Tuesday 26 August 2014

Omey Golden Plover

I had this tame juvenile Golden Plover out on Omey Strand last Saturday. Nice to get close views of one as they are normally very timid when in flocks. I wonder how far it's travelled?


Friday 22 August 2014

Inveran Common Dolphins

This mother and calf Common Dolphin were reported to us during the week. They don't look like they are too long dead and may have live stranded before being discovered. The fact that the female and the large calf were only metres from each other may add to this theory. Interestingly the mother had noticeable cuts/marks to the body. I wonder if they were actually inflicted by another dolphin not long before death and may have something to do with the animals stranding? These marks do not appear to from random rocks.

Large calf Common Dolphin

Adult female Common Dolphin
Close-up of the body of the female.
Closer detail of one of the rake-like marks on the female.
Old healed scar on the calf. There didn't appear to be any fresh wounds on this individual.

Tuesday 19 August 2014

Clouded Yellows

I was down by Dog's/Gorteen Bay near Roundstone today and was delighted to come across around five Clouded Yellow butterflies. I can't actually remember definitely seeing any before. They spent most of their time buzzing up and down this area of machair and fixed dunes. Looks like it might be a "Clouded Yellow Year" this year with some already been reported along the South coast this year. They are migrants to these shores coming from as far as North Africa. Stunning looking things.

A few Autumn Lady's Tresses have also started to appear on the machair.
I've been looking unsuccessfully for Irish Lady's Tresses at a few spots on Lough Corrib, Mask and Cullin over the last year three years but have never seen any. Maybe next year?

Clouded Yellow

Clouded Yellow

Clouded Yellow

Male Clouded Yellow

Common Blue

Autumn Lady's Tresses

Sea Holly


Friday 15 August 2014

Weekend in the Burren

I spent last weekend down in the Burren in County Clare at the Annual Recorders event organised by Biodiversity Ireland. The main emphasis was on Bumblebees and Butterflies. While it was a little on the windy side it was thankfully mainly dry. The field trips were all to the Burren National Park and proved very fruitful. Nice selection of butterflies including several Brown Hairstreaks, Silver-washed and Dark Green Fritillaries. An added bonus was seeing two different Burren Green moths which are entirely restricted to the karst landscape of North Clare and South-West Galway. I don't think it's found anywhere at all in the UK but they do range right across mainland Europe.

Another highlight for me were the Shrill Carder bees. This is a species which is also largely restricted to the Burren and only found in odd scattered other areas in Ireland. They were certainly one of the commonest Bumblebee species that we encountered during the weekend. I'll have to keep an eye out for them back up here in Connemara. Another "tick" for me was the Gypsy Cuckoo-bee which was discovered by one of our party. Good numbers of Early Bumblebees around also. This is quite a common and widespread species in Ireland but for some reason I've never come across any in Connemara.

I've also included a few shots of a Red-tailed Cuckoo bee which I found here near Carna today. This is our largest Bumble bee species. As the name suggests it's a parasite of the Red-tailed Bumble bee Bombus lapidarius. The queen enters a lapidarius nest, kills the resident queen and get the workers to rear its young. This particular individual had a very heavy load of parasitic ticks/mites. It had real difficulty in getting airborne, not sure if this was connected to these mites.

Dark Green Fritillary

Brown Hairstreak

Burren Green moth

Shrill Carder Bee Bombus sylvarum

Shrill Carder Bee Bombus sylvarum

Shrill Carder Bee Bombus sylvarum

Shrill Carder Bee Bombus sylvarum

Male Red-tailed Bumble Bee Bombus lapidarius

Male Red-shanked Carder-bee Bombus ruderarius
Early Bumblebee Bombus pratorum
Gypsy Cuckoo-bee Bombus bohemicus
Red-tailed Cuckoo bee Bombus rupestris

Red-tailed Cuckoo bee Bombus rupestris

Red-tailed Cuckoo bee Bombus rupestris

Friday 8 August 2014

More July/August Inverts

Some non-Hoverflies.

Silver-washed Fritillary
Silver-washed Fritillary


Small Copper

Small Copper
Conops quadrifasciatus

Sicus ferrugineus

Add caption

Knot Grass caterpillar

Common Green Grasshopper

Monday 4 August 2014

July/August Hoverflies

That time of year again when things are extremely quiet on the bird front and time to resort to other bits and bobs. Hopefully I've got most of these correctly identified? Thanks to Tom Gittings, Brian Nelson Stuart Dunlop on the Insects/Invertebrates of Ireland Facebook page for their help with some of the trickier ones.
Leucozona lucorum

Platycheirus albimanus

Arctophila superbiens

Sericomyia  silentis

Cheilosia sp.

Didea fasciata

Eristalis tenax

Helophilus pendulus

Meliscaeva cinctella

Rhingia campestris
Ferdinandea cuprea
Eupeodes luniger