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Live Encounters Magazine July 2023
Winged Wonders of Ireland’s Bogs & Wetlands, photo feature by Tina Claffey.
This photo feature is best viewed in the pdf.
I love to get ‘lost’ in the bogs, eskers and wetlands of Ireland with my macro lens throughout the seasons. The macro lens allows me to capture what cannot be seen by the naked eye, and capture scenes that defy our sense of reality, glimpses of other miniature worlds that co-exist with us.
I am fascinated by the otherworldly winged creatures that I encounter on my explorations. Long before dinosaurs walked the earth, there were dragonflies in the sky. They were some of the first winged insects to evolve, around 300 million years ago. Back then oxygen levels were much higher, allowing giant dragonflies to evolve, with wingspans like eagles. They are fearsome predators of flying insects like midges, mosquitos and other small bugs. However, most of their lives are lived underwater as nymphs!
All dragonfly and damselfly nymphs have six legs and wing-sheaths and live underwater. They also have a hinged jaw that can shoot out in an instant to catch prey. Many are green or brown, so they are camouflaged from predators. Once nymphs are fully grown, they crawl out of the water and shed one final time, emerging from their ‘exuvia’ and take to the skies.
Our beautiful butterfly species are also spectacular, their wonderful patterned wings with tiny colourful scales like nature’s embroidery. And of course, our wonderful mysterious moths, so many variations from micro to large winged, some species flying by day, and many by night. Their transformations from wondrous caterpillar to moths and butterflies always a joy to observe. Both butterflies and moths are valuable pollinators, supporting the health of this precious ecosystem.
© Tina Claffey
Tina Claffey is an award-winning Irish nature photographer and author of ‘Tapestry of Light-Ireland’s bogs & wetlands as never seen before’ in 2017, and ‘Portal-Otherworldly Wonders of Ireland’s Bogs, Wetlands and Eskers’ in 2022. Her observations and unique perspective through her macro lens of the flora and fauna of the raised bogs and wet woodlands of the Irish midlands are celebrated in her work. She has exhibited in group shows in the US, Botswana, Zambia and has had solo exhibitions throughout Ireland. Her work is part of many art collections, permanent exhibitions, including the permanent collection at Áras an Uachtaráin, home of the Irish President. She has presented her work on many worldwide online platforms including the Wildlife Habitat Council Online Conference in the US and the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) to promote the importance of the Irish bog wilderness. Find out more about Tina’s work and order her new book ‘Portal’ here: https://www.tinaclaffey.com/