Ireland's wildlife logo.

Wildlife Reviews

The review section features independent reviews of the latest wildlife books, optics, outdoor clothing, gadgets and accessories for the wildlife enthusiast.

Book Review: The Complete Naturalist

The Complete Naturalist Book Review

When I was a youngster I was forever outdoors exploring all the nooks and crannies and marvelling at the wild world that unfolded before my eyes, ears and nose. In the garden, down the woods, at the beach, along the riverbank — there was a never-ending world to explore, literally….

Olivon T650 Spotting Scope Review

Olivon T650 spotting scope review

Pros: Crisp, high resolution views with good colour and contrast throughout most of the 16-48x zoom range. Excellent wide angle eyepiece delivers expansive viewing experience without “tunnel vision” common with budget scopes. Standard 1.25″ astronomy eyepiece mount means compatible with a vast range of third party eyepieces. Cons: Non-ED version reviewed does suffers slightly from some colour….

Book Review: Insects of Ireland

Insects of Ireland -- inside the book

I’ve always had a fascination with minibeasts. As a child I used to lie in the long grass for what seemed hours at a time, watching the drama of the miniature ecosystem unfold in front of me. What I was seeing, quite literally under my nose, was every bit as dynamic,….

Book Review: The Helm Guide to Bird Identification

Warblers: The Helm Guide to Bird Identification

Have you ever struggled to tell your bar-tailed from your black-tailed godwit? How about differentiating your dabbling ducks, or getting to grips with gulls and grebes? No matter how experienced a bird watcher you are, there are always species that will prove tricky, and there will be times (sometimes lots of them) when you’re….

Vanguard Endeavor EDII 8×42 binocular review

Win a pair of top-quality Vanguard binoculars

Pros: Superb build quality, excellent balance and high quality materials give a premium feel. excellent optics deliver a pin sharp, high contrast image right to the edge of the field. View appears almost flat… with very little field curvature. Good close focus performance. Practically no colour fringing (chromatic aberration). Cons: Focus mechanism a little….

Endeavor EDII: Vanguard launches new flagship binocular

Using the Vanguard Endeavor EDII

Vanguard is bolstering its range of high-performance sports optics with a new flagship binocular model. The Vanguard Endeavor EDII is an upgrade to the Chinese manufacturer’s already impressive Endeavor ED. On the face of things the EDII looks very similar to its sibling, but utilises premium optical components that promise to deliver even better….

Book Review: Wildlife Stalker (Days in the life of Filmmaker Bob Landis)

 A few days after our arrival in Yellowstone our wildlife guide for that day stopped his car at a pullout and waved to an ‘elderly’ man sat in his car nearby. The man barely acknowledged our guide as he seemed engrossed on something way off in the distance. ‘That’s Bob….

Book Review: Britain’s Dragonflies

Britain's Dragonflies Book Review

Dragonflies and damselflies are the all-stars of the insect world. Large, mobile, active predators — with the possible exception of cephalopods (octopuses, cuttlefish and squid) the odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) are about as exciting as invertebrates get. In Ireland we have 11 species of damselfly and 22 species of dragonfly, and while identifying some of….

Minox BL 8×44 HD Binocular Review

Pros: a good looking pair of binoculars with excellent build quality and superb optical performance. Very bright, crystal-clear view with plenty of fine detail, wide field of view with large central sweet spot and minimal edge softening. Good colour and contrast. Very good low-light performance. Cons: accessories could be a bit better. Strap and case perhaps….

Book Review: Britain’s Day Flying Moths

Moths are brilliant. Here in Ireland we have only 34 butterfly species — including residents and frequently encountered migrants. We have, to date, more than 1,330 recorded moth species on the island. They come in all sorts of shapes colour and sizes and are a fascinating group of oft-overlooked insects that play a crucial….

Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A Spotting Scope Review

Vanguard Endeavor HD Spotting Scope front view

Pros: Sleek, modern-looking scope that feels solid and well made. Quite compact for an 82mm scope. Very bright, sharp image at 20x magnification that is very good up to about 40x, showing plenty of detail with good colour and contrast. Wide central sweet spot with marginal softening out towards the edge. Dual focus controls….

Book Review: The Wildflowers of Ireland — A Field Guide

Bee Orchid

Plants are the cornerstone of our biodiversity — the foundation on which all of our wildlife depends. They form the vital link between the sun’s energy and almost all life on earth. Yet so often we don’t give them the attention they deserve. Birds, mammals and our larger, more dynamic invertebrates tend to hog….