Posted on March 29, 2020Spring Scenes Today we offer a photo post. All of these photographs were taken in the past week and offer a snapshot of spring. All photos by J.Harding Coltsfoot, an early spring bloom. Driving to the west of Ireland, Irish poet Eavan Boland describes her car journey passing “splashes of Coltsfoot”. Primrose, a common sight on natural, unsprayed hedge-banks. While not especially rich in nectar, it does feed butterflies. The Brimstone has been observed feeding on this flower. Common Dandelion is one of the most important wildflowers for butterflies. The plant is unjustly hated. It is not a threat to health and a large range of bees and butterflies feed on the pollen and nectar while seed-eating songbirds flock to feed on its seed. Every wild garden must have this plant. This Peacock was sunning itself on the towpath of the Royal Canal, Leixlip, County Kildare in the sunshine of last Thursday, March 26th. An early Cowslip flower-it usually blossoms in April. It is closely related to the Primrose and natural hybrids, called False Oxlip is frequent in parts of the Burren, County Clare. The humble Common Dog-violet’s tiny flowers appear in spring and this is the only time when the plant is in any way conspicuous. Small it is, but it is a vital foodplant for three of our fritillary butterflies, including our largest resident butterfly, the Silver-washed Fritillary. For William Wordsworth, the flower was conspicuous and obscure: A violet by a mossy stone/Half hidden from the eye!/Fair as a star, when only one/Is shining in the sky. At last, frogs have laid spawn in my garden pond. Smooth Newts are insatiable feeders on frog tadpoles. I watched one last night attempting to chew through the jelly to eat the eggs. It did not succeed but when the jelly breaks down… A female Smooth Newt from my garden pond. Newts spend most of the year on land, so the terrestrial habitat that surrounds the breeding pond is important. A mature garden with plenty of invertebrates with a place to conceal itself during winter, such as a large, flat stone a large log or a paving slab usually in a cool situation, will help it. Many farmland ponds have been lost but this amphibian is quite happy in a garden pond.