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How to watch Basking Sharks

A basking shark off the West Cork Coast

“Shark-infested waters” isn’t a term you normally associate with the Irish coastline, yet in late spring and early summer the Irish coast is one of the best places in Europe to see one of the world’s largest sharks. The basking sharks (Cetorhinus maximus) is the largest fish in the North Atlantic, and second….

Purple Heron: an epic end to our spring Discover Wildlife Weekend

Puurple Heron, West Cork, Discover Wildlife Weekend

Wildlife always has the capacity to surprise and delight us. No matter how long you’ve been watching and studying wildlife, how familiar you are with your local patch, you never can tell what you might encounter on an outing. The potential for the unexpected is always there… whether it’s a….

Making the most of Spring Migration

Grasshopper Warbler

Spring migration is an exciting time of year for birding in Ireland. During this relatively brief window from early April until the end of May birds are on the move. There’s a changing of the guard as our winter visitors, like waders, ducks, winter thrushes and the occasional exotic visitor….

Wishing you all a WILD St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick’s Day is, naturally, a special day here in Ireland… and is celebrated by Irish people and people of Irish descent all over the world. And while St. Patrick is perhaps best known for reducing Ireland’s biodiversity (thanks to him we have no snakes in Ireland, after all), let’s….

Whales and eagles star on wild West Cork weekend

White-tailed eagle, West Cork, Ireland

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….

Hoopoe invasion of Ireland’s south coast

Hoopoe invasion of Ireland -- photo by Andrew Malcolm

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….

Ireland’s first basking sharks of 2015 spotted off West Cork

Basking Shark Dursey Island, West Cork

The first reported Irish basking shark sighting of 2015 was logged on Monday 09 March. The sharks, one large and one smaller animal, were spotted from shore by observer Bridget Healy, just off the coast near Ardfield in West Cork. Basking sharks, the second largest fish in the sea after the whale shark, are annual spring….

Watch out for hibernating hedgehogs

Look out for Hedgehogs

This weekend, while out in the garden clearing a build-up of dead leaves and layers of last-season’s montbretia foliage, I uncovered a prickly, but very welcome surprise. A hibernating hedgehog! Its spines flexed involuntarily, once… twice… and then it was still again. I whipped out the smartphone and took one quick photograph (above), before replacing the leaf-litter, tucking….

A wonderfully wild weekend

Common Dolphins

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….

Brimstone Butterfly (Gonepteryx rhamni)

The stunning Brimstone butterfly

The butter-yellow wings of the male brimstone are a true herald of spring, and are credited by some as the inspiration behind the word “butterfly”. These pretty yellow butterflies are quite common, especially around open woodland, and are often the first butterflies to be seen in spring. Brimstones emerge from….

The Calendar Road: April 2014

The Calendar Road April 2014

It’s April 30th, 2014 and Sinéad reflects on the month by remembering some of the day to day details of the warmest month so far this year. Brought to you in association with…

The Calendar Road: March 2014

Spring is in the air, an evening stroll on The Calendar Road, after the clocks have gone forward and the brighter evenings are full of birdsong.  Sinéad talks about the signs of spring on this months podcast. Brought to you in association with…