This year we have had a very cold April. In the last few days, including today, there have been bright sunny periods marred by a cold wind from the north bringing hailstones, and even some goose-feather snow briefly. However, the trees have still managed to blossom albeit many are later than usual. Pear trees are especially handsome this year:
The beautiful Tawny Mining Bees are already disappearing, their time is up for the year and we will have to wait until next spring to see them again, such is life in the natural world. However, there are many, many species of bee, and some have yet to appear. For anyone with an interest in bees I have to bring to your attention a completely fantastic and ground-breaking book published shortly before last Christmas:
The author, Steven Falk, is the ‘go-to-guy’ when it comes to the identification of many insect species in Europe, and in the past he has painstakingly illustrated his own books, but in this case has collaborated with the distinguised artist Richard Lewington and many photographers to produce a massive tome about every known bee species in the British Isles (the British Isles is the geographical term for the islands of Great Britain, Ireland and the Isle of Man, and the tens of thousands of smaller islands found in their archipelago and should not be confused with the political term United Kingdom, which refers to the lands of England, Wales and Scotland on the island of Great Britain, and six north-eastern counties of the 32 counties found on the island of Ireland which comprise Northern Ireland).
Steven Falk is a very nice guy and he has worked for years on his studies, producing this fantastic book. The illustration by Richard Lewington are incredibly detailed, and whether you are a novice or expert you will want to own this book. I have only had it a short time and have already expanded my knowledge to a huge degree.
Anyhow, butterflies have now also begun to appear and here is one of my favourites looking its best, the Peacock, Nymphalis io, which is the butterfly species Americans want to see when they visit Europe, and who could blame them:
And I am glad to say the lovely Green-veined White butterflies are also flying about the Wicklow countryside in the last few weeks. The ‘green veins’ in the undersides of their wings are perfect camouflage when they are at rest. If you don’t believe me then tell me if you can see the Green-veined White in this photo:
Finally, and perhaps unusually, I would like to dedicate this post to my uncle, Larry Lynch, who passed away unexpectedly after a short illness on Thursday afternoon. He knew how to live well and how to take each day as he found it, and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.