OIL STRIKE … FROLICKING SQUIRREL … SALMON SPAWNING … CRASHING CASCADE

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If you were up Mangerton Road on November 17 you might have imagined you were witnessing the overflow from a rich oil well. There was oil flowing down the road for much of the mile or so from here to the foot of the mountain.

It was not the emergence of a major oil discovery – just the result of shooting tar and chips into water-logged potholes.

As I was walking down from Mangerton on November 18 I noticed a bushy tail sticking up over the stone ditch/wall. For the following several minutes the red squirrell raced vertically up a Scots Pine trunk. Then horizontally along a branch. Now it jumped from one impossibly thin branch to another.

On Sunday November 22 an idyllic four hours walking along the banks of the Gearhameen River looking for spawning salmon.

Up near Analann Bridge John Murphy pointed out the substantial holes the salmon had just dug out of the gravel river bed with its tail in which to lay her eggs. They were up to half a meter long by half a meter wide by a third of a meter deep.

Genie Tangney said a mink had killed eight of their nine turkeys during the week while his wife Mary was away in Belfast – having warned him to care for her precious birds. Was he worried about her reaction when she came home? “I rang her before she came back and told her ‘You’ll have one less job when you come home’.”

Cormac Foley marvelled at the colour and amount of leaf still on the trees in this area where placenames reflect its having some of the oldest oak in Ireland.*

Then last Saturday three dry hours from here at Gallan Eile through the woods to the Owengarriff river. My canine companions were happy to rest – convenienty framing the river’s rushing cascades.

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Then down river to Torc Waterfall where, as you can see, there was a great flow. At any time from before first light to after last there are people admiring the thundering cascade, particularly when it is in spate. Being here during extended very heavy rain is a special experience.

And all of that is to show that there was no shortage of nature subjects to write about over the past fortnight. I didn’t have photographs. I could give you other excuses. I won’t miss any other week, I promise.

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– Frank Lewis

* Hear the whole story of our search for spawning salmon (www.radiokerry.ie – search under podcasts for Frank Lewis, The Saturday Supplement, November 28) … you can get the programme live every Saturday morning from after the 9 am news to 11 … on 97fm … or worldwide on www.radiokerry.ie.

 

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