People for Bees
The Irish wildlife trust are running a People for Bees project across the country once more in 2019. With People for Bees we deliver accessible talks on bees, their identification and how to create bee friendly habitats.
This training includes practical outdoor sessions where participants practice field skills like bee identification, bumblebee monitoring and biodiversity record taking. The project is aimed at community groups and members of the public in every province of Ireland.
The Irish Wildlife Trust works closely with the National Biodiversity Data Centre to support the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan and the Bumblebee Monitoring Scheme. With the new skills learnt through our People for Bees programme, participating groups have the knowledge and confidence to start carrying out bee population monitoring and habitat creation in their communities, thus completing two of the objectives of the All Ireland Pollinator Plan – “Making Ireland more pollinator friendly” and “Bee population monitoring”.
All-Ireland Pollinator Plan
In 2015 Ireland, North and South, developed a strategy to address pollinator decline and protect pollination services, the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan.
Sixty-eight governmental and non-governmental organisations agreed a shared Plan that identifies 81 actions to make Ireland pollinator friendly.
You can take part, using the guides and resources provided by the National Biodiversity Data Centre for your garden, school, local community group or council and map those actions on the online mapping system, Actions for Pollinators, to help track the build-up of food and shelter in our landscape.
Sheeps bit – Wild flowers
The Slate Quarry at (Ahenny, Windgap, Co. Kilkenny) is one of our best local locations for wild life and wild flowers – at this time of year. There are three or four old open quarry pits most of which now form small lakes, along with many heaps of slate that remained in place after all the good slate in the area had been removed. In the summer the lakes are used for swimming in.
I often visit and today I captured these blue sheep’s bit flowers at lunch time and they cover most of the tops of the old slate heaps. Natural blue wild flowers are one of natures rarest finds so it was a true pleasure to see such a large amount growing in one place.
Here are some details about these very special little plants ….
Scientific Name: Jasione montana
Irish Name: Duán na gcaorach
Family Group: Campanulaceae
Also known as Sheep’s-bit Scabious, the books say this is a rather variable plant and can easily be mistaken for a composite or a scabious, but theAlso known as Sheep’s-bit Scabious, the books say this is a rather variable plant and can easily be mistaken for a composite or a scabious, but the florets have a 5-toothed calyx and not a pappus. Also the anthers in this plant do not project – unlike those of Devil’s Bit Scabious. I hope this helps. It is a pretty little downy biennial which grows in rocky places, cliffs and heaths up to 40cm high. It has bright blue rounded flowers aggregated in a compact head (15-25mm) which is borne on a slender stem. Its leaves have wavy edges and are hairy, grey-green and short-stalked. The plant is on flower from May to September. This plant is a native and belongs to the family Campanulaceae.
I first identified this flower in Laragh, Co Wicklow in 1976 and photographed it in Glenmalure, Co Wicklow in 2006.
florets have a 5-toothed calyx and not a pappus. Also the anthers in this plant do not project – unlike those of Devil’s Bit Scabious. I hope this helps. It is a pretty little downy biennial which grows in rocky places, cliffs and heaths up to 40cm high. It has bright blue rounded flowers aggregated in a compact head (15-25mm) which is borne on a slender stem. Its leaves have wavy edges and are hairy, grey-green and short-stalked. The plant is on flower from May to September. This plant is a native and belongs to the family Campanulaceae.
I first identified this flower in Laragh, Co Wicklow in 1976 and photographed it in Glenmalure, Co Wicklow in 2006.
If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre
It a pleasure to be into photography at this time of year, nature is in full flight and at her very best.
For many personal reasons I have no been posting regularly here on my blog for the first time in many years so it also a pleasure to be able to make a start again.
Last week I spent as much time as I could taking my much love Nikon and macro lens out into our local woodlands and capturing lots of nature images. Here is just one of the many images I managed to get the time to process so far.
Now that I am starting again to post here, I plan to be very specific this summer with my images and close-up nature images will be one of my main areas.
Family: Pieridae Swainson, 1820
Subfamily: Dismorphiinae Schatz, 1887
Tribe: Leptideini Verity, 1947
Genus: Leptidea Billberg, 1820
Species: sinapis (Linnaeus, 1758)
The Wood White is one of our daintiest butterflies with one of the slowest and delicate flights of all the butterflies. When at rest, the rounded tips of the forewings provide one of the main distinguishing features between this butterfly and other “whites”. Adults always rest with their wings closed. In flight, the male can be distinguished from the female by a black spot at the tip of the forewings that is greatly reduced in the female. This butterfly lives discrete colonies and was only recently separated from the visibly-identical Cryptic Wood White. This local species can be found in central and southern England and also in Ireland on the limestone pavements of Clare and South-east Galway. This species is absent from Scotland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
I added this thank you message to the post blow but feel that I should also post it by itself !
” I just noticed that the number of likes and visited to my Blog (started in 2011) went well over the 350,000 mark while I was away – I would like to say a massive THANK YOU to you all for this, I don’t post here with such figures in mind , I post to share the things a see and capture around me – That said ! Getting this level of interest and support with so many likes has been a massive boost to me and a huge reason to drive me on in 2019 to keeping sharing my images and a love I have of both Art and Photography!
THANK YOU SO MUCH !!!! “
John Rollin Ridge, 1827 – 1867
I look upon the purple hills
That rise in steps to yonder peaks,
And all my soul their silence thrills
And to my heart their beauty speaks.
What now to me the jars of life,
Its petty cares, its harder throes?
The hills are free from toil and strife,
And clasp me in their deep repose.
They soothe the pain within my breast
No power but theirs could ever reach,
They emblem that eternal rest
We cannot compass in our speech.
From far I feel their secret charm—
From far they shed their healing balm,
And lost to sense of grief or harm
I plunge within their pulseless calm.
How full of peace and strength they stand,
Self-poised and conscious of their weight!
We rise with them, that silent band,
Above the wrecks of Time or Fate;
For, mounting from their depths unseen,
Their spirit pierces upward, far,
A soaring pyramid serene,
And lifts us where the angels are.
I would not lose this scene of rest,
Nor shall its dreamy joy depart;
Upon my soul it is imprest,
And pictured in my inmost heart.
A Noiseless Patient Spider – Poem by Walt Whitman
A noiseless, patient spider,
I mark’d, where, on a little promontory, it stood, isolated;
Mark’d how, to explore the vacant, vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself;
Ever unreeling them—ever tirelessly speeding them.
And you, O my Soul, where you stand,
Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing,—seeking the spheres, to connect them;
Till the bridge you will need, be form’d—till the ductile anchor hold;
Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, O my Soul.
A little more detailed this post than my usual Friday posts but I found this articular very interesting, if only for the fact that its amazing just how much there is to be found in our local woodlands and just how much study is being carried ou,t even after so many years to revival the hidden secrets to the life that surrounds us on our daily walks along a forest path …..
Most people know lichens, such as this wolf lichen, as those flaky, light green things that grow on tree bark. You probably learned in school that they’re a mutually beneficial partnership or “symbiosis” between fungi and algae, but many lichens have now been found to include a third partner, a yeast. (Tim Wheeler Photography)
Most people know lichens as those flaky, light green things that grow on tree bark, and learned in school that they’re a mutually beneficial partnership or “symbiosis” between fungi and algae.
But lichen scientists have made the shocking new discovery that many lichens are also made up of a previously undiscovered third partner — a new kind of yeast.
Not only does that potentially alter the fundamental definition of what a lichen is, but it “should change expectations about the diversity and ubiquity” of the organisms that form them, says a new study published Thursday in Science.
University of Montana researcher Toby Spribille samples Bryoria or horsehair lichens. He first started studying lichens 15 years ago in British Columbia. His new study was inspired by a mystery flagged by B.C. lichenologist Trevor Goward. (Christoph Rosche)
The new yeast has apparently gone undetected in lichens for more than a century, despite the fact that scientists all over the world have devoted entire careers to studying lichens closely with microscopes and genetic testing.
That seemed so unlikely that the scientists working on the project had trouble believing it themselves.
“It’s so surprising that you kind of doubt yourself for a long time,” said John McCutcheon, a microbiologist at the University of Montana and a research fellow with the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research who co-authored the new study published today in Science.
“We had to check our data more than 10 times,” recalled Toby Spribille, lead author of the paper. “It seemed to me so unlikely that so many people would have missed that.”
Spribille, a University of Montana botanist who first started studying lichens in British Columbia 15 years ago, was inspired by a mystery flagged by B.C. lichenologist Trevor Goward in a series of essays.
Wila or edible horsehair lichen, also known by the scientific name Bryoria fremontii, is a brown-coloured lichen that was an important traditional food for many First Nations in northwestern North America. (Toby Spribille)
It concerned two lichens that grow in B.C. and Montana and considered separate species for 100 years. One called wila or edible horsehair lichen, also known by the scientific name Bryoria fremontii, is a brown-coloured lichen that was an important traditional food for many First Nations in northwestern North America.
The other, called tortured horsehair lichen or Bryoria tortuosa, is yellow and poisonous. However, a recent genetic analysis showed that they were genetically identical — they were made up of exactly the same species of fungus and the same species of algae.
“There’s something really weird about that,” Spribille said.
Tortured horsehair lichen or Bryoria tortuosa, is yellow and poisonous. However, a recent genetic analysis showed that its fungus species and algae species are genetically identical to those in edible horsehair lichen. (Tim Wheeler)
He brought the problem up with McCutcheon, an expert in new, sophisticated genetic techniques that he typically uses to study insects.
Traditional DNA analysis relies on probes or lures to fish out certain characteristic regions of genetic material, partly based on what scientists expect to find — like calling out names in a dark room to see who’s there, Spribille said.
Newer techniques instead look for all genes that are in the process of being translated into proteins via “messenger” molecules called RNA. Spribille likens the technique to turning on the lights.
McCutcheon says that gives a sense of what an organism is doing at any given time.
To the researchers’ surprise, the RNA they found came not just from the fungus and the alga known to be associated with the lichens, but a mysterious third organism.
Further analysis showed it to be a new kind of yeast, belonging to the taxonomic group Basidiomycota, the same one that button mushrooms belong to. It was not at all related to the yeasts used to brew beer or bake bread. Yeast cells and DNA were extremely common in the yellow, poisonous lichen, but rare in the edible brown lichen.
A fluorescent microscope image shows the location of different cell types in a bryoria lichen, cut at the ends and lengthwise through the middle. Green are the yeasts, blue are the fungi, red are the algae. (Toby Spribille)
After running the experiment enough times to convince themselves the signal wasn’t due to contamination and pinpointing the yeast cells in the outer skin of the lichen, the researchers decided to see whether other lichens from around the world also contained the yeast. Sure enough, many did.
“Each lichen has a specific strain of the yeast,” McCutcheon said. “These form several new fungal families.”
DNA analysis suggests the yeast has been part of lichens for more than 100 million years — since the end of the Early Cretaceous, when dinosaurs like spinosaurus and allosaurus roamed the Earth, and flowering plants first appeared.
Spribille said the discovery “seriously challenges” a lot of assumptions that have been held by lichenologists for a century.
“At the next level up, it gives us insight into how one of the most fascinating symbioses works.”
‘Really major finding’
Goward, whose essay inspired the research, said he was delighted by the discovery.
“It’s all very exciting to me,” he added. “If Toby’s idea proves to be correct, this is the second really major finding that changes how we see these organisms” — after the 1860s discovery that lichens weren’t one organism, but made of two separate organisms, an alga and a fungus.
Irwin Brodo, an emeritus scientist at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa who has devoted himself to the study of lichens for decades, said the discovery was “plausible” but “not proven yet.”
Brodo, who first gave the horsehair lichens the name Bryoria, said he was surprised that the new yeast cells were discovered in a part of the lichen that a lot of lichenologists, including himself, have examined carefully.
“I never saw them,” he said.
But he added that the presence of the yeast might also explain other longstanding mysteries about other lichens that look very different but have been found to be genetically identical.
Today was a typical Autumn day here in country Kilkenny, we have had some mixed weather over the last few days, some sun , some rain. Today was mild but wet, so all the falling leaves were full of rain drops something I just had to capture 🙂