All photos on this blog, Wildlife on Wheels, are taken by me. If you want to use any of my photos for anything other than personal use, send me an email and we'll talk about it. The email address is listed in the sidebar on the right .

Save Dunmanus Bay

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mistle Thrush in the Conifers

I spotted these Heather and Gorse on Christmas Eve on my way to the bay. I think Heather is one of the more difficult wild plants and wild flowers to photograph. Yet I could not resist taking a few images.
The Heather was more of a challenge I think because it was popping out of a wall so to speak. Plus I was trying to stick as much to the edge as possible and parking alongside the wall rather than with my back wheels parked on the very narrow road. Bsides I was underneath the Rookery and the noise was deafening.

Yesterday I watched two Magpies fly along the fence and smiled at that odd vertical and 'haughty' way they fly with head in the air and their tail straight downwards. I'd expected them to have landed on the street light or on the fence, and as I looked out of the window, I spotted two large Thrushes. At first I thuoght them to be Song Thrushes as we do have one on the estate, but when I looked closer, I realised they were too big and the colouring also looked as if it was just speckles or streaks on a whitish body. It was just too far off for a good and clear picture, so I also took a few pictures with the digital zoom on. It does miss the buff colouring of the Song Thrush. And like I said before, it was way too large!

Monday, December 22, 2008

After the frost

Since moving to Ireland in 1983, we have seen one very severe winter and summer in 1984, when, living at Bantry's harbour, it was easier to get out of town by boat than by bus, car or shoe! That summer, my mother visited for the first time, packed with jumpers, rain coat and other "keeping warm" stuff. Which in any summer would be wise-to-bring- garments. No one expected a heatwave, but that is what we got.
Living in a relative tropical corner of the world, I had not expected frost last week. But that is what I found on the lid of my composter. It being a lose piece of ice, the idea was to bring it indoors for photos. Things got in the way and I placed it atop a metal or steel pole. As soon as the camera got out, drizzle started, yet this was over soon.
Because it was raing, the ice on the pole started to melt also and soon it started to tilt. So I was working fast. Shooting underneath was difficult, also because drops started forming at the edge, not less challenging though!

A bit of toying with brightness and contrast got me these results:

this horizontal photo for example,

got a totally new meaning when flipped vertical and a face has appeared suddenly,

You've got to love a headdress like this one. The light on the left seems to accentuate it somehow.

Mind you, it might well be that this is the last frost we'll see till February! And it was on the morning of the 15th if anyone likes comparing temperatures.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

5 new species breeding in Eire

As most of you know by now, I'm mad of Birds, Wild Flowers and Moths. Plus other Insects and indeed Butterflies too. (I'm not talking of all other wildlife species which are out of my range mostly because of access to hills, woods, and fields. Oh, and swimming is out of the question too, unfortunately because I used to love it, as my late gran would admit after she would lose me in the sea in Scheveningen, The Hague (Holland) on a few occasions when she took us to the beach in November. I was very young, and even then loved swimming underwater, where my paralysed arm and leg posed a lot less hinder than when I would poke my head above the surface.
I read a few interesting, Irish nature related, columns in the Irish Examiner recently and a few topics caught my eye.
Having been disappointed this summer because I had only spotted a lot of Small Tortoise Shell, Large White, quite a few of Speckled Wood,2 Meadow Brown Butterflies and at last a Red Admiral Butterfly in September. With all the Brambles and Nettle around, I had expected a Peacock in this area also.
Anyway, it appears that Ireland has 4 new species of Butterfly breeding here, some of which for a number of years already. Which is great news. I only hope that we will be able to offer enough suitable habitat for it and the generations to come.
It involves the Comma Butterfly, the Real's wood white which had chosen the Emerald Isle in 2000 already as their new breeding ground.
The Full article by Dick Warner is here at the Irish Examiner website.

Also, this island has been seeing Woodpeckers! This is great news for people like me who can still remember the Black Woodpeckers back in Holland.
When I heard of this I thought that it just involved a few which had taken the wrong wind and had ended up on our east coast, coming from the UK. However they seem to be turning up in all kind of different parts of the country, and juveniles ave been sighted also.
So have they started breeeding in Ireland? Who knows. This is what Birdwatch Ireland has to say about the Great Spotted Woodpeckers.

However would they have chosen Ireland if they had known of its reputation on protection of wildlife and her lax attitude towards the the creation of SPA's (Special Protection Area) So I really hope they are all here to stay, but that if they do, one will perhaps come my way too?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Cards

To all my readers, and friends:

When we moved to Eire in 1983, I started by making Christmas cards with a little black ink pen drawing of the house or place we'd live that year. It begun with the caravan/house we'd live in, later once we did manage to settle down a little and celebrated more New Year's Eves in the same house, I would draw the road's houses on one side, the other side the following year or a certain landmark or building in that town/village. That way our family/friends would get a memento from our new surroundings because we had moved this far from where they are and where we were too, once upon a time, in our former life.
The last cards I made were of our village, but none has been made nor sent from our present house, and yet we moved here 8/9 years ago.

Supporting charities instead of paper and ink suppliers did make up for the guilty feeling I felt inside. But was this towards the friends and family or more towards myself?

Anyway, I'm not very good at making pc generated cards than in real life. Somehow the text turns out a lot smaller than on the photo when I created it!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Whale Watching around West Cork

West Cork has an abundant population of Whale species and Dolphins.

Bantry Bay, where we used to live for 4 years, sees some of these species stranded now and then too.
I remember when a friend of us, Jill Murphy, who owned one of the hotels, built along the Bantry Bay southern coast line, had a Killer Whale stranded on the small strand in front of the hotel.

We saw a Blue Whale in the water from a cliff when we were on Achill Island, an island off the west coast of Ireland, which is connected by a long bridge to the mainland at Westport County Mayo.
And although we were really very high above the water, it was still an amazing sight and were struck by its sheer size.

Closer to home and it is Nic Slocum who is doing Whale watching tours in his boat Voyager.

He sails from Union Hall at the SW coast near Skibbereen, and Nic tells me that the boats cannot be boarded by people with limited mobility. The local council is planning for adaptations to Reen pier where the boat is moored.

He hopes that the facilities will be in place at the start of the next season. Any news will be posted on his website.

I think I'd better start saving, because I'd love to do a tour.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I Think Tricia needs a captain with ferry, so she can..

get across that pond of hers without getting her feet wet when going to that Bushy Park of hers!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A little frost and Chaffinches in my garden, just a few pictures.

On the morning of the 28th and 29th, we had frost during the night; a bit of a rare occurrance down here in the South west. It was amazing how the birds in the garden reacted. I made some etra peanut cake and put out two large pots for them, so that at least they had some fat to help against the cold.
Yesterday I also spotted the Wren, darting about and I was very pleased to see it. Niall had mentioned the Wren in his email about the Blue Tits behaviour and he said that unfortunately the Wren was losing out very often in these cold periods because it doesn't come to feeders. So, having the planter as my main feeding platform, I am always pleased to see whenever I do attract one. It was too quick before I spotted it.

Some of my Chaffinches, I had 12(6 females and 6 males) last winter spring, and I hope to see a similar number again this time. There are about three/four females/ at the moment and two/three males.
The Fatsia in its black rubbish bin is serving a good purpose as escape platform

for birds who need to escape the sudden more powerful visitor, and it is funny to see how the Chaffs/Sparrows or Great Tits move quick into the Fatsia whenever the Large Rooks or Jackdaws arrive. The tiny ones, no problem!

Isn't it funny somehow, that when I started blogging with Birding on Wheels as my first blog before starting Wildlife on Wheels most people thought that Wildlife was going to be the main one and that Birding on Wheels would soon be forgotten and in the dustbin.
I thank everyone for displaying my link to either of the two blogs and especially Pete who introduced me so lovingly.

Anyway, there's not a year past yet as in the case of Andrew at Quicksilver birds.

I had never thought that Birding on Wheels would do so well eventually, by hovering around the 550 or 560

So against the odds, Pete, I think Birding on Wheels is my prime blog these days, mostly since I started it as the blog for disabled birders in Ireland with support of Birdwatch and the fatbirder's DBA.

So thanks everyone, enjoy my Chaffs and Coal Tit. See you around.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Honeysuckle in November? Yep!

This is what I found growing inside the bay. It is a sign that indeed it has not been cold here in this part of the world yet. Except today.

Mullein, I spotted it for the first time this summer and I'm now anxiously waiting to see what its seeds are like. Also I love the shapes and lines of the whole plant and its leaves.

t the warmest

Monday, November 24, 2008

Memories on top of a little bridge

Those who read my post on Mosses and Lichen, should not be surprised that I went on another hunt after Mosses. These photos I took at the bridge at the river alongside Riverside Cottage, and behind the Church of Ireland. I used to sit often on top of this little bridge, with Whitie, our dog beside me when we lived here with the river enclosing us on two sides. I would not be bothered by the cars which would pass me on their way to bring or collect their child to the little primary school.More often though, would I choose the quiet times, when I would observe the Grey Mullet swimming below me, and the King Fisher which would fly via the bridge to and fro its two favourite sites, its fishing spot behind our cottage, and where I would watch from one of the great big boulders in the river, and its home in the bank below the Church of Ireland. It has moved on now, and I haven't seen a flash of blue here since the 80s/early 90s, I think. We'd spotted the Otter baking in the Sun on top of a boulder in the river from the bridge, one day when Francis had gone out to put the rubbish out. He called me out quickly and it was an amazing sight, an animal whose body and expression embody the act of relaxing. Not that these creatures have an easy life, far from it. Having lived here now for 21 years in this village, this summer's sighting of an Otter in the bay, was only my 2nd sight of a Wild Otter.

There were several different patches of Moss on the stone of the bridge, and although it seems as if it was 3 separate species, it might just have been two. The
one in the last photo reminded me a little of Catherine's Moss (Atrichum undulatum) which was featured in the BBC Wildlife Magazine-page 12, this in the November issue. It is not the same one, far from it, I'd say, it was the little spiky stems with seed pods. I never even thought of opening one up, but I might do that tomorrow if the weaher is as good as the forecast with lessened winds.

Bryum capillare

Along the backroad along the valley and parallel to the hills between Dunmanus Bay and Bantry Bay, and connecting the hill just above the village (where I live now) and one where I usually go on a botany hunt, was the little road we used to take to Riverside, walking back after a few drinks in the village. A late friend, Manuel, a Portugese octgenarian, used to say he was going to walk home via the Alps, and I can still hear him say so whenever I think of, or travel on, the little road. These late flowering Wild Roses were watching over the valley:

These little 'white' blooms caught my eye this time, last year,telling me that I had to come back with the camera and take a few pictures, in an effort to find out what these are, but of course I never did. I almost passed them with the same, "I'll do these pictures in a few days time, when I stopped realising that it might take another year before I did so.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Can you ID this summer wader for me?

While looking forand tidying my photos and folders, I cam upon these, which I have not shown before because I was way too busy showing you the Butterfly/Wild Flowers photos and all I did post were those and a few Grey Heron/Black headed Gulls.

They were taken in mid July (23); so it could not have been a Whimbrel I think, unless 'ours' is one which is not a migratory Whimbrel but a resident one.
I had not seen any Whimbrel during the summer, so it would be strange if, when it would be a resident, it just appeared on this one day.

However, to me it looks as if it has too much of a blue-grey-ish tint to be a Whimbrel, but perhaps some other specie? To me it really looks "blueish in a way.

Also for you, 2 long Mute Swans which were begging me to come to the fore.