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

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

More surprises along the road

After another five days inside, watching water stream off my windows, birds and plants, I needed a change of scenery. Nevertheless, it was cloudy, a little chilly, but there was just a light breeze up here on our hill, at least.
I’d just left the house and was back inside again. My wheels! Not enough juice. It has been long since this happened to me. Similar to your camera’s battery; only difference is, I cannot carry a spare set with me. Connected to my charger, and left again; 35 minutes later, I had enough for a ride, not too far from home. Still, I needed to get going; it was already 2.30 and getting darker soon. At first I headed towards the bay, and although it was a Sunday, it was very calm on the road. I’d missed my connection with the tides. At the bay it was quiet at low tide and Juvenile and adult, Herring Gulls plus Blackheaded Gulls in winter plumage were spread out in small groups here and there and a few loners too. A Mute Swan sat preening itself and immediately I recalled the fact that the youngster I’d seen one week, had not accompanied its parent the next. At bridge in front of the church of Ireland, I crossed the road and rode alongside the river to the cross to where I usually go uphill to follow the higher back road. With a low supply of juice I thought it best not to go up here, and so I hung around the river and found a little Garden Spider like the one which had been hanging in front of my kitchen window. It had spun a web between a couple of Nettle flower spikes, right across from St. James national school. It was about 1metre from me, hanging above the Nettles, and as I switched my Lumix onto its Macro- zooming mode, I felt excitement as soon as I saw not so much the Spider, but the threads of its web on the monitor. You see, with the Spider hanging in thin air, I had no idea if it would show up in the midst of “nothing” really.
I’d have no problem if I had a DSLR and a Macro lens. Yet all I have is a Panasonic Lumix FZ18*, which has its own Macro mode by using zoom and 1m distance, ; and I’m still not ‘done’ with experiments this feature even after 10 months.
Perhaps one of my reasons for taking Insect photos is indeed to try and see what this setting of my camera has in store for me.

Almost immediately afterwards, I had to turn back. I was getting cold and had trouble to see as it was getting darker. And when I have trouble seeing things around me, drivers start having problems seeing me too! It was still only 4pm when I’d returned home.

I had spotted some lovely little purple Wild Flower spikes, much like Loosestrife. Only difference is, I think, that Loosestrife has much tinier blossoms. Those I saw were all at their last stem and I would either need to find new and fresh ones, or wait till summer 2009. Of course this had to wait till the next dry day anyway. Either this summer or next. And sometimes I do wonder if we will get that chance this late summer still.
They might be telling me an ideal and warm, sunny September is on its way, the flowers will have finished their job by then, one way or another. Had a quick look around today when I went down to the shop, if I saw one, but could not locate any near the house. And with 50mm rain expected on both tomorrow and Wednesday, I think 2009 is my best chance. I had no chance to spot the leaves. These I might still be able to find again, whenever I’m in the area.

*don’t get me wrong, I am very happy with my Lumix, as loose lenses would make life a lot more difficult with one hand and I’d have missed a number of shots too. Plus I’d have trouble of where to leave these lenses, when I already have problems of taking more with me than just my, single-camera-bag on my legs. And then we have not even talked money, the most necessary issue to consider!

When I arrived home, I noticed a Daddy Long Legs on the low garden wall between Kevin, our neighbour and us, which was not that unusual, however it was sidling, walking sideways, along the wall. And I wondered later if its wings were damaged when it kept walking up, as soon as it dropped a little. It was strange watching this and had it been earlier in the day and therefore lighter, I’d have made a little film clip of it.

Along the bay, the Sea Asters had finished their flowering season too, finally. I had loved watching how they stood in the water with their feet as soon as the tide was in. Nothing could bother these beautiful lilac flowers with their yellow hearts. Small Tortoise Shell Butterflies seem to love them also. It was one of these spots where you’d always see one, most of the time. Although I had not seen any lately, almost as if there had been no 2nd generation at all. I presume we will find out next summer, when we can see how many did survive their hibernation. It was particularly odd not to be able to spot one, because it had almost been the only species I would see in early summer.
Also what I’ve wondered about is why I have only seen a small number of Butterfly species around here, while there is the perfect habitat for most other ones too. Nettles, Brambles, lots of Wild Flowers/gardens, rivers, meadows, etc.

The ones which I did see this summer, Large White; Small Tortoise Shell; Speckled Wood; Common Blue; Meadow Brown; The fact that I have not seen any Red Admiral nor a Peacock has surprised me.
Yet I did see Moths around and about, along the road and at home. More Moths than Butterflies. Of course many Butterflies do depend on Sunlight, or at least brighter than dim, daylight hours, of which we have not seen that much. Still, I do wonder; where is that 2nd generation, which should start a whole new army of colour again in 2009?

My Coal Tits are far from afraid of the Jackdaws and one of my Rooks

Great Tit, Coal and Blue Tit in my garden and also 2 House Sparrows and a Jackdaw

Some photos from my latest ride on Sunday.
Japanese Knotweed, I really love the dangling array of tiny flowers:

Fly feeding in the Wild Flower of Bindweed.

Church of Ireland, sitting at the edge of the bay and with a lovely view over Dunmanus towards the Atlantic and the bridge at Riverside,

The web of a Garden Spider and the Spider itself, situated above a bank of Stinging Nettle.
Black Headed Gull in winter plumage and one of the Mute Swans


  1. Once again it's lovely to travel along with you. Great pictures. I love the one of the spider and web.

  2. the picture was a total surprise at how it came out.

    funy how this one is so much better than the one which is still sitting in my kitchen window. there it web didn't make it onto my pictures.


Thank you for visiting Wildlife on Wheels; Feel free to leave your comments; it is very much appreciated.