The Old Bog Road

The Old Bog Road
My dog and friend on the old bog road

Friday, 30 December 2011

End of the year

This morning as Ben and I were having our walk  it became clear that the small birds were very agitated, on looking round I realised that I could hear wings, on looking up I saw a hawk  hovering just level with the tops of the trees at the side of the lane. It flew off as we approached, I think it was probably a sparrow hawk as they are the most common. It also occurred to me that the only green at present in the hedges are most appropriately holly and ivy both of which offer food and shelter to many birds at this time of year, as well as featuring in the carol of that name. I have identified another fern growing in the ditch it is the male fern. The chestnut tree buds are beginning to look quite sticky and growing well now. The mild winter means that in the garden the first snowdrops will soon be out and some of the daffodils are several inches high. The cyclamen I planted in a trough in the late summer still have flowers on them as do the pansies in with them. I also noticed a couple of geraniums have not died but have green leaves on them still. So much easier than this time last year when every thing was covered in snow and frozen solid. I am so grateful for this mild weather even though it is cloudy, dull and inclined to rain.

Monday, 19 December 2011


Now that the leaves have gone even off the hedges it is possible to see what is growing in the ditches. At present the main plants are the ferns of which there are several different types, the most common being the Harts Tongue fern. I shall have to identify the others as soon as I can. There are some berries left on the hawthorn,  holly  and spindle but most have gone. The birds are really tucking into the peanuts, birdseed and fat balls now as it has been frosty the last week or so. All our resident birds are feeding regularly now, the black birds were the last to return.  The robin is getting cheeky, he came into our back place the other day and started eating the dog food. It is milder tonight and is supposed to stay that way over Christmas, I hope it does I had enough cold last year to last a very long time. I saw the squirrel leaping along the trees at the side of the garden today, I hope it found some food for it's trouble, we may see it again if it stays mild for a while.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

More November

The last couple of days have been dry, yesterday was lovely, clear blue sky and almost no wind, today is cloudy with a cool breeze. It is really looking like winter now as Ben and I go for our walks, there are very few leaves left on the hedges and the berries have almost all been eaten. There were a lot of holly berries a couple of weeks ago but I noticed there are very few left today. I put the first fat balls out in the garden today, it didn't take the birds long to start on them, under an hour in fact. The Gold finches have been in near the house on the dock seed heads, they only come to the bird food when I put out sun flower seeds and bird seed. I like to leave seed heads on things as long as possible so that there is a bit of variety for them to choose from. We seem to be a bit down on blackbird numbers at present but they may be out round the fields still. I hope to see them later in the year, we had five or six last winter. I have added two photos to the blog which I took last winter one of a rook which spent ages trying to get the fat balls off the hook. The second one is a young Sparrow Hawk which visited three days in a row and just sat on the stone trough under where the bird feeders were, it never came again after the third day.

Thursday, 10 November 2011


During the winter I am going to include things of interest in both our garden and the immediate locality as there is less to see on the old bog road now.
It seems that the coming of November is a signal to all the birds that it is time to get into their winter flocks. There are large numbers of the finch family congregating now in the hedges as Ben and I go for our walks. The pigeons are also to be seen in the fields in quite large groups. The river Barrow in Athy has its usual flotilla of swans which always gather at this time of year, it has evidently been a good year for cygnets as there are quite a number of young ones among the flock. I haven't seen the buzzards lately but they are probably somewhere in the locality as they have been mewing round all this year. We have a good range of species of birds visiting the feeders again. they seem to feed at slightly different times of day, for instance great tits, coal tits and blue tits come mid morning, then around mid day we get sparrows, chaffinches and green finches in larger numbers. The robins like the bird table best as do the black birds. The pheasants are rather nervous at present as the shooting season has just begun but quite a number roost in the garden. the red squirrel paid a fleeting visit to the garden again last week which was lovely.

Saturday, 22 October 2011


This last while the weather has been so changeable it is hard to know what season we are in, firstly it was so warm we might have been on the mediterranean, then it turned positively arctic with strong gales and heavy rain. We had a couple of bright sunny days but the wind was cold, now we are back to warmer days but wild and wet again. The gales have all but striped the trees now and they are showing their wonderful skeletal structures. I think that perhaps I like them almost best now as their true strength and beauty can be seen. The time trees are at their very best is spring  when the leaves are just unfurling and you can still see their structure. The ground is still very dry as I walk with Ben round the fields and down  the old bog road, I can still go in my shoes and Ben comes in clean which is a huge bonus at this time of year.

Saturday, 8 October 2011


When I have been walking for the last couple of weeks I have been looking at the fruit ripening on the brambles but every time it rained they got spoiled and also I kept forgetting to take a container with me. Well today I got it right and picked just over a pound of berries off only one hedge. I made them into stewed apple and blackberries when I got in. While I was picking Ben had a wonderful time going in and out through the hedge. He put up a couple of pheasants and ran himself ragged after them. He lay down and slept once he had stopped panting while I did the stewed fruit. It smelled wonderful cooking and tastes just as good.

Thursday, 6 October 2011


It is very windy today with bright sunshine and heavy showers. Ben and I took a chance of a walk between showers. Down the road Ben cocked his ears and then dived through the  nearby gate, almost immediately a bunch of about a dozen young pheasants shot in the air flying in all directions as they went. Ben went chasing round after them. As he came back out of the gate he paddled through a pool of liquid mud. I had to wash his legs before he could go indoors when we got back, but he did enjoy himself.

Monday, 3 October 2011


As I was away for a few days I didn't go on any walks with my dog Ben. However over the last week we have been out every day, the weather has been very variable from pleasant sunshine to torrential rain when we both got soaked. I have seen  evidence of what I felt sure was lots of activity by the red squirrel, in the form of dropped and broken hazel nuts, but until this evening had not caught sight of it. Today just before six o'clock I saw some thing moving out of the corner of my eye , on turning my head I saw the red squirrel leaping down the big scots pine in our front garden. It went onto another conifer and then to a large Euonymus and back from there through the fir tree to the pine trees again. I lost the squirrel then as Ben appeared nosing around the front and I whistled him inside so that he wouldn't chase it. I hope it comes again. We have seen them in the garden at intervals ever since we moved here, but hadn't seen one for several years. We still have some swallows but they are getting ready to fly south now and we will probably loose them as soon as there is a northerly wind to help them on their way. I shall be sorry to see the swallows  go as I love to see them skimming round the trees as Ben and I go for our walks. The conkers have all come down now and the chestnut trees are almost bare after the gales. The heavy rain and humid atmosphere brought out the damp Autumn smell  this morning when we were out walking.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

more red squirrel

This evening when out with Ben and Peggy we picked up some hazel nut shells which had been broken open. I hope this means the red squirrel is still about here. There is plenty for it to eat at present.They are cutting logs in the forestry at the moment and I think the squirrel was frightened out of the wood.

After the gale

The recent gales have brought a lot of the chestnuts ( conkers) down and there are bits of twig and leaves everywhere. Hawthorn berries and rose hips  along with spindle are also liberally sprinkled around the road.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Red Squirrel

Today, as I was on my way into town with my friends, just up the road from where i live, on the old bog road, coming down the road towards us  was what we at first took to be a stoat but turned out to be a young red squirrel when we were close enough to see it clearly. It is now several years since I saw one as near to our house as this one was. There used to be a couple which came regularly to the garden. I hope to see it again.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

The road

The old bog road wanders through mixed farmland until it ends up on the bog. I walk my dog down at least some of it every day. The first part is a metaled road but further on it is not tarred but is a typical old country lane, potholes and all. There are hedges and ditches each side of the road with a large variety of plants growing along its length, from those so small as to be easily missed to the majestic horse chestnuts.The wild life is equally diverse form insects and butterflies to small birds and larger ones such as pigeons and crows. There are also animals such as foxes and hares, along with cattle and horses on the farmland. I hope this gives a taste of some of what may appear on this blog in the coming year, where i hope to record the seasonal changes  as they happen with both flora and fauna.