Whooper swans are regular visitors to Carrigeencor lake (Dromahair, Co. Leitrim). They usually come in small numbers, but large groups like this one can also be seen sometimes. In this particular occasion I counted 21 swans.
Thursday, 16 February 2017
Sunday, 22 June 2014
The Orange-tip (Arthocharis cardamines) is one of the first butterflies to appear in the spring. Here, in Manorhamilton (Ireland), they're on the wing from April until early June. The male, being territorial, can be seen incessantly fluttering about in search of female and warding off other males. I have even seen them chasing off members of other species, in particular, Small white (Pieris rapae) and Green-veined White (Pieris napi britannica), which, like the Orange tip, are members of the Pieridae family.
The bright orange wing tips, which gives the butterfly its name, probably serves as a display to attract females and as a deterrent to other males.
The female, in contrast, keeps a low profile. Her wing tips are black, instead of orange, and can only be seen flying when feeding or searching for plants to lay her eggs on.
|Male Orange-tip. The tips of the female are black. ©Sara Garcia Hipolito|
|When at rest, only the white and green under-wings are visible. ©Sara Garcia Hipolito|
Despite much searching, I still haven't been able to find any caterpillars, even when I have returned to look in plants where I had found eggs.
|Eggs at different stages of development. The orange egg is at a more advanced stage than the yellow ones and will eventually tun brown. ©Sara Garcia Hipolito|
|Above: Map of local sites where my observations were made. Below: From the chart, it can be seen that the Orange-tip is the 4th most abundant butterfly in the area. Map and Charts by the Irish National Biodiversity Data Centre, using data by Sara Garcia Hipolito.|
For more information on the Orange tip butterfly, please visit the Irish Biodiversity Data Centre's page on this species:
Thursday, 12 June 2014
The Cinnabar (Tyria jacobaeae) is a colourful day flying moth belonging to the Arctiidae family. It can be found in any grassy habitat where it's larval food plant, Ragwort, available. Indeed, I have seen it in such diverse habitats as coastal grassland, forests and waste grounds.
Despite it's bright colours it can be hard to spot when hiding amongst the vegetation with it's wings closed, and only becomes conspicuous during in flight when its red underwings are in full display.
The caterpillar, with its yellow and black stripe, is even more conspicuous than the adult and can be found in large numbers devouring Ragwort. Their voracious appetite make them a natural and efficient means to control this plant.
|Caterpillars feeding on Ragwort (Jacobaea vulgaris)|
Tuesday, 29 April 2014
Every spring my garden gets covered in a carpet of Dandelions. Being one of the earliest plants to flowers, it attracts a wide variety of butterflies, bees and hover-flies that have just emerged from hibernation and are in much need of a rich source of nectar.
The seeds of Dandelion also provide food for birds such as finches. In my own garden I've seen Gold finches and Bull finches feasting on this food source.
Below is a selection of photos, that I have taken over the years , showing insects feeding on Dandelions.
Thursday, 27 June 2013
Saturday, 12 January 2013
At this time of the year, when there's not a lot of wild food around, our feathered friends can do with any extra help. Having a variety of foods will ensure to cater for the needs of different types of birds.
Having feeders also offers a great opportunity for bird-watching from the comfort of your own house. It is always quite exciting to see a new species come to your garden, or to see a previously lonesome bird feeding in the company of a potential mate.
Don't forget to have a source of liquid water on frosty days when most water sources might be frozen.
|A Greenfinch feasts on peanuts, a great source of fat which is particularly important in the winter.|
|One of the Goldfinches is feeding on Niger seeds, a favorite of them, while the other settles for the mixed-seed. The Tit family, such as the Great Tit and Coal Tit in the photo, love sunflower seeds.|
|A family of Sparrows retreat for a nap after a good feed|
|This family of Bullfinches came for the remain of the Blackberries. Having plants that produce edible fruits and seeds will also encourage birds to your garden.|
|Initially only one of this Lesser Redpolls was visiting the feeders, but it was later joined by another one. The two of them are now regulars.|
Wednesday, 9 January 2013
The mild weather we've been having for the last few weeks have brought this Primroses into bloom, but a sudden frost will probably put an end to the emerging flowers. Even if they survive the frost it will be pointless, as far as the plant is concerned, as there is no insects about to pollinate them.
|The buds, which just started to open, are covered in frost|
|Another plant with flowers|
As I was walking back along the same road, I spotted two small Dandelions that had joined the Primroses in their futile effort to flower at this time of the year.
Apologies for the bad quality of the photos, but it was getting dark and the flash didn't work well with the flower shots