Hedgerow foraging

Yesterday I was walking what will probably be my last bee and butterfly transect of the year. It has not been a good year for either group. There seems to be much fewer butterflies compared to last year. Still the last couple of days we’ve had lovely autumn sunshine. Much of the transect follows country lanes and the roadside hedgerows are now at their best.

Local hedgerows - note red haws!

Local hedgerows – note red haws!

In Ireland, hedgerows provide an important habitat, particularly as we don’t have much woodland. Hedgerows should be regularly maintained to keep them in good condition but many of our hedgerows are pretty neglected. Still it does not mean that they are not valuable for wildlife. In fact the opposite is true. Ivy is just coming into flower now. This late flowering plant is very important for feeding all sorts of insects late in the season, and many of the ivy plants were humming, mainly with hoverflies.

Flowering ivy

Flowering ivy

At this time of year hedgerows are great for foraging – not just for us but for birds and wild mammals too. The bad summer does seem to be reflected in cropping though. Elderberries aren’t even ripe yet, blackberries are not plentiful and the sloes are small. The rosehips on the other hand seem to have cropped well.

Ash keys appears to be another plant that has cropped well and both old and newer ash trees are dripping with keys.

Haws are turning their vibrant red. They are a really important food source for many of our birds, are seem a particular favourite of blackbirds.

Advertisements

22 thoughts on “Hedgerow foraging

  1. Julie

    Do you report the information collected? We have the Big Butterfly watch here but its earlier in July. The last few days have been good here too and quite a few Butterflies are back in our garden. I have noticed too that Ash trees have really plentiful and beautiful looking keys this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      The cool weather is definite factor but I suspect there are other factors too – that is why it is important to monitor species so we can see (and try and explain) changes

      Like

      Reply
  2. Melissa Shaw-Smith

    Thanks for taking me along with you. I miss those wonderful Irish hedgerows. By coincidence I was thinking about them last night and how my sisters and I used to go foraging with my grandmother at this time of year. Gorgeous photos too.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      It’s a lovely tradition I love to keep alive – I took my two blackberry picking yesterday. I did more picking and they did more eating but at least I know they got lots of goodness inside them!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  3. aranislandgirl

    How timely. I was just thinking to trim the ivy that is bushing out a bit too much for my liking on a stone wall into a flower bed. I will wait until the flowers pass as I noticed it is flowering as you mentioned. Would you suggest a best time for cutting it back?

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      Great and don’t forget to leave the berries (when they form) for the birds – again a great late food for them:)

      Like

      Reply
  4. gaiainaction

    So much enjoyed your photos and write-up about what’s to be found in our hedgerows right now. Yes plenty of ivy here too, not so much hawthorn, and like you say too – hardly no butterflies did I see this summer. We are having some wonderful Indian summer days lately with very mild weather and beautiful golden sunshine. đŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      Here in the west we are having the same but lots of fog too which takes a while to clear. I think the rain is coming back today! Thanks for kind comments.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  5. Jane

    Yes, ivy left till spring then. Hadn’t really realised it had fruit too – such a lack of knowledge. A real concern about the bees & butterflies but heartening about the ash 7 rosehips. What a good recording you make.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  6. JoHanna Massey

    Wonderful post. Hedgerows come and go in popularity here in the United States agro business. I remember years when they tore them out to create larger more ‘efficient’ fields for the more mechanized equipment, ….oh the erosion possibilities.
    I love exploring an old and well inhabited hedgerow.
    Thank you for this delightful post.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

Comments welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s