Musings and photos of wild and everyday life

Posts tagged “Gorse

The Flowers that Bloom in the Spring …

Daffodil against sun in Garden
Crocuses in Hermitage Museum courtyard Amsterdam

Crocuses in Hermitage Museum courtyard Amsterdam

With apologies to Messrs Gilbert & Sullivan, these flowers have everything to do with this case.

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There has been a good showing of wild and garden bulbs such as Crocuses as well as other Spring flowers this year befitting from some sunny spring weather.
They add colour and provide nectar for early flying insects.
But more importantly, they signal an end to the dark cold days.
Snowdrop in Garden

Snowdrop in Garden

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Snowdrops lit up field edges and areas under sleeping bushes, early on.
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Their delicate, fairy-like white heads seemed to dominate fields and gardens.
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The traditional show in Altamount Gardens, Co. Carlow, was brilliant with different varieties and areas where the lawn was almost obscured by white. . See https://cliffsview.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/spring-signs/

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Daffodil against sun in Garden

Daffodil against sun in Garden

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Daffodils (Narcissi), Cyclamen and Tulips followed, reminding us what great value bulbs are, usually recurring each year, often in greater numbers, with little work required.
Tulip inners in Garden

Tulip inners in Garden

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Bluebells in Garden

Bluebells in Garden

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Primrose has had a very good spring and these always cheery flowers are in full bloom.
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So also are Bluebells in many places.
Bluebell woods Muckross rd Killarney

Bluebell woods Muckross rd Killarney

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Here in this colder corner of heaven, they are just starting!
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It always seems to me that blue is not a common colour in nature and so to see woodland carpeted in blue surprises and delights year after year!
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Three-cornered Garlic Allium triquetrum Howth with E coast in distance

Three-cornered Garlic (Allium triquetrum) Howth with East coast in distance

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Many places have large shows of white flowers again, like a revisit of Snowdrops. Ransoms or Wild Garlic (Allium ursinum), related to Chives, are in full growth in many places, especially in woods. A quick break of a leaf delivers the sharp Garlic smell.
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An introduced species of Garlic, Allium triquetrum, gives a similar show in some more open spaces around the country.  It  has more bell-like white flowers on Hydra-like multiple stems.  It also smells of Garlic but not as strong as the more common variety and has narrower leaves.
Wild Pansy Viola tricolor Bull Island

Wild Pansy (Viola tricolor) Bull Island

Pink Rhododendron Flowers Russborough

Pink Rhododendron Flowers Russborough

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Meadowsweet is beginning to add fragrance to country roads and keep an eye out for Wild Pansies which seem too vivid to be growing wild.
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Rhododendron, that most invasive of invasive species, should be blooming shortly.  It probably is already in some parts. Despite its all enveloping and choking nature, the flowers in many colours, are something to see.  If you can forgive them their bullying nature for 1 month, two good places to view them are Deer park in Sutton / Howth and Russborough House, south of Blessington (See .  Howth has the advantage of great views over the coast.
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In the west, many roadsides sport them and they can be a real nuisance to control!

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Gorse at Lower Reservoir Silent Valley Co Down

Gorse at Lower Reservoir Silent Valley Co. Down

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Of course one of the nicest sights at this time of year is Gorse (Ulex) in full bloom.

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Enjoy and may the Furze be with Yew.

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Where to Watch / Walk – Bray Head

Railway line Bray HeadMany people know Bray head as the bit that sticks up beside Bray town in Wicklow.  Those of my age or older will remember the cable car that used to bring people up to a viewing spot on the head.

Access is easy by bus, DART, or car and it is only about 12 miles from Dublin.

If you can wrench yourself from the throngs of people along the sea walk and from the ice creams, slot machines and aquarium, there is a really lovely walk around the sea side of Bray head overlooking the railway line.

The Bray head walk is good any time of the year but looks particulrly well in Summer when the head is a mass of yellow gorse flowers.  Great views out to sea and along the coast are amongst the rewards.

Although it is not a place to get away from people, there are a good variety of birds that can be sen here.  These include most of our Gull species and Rock Pipits like the one below.

Rock Pipit on Gorse bush Bray Head

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Rock Pipits tend to stay around rocky coasts and headlands unlike their cousins the Meadow Pipits that unsurprisingly favour meadows.

They have thin beaks showing they are tuned to insect eating unlike the larks with which they can sometimes be confused, which have thicker beaks better suited to eating seeds.

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It is possible to get good views of a few nesting species without leaving the path.  This Fulmar was happily nesting on an old concrete structure very close to the path.
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Fulmar Bray Head

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Related to Albatrosses, with similar ‘tube’ noses, Fulmars look a little like Gulls but hold their wings very stiff when flying.

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Even easier to see are Cormorants nesting on a rocky outcrop.  There is a chance that you may smell the colony before you see them!

The nests are twigs and seaweed piled up into a mound on the bare rock, with a slight hollow to keep the eggs in.  It is great to see these birds that look to be very close to dinasours in their look and shape.

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In fact they do not have the waterproof oil that ‘modern’ birds use to keep their feathers in flying condition.  That is why Cormorants are often seen near motionless, with their wings outstretched – living washing lines.

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The walk continues on to Greystones to the south and takes about an hour or so, depending on how often you stop to gaze and admire.

If too tired when you get there, the DART can be taken back to bray or all the way to Dublin.

Greystones from Bray Head