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(...)

The Fermanagh lakelands, Co Fermanagh

The judges of The Irish Times Best Place to Holiday in Ireland competition have selected an initial longlist of 25 locations. They include tourist-(...)