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

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.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Useful knowledge: How to Uncurl your Hedgehog

Although I have seen many Hedgehogs or 'Egels' as they are called in Holland where I grew up, as a kid, I was never armed with the wisdom of how to get one to uncurl into a more manageable shape, when you have one in your hands.

I just found out, by reading this review on a recent book on Hedgehogs, "A Prickly Affair" and knowing that many are caring about, or as in some cases caring for, hogs, I take it that you will add it to your Santa wish list or give it to like minded friends in the hope they read it soon, so you can read it too.
In that case you might want to give it before Christmas!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Autumn; Nature's Skeletons and the onslaught of summer

I did not have much chance yet for enjoying and photographing Autumn's colour. Down here in the South West of the Republic of Ireland, Autumn starts only mid November due to the warm climate.
The other fact is that along the road and along the coastline here, all those leaves, which were only just starting to think about turning, their transformation was disrupted when they met with the enormous force of the gales being brought about by the changing weather conditions. You have to feel sorry for our trees, their rhythms being thrown overboard with flooded summers, leaving no time for their roots to dry out. The extra gales we've had during spring and summer, mean trees being stripped bare with no warning and at a time when the tree is relying on its her leaves with which she can convert the Sun's energy into a chemical used as food for the tree.
You'd have to think then that by the end of summer this same tree is short on energy reserve to face the coming winter.
And just thinking of the harshness the winter's climate will throw at our tree makes you shiver. And then poor tree has to find some energy somewhere too, so she can produce her leaves for spring and next summer.
And then imagine this on a yearly basis! Not just this once.

I have always been struck by the white skeletons in the fields here in winter, and often enough, I tried capturing these in my watercolour paintings and sketches, with either my nails or a small stick trying to scratch these into the washes. Or in the washes of ink if I was painting with black indian ink. one of my favourite mediums. (media?)
Now I am trying to capture it with dear Lady Lumix.

Do you like this one

Or perhaps the -edited version in which the branch is coming more to the front?

I took these a week or so ago, when I had been out shooting the Mosses. Now, with bad weather around us, I have a few minutes to doing them in a post

I was captivated by those 'strange green and overgrown vertical structures which make up the hedgerow in the field below, so

I zoomed in to get a better look at it;

I should have taken a better look at the wobbly little tree, but maybe next tine I'll remember?

My favourite of the lot:
Here, the beautiful white flowers of the Blackthorn will enlightening me sgain next spring:

And this House Sparrow I caught the other day

And this Hooded Crow I spotted along the road.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Revealed: Hills with a bird in the mist.

Wanting to get a shot of a bird in flight in the mist, I was too late again, a pity; it might have helped ID the one below on the cable. (sorry, but I posted this picture twice. Not intentionally)

Since moving to Ireland, mist got a whole new meaning for me. It is one of my favourite weather phenomenon, and having to get wet in the meantime, is mostly something as 'part of life' to me. Mist, like drizzle, is one of these things which can change the feel of the land within a matter of minutes, and the mood of a landscape alters almost before you even realise what it is exactly that has changed. No wonder it is the subject then of many legends, myths, stories and also paintings. Photo contests too, have many -mist-related- images among their winners..

With my wheels, I soon tend to get wet sooner than a vertical person because my lap offers a greater horizontal surface to the drops from above. Nevertheless, I do not really mind. (most of the times)

Someone told us once that drizzle is just a low hanging mist, and this is what I wanted to capture today, but each time I went out of the house, drizzle started again. Eventually I gave up, thought I'd better wait till another day, but when I went out to refill the bird's food-tray, I did my camera outside.

Behind our house, the fields go down to meet the little tidal river, and from there up over the hills between us and Bantry Bay.

While my camera was trying to make sense of the vast grey mass and focussing on nothing really, the view changed constantly.

I never expected to be able to capture the drizzle in the low hanging clouds over the hills, which indeed did not really come out on my photos, so next time I try again. It is not as if this mist or drizzle is a rare occurrence around here! So often I went down to the shop, saw the mist hanging over the hills, and promised myself to take some photos once I returned. Yet I never did.

I'm not sure, but when you switch off the lights, you can almost see the streaks of drizzle I think? I'm still trying ti figure it all out! Just by doing so, looking at it and then learning, I hope. Till the next time.

Birds were teasing me regularly, either flying over the fields behind us in small groups or on their own.
Then I spotted a bird sitting on a telephone cable, and thinking I would be able to ID it later from the photo, I was wrong! I have no idea what it is.

I still hope to capture the mist over the bay one day, which will be a lot harder.