Buzzards on patch… what a buzz!

I’ve always had a soft spot for buzzards. I grew up on the North Wales coast, where buzzards were relatively common. I’d hear their lofty mewling calls as I walked to meet the school bus in the morning, and would watch them soaring overhead in the afternoon as I returned home. They were a mainstay of my […]

Eagles, orchids, seals and exploring nature with children… what’s not to love?

As a heritage specialist with the wonderful Heritage in Schools scheme I get to visit some fabulous schools in some amazing places. One of the most interesting recent visits was to the school on Bere Island off Castletownbere in West Cork. As always it was a privilege to talk to the children (and their teachers) about their […]

Cork school children contribute to international godwit study

Under the banner of Operation Godwit an international team of scientists has been studying the Icelandic black-tailed godwit since the 1990s. Unique combinations of colour rings placed on the birds’ legs on their breeding grounds in Iceland and on their wintering grounds in Western Europe allow individual birds to be identified, and mean that when […]

Ross’s Gull: this little beauty makes even gulls seem sexy!

For many a budding birder, myself included,  gulls can be an absolute nightmare! There’s just so much plumage variation across the different year classes, and lots of potential overlap between species in sub-adult gulls that accurate identification can be extremely taxing, and scanning gull roosts in (inevitably) low light in an attempt to pick out […]

Know your crows — how to identify corvids with the BTO

Given clear views on the ground adult crow species generally present few ID problems… but throw juveniles into the mix, and birds in flight at distance, and they become surprisingly tricky. There are clues you can use to identify crows accurately even in these situations. In this video the BTO run through the common crow […]

The Urban Birder in Ireland

I was born in London but whenever anyone asks me where I’m from my stock answer is always that I am a black, Afropean, child of the earth and Honorary Irishman. I particularly cherish the ‘Honorary Irishman’ bit of my epithet because I really do feel a close affinity with the Emerald Isle. When I […]

New beginning birding series in association with Meopta Optics

Ireland’s Wildlife has teamed up with premium Czech optics manufacturer Meopta to bring you a series of four articles focussed on Beginning Birdwatching. Launching later this month, the series looks at why we watch birds; the relationship between birds, habitats and seasons in Ireland; bird identification basics and choosing the right birding equipment. It is […]

New wildlife walks get you closer to nature

I love wildlife, and I love walking. Best of all I love walking where I can watch wildlife and share what I see with other interested people. It was on one of these wildlife walks on the stunning West Cork coastline (see the photo — no exaggeration) that I had one of those “eureka” moments. […]

Early start for Ireland’s first Lesser Sand Plover (Charadrius mongolus)

Sunday was an exciting day. A late-night exchange on Viber as Saturday drew to a close had me scrambling  to get organised for a very early start the next morning. It was half-past midnight by the time I was ready. I set the alarm for half-past-four, and proceeded to not get any sleep for four […]

Bird Identification: telling black redstart and common redstart apart

The BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) has produced a superb series of bird ID videos to help birders tell commonly confused species apart. The latest instalment in the series tackles the differences between black redstart and the rarer (in Ireland) common redstart. The most likely time to encounter either of these birds in Ireland is […]

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