers

This area of Clare, where we spent our time, is known as the Burren. The word comes from an Irish word “Boíreann” meaning a rocky place, and it certainly is that. It is a limestone karst region, with much exposed limestone pavement but also flora rich calcareous grasslands.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Flower meadow

There are so many beautiful meadows. Many like above photograph are dominated at this time of year with devils-bit scabious. But others like the one below are packed with knapweed and hawksbit.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Flower meadow

There are amazing limestone walls, ancient tombs, the Burren National Park and more.

But really it is the flowers (and of course the pollinators) that make it a really special place for me. We will return.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ox-eyed daisy and other flowers

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

wild marjorum with bee

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

purple meadow

Arable flowers

In the National Botanic Gardens of Wales, which we visited in the summer, they had an area sown with arable wheat which had all the traditional arable “weeds” – which are in fact all wonderful flowers that attract many pollinators. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I liked it so much I took photos from lots of angles.

 

I would really love to replicate this is my own garden. In the summer it provides food for insects and in the autumn food for birds!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Arable meadow

Taking a break

One of my favourite things to do to relax is go somewhere with with my camera, and see what wildlife I can find. Here are some of my favourites from the summer.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pyramid Orchid – it seems to have been a good year for these beautiful orchids.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dark-green fritillary butterful likes flower rich coastal habitats which is exactly where I spotted this beauty, near Ross in Co Mayo.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Also at the coast but this time at Cross beach in Belmullet this amazing see-through and pink jellyfish. Haven’t identified this one yet so open to suggestions.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Something else I haven’t identified yet is this (wet) hairy caterpillar!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Of course I have to add a bumblebee (white tailed) – this one feeding on ragworth, hence all the yellow pollen on it’s body.
Inspired by this week Lens-Artist Photo Challenge – taking a break

 

Garden bees

Wild bumblebees – as regular readers will know, are one of my favourite subjects. We are now in our second week of rain (and yes I know some of you are looking for it), but how do the bees cope. They just wait for a break in the showers. Not that there were many  today.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Common carder bee

Some clever bees feed on the flowers in the greenhouse and polytunnel. But yesterday when I was in there during a heavy down pour I noticed the buzzing stopped. I couldn’t see the bees so think they’d gone back to their nests. Outside they wait for the brief glimpses of sun. The lupins are popular with many of the bees (here just white tailed).

While the larger Garden bumblebees seem to like the delphiniums, even those that have fallen over in the wind and rain.

The garden bumblebees also use the blue iris.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I have only seen the carder bee on the lavender (and some butterflies too). Both the carders and garden bumbles bees will still fly in light rain, I suppose they have to, otherwise they will starve. It is important to have lots of variety of flowers in your garden, that way you will attract lots of different bees, and other pollinators.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Inspired by Lens Artist Photo Challenge #48 – Wild

Six on Saturday

 

Carder bee disappearing into comfrey flower

Common carder bee with it’s head deep inside a comfrey flower

1. Comprey is always a great bee plant, and it just keeps on flowering the whole season through which is a huge benefit for pollinators. 

Carder bee feeding on flower kale plants

Carder bee on flowering kale

2. I always let my over-wintered kale flower as it is another valuable food source, not just for carder bumbles but also early bumblebees and white tailed bumblebees too.

Wasp of black currant

Wasp of black currant

3. Wasps are predators of other insects but queen wasps emerging from hibernation seem to love my blackcurrant bushes. Each spring I see them feeding on the flowers, I suspect gathering nectar from the flowers.

Garden bumblebee on autumn olive tree

Garden bumblebee on autumn olive tree

4. The autumn olive is proving really popular with the bees too. Yesterday I counted four different types of bees feeding on it as well as some small hoverflies.

Carder on Indian pea tree

Carder on Indian pea tree

5; Another carder (they are easier to photograph than other bees!) on the Indian pea tree.

Tulip

Tulip

6. And finally a flower without a bee to complete my Six on Saturday .