Great spotted woodpecker: well established on east coast of Ireland. Illustration: Michael Viney

The hawthorn outside my workroom window tries hard to be a tree. But generations of gales from the sea have stunted and tangled it, so that most of th(...)

Tully: my drawing may exaggerate the bungalows across the bay although the winter sun catches enough gables to speak of great change. Illustration: Michael Viney

Not every man can use binoculars to gaze into the past. Looking out to north Connemara across the latest stormy sea, I meet the shadowy bulk of Tully (...)

Wetlands: a home for wildlife, including newts. Illustration: Michael Viney

Whatever sun there is glints on shards of mirror in the shore’s sandy grassland. We are lucky to live on a hillside, looking down on silvery, wind-shi(...)

Nephrops prawn: more than 80 per cent of them collected in the Clyde firth in Scotland and surrounding sea lochs had eaten plastic, including monofilament line and fragments of plastic bags. Illustration: Michael Viney Nephrops prawn: more than 80 per cent of them collected in the Clyde firth in Scotland and surrounding sea lochs had eaten plastic, including monofilament line and fragments of plastic bags. Illustration: Michael Viney

It’s a good 15 years since I first took note of nurdles – a nonsense name for an insidious substance. Feather-light, translucent beads of polypropylen(...)

Claws for concern: marine life is vulnerable to trawling. Illustration: Michael Viney

No matter how long you’ve left the town where you grew up, any printed mention of its name leaps off the page. An announcement of 23 new marine conser(...)

Syn-bio fun: fluorescent pet fish. Illustration: Michael Viney

Browsing on the multitude of entries for the recent BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition and noting, with pleasure, their many explorations (...)

Swan song: could the whoopers desert Ireland too? Illustration: Michael Viney

Between the worst of the storms a score of whooper swans left the shelter of their lake beneath the land cliff and let the wind lift them north along(...)

Allotments: a big part of the Galway food scene. Illustration: Michael Viney

If I were a young man, hungry for the buzz of urban living but not the indifference of a big and boundless city, a student spell in Galway and then a (...)

Protected: lampreys live in the lower Shannon. Illustration: Michael Viney

Sixty or so years ago, after the Shannon had flooded again, the government borrowed Col Louis Ernest Rydell from the US army cCorps of Army Eengineers(...)

Autumn crocus: the rare – and toxic – Irish wild flower. Illustration: Michael Viney

A conifer tang from the tree in the corner, and the sweet lure of chocolate and tangerines are among the comforting aromas of Christmas, with bracing (...)