High Bog at Ballinafagh and Timahoe Bog

Lucy and I were out on the high bog at Ballinafagh yesterday at a location north of Prosperous suggested by Tadgh of IPCC. Our main target species was the Large Heath – this is the only Irish butterfly on the European red list. Its larval foodplant is Hare’s-tail Cottongrass (which I think is also called single-flowered bog cotton). The temperature was about 20C but it was quite cloudy. So there were no butterflies on the wing but as we walked across the remarkably dry bog we put up four Large Heaths. Lucy chased one down and netted it just to confirm identification (see pic).

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We moved on then to Timahoe. There was no sign of its unique resident the Small Skipper but there was plenty to keep our interest even though it was still cloudy. We like the Peacock caterpillars shown here and it would be fun to come back in a few weeks time to look for their pupae. It should be noted that Jesmond and Andrew Harding recorded the first Small Skippers of the year here today – I was busy counting my two transects, the temperature was in the mid-20s in Stacumny this afternoon!

 

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Things have been fairly quite in my garden so far this year which is pretty normal. However, the ragwort in my back garden and the buddleia in my front garden are close to flowering and the first second-brood Small Tortoiseshells have just appeared on my catmint so I’m hoping that numbers will take off soon.

PV System Update – 2015

Despite the fact that we had the coldest May in twenty years there was reasonable sunshine and I’ve had the best start to a year since 2011. Nevertheless, for the second year in a row the output for May was less than that for April – not what should be happening. My system has now generated 5650 units of electricity of which 4422 units (78%) have been exported to the grid and I am about 68% self-sufficient with regard to my electricity needs.

I’ve put some data together – here is the output data from my solar system for the last four years:

2011        1360 kWh

2012        1235 kWh

2013        1275 kWh

2014        1179 kWh

Target      1452 kWh

Graph of PV output JPEG june 2015