One of the most appealing things about nature is that you never really know what to expect. Every time you venture outdoors there’s a sense of heightened anticipation as you wonder what you might encounter.
In Ireland at least that sense of the unknown tends to include the weather. This morning, for example, it was snowing. Snow… and it’s nearly April. Nuts! But the cold temperatures won’t last and spring is already well on the way.
How can I be so sure? Well, I was lucky enough to spend last weekend in Lisbon… where spring has well and truly sprung. While ostensibly a “city break” there was a fair bit of opportunistic wildlife-watching going on. It was a delight to see wild flowers abloom, and hear the constant hum of bees as they moved busily from flower to flower. Over the city skyline flocks of screaming swifts sliced through clouds of small insects, joined as the light started to fade by assorted bats.
There were spring migrants everywhere… swallows, chiffchaffs, black-caps, willow warblers, the aforementioned swifts… and terns! That’s great news… because some of them — or at least their brethren — are no doubt Ireland bound as I type this.
So, while it may not feel like spring just yet, the new season is officially on the way.
Which is great news… because here at IWHQ we’re busy preparing for a fantastic weekend of wildlife watching on Ireland’s south coast in April — and there’s still space for you to join us.
Our inaugural Discover Wildlife Weekend takes place from 12-14 April, and it promises to be a great weekend.
While we can’t guarantee any particular species, the West Cork region hosts some fantastic wildlife in spring, and always has the potential to throw up a few surprises.
Last week, for example, a humpback whale turned up unexpectedly off the West Cork coast, and there’s always a chance of hooking up with whales, dolphins, seals and other marine wildlife — like the regular spring influx of basking sharks — during the weekend. Meanwhile, both kingfishers and otter are seen regularly just across the road from the Celtic Ross Hotel, where we’ll be based for the weekend, and there’s plenty of wader and wildfowl activity on the adjacent estuary.