Tag Archives: Wales

Welsh Collage

North Wales is packed full of stunning scenery, beaches, mountains and castles of course. We really enjoyed our week there recently. And it was lovely to catch up with friends and relatives.

I thought I would show you a little collage of photos seeing as this week’s Photo Challenge was – Collage

Welsh Bumbles

Last week we spent a lovely week in North Wales. I was lucky to spot two bumblebees that I haven’t yet seen here in Ireland.

Mountain bumblebees have been recorded in Ireland since 1974. As the name suggests they are associated with upland bogs and heaths, exactly the type of habitat I saw this one. They are a distinctive bumble with half the abdomen a rich orangey-red. Currently this species has only been recorded in the east and north of Ireland.

The second bumble is the Tree bumblebee. There is yet to be a confirmed record in Ireland. It was first recorded in Britain in 2001 and has been expanding it’s range since reaching the Welsh coast in 2012. As this bee likes to use aerial cavities to nest, such as holes in trees, it has been making use of bird nest-boxes in Britain. In fact, it is thought that the species is increasing because of the expansion of urban gardens throughout Europe, which the Tree bumble has been able to exploit for both forage and nesting resources. It’s a very distinctive bee with a uniform brown/ginger thorax with a white tail.

 

Garden Roses and White Park Cattle

We are back from our annual trip to Wales to see my husband’s family and have returned to a garden that resembles a jungle. The grass in the meadow seems to have grown about a foot in our absence and some of the vegetables (though not all) have grown too. But more about the garden later in the week.

First some highlights of our Wales visit. Grandma and Grandpa’s garden was awash with flowers, the roses in particular caught my eye.

Meanwhile, in the hedgerows and banks along the Welsh roadsides, foxgloves with their tall pink spires, seemed to abound.

Foxgloves

Foxgloves

One of the visits we made was to Dinefwr Park, a National Trust property and home to a herd of White Park Cattle. This is a very old cattle breed but it is also very rare with only about 1000 animals worldwide. The breed is descended from Britain’s original wild white cattle. Because the white cattle look so noble they were enclosed in parks by the nobility during the middle ages but when these estates started to decline so too did the cattle. The cattle are white with black spots and black on their muzzle, ears, eye-rims and feet. The wide-spreading horns are usually black-tipped. As they are an ancient breed the animals still have a matriarch system, i.e one of the females is in charge. In Dinefwr the matriarch is Miranda – she is the oldest female in the herd (at about 16 years of age). During the Second World War a small number of the cattle were shipped to the USA, where today two herds still remain – one in Texas and one in Montana.

The park is also famed for its ancient trees. They have nearly 300 trees that are thought to be over 400 years old. One of the oak trees is estimate to be 700 years old. We didn’t get time to see that one, so will have to make a return visit.

Oak tree

Oak tree