With spring on its way, our resident birds getting ready for nesting season, and the prospect of spring migrants just around the corner, this is the perfect time to revisit our popular series of articles on birdwatching for beginners. This series of four articles is a great introduction to birding, spanning everything from getting started, to bird watching equipment, to … [Read more...] about Birdwatching for Beginners Revisited
Birding and Bird Watching in Ireland
Articles, features, blog posts and news items about birding and bird watching in Ireland.
Ireland is a great place for birders... and while we don't have as many resident or breeding species as some of our near neighbours we do have some of the world's most spectacular seabird colonies, great locations around the Atlantic coast for watching migrating seabirds, and huge flocks of overwintering waders and wildfowl.
Not to mention the fact that Ireland is often the first European port of call for rare American vagrants... and with birding as a pastime still in its relative infancy, you're free to enjoy the birds without the crowds you sometimes get at birding hotspots in the UK and other countries.
What do you buy the wildlife enthusiast or nature lover for Christmas? It's a conundrum faced by partners, families and friends every year. You'd think it would be easy... anything to do with wildlife would be perfect, right? But from long years of experience I know that we wildlife enthusiasts can be notoriously difficult to buy for. So here's a little post to help out … [Read more...] about Christmas gift ideas for wildlife and nature enthusiasts
Published in 2007, the first edition of "Finding Birds in Ireland: The Complete Guide" by Eric Dempsey and Michael O'Clery soon became the definitive guide to the best birdwatching locations in Ireland. Intelligently laid out, and impressively comprehensive, this widely praised book set a new benchmark for this type of "where to watch" field guide. You'll find my review of … [Read more...] about Book review: Finding Birds in Ireland: The Complete Guide, 2nd Edition
I'd been afraid to look at the forecast all week. The weather is the bane of anyone organising an outdoor-based activity in Ireland, and the last few weeks had been dreadful. There was no real sense things were going to improve either... but with a Discover Wildlife Weekend planned I simply had to bite the bullet and check. I fired up two different weather apps on the … [Read more...] about Whales and eagles star on wild West Cork weekend
Headlands and coastlines in Kerry, Cork, Waterford and Wexford have been invaded by a rather colourful continental interloper this spring. The striking hoopoe (Upupa epops) is a rare visitor to these shores, with very small numbers (less than 10 birds in total most years) reported in Ireland during spring and autumn as migrating birds stray off course and end up making … [Read more...] about Hoopoe invasion of Ireland’s south coast
A social media storm is brewing surrounding an ill-informed and disturbingly inaccurate radio interview about birds conducted on the Pat Kenny Show on national Irish radio station Newstalk FM yesterday (Wed 14 January). On the show, host Pat Kenny (pictured left) introduced Biochemistry Professor, Luke O'Niell (yes, you read that right -- a professor of biochemistry), about … [Read more...] about Raptors in the firing line on national radio show
We'd been in Australia for a fortnight. While we'd seen some amazing wildlife, including kangaroos, dolphins and some amazing bird life, the closest we'd come to seeing a koala was the cuddly toys at the local souvenir shop. That's hardly surprising -- because its an east coast species that doesn't occur in Western Australia. So imagine my surprise when we stopped off at … [Read more...] about Koalas: the cute and cuddly face of Aussie wildlife (but only when they’re asleep)
When you travel you see amazing things. Things so far removed from your normal everyday experiences that you have to do a double-take and stop in awe. Sometimes they are big things... other times they can be very small. Today's jaw-dropping experience was tiny... and blue... oh so very, very blue. It was a little blue bird which, with that typical Aussie panache for gross … [Read more...] about What a splendid little blue wren!
Like it or not... when you're watching wildlife in Ireland you're inevitably watching the weather. With our Discover Wildlife Weekend looming I'd spent the last week watching the weather forecasts with growing trepidation. Would the weather gremlins play ball? West Cork is a truly spectacular wildlife location, but so much depends on what the weather decides to do on the day. … [Read more...] about A wonderfully wild weekend
Hooded crows are a pretty cranky bunch at this time of year, and don't seem to tolerate much in the way of intrusion on their "patch" by anything remotely perceived as threatening. Raptors and other corvids are given short shrift as the hoodies work in tandem to see them off. This pair, down at The Warren in Rosscarbery, (where our Discover Wildlife Weekend is based in May) … [Read more...] about Raven under the cosh from belligerent hoodies
The dunnock is a small brown bird that is a common, if rather shy visitor to many Irish gardens. Still referred to by many by its old name of hedge sparrow, the dunnock isn't actually related to the sparrows at all. It is the only Irish representative of the accentor family – a group of small ground and scrub dwelling birds that hop around in a characteristically crouched … [Read more...] about Dunnock (Prunella modularis)
For many a budding birder, myself included, gulls can be an absolute nightmare! There's just so much plumage variation across the different year classes, and lots of potential overlap between species in sub-adult gulls that accurate identification can be extremely taxing, and scanning gull roosts in (inevitably) low light in an attempt to pick out something different soon … [Read more...] about Ross’s Gull: this little beauty makes even gulls seem sexy!
Given clear views on the ground adult crow species generally present few ID problems... but throw juveniles into the mix, and birds in flight at distance, and they become surprisingly tricky. There are clues you can use to identify crows accurately even in these situations. In this video the BTO run through the common crow species -- all of which breed here in Ireland, with … [Read more...] about Know your crows — how to identify corvids with the BTO
I was born in London but whenever anyone asks me where I’m from my stock answer is always that I am a black, Afropean, child of the earth and Honorary Irishman. I particularly cherish the ‘Honorary Irishman’ bit of my epithet because I really do feel a close affinity with the Emerald Isle. When I first came into this world my early days were spent in northwest London, initially … [Read more...] about The Urban Birder in Ireland
Ireland's Wildlife has teamed up with premium Czech optics manufacturer Meopta to bring you a series of four articles focussed on Beginning Birdwatching. Launching later this month, the series looks at why we watch birds; the relationship between birds, habitats and seasons in Ireland; bird identification basics and choosing the right birding equipment. It is aimed squarely … [Read more...] about New beginning birding series in association with Meopta Optics
This post is part of the Crossley ID Guide Britain & Ireland Blog Tour -- yesterday the tour was over at Mark Avery's blog here -- tomorrow it moves on to BirdWords... the official site of Dominic Couzens... who's one of the book's authors. You'll find the full tour schedule here. NB. I'll be posting a full review of the guide to the book review section of the site in … [Read more...] about The Birdwatch Ireland Garden Bird Survey: how you can help monitor Ireland’s garden birds
Andrew Power and Peter Cutler produced this fabulous documentary offering insight into the Little Tern breeding colony at Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow, and the ongoing efforts to protect them. Little terns are Ireland's smallest tern species, and one of our rarest breeding seabirds. The colony in Kilkoole is Ireland's largest. For more information check out the excellent Kilcoole … [Read more...] about Kilcoole Little Tern Conservation Project: a video documentary
Over the last five years woodland on Ireland’s east coast has started to reverberate with the drumming of a very welcome blow-in. This feature documenting that recolonisation was first published in the October 2013 edition of Bird Watching magazine in the UK. Ireland is home to some truly fantastic wildlife and offers some outstanding birding opportunities. But for all … [Read more...] about The return of Great Spotted Woodpeckers