Today we enjoyed a beautiful walk in Brackloon woods near Westport, Co Mayo. The wood is a Special Area Conservation due to the presence of old oak woodland. It was full of the colours of spring. The woodland floor covered in flowers. Mossy greens , the pink stems of Herb Robert, yellow Lesser Celandine and white Wood Sorrel.
Here the Wood Sorrel in more detail, and below that the Celandine.
Also the delicate white of Greater Stitchwort.
Among the flower butterflies added further colour and beauty. First the aptly named Peacock and below the Holly Blue butterfly, tiny but like a little bit of sky fliting about.
It does the soul good to immerse oneself in nature for a little while.
In this week’s Lens Artists photo challenge, Sofia tells us that bokeh “is the pleasing or aesthetic quality of out-of-focus blur in a photograph.” My 40-150mm lens is pretty good at creating this effect without me having to think too hard about it. Here are a few examples from the last couple of weeks. The first one shows lots of blurry branches from the trees behind – not perhaps the most effective bokeh, but I like the bee in flight.
The next three have all a green blurred background as spring is here and everything is greening up nicely.
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.
We have snow forecast for the end of the week, but it may not get this far west. Meanwhile spring continues to show her face.
1. Crocus, the yellow ones always bring a little bit of spring sunshine even on a grey day.
2. Willow catkins. This one is Salix x rubra I think. Always the first to show. And in recent years it seems to be coming out earlier than ever. I like the willows to be of use to emerging queen bumblebees – but this one is too early now.
3. Daffodil. Just two blooms so far. But more on the way.
4. Robin friend has already teamed up with a mate, but still comes for meal worms. We have also discovered that it likes raisins which we had left out for the blackbirds.
5. The bird feeders remain busy.
6. We have been doing quite a bit of apple and pear tree pruning. In some circumstances being quite extreme. Hoping for more fruit this year.
April brings Spring flowers. I was interested to see differences between recent years. Here are wood sorrel flowers from mid April 2018. This year they have already been in flower for a couple of weeks.
Wood sorrel from 18th April 2018
This year I first photographed Lesser Celendine in flower at the end of January. Here it was in April 2015. It has a longish flower season and is in flower along some of our local hedgerows today.
Lesser celendine from the 10th April 2015
Fruit blossom is a real favourite of mine. Here are pear and June berry blossoms from the 20th April 2016. The June berry is covered in blossom already and the pear is just starting.
June Berry Blossom
The crab apple is just coming out, and below is what is looked like on the 12th April 2017.
Crab apple blossom
And of course I cannot pass the opportunity to post a bumblebee photograph, as while March is when we first start seeing the queen’s emerge from hibernation (though it was February this year), April is the month that we start seeing the queen’s in any numbers. And it is so nice to have them back.
It is always nice when a photograph turns out not as one expected. I like the way the flower emerges from the green below. I wouldn’t expect to find celendine flowering till late February. But here it is already showing it’s yellow head at the end of January.
It is an exceptionally early spring here and flowers are already emerging. And despite the fact that a cold week is forecast, much of the winter has been very mild.
The primroses in the hedgerow bank near our house are flowering in prolific profusion.
There are always primroses here. The dappled shade from the hawthorn trees is just the kind of habitat they thrive in. The primroses are one of the few spring flowers that got off to an early start this year, despite our cold spring. So it may be that the surrounding grass isn’t as high as it would normally be.
So the flowers can be seen in all their gorgeous glory. I only wish I could share with you the beautiful, rich scent they were exuding as I took photographs of them this evening.