Tag Archives: color

Butterfly Colour

August is actually the best time to see most butterflies in Wicklow. They are quite tolerant of rain so long as they get as much sun, and flowering plants to feed on. The Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii) is the most favoured plant due to its masses of blooms in the form of flower-spikes. And here is a handsome Peacock butterfly feeding on Buddleia:

The Peacock is one of the most easily recognisable butterflies due the large eye-like markings on its wings. markings.
The Peacock is one of the most easily recognisable butterflies due the large eye-like markings on its wings. markings.

Sometimes it can be a little difficult to see how truly beautlful a butterfly is, until you see its colours contrasted against a more solid background, as in the case of this Peacock basking on a plank:

Stunning colours of a quite common buttefly in August. Get out there and look for it on buddeia and you will be rewarded with a definite sighting.
Stunning colours of a quite common buttefly in August. Get out there and look for it on buddeia and you will be rewarded with a definite sighting.

The other big butterfly that is easy to find on buddleia bushes in August is the Red Admiral. Worldwide it is also very common, being found all across Europe and Asia and North America:

The beautiful Red Admiral actually has very little on it compared to other butterflies, yet the red is the bit you'll remember when it flies past.
The beautiful Red Admiral actually has very little on it compared to other butterflies, yet the red is the bit you’ll remember when it flies past.

The Earliest Spring Ever!

Last night we had a severe frost in Wicklow, but it seems the plants have decided, for whatever reason, that spring is here to stay. I have never seen anything quite like it. On New Year’s Day I found Bluebells throwing the leaf-litter off and raising their juicy leaves to the sun.

Bluebell leaves …on New Years Day!

And not only were the daffodils up, but irises had poked their blade-like leaves through the soil, and the crocuses were not only well up above ground but some now have flowers on the verge of opening.

A crocus about to blossom, as I photographed it yesterday.

Okay, so maybe you’re thinking these impetuous plants are mistaken: crocuses can sometimes bloom in the snow, as can primroses, and daffodils often make mistakes. Fair enough arguments, but have you ever seen cherry blossom in January? There are certain October-flowering Cherry trees, but not January ones, and the pair of cherries growing out front of the church (opposite the petrol station) in Newcastle village would seem to me to be the typical spring variety. True, they are in sunny areas, but covered in blossoms and being attended by big Bumble Bees. Incredible!

 

One of the blossoming cherries outside the church on Newcastle main street.
A close-up of the beautiful blossoms, with bees in there somewhere.

According to the weather forecasters we are in for another week of cold frosty nights and mostly clear sunny days, so winter is certainly not done with us yet. But spring is here, whatever the weather. And just to end, keep an eye out for the beautiful feather-duster like, aniseed-scented blooms of the Winter Heliotrope. They are in abundance this year, and they have to be as there is so much competition.

Winter Heliotrope flies the flag for winter, while it still can.

And after a great 2012, with the massive successes of Wicklow boxer Katie Taylor and cross-country runner Fionnuala Britton, it seems the very landscape itself has decided to throw a celebratory party. 2013 is off to an awesome start.

Blue Tit Acrobatics

November is a great month for viewing the foraging behaviour of garden birds because so many leaves have gone from the trees and because the insect population begins to crash as foliage and flowers disappear due to the lower amounts of sunlight and increasing cold. In the video below you can see a Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus) very carefully searching leaves for small insects and other goodies. The footage is very slightly out of focus, so apologies for that.