An evening walk on the beach is one of the real high points of Autumn. In this part of West Cork we're spoilt for choice with some stunning beaches within striking distance of the house... but more often than not we pick Long Strand at Castlefreke near Clonakilty for an evening stroll along the strand. You never know what you might see: birds, seals, dolphins, porpoises... … [Read more...] about A stroll along the strand
Prestige Austrian optics manufacturer SWAROVSKI OPTIK has announce a radical new redesign of the spotting scope with its modular ATX / STX modular scope system. The new design incorporates two eyepiece modules (offering a straight or angled wide-angle zoom) and three detachable, interchangeable objective lens section. This radical redesign allows Swarovski to bring its the … [Read more...] about Swarovski Optik announces modular ATX / STX spotting scope
Living and working in the country is often quite tranquil, but this morning the calm was shattered when this male sparrowhawk dropped in for an impromptu visit. Suddenly the background harmony of birdsong was replaced by a cacophony of anxious alarm calls as blackbirds, swallows, house sparrows, chaffinches and tits all screamed their warnings. Trouble had arrived! I glanced … [Read more...] about Sparrowhawk: the “Ronseal” of Irish birds!
The phone beeped, a message flashed across the screen and five minutes later me, my binoculars and my field guide were in the car. A local birder had spotted a red-flanked bluetail in a garden near Galley Head... and that was just a twenty minute drive away. From the end of March to early May birders around Ireland are on tenterhooks. This is spring migration season and … [Read more...] about Incoming!
It was one of those calm spring days where you feel anything is possible. The Atlantic, while not quite flat, had only the tiniest of swells. Gazing out over a vast expanse of blue, a distant haze towards the horizon was the only impediment to otherwise perfect visibility. You got the sense that at any moment the peace could be shattered by... well... anything. Sitting on a … [Read more...] about Anticipation Junkie
The problem with routine, apart from the fact that doing the same thing over and over soon becomes incredibly dull, is that you can’t turn it off! Take waking up at exactly the same time every morning. Most of us do it as a matter of course: we rise to an alarm set to make sure we get the kids up for school or that we get to work on time. There’s no doubt that routines … [Read more...] about Dublin: a Fair City for wildlife
Round ones, square ones, big ones, small ones, wooden ones... even ones made from recycled election posters: nest boxes, just like the birds that use them, come in all shapes and sizes. They’re a great wildlife win-win -- giving birds a safe, secure place to raise their young, and giving us the opportunity to watch all the drama unfold without disturbing them. At this time of … [Read more...] about Giving birds a leg up on the property ladder
SWAROVSKI OPTIK's EL Swarovion range of binoculars represent the pinnacle of optical performance, and are widely acknowledged as being among the best binoculars that birders and wildlife enthusiasts can buy. Now the Austrian manufacturer is introducing a brand new lightweight model to it's flagship Swarovision lineup with the new EL 32 Swarovision. The compact binoculars … [Read more...] about Swarovski announces EL 32 Swarovision binoculars
OK – so we all know that peregrine falcons are awesome predators, and that in a stoop they are the fastest living thing on earth. But just how fast is fast… and what exactly does a stooping peregrine look like up close and personal, in slow motion? One US scientist took a novel approach to finding out. He jumped out of a plane and went into freefall with a lure and a trained … [Read more...] about Skydiving with a peregrine–awesome video from National Geographic
An evening canoe trip on the Shannon recently turned into a phenomenal wildlife encounter of epic proportions for Sophie Windsor Clive and her paddling partner Liberty Smith. The duo witnessed one of the most awe-inspiring sights Ireland’s wildlife has to offer… and caught it on camera. Some of you may have seen this video featured on social media sites, but it is absolutely … [Read more...] about Murmuration: jaw-dropping video of starlings on the wing
Just a bird! That’s why I found myself standing outside in foggy drizzle at daft-o’clock on the morning of Tuesday 27 September. That’s why three of us drove through the misty darkness from West Cork to the far west coast of County Kerry. Just a bird! No garages open – no breakfast rolls to be had – and as last to be picked up I got the back seat. When he’s hunting … [Read more...] about Least Sandpiper: JUST A BIRD!
A few weeks ago an osprey making its way south for the winter decided to stop off for a few days at White’s Marsh near Clonakilty. It’s only 15 minutes up the road and the chance of seeing my first osprey in Ireland was too much to miss. So bright and early one Sunday morning in late August I headed for Clonakilty, and duly bagged me an Irish osprey. Fantastic stuff. There … [Read more...] about Green Sandpiper V Wood Sandpiper: how to tell the difference
I just spotted this shared on the Birdwatch Ireland page on Facebook, and thought that I simply had to share it here. Flocking starlings are amazing enough… but flocking starlings reacting to a peregrine falcon attack… wow! If you don’t already, don’t forget to “Like” Birdwatch Ireland on Facebook and follow @birdwatchie on twitter for great content, bird related discussion … [Read more...] about Peregrine stooping on flock of starlings!
Hot news on the Birdwatch Ireland page on Facebook this afternoon… get your hands on some great value nature and wildlife books from the Birdwatch Ireland Online Store with fantastic reductions on a range of great titles. But hurry… according to the guys at BWI stocks at this price are limited, so head on over now and bag yourself a natural bargain! … [Read more...] about Special Offer Wildlife Books from Birdwatch Ireland
A blue-grey blush along the eastern horizon was the only hint of approaching daylight as I joined a group of game-looking individuals in the darkness. It was 4:30am, and some 35 of us had gathered at the north west corner of Ireland’s first marine nature reserve to witness one of the wonders of the natural world. We were here for the dawn chorus. Except that nobody had told … [Read more...] about West Cork Dawn Chorus 2011
Early morning is a good time for birds… that’s a well known fact. It’s also a well known fact that 4:00am is a sub-optimal time for a 40 year old night owl with a propensity to stay up too late. But come tomorrow morning… that I will be that soldier. My wife thinks I’m mad… and perhaps she’s right… but tomorrow is National Dawn Chorus Day… and I’m off to see what’s happening … [Read more...] about Daft o’ Clock Birding… I must be mad!
I have a soft spot for Little Terns. The salt marsh, sand dunes and beach in Gronant, North Wales, where I grew up, played a huge part in nurturing a growing passion for nature in general and birds in particular when I was young – and little terns played their part. The beach at Gronant, on the mouth of the Dee Estuary, is home to Wales’s only remaining colony of little … [Read more...] about Follow Wicklow Little Tern Colony on new Birdwatch blog
Chiffchaffs and willow warblers have been back in the country for a while now, and are singing their little heads off… which is a good thing… because the song is the most reliable way of telling these two very similar species apart. If you don’t hear them, getting a positive ID on that willow-chaff can be a tricky proposition. Luckily there are some pointers to look out for. … [Read more...] about Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler: Spot the Difference