A very Merry Christmas to all West Cork Times readers from Ireland’s Wildlife. and wishing you all a wonderful and wildlife-full 2014.
We’ll be bringing you lots more wildlife related content in 2014, and don’t forget to look out for our guided wildlife walks on the West Cork coast, and our fabulous Discover Wildlife Weekends based at the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery. You can find more info on the Ireland’s Wildlife site here.
If you’re struggling for a last minute Christmas gift for a West Cork wildlife lover, remember that our Discover Wildlife Gift Vouchers are delivered by email for you to print at home — so no Christmas post dramas — you can order them right up to Christmas Eve.
Have a wonderful holiday season… I look forward to seeing you all back here in 2014.
All the best,
Ireland has been permanently obscured beneath a swirling, seething mass of rain and wind, and as usual our little patch of the south west coast seems to be getting more than its fair share of the onslaught. Yesterday was a day to stay inside by the fire… watching naff Christmas telly. It was certainly not a day to venture outside looking for wildlife… or so you might think.
I get cabin fever quite quickly if I stay indoors for too long. So between downpours (I defy anybody to call that much water a shower) I ventured outside for a look around. I never risked going beyond the confines of the garden, and frequently had to dive back into the house to avoid a soaking, but nonetheless there was a surprising amount to see despite the inclement weather.
The bird feeders in the garden are very busy at this time of year. I’ve been trying to keep a tally of the different species visiting for the Birdwatch Ireland garden bird survey… but it’s tricky. With up to 20 house sparrows and a similar number of greenfinch and chaffinch coming and going, and blue tits, great tits and coal tits in attendance, along with dunnocks, robins, blackbirds and more, keeping track can be a challenge. more »
My life-changing introduction to West Cork was as a volunteer biologist at Sherkin Island Marine Station way back in 1993. I worked on the rocky shore monitoring project — but the Marine Station conducts studies covering a multitude of disciplines, including plants. Every year a visiting botanist catalogues the plant life of the islands and coastline of Roaringwater bay, developing an enviable baseline dataset of regional plant biodiversity spanning four decades. more »
“Autumn is one of my favourite times of year for watching wildlife,” said Calvin Jones, Founder and Managing Editor of the popular Ireland’s Wildlife website (www.irelandswildlife.com).
AS you read this article a complex arsenal of chemical weapons is being manufactured at sites all over the island of Ireland. When deployed these chemical agents are designed to subdue, inhibit, mutilate, mutate and in some cases even kill!
Say hello to the gardener’s best friend – the bright and beautiful ladybird.
Also known as lady beetles, these species are often found cupped in the palms of children, filling eyes with awe as they try to count the spots on their backs. more »
One of the benefits of being an island nation like Ireland is that you’re never too far from a beach. But how many of us look at what’s going on literally beneath our feet when we hit the Irish coast? Let’s take a closer look at the wildlife of an Irish beach.
Given our national preoccupation with the Irish weather it’s hardly surprising that when a bit of sun has the temerity linger we make the most of it. Warm, sunny periods in late spring, summer and into the autumn see us heading for the beaches in droves – and one of the great things about living on an island is that for most of us the beach isn’t too far away.
But while we’re busy sunning ourselves on the sand the beaches’ permanent residents are going about their daily lives, often quite literally beneath our feet, and for them the beach is anything but a relaxing environment.
“This is a research charter, not a pleasure cruise,” cautioned Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) sightings coordinator, Padraig Whooley as we boarded the boat. “We’re not stopping for anything under forty tonnes!”
As the Holly Joe slipped out of Reen Pier the anticipation on board was palpable. IWDG researchers were joined on board by a National Parks and Wildlife Service Ranger and eight IWDG members who’d managed to bag a place. I was lucky enough to be one of them.
An account of a memorable encounter with grey seals off the West Cork coast in Summer 2010.
We call them natural disasters: events like earthquakes, tsunamis, eruptions, hurricanes… nature’s raw power at its most awe inspiring and terrifying.
Luckily few of us ever experience the full destructive power of nature first hand, but we can all feel its presence.
It’s in the breakers rolling up a stormy beach, or the winter gales that whip our coastline: the relentless energy, the insistent surge.
You can sense it even on the calmest days, a latent potential for violent change that makes the natural world so unpredictable and fascinating.
This was such a day.
On Saturday, January 7th I spotted a clump of frogspawn in a roadside ditch beside a small lake not far from the house.
Frogspawn, in West Cork, laid the first week of January. That’s just nuts!
Common Frogs normally emerge from hibernation around the middle of February — but this year it seems the abnormally mild weather has our amphibian friends stirring from their winter slumber much earlier than usual.