David Larkin sent photographs of a garden spider (above), one of which he took through the web, showing its underside, which had markings quite different from its topside.

I have two nesting boxes in the garden, yet neither of them has ever been used. I have moved them away from the feeding tray, but still to no avail. (...)

A white swallow at Tacumshin from a photograph by Eric Dempsey. Illustration: Michael Viney

If I were going there this weekend – and I’m sorry I’m not, it’s too far – we would end up taking the road from Wexford to Kilmore Quay and then, a(...)

Blackberries come in many shapes and sizes. Illustration: Michael Viney

The glass tube with which I measure the rain for Met Éireann is kept safely sheathed on the upturned beak of a dolphin’s skull sitting on a bookcase ((...)

Fruit fly: scarce this year

A fruit fly just dropped into my glass of wine, normally there would have been many more. Also scarce or absent this year were bluebottles, black f(...)

A friend found a bicoloured dahlia in her garden. The flower is half red and half pink. What’s going on? Mike Egan Ballivor, Co Meath Bicol(...)

Off course: gales bring migrants within telescope range. Illustration: Michael Viney

It is usually enough for me to write about the weather to have it change utterly by the time the column appears. So it may be right to share a website(...)

On August 28th I watched 189 gannets fly west past Mizen Head in 15 minutes. Sandy Perceval Tubbercurry, Co Sligo They could have come from(...)

Alone: a leveret could just be waiting for mother hare to come and feed it from time to time. Illustration: Michael Viney

When a northerly wind is tucked behind the hill, the stillness on this side is not merely autumnal but also quite eerie, emptying the sky of life righ(...)

Extinction risk: Aphanomyces astaci killed more than 600 crayfish  in a stretch of the River Bruskey in Co Cavan. Illustration: Michael Viney

My trout-angling father-in-law, Seamus, pointed them out to me once from his boat in the shallows of a bay on Lough Mask: miniature mud-coloured lobst(...)

For several weeks I have heard a high- pitched call, like that of a buzzard, near our home. Then the bird flew into our window. It was dazed but fl(...)