On Saturday the 27th May 2017 Stuart Dunlop gave an informative and engaging talk at McGlincheys field studies centre on Pollinators. The event was organised to coincide with Biodiversity week and Stuart left us in no doubt about the importance of bees, hoverflies and wasps in relation to biodiversity. He described the close relationships between plants and the species which fertilise them. We learned about the strategies used by cuckoo bees and cuckoo bumblebees to take over a queens nest and lay their own eggs there. Hoverflies lead a much more honorable lifestyle, they don’t ‘steal’ any pollen and only take the nectar that plants put on offer to entice their pollinating friends. We can all help pollinators to do their essential business by gardening in a wildlife friendly fashion, plant trees and avoid using herbicides.
The group of fourteen headed out for a walk on a cool overcast afternoon and found garden chafers, cinnebar moths and a tiny parasitic wasp which had laid its eggs in a micro moth caterpillar. We also saw a delicate ink cap species of mushroom and Stuart explained the lifecycle of the fungi on devils bit scabious. He also pointed out the difference in colour between germander speedwell that has and has not been fertilised. The weather wasn’t suitable for bees or hoverflies but it didn’t prevent us from seeing lots of other species of interest.
On the following Saturday, the 3th of June, An Taisce organised a walk with Bob Aldwell and Maurice Simms leading the group to see what butterflies were on display. There was a group of 30 for the outing and although they encountered showers, the sun shone at the right time and the butterfly corner, by the ‘mass house’ presented nine species which included, Small Copper, Common Blue, Small Heath, Dingy Skipper, Orange Tip, Speckled Wood, Marsh Fritillary, Large White and Red Admiral.