Pilot whales: a pod of 13 beached in Co Donegal last month. Illustration: Michael Viney

At one point in the whole distressing affair, so the story goes, a young woman was bringing cups of water from the sea to pour over the skyward eye of(...)

Eye on Nature

In my garden there was a small burrow at the foot of large conifers, which I assumed was the den of visiting foxes. This summer it has been enlarge(...)

Eye on Nature

During the last two years a garrulous flock of sparrows have bullied visiting swallows and martins out of their nests on the eaves of my house. Even w(...)

Shimmering stone: Carrowniskey beach before storms. Illustration: Michael Viney

Much of the recent excess of summer was veiled on this Mayo hillside by days of Atlantic drizzle (not wholly unwelcome; we are a temperate pair). But (...)

Swallows: master and mistress of the garden. Illustration: Michael Viney

We needed a few bright logs from the woodshed to take the bleak look off the cold summer stove – would the swallows mind? They’ve had the shed to them(...)

Eye on Nature

I’m sending you a photo of a black insect I found in the house. It’s 2cm long with orange bands on its back. Is it a bee or a fly? Ann Mc Cague (...)

‘Pantano Romanesco’: gloriously obese and richly flavoured fruits. Illustration: Michael Viney

The first of our home-grown summer tomatoes bursts in the mouth with a revelation of flavour that pushes the months of supermarket lookalikes safely o(...)

Eye on Nature

A flock of starling- or blackbird-sized birds arrived on my lawn with triangular rusty orange patches on top of their heads. What were they? Brig(...)

‘Where the River Shannon Flows’ was a best-seller in 1940. Illustration: Michael Viney

The new logo on our road signs had me puzzled for days. Wavy white lines on blue – what was that about? Narrow, wiggly, bumpy roads? Fair enough. Good(...)

Hummingbird Hawkmoth: visitor from Europe. Illustration: Michael Viney

An oldie’s sortie to the loo at three in the morning confirmed the progress of summer, as a heart-stopping clatter about my head resolved into a big b(...)