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, July 25, 2009

Wild Flowers inside the bay.

I have been eagerly awaiting the Sea Asters coming into flower these past months. It is a beautiful flower, growing low at the tidal line inside the wall of Dunmanus bay at the church of Ireland. Last summer, I would spot several Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies, following the wall along bay and road, in the summer of 2008. In fact I saw these species all along my route, everytime again. This summer I've seen a few only. So is this a repeat of the specie's situation in the UK last summer?
If this rain/wind stops one day, I will get back and keepan eye on the Sea Aster. and its visitors.

Sea Aster, Aster tripolium

The Sea Aster is in good company there. Marsh Woundwort, Ox-eye Daisies, Dandelions, and Alexanders among others down there. All these do not mind standing in a little salt water with their feet.

Marsh Woundwort, Stachys palustris

The flowers clambering higher and higher against the wall.

A small tree or bush which had either started inside the wall, on down below, showed a parasite among its branches; the
Sea Bindweed. Calystega soldanella
I love the white stripes which run from edge to the heart of the trumpet. This, to guide the pollinator to find the way.

The Great Willowherb, Epilopium hirsutum
Mind you, this one is growing on the bank and not inside the wall.

And in the hedgerow near my home, I spotted these beautiful Violets. Some of the flowers were white, the others very pale blue, or as my book describes them as pale milky blue.

And back home:
The White Clover, Trifolium repense, keeps on flowering,

The more common Hedge Bindweed, Calystegia sepium.
Although Bindweed is a nasty parasitic plant, strangling others, I have learned a lot this year related to these perennials. Which is their association with Moths. First of all, that the glorious little Plume Moth depends on it and that the Bindweed relies on the Hawkmoths to pollinate. Not that I see any since the flowers have opened! It is mostly Bees which I see enter the flowers. Mind you, with the brief Sun rays and dark clouds recently, getting the flowers pollinated must be a race in itself for the plant, as the flowers do not always get enough light to keep them open during the day.

Zoe Devlin of Wildflowers of Ireland tells us that Bindweed is capable of growing full circle in a mere two hours!
At the moment it is attacking my beautiful Fennel, and the weather does not really let me get outside to rescue it.

And Comon Bird'sfoot Trefoil, Lotus corniculatus

Ringlet Butterfly

Everyone has seen Painted Ladies, those beautiful orange Butterflies with their different shaped wings, this spring. All over the UK, Ireland, but here.

What I do see a lot is the Ringlet Butterfly, with its beautiful pale borderline around the wings. This one landed on the bindweed next to the wall. Luckily my wheels elevate too, raising me and my camera above the nettles, so I was able to take some pictures.
Due to the strong breeze, (there had been a gale warning the day before! ) its wings kept fluttering and it had trouble to stay put. Poor thing. Actually recently I have been surprised to see Butterflies (and Moths) out, attempting to find a way how they can use this breeze to their advantage.
But just imagine that you leave your cocoon behind, open up your new wings, trying to get the feel of them and you are immediately lifted from where you sit, out into the big wide world of airspace! You flap your wings as hard as you can, try to steer but you're just going from left to right against your will. And besides this, you are very very cold!
no wonder I never liked the wind. I do see little Plume Moths drifting by the window now and then. Drifting on the wind, like a seed parachute. And then there is the rain....
No, we the ones who enjoy voyeurism into the world of nature, might keep complaining about the wet, wild and wind which has been this summer's norm of the day, but do we have only the slightest idea of how difficult it is to survive in weather like this, when you are an Insect? You not only need to survive; you also need to pack in loads of other activities. Foraging, searching for a mate, mate, lay eggs, defend yourself from predators, and most of all: Get to recognise these predators before you get eaten.
I have great respect for this minute world of wonder, shape, colour and beauty.

Ringlet Butterfly, Aphantopus hyperantus

A pair of Bluebottle flies,Calliphora+vomitoria

Friday, July 24, 2009

Colour coordinating my Moths

I had not much luck this evening when I was cooking, as I really hurt my little finger at first. Second I was late. I hoped to be to start watching the London Athletic Grand Prix (athletics, don't worry, I haven't gone that mad yet!) from Crystal Palace without moving anxiously between hob, sink and table. The main reason I was late, was not so much my finger, although this slowed me considerably, no it was this beauty, an Early Thorn Moth:
Early Thorn, Selenia dentaria

I suddenly spotted a flapping moth on the floor. First I opened the outside door, then tried luring it into my little carton. No luck. Neither good I fool it to get outside.

It looked familiar and this image flashed through my head
A dead one I found last summer. Having been unable to save that one; I had to get this one outside, somewhere where it could shelter from the strong breeze. And believe me; cooking with only 4 fingers only, catching a Moth on the floor, more than an arm's length below you, is something I cannot advice anyone!
Somehow, i did manage, I think. Well, Moth-wise.

This little Moth was on my window, last week. I have no idea which species it is (yet) I haven't even seen the wings!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Plumes and wings

A week ago, while I was putting the Poplar Hawk Moth on a plant out in the garden, I saw something drift into the door, left open into the kitchen. When glancing something white floating in, or perhaps on the air, I immediately thought it was some kind of seed parachute, like from a Dandelion, because of the way it moved slowly in a way which could have been due to the wind. With many other things occupying my mind, I totally forgot about my little intruder, until I wanted to get a book from the bookcase. There, on top of an old padded envelope, I spotted the little "parachute", and it was soon apparent that it was in fact a flying creature. Francis thought it was a young hopper of some kind, which sounded reasonable, I thought. It was the location of the wings which confused me. The idea of it being a Moth went through the mind for a moment, yet I dismissed it. Even so, it is a great pity that I was unable to spot its beautiful plumes underneath its wings, which give it its name, White Plume Moth, Pterophorus pendtadactyla.

White Plume Moth, Pterophorus pendtadactyla

Love the position of the legs.

Little unknown Micro.

And this little Pug leaves me wondering also; which one is it?

Thanks to Rob's Ramblings, who posted a picture, plus ID, in his post of the 4th of July.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Along the road; Silver Y Moth and Soldier Beetle

Bramble/Blackberries, Rubus fruticosus.

I shot these just

Mute Swan, Cygnus olor.

It seems as if we've been slashed by rain for weeks now; Finding a few dry hours in sequence seems almost impossible, which makes going for a ride harder and harder.
Adult in breeding plumage=Black Headed Gull, Larus ridibundus

A flower which left me pondering: what are these little trumpets?

Hooded Crow, Corvus cornix

I was too occupied with wondering what the little white Flowers were, (I think Common Mouse-ear, Cerastium fontanum.) Therefore, I never spotted the Red Beetle sitting at the bottom of the Evening Primrose. This is unusual for me, because I always look at every leaf, flower or twig to find out who and what is hidden there.
It was a Soldier Beetle, Rhagonycha fulva
Thanks to Rob

Meadowsweet,Filipendula ulmaria

Tufted Vetch, Vicia cracca

Near the cemetery I spotted a brown Moth, which then landed on a leaf among the fading flowers, against the grey stone of the retaining wall. Any suggestions welcome! (centre of picture, 1st horizontal leaf from top)

And here with wings 'flat 'over same leaf.

Evening Primrose.

Purple Spearthistle, Cirsium vulgare

Later, on my way back, I spotted these from the main road. The village festival is a popular annual event, and the kids will be able to have great fun on the sports field. A guy on a huge grass mowing machine kept going up and down, and making sure that not all single blades exceded the limit. I am sure the kids were very happy this weekend.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Poplar Hawk Moth, Laothoe populi

I suddenly spotted this large Moth, underneath the book case, which is perpendicular to the kitchen-door. So I presume that it had flown in when I had opened the door for a couple of hours in late afternoon.
Of course then it seemed that my battery was down, and needed re charging for an hour or so to give it enough juice for this picture. Brendan, who always comes via the back door, and Francis told him to be careful and not to scare 'the Moth'
Was soon clear that Brendan prefers seeing/talking about 'his' Bats in the loft than Moths, which are not his thing, obviously. Well, as soon as I can stay awake long enough at dusk, I'll be down there to photograph those Bats. At the moment I'm way too tired to go and sit outside a Garda station.

My guess is that I had a Poplar Hawk Moth, Laothoe populi in the house.

Although we tried, miss or mister Hawk Moth did not want to get outside. It had the habit of hiding underneath the bookcase.
So first thing this morning, was the manual evicting of the large Moth, identified by now as a Poplar Hawk Moth, Laothoe populi.

It seemed more amiable to crawl onto last week's Irish Times Saturday review. It wasn't easy, to open the door (which opens/closes very difficult, more like a heavy door.) and then operate the joystick of my wheels while holding the newspaper. When I got into trouble and had to lower the paper. Mis(s)ter Hawk Moth decided it was a good moment to slip down onto the dead stems of the Miscanthus: Zebra Grass.
And although I would have preferred to leave it somewhere more secluded, I was not going to try and lure it again. besides, I needed to make a couple of calls, indoors.

During the day, when outside, I took a few pictures of the Hawk on the Miscanthus, to get another view of it. Also, I wanted a more natural photo of the Moth, instead of it hanging onto the bottom shelf.

While I was working later in the day, I spotted a Small Magpie Moth at the door, and half an hour or so, I spotted another on the rolled up blind on the kitchen window.
Smal Magpie Moth, Eurrhypara hortulata

Putting my cup at the sink i spotted something move slightly. It was looking like a tiny piece of paper, like a torn off cigarette paper or so. When trying to pick it up, I ended up with a little Buff Ermine Moth, Spilarctia luteum on the tip of my finger. This did not mind the finger travel treatment, which involves sitting on my finger while I operate joystick, open doors, etcetera. Some Insects/Moths must appreciate the heat of my finger, and this lets them relax perhaps. Onto the two little Small Magpies, Eurrhypara hortulata.

Poplar Hawk Moth, Laothoe populi

And of course we also made some kind of "Other Shot" (this one is from underneath the Moth)