Wildlife on the move and more tales of Ireland
ONE of my long time readers, Tony Bryan from Marple way, has just sent me a fascinating email:
“I regularly read your column and thought you might be interested in the following: I live on four acres fairly close to the A626 and I am sending you pics of a mink my dog caught in a wild pond on my land last year.
“I’ll spare you the pictures but the little beggars can be found the length and breadth of the country now and they have even made it to many of the Scottish Islands as they are obviously very good swimmers.
“Of course many of the islands are a stone’s throw from each other which makes it fairly easy for the marauding, eat anything musteloids, to swim across.”
Tony had two questions: ‘Today I found two froglets swimming in my dog’s outside water-bowl, it seems the wrong time of year?’
Depending on when the spawn was laid, froglets will leave the pond between June and September, so early October is not that unusual during the reasonably mild weather we have been having.
They leave the water en-masse and for a couple of days the garden will be alive with tiny amphibians.
They quickly disperse into surrounding areas and may not return to the pond until they’re old enough to breed themselves (two to three years later).
‘What do you know about hedgehog conservation efforts locally?’
I know there are many people in the circulation area of this newspaper that are passionate about the care and conservation of hedgehogs and The British Hedgehog Preservation Society can give you all the help you need at www. britishhedgehogs.org.uk.
Tony’s parting shot played to my strengths: ‘Keep up the Irish stories please; been all round Ireland, love it.
‘I’d like to know a little more about Kinvara, as your band and Glossop Rugby Club seem to be there all the time!’
Oh, okay then, says I with my arm firmly twisted up my back, so here is a few words on a typical weekend in Kinvara, twinned with Glossop.
The first morning in Kinvara was misty, the sea calm and Dunguaire Castle played hide and seek behind the foggy-curtains, while this little corner of Galway Bay was crisscrossed by early birds, including mute swans and herons and not forgetting the dark, dark cormorants already diving for fish.
An idyl, little changed for over three hundred years, Kinvara is 14 miles south of Galway itself and easily accessed for a weekend from the UK, by ferry and car, or a 60-minute flight from Manchester to Shannon and a further hour by hire-car.
As you sit on the quayside, it is possible to pick up the audible sighs of relaxation as new visitors arrive and shake off their daily cares, the only mild vexation, where to eat first.
As veterans of many trips to Kinvara, our party of nine has a little tradition which readers may like to try, let’s call it, an initiation into the West and, whichever time of day you arrive, the following itinerary will save you time.
The Pier Head Bar and Restaurant is ideally placed on the Quay and owner, Michael Burke, knows the drill.
Half a dozen oysters, soda bread and butter and, of course, a pint of Guinness; throw in the Atlantic view, fresh air and good company and you are ready to begin. Guinness on the right, oysters in front of you, soda bread and butter to your left.
In the following order, pick up an oyster and either swallow whole or take a cheeky chew of the bi-valve on the way down, a taste of the bread and conclude the first stage with a large gulp of Arthur’s finest drop. Simply savour and repeat at your leisure.
Time really does stand still in the west of Ireland and you can be pleasantly delayed for half an hour by just asking someone for directions, but with only a weekend to go at, you need to be well organised to make the most of the days.
And while we are at it, let’s dispense with the notion that it rains all the time in Ireland; admittedly it can rain, but it is often at night and how else would you get 40 shades of green?
●●Kinvara at night