Warblers, Andy Warhol and the beautiful art of land

Tiny warbler in the fennel

Small flocks of warblers have invaded the herb garden and I've taken a big shine to them. I think this one is a Chiff-chaff but as ever I am open to correction by my twitcher friends. 

This summer there are fewer butterflies and insects but a lot more warblers. My sister was visiting from Sweden and we both remarked on the eery silence and lack of bees buzzing. The buddleia otherwise known as the butterfly bush, has had no takers. Every other year it has been laden with them. 

This week I did a happy dance because one butterfly appeared in the kitchen.

It is probably no coincidence that the land around here has been cleared and fertilised having been a boggy wilderness for years. Although designated as a protected wetland, the local authority did not see any conflict of interest with clearing for "agricultural purposes." This consisted of the removal of a willow wood, a number of acres of boggy wildflower meadows, ditches, hedgerows, and numerous trees. 

Farmers can't be blamed if the relevant authorities fail to educate and monitor how farming should be managed. At this stage our couple of wild acres are an oasis of cover for small animals and birds on this boreen. There are other small farms around here but there won't be any talk of conservation when the younger generations finally inherit them. I suspect instead that all the shiny bulldozers and diggers will be out in force again.

I came across this prophetic wisdom from New York celebrity artist Andy Warhol, and I thought of the vulnerable landscapes of Ireland.

"I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could ever want."


  1. What a shame about the lack of insects, but what a great photo.

  2. I've seen more warblers too, in eastern USA. More or less, this photo is absolutely glorious!

  3. It's interesting...my mom lives in Virginia and she said this year her butterfly bushes are covered with butterflies so they must have all migrated there! Lovely photo! Great perspective knowing the size of fennel! What a darling little bird and the perfect quote!

  4. You've captivated something so captivating. Great photo!

  5. Absolutely stunning image. The little bird you have captured so beautifully reminds me of our red-eyed vireo. It is wonderful you have created an oasis for wildlife. Your land, words, and images are indeed 'beautiful art.' This is, as ever, an inspiring place to visit.

  6. Truly a stunning image.

    I've been catching up with everything you've posted since I took my knitsofacto blogging break and what a treat that's been. I describe myself as part photographer but can only aspire to be half the photographer you are Catherine.

  7. what will they farm, where there once was wetland?
    Such anguish to watch helplessly as it is destroyed!

  8. Catherine I love the Warhol words....it is too bad you are lacking in bees and butterflies...I finally have them back as native plants finally bloomed....but my neighbors are hell bent on spraying them to death. What a gorgeous warbler.

  9. There's been a huge lack of pollinators here and I've heard of people pollinating their vegetables with paint brushes since there aren't enough insects to do it for them. Isn't there some kind of legal repercussions for destroying wetlands in Ireland? Gorgeous photo. Lucky bird to have found your bit of paradise.