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 .

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Field Speedwell, Veronica persica, little flowers of winte

Despite the frost and the -6 gruond temperatures, I did manage to get away last Sunday.
Along the river at the Church of Ireland, I discovered a few little Field Speedwell, its feet safely hidden among the cement and sparse pocket of soil. It is quite sheltered here; Trees growing parallel, provide a canopy overhead while the wall keep the roots from the cold ground frost.

Field Speedwell, Veronica persica

Aso in flower, but on the backroad: European Gorse, Ulex europaeus
I love these prickly heads.

Gorse Flowers make a delicious white wine. We used to see cars pass with masses of Gorse bushes in the boot. This was the easiest way to get the flowers, rather than collecting the flowers in the field, one would take them home to let the family (I imagine) getting stung on these thorny bushes.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Day inDecember in a few pictures

Bantry harbour:
Grey Heron, Ardea cinerea

Mute Swan cygnets, Cygnus olor

A late Snapdragon.

Unknown rodent at home.

Dunmanus at its best.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Colour vision

I spotted these colours at Halloween, in Bantry when I arrived at the harbour. Luckily we were staying at the Maritime hotel looking over the harbour.

A male Mallard rose to the air just at the right time, when I pressed the shutter, looking out towards the Chapel Islands in Bantry Bay.

I love how the light seems to touch the island at this point in this crop of the next picture.

The main problem I had when I had uploaded the pictures to the laptop, was that the colours did not show at first.
This might give you an idea of what I did (not) see, although I have altered this a little already.

Next time I will use a much slower shutter speed, in the hope to improve the picture quality!

Sorry I haven't been around lately! just some other issues which needed attention all at once suddenly.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

SW: Glengarriff Woods; Riverwalk, tested out for wheelchair access.

Sarah, Elana and I went to check out the Riverwalk in Glengarriff Woods, last week, checking out the wheelchair access for you, the readers of Wildlife and Birding On Wheels.
Glengarriff Woods

From the picnic area on the left, set in a large clearing, we followed the sign, pictured above. (and Sarah)
Almost immediately there was a path on your right-hand side, but we kept going until a little footbridge. Wide and strong enough to let me and wheels pass,

Glengarriff Woods
(with Sarah dreaming over the river)

Soon I stopped and enjoyed the view over the river, and thus far I had been able to follow the path, here and there avoiding the roots, sticking up from the ground.
Glengarriff Woods

Here we also spotted the strange growth around the Birch tree, which I posted yesterday

The next bend in the path, was looking ominously at me,
Glengarriff Woods
and I was not sure if I would make it over those embedded stones on the left side of the path.
As you can probably see, the uneven-ness of those stones mean that your wheels hobble so much that you do not only risk your back, but also the life of your wheels. Especially when you are using power wheels, like I am. My wheels are having to endure a lot of bumps already on these Irish roads, and I cannot risk getting stuck somewhere or at home. I'd chance it on a scooter, I think.
Glengarriff Woods
The other problem we had, was that even if I did go past this bend; how would I get back? There was no room to turn, neither here nor further on the path, which got very narrow. On the return these stones would get my wheel embedded, for sure.
(and believe me, I've done some crazy paths, (including one the day before, again with Sarah, and Elana. And Sean, also. )
So instead we turned back to the picnic spot, to eat our picnic salads. As the girls did so, we spotted a late Red Admiral, Vanessa atalanta, and took a dozen or so pictures.

UK/Irish Butterflies

This WoodSorrel, Oxalis acetosella, looked rather sweet, when I'd left the girls feeding on greens.
Wild Flowers

Note: The National Parks and Wildlife Service, who manages the reserve, has just raised the level of the speedramps.
These are very high for cars as well as wheelchairs. Be careful and go slow!

Also: The quality of the thumnails are not as these used to be; I'm trying out to work with Photobucket thumnails.
Bear with me, I'm still trying to nail these thumbs, and things may go wrong now and then!

My assesment on Riverwalk; unsitable from where I turned around. It is however a wonderful place to go and have a picnic, and enter the woods just a bit, and feel the atmosphere. You can then go for a drive through the area of the reserve and beyond.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fungi and unknown Caterpillar

In Glengarriff Woods we spotted this Wart-like structure around a Birch tree, recently.
Does the tree protect itself this way, when, say, a branch has broken off? A friend said he'd seen it before, again on a Birch. And perhaps on a Maple too?
Can anyone tell me what it is?

Also spotted were these two species of Fungi;
no. 1
No. 1. very pale brownish cap
And specie, no. 2:
No.2 brown & greenish cap.

And this Caterpillar; I have seen it before somewhere with a name attached. The latter has now eluded me. A common specie, no doubt. Any comments would be very helpful.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Last week, when staying at respite, the weather was wishy-washy and although we had been thinking about going to Killarney National Park (where the Sea Eagle's have been re-introduced since 2007, and I would've loved going here) we decided that 3 hours in the car would be too much for me, in the end, we picked Kenmare. Elena showed me a leaflet of the Druid of Kenmare; a place to stop near Kenmare town, with farm animals, a viewpoint with a large druid sculpture out of wood. Respite only has domestic television, and so I had watched Sky News' forecast eagerly on Sunday before I'd leave the next day. Tuesday was supposed to be OK at first with rain coming down from the north later in the day. Radio Telefis Eireann's forecast was for showers that Tuesday.
Mist and drizzle was about and I kept telling the others that we'd be alright. After all, it was just a low hanging cloud, wasn't it?

When we were driving through the mountains, I spotted a Bird of Prey suddenly, hoovering above the valley. My view from the car is very limited. My wheels are quite high; the seat a lot higher than the car seats. This means that I cannot see everything out there, and that I spot things quite late because I have to keep my neck/head bent forwards in order to look out of a window/windscreen, and see more than the roof of the car.
Therefore, I saw the bird only when I was looking over my shoulder by pure chance, and when a sudden pang of pain got into my neck. It was quite light brown, and colourwise it looked more like a Red Kite. I'll have to get in touch with the Irish raptor group, if Red Kites have been spotted this far south.

We stopped at the Druid of Kenmare, where the large wooden Druid sculpture (sorry, no picture) keeps watch out over these lovely mountains,

At the shop, the owner said that people with wheelchairs had gone uphill before, to follow the walk to where the animals are housed. The path up was gravel, and anyone using or working with people in wheels, will know that you should avoid gravel! Then why did I go up? Stupidity? Stubbornness? Or a combination of both? The animals? The path had a nasty looking curve to the right, and although going up in speed, worked my wheels uphill, the underllying roots which stared at me briefly, and I got a chill. Getting down again would be a very hard and tedious job. We saw a lazy white donkey, 2 Ducks; only one was willing to pose after a summer of pleasing tourists.
And then we had a shock; this poor Pig, locked in a tiny space, and looking very fed up with life. The Donkey and the Ducks had a small field for themselves; yet this poor Pig was enclosed within a tiny space. And what for?

What I do not understand; this place is a tourist shop and how can you show this animal publicly, when it's not properly cared for? Poor thing.
Lazy Donkey:

One of the two Ducks

More company at the French chocolatier,

Where Sarah cried out:
"Yoke, you are not taking pictures of this horse's nostril hairs!"

(actually, this Horse kept eating my joystick! after it had removed my towel from my leg. The Horse also kept moving forwards, and the poor Donkey had no chance to come to the fence.

After a very big lunch, which included a delicious baked haddock on my plate, we headed back. Sean suggested taking the Healy Pass, and Sarah, who has a thing for waterfalls, kept pointing them out and pausing at them for pictures. So here's just one of them.

It was very hard taking pictures in the rain, mist and wet windows, but here are two attempts

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Migrating Butterflies; Red Admiral, Vanessa atalanta, Butterflies

In a Glengarriff Woods I spotted this late Red Admiral, Vanessa atalanta, 7 days ago. It was fuelling up for its long journey south, or was it? Like its Thistle loving cousin, the Painted Lady Butterfly, Vanessa cardui, the Red Admiral is also a migrant species. Scientists and wildlife enthusiasts, however, are still wondering why it is that we do not see a mass migration out of Ireland and UK like the large numbers of Butterflies we saw this spring, coming into these islands. This topic was raised in Autumnwatch too, recently. As a result of the discussions and the scientific research, viewers have been asked to help in leaving a mark on the inter-active map, of where they have seen Autumn Painted Lady Butterflies in the UK, Ireland, Scotland or Wales. There are also charts to mark sightings of the Hummingbird HawkMoth, Macroglossum stellatarum. There have been a great many sightings; on the North European mainland also. This month only two Irish sightings; one in Northern Ireland near Maghera and the other was sighted around Clifden in Connemara in the West of Ireland.

But what of the Red Admiral Butterfly? Although a migrant species from North Africa and the Med, Butterfly Conservation stated that recently the speie has been found overwintering in the south of the UK.
Here in Ireland? I don't know yet. I still have to start looking for an answer to this. I assume many do spend the wintermonths down south, in Ireland too. If you look at the scientific name for the Red Admiral- Vanessa atalanta- it has always been a migratery Butterfly, assuming that atalanta can only really mean, Atlantic?

Red Admiral, Vanessa atalanta
Glengarriff Woods
Glengarriff Woods, County Cork
Glengarriff Woods, County Cork
Last week I spotted the one above in Glengarriff Woods Nature Reserve, and tthe two Butterflies in these pictures I spotted over last weekend, down here at home. A new yapper (small dog) at one of neighbours, kept jumping up at my legs and its yapping/running about meant that the Butterflies got really 'jumpy' and scared of the ***beast. It runs about as a young pup, and I suspect it is. I just get very annoyed with it, everytime I get out of my gate and it starts running in front of my front wheels. I cannot jump onto a road from the path, or the other way around, to avoid this noisemaker,
, County Cork
County Cork
County Cork