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.

Fin whales to firecrests — wildlife extremes on the Wild Atlantic Way.

The wildlife of the West Cork coast never fails in its capacity to surprise and delight me. It doesn’t matter how many times I head out, or how much (or indeed how little) I manage to see, there’s always something that stands out. Even on those rare occasions when I don’t see much out of […]

And they’re back! First swallows arrive at IWHQ

Yesterday was a special day. A lone, almost insignificant silhouette transformed the usually hum-drum task of dropping the car in to the garage into a wholly noteworthy enterprise. Elegant, streamlined, forked tail streamers fluttering in the breeze… the profile perched on the telephone wire was unmistakable: my first swallow of 2016. Seeing your first swallow of spring is always a special moment. Something […]

Birdwatching for Beginners Revisited

With spring on its way, our resident birds getting ready for nesting season, and the prospect of  spring migrants just around the corner, this is the perfect time to revisit our popular series of articles on birdwatching for beginners. This series of four articles is a great introduction to birding, spanning everything from getting started, to bird watching equipment, to […]

Christmas gift ideas for wildlife and nature enthusiasts

What do you buy the wildlife enthusiast or nature lover for Christmas? It’s a conundrum faced by partners, families and friends every year. You’d think it would be easy… anything to do with wildlife would be perfect, right? But from long years of experience I know that we wildlife enthusiasts can be notoriously difficult to buy for. […]

Book review: Finding Birds in Ireland: The Complete Guide, 2nd Edition

Published in 2007, the first edition of “Finding Birds in Ireland: The Complete Guide” by Eric Dempsey and Michael O’Clery soon became the definitive guide to the best birdwatching locations in Ireland. Intelligently laid out, and impressively comprehensive, this widely praised book set a new benchmark for this type of “where to watch” field guide. You’ll find my review of the […]

Whales and eagles star on wild West Cork weekend

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 […]

Hoopoe invasion of Ireland’s south coast

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 […]

Raptors in the firing line on national radio show

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 the massive decline […]

Koalas: the cute and cuddly face of Aussie wildlife (but only when they’re asleep)

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 […]

What a splendid little blue wren!

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 […]

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