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
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.
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