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.

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Hot Afternoon in Hortland

It’s turning out to be one of the best summers in years. Lucy and I spent an afternoon in Hortland (N794357) recently surrounded by a wealth of wildlife. Here’s a few pics:

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Pair of mating Speckled Woods
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Meadow Brown

 

burnet moth 16
Cinnabar moth
red damselfly hortland june 2013 15
Large Red Damselfly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Footnote, February 2014.

I didn’t know it at the time but my mother had suffered a heart attack that sunny summer afternoon last July so I’m afraid I have bittersweet memories of that day now. When two of my brothers found her semi-conscious in her yard her faithful dog and cat were sitting one each side of her head and remained there until the ambulance arrived. Although she also suffered a subsequent stroke, she made a good recovery and is now in a nursing home. I think I got my love of wildlife from my mother and father and I have wonderful memories of magical days in Pollardstown Fen with my father who had grown up nearby – the fen was being drained at the time (and in danger) but it was much easier to move around in than it is now.