Corncrake: important place in literature has romanticised  the bird

Corncrakes get major EU funding despite being of ‘least concern’ on Red List criteria

The shiny black backs that came curving along the waves behind me were those of bottlenose dolphins, out for their own kind of fun. Picture: Michael Viney

As top marine predators, dolphins accumulate the most man-made toxic pollutants

“Without warmth released from the Gulf Stream in the north Atlantic, our winters could be about 5 degrees C colder and the storms could get even fiercer.”

Global warming presents potentially damaging cascades of impacts, new study finds

Question 20: Which alien mammal climbs trees in rural Cork?

Fifty brain teasers on all things natural from sealife to flora and what tofu is made of

‘In my bicycling years, I once took a few weeks to trundle right around Ireland.’

Local communities challenged to make the best of what is a dense weave of waysides

Most of Ireland’s uplands are farmlands and wetlands with “high natural value”.

Study says hill farmers should supplement income by developing recreational activities

If an island is lucky there’s a flock of choughs, the red-billed crows of Ireland’s western seaboard. Illustration: Michael Viney

Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax (so good they named it twice) is one of the rarer birds of western Europe

The otter, Lutra lutra, is now the symbolic animal used by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Illustration: Michael Viney

Mammologists at University College Cork are leading an extensive study of the urban otter

The innocence of early writing about Irish nature gave way to centuries of dramatic change, from druidic worship of the ancient forest to modern, ecological passion and alarm. Picture: Michael Viney

Woven Shades of Green is a ‘a generous treasury of Irish nature poetry and prose’

Rarest of all the Dooaghtry snails is the sand-bowl amber snail or Quickella arenaria

A soft day in late spring finds them copulating everywhere in the dunes

Not until the spread of light bulbs 150 years ago did bright light seriously disrupt the boundaries of night and day. Illustration: Michael Viney

Michael Viney: The nocturnal dazzle of the western world is upsetting the natural order

Robin in the polytunnel. Illustration: Michael Viney

The feeding of so many different species of birds has become ecologically important

A dearg-a-daol. Drawing by Michael Viney

The beetle’s reputation comes from both folklore and its threatening posture

‘With Lorenzo at full tilt or not, its kind seems sure to proliferate as a warming Atlantic draws hurricanes north.’ Picture: Michael Viney

Before double glazing we watched gusts bowing the windows - now we get out candles and Scrabble and enjoy what’s left of the wine

Clare Island cliffs. Illustration: Michael Viney

Clare Island’s increasingly rainy climate offers special rewards to scientific fieldwork

Viney drawing for September 28 - wasp on windfall apple. Illustration: Michael Viney

We may not like then as much as bees, but without wasps, we could be ‘overrun with spiders’

Rare moss at the Allihies mine in west Cork. Illustration: Michael Viney

Digging below the surface of our 58 habitats, it’s clear some are thriving better than others

Cep or penny bun, Boletus edulis. Illustration: Michael Viney

There are old mushroom hunters and bold mushroom hunters but no old, bold ones

 Swan lake – where the gossamer gleamed.

Certain species can use gossamer threads and planet’s electrical field to take flight

 Scoter sea ducks. Illustration: Michael Viney

Latest survey of almost 700 key wetlands offers fascinating insights into the changing world of migrant wildfowl and shorebirds

A honeybee at hollyhock. Photograph: Michael Viney

A swarm of bees is remarkably docile – it’s focused on the queen and not rushing to sting anyone

The  elephant hawkmoth caterpillar. When alarmed, it pulls in the snout and puffs up its eye-spots to look as much like an angry snake as a caterpillar can. Illustration: Michael Viney

Moths and butterflies often highly selective in the plants that feed their caterpillar

The behaviour of raccoons is not that different from that of Ireland’s native pine martens. Illustration: Michael Viney

In Ireland, raccoons join a long list of introduced and invasive mammals

 Last month, a study was published in the journal Science assessing the potential of aiming for a trillion trees on the planet

Forestation a major option for storing carbon but greater coverage could have adverse impacts

Herring: Illustration: Michael Viney

Fishery proving uniquely destructive to the fish’s spawning grounds in the shelving Atlantic bays of Ireland

In reconstructing the loss of the planet’s historic ice, the projections of future impacts on coasts and sea levels is becoming a lot more certain. Illustration: Michael Viney

Conference in Dublin to explore how Quaternary research helps model Earth’s future

Ireland’s native natterjack toad. Illustration: Michael Viney

The common toad – Bufo bufo – may spell competition for Ireland’s native natterjack

‘Roseraie de l’ Hay solicits me with perfume’. Illustration: Michael Viney

The sad rationing of my energies means the garden has been largely left to its own devices

The red-billed, exuberantly yelping chough. Happily our choughs compare well with the bird’s severe decline in western Europe. Illustration: Michael Viney

Livestock parasites are showing increasing resistance to drugs, notably in Ireland’s sheep

Mammals such as foxes and pine martens make an autumn feast of all the blackberries they can reach.

Intriguing ecological answer emerges for the origin and manuring of new and dense thickets

Stoat on dry stone wall. Illustration: Michael Viney

As the climate changes the 400,000km of stone walls in the Irish countryside need care

Ruminant animals such as cattle burp some 40 per cent of greenhouse gases. Illustration: Michael Viney

Researchers have turned to the promise of multi-species grassland

The beaver may never have reached Ireland, but it’s an alien we could well do with. Illustration: Michael Viney

Nuanced rewilding approaches can help but a less piecemeal approach will be required

Emiliania huxleyi, a type of phytoplankton which could prove useful in the fight against climate change. Photograph: Michael Viney

One team of scientists say spraying salt water into the atmosphere could protect Arctic ice

Broad bean flowers. Illustration: Michael Viney

The UN report on nature’s destruction has left humans dumbstruck or indifferent

Old Irish Goats: As the last remaining goats of their kind, the animals warrant protection, not least as an irreplaceable genetic resource for future breeding.  Illustration: Michael Viney

Recognition of their venerable bloodlines has swept them into attention as a rare and authentic Irish breed

The biggest specimens of lion’s mane are in Arctic and north Atlantic waters, and one reason for its abundance off Leinster could be that colder water at the bottom of the western Irish Sea suits successful production from the polyps. Illustration: Michael Viney

The sea around Ireland has a host of gelatinous species - many come in bizarre geometrical shapes and assemblies

Lampreys are creatures of low public profile and, perhaps inevitably, some distaste.

River and sea lampreys differ greatly in size and in the size and pattern of their teeth

Catkins: such is the way spring rolls across Ireland that birches in Cork are fully clothed well in advance of their Antrim siblings. Illustration: Michael Viney

Climate change brings with it timing mismatches that threaten some species’ survival

Mistle thrush song. Drawing: Michael Viney

‘You could argue that blackbird sings the words, whereas mistle thrush speaks them’

Basking shark. Between 1946 and 1997, the total cull from the northeast Atlantic population was more than 100,000 mature individuals, mostly female. Illustration: Michael Viney

Giant creature now an endangered species in northeast Atlantic after a cull that lasted half a century

A  new strategy will give the brown crab greater time for reproduction, and new, larger sizes for conservation have been proposed by fishermen

As large trawlers are restricted, ‘low-impact fishers’ take up a role in the coastal ecosystem

It seems that a policy originating in 1996 has crept into practice under a somewhat dodgy clinical cover. Illustration: Michael Viney

Flowers have been strongly endorsed as boosting wellbeing and speeding up recovery

Hummingbird hawkmoth. Illustration: M Viney

The Uninhabitable Earth a salutary warning for our increasingly threatened times

A storm petrel. Illustration: Michael Viney

The process of surveying the birds on Irish and UK islands is laborious and difficult

Ivy is opportunist, like any climber seeking light, but in no way parasitic. Illustration: Michael Viney

The global threat to the insect world gives the worth of ivied trees new significance

Bumblebee. Illustration: Michael Viney

As threats to bees grow severe, garden design should consider pollinators’ needs

Goldfinches at feeder. Illustration: Michael Viney

Are we sustaining goldfinches at an increasingly artificial level? And does it matter?

The unruly Atlantic. Illustration: Michael Viney

Older Irish people living along the coast have a lower risk of depression

  Allotments with runner beans. Illustration: Michael Viney

What we choose to eat is often now linked to wellbeing of planet as well as ourselves

Phronima. Illustration: Michael Viney

The autumn’s calm seas have delivered phronima ashore with a gentle touch

Mackerel may be in larger numbers outside traditional fishing waters, but are showing signs of starvation

Shoals are moving into northern waters, hitting salmon and seabird populations

Illustration: Michael Viney

Hare density has been found to be 18 times higher in a coursing club’s hunting grounds

Illustration: Michael Viney

As the clouds become more rain-laden, we’ll have to count on blocking highs from Siberia

Illustration: Michael Viney

Do you know your cetaceans from your elasmobranchs? Prove it

The newest choice of botanicals for gin is the seaweeds of the shore, such as the traditional Irish dillisk, carrigeen and sloke. Illustration: Michael Viney

Seaweeds are among the newest botanical options for small-scale gin distillers

Illustration: Michael Viney

New and energetic habitat protection and predator control may give the bird a future

Burnet rose - a flower of the Burren’s ‘unintended garden’. Illustration: Michael Viney

From the definitive Burren book, to a pine marten celebration and a study of the Liffey

Illustration: Michael Viney

The historical threat of the pearl trade has been overtaken by fertiliser pollution and silt

 November sunset: a new report says small families with long-lived members,   contributing well into old age as  workers and caregivers, should be the international goal. Illustration: Michael Viney

Human beings and their livestock now account for 96% of mammals on the planet

Illustration: Michael Viney

Shy males are less devoted to forming a strong pair bond with a single female

Illustration: Michael Viney

We live in a maze for rodent adventurers, lured in by food aromas and warmth

The estimated 13 million rabbits in Ireland cost the economy some €55 million annually. Illustration: Michael Viney

Introduced species now cost the Republic €200 million a year in damage and control

Stranded baby grey seal. Painting: Michael Viney

It’s feared that the western islands could come to be peopled only in brighter months

Illustration: Michael Viney

Farm patterns, ecology and geography may make Ireland a paradise for the pathogen

Ilustration: Michael Viney

A deadly American import is threatening the final extinction of the white-clawed crayfish

Greenland barnacle geese wintering on Inishkea. Illustration: Michael Viney

In a rich roster of species that come to feed or breed are birds of awesome endeavour

East Atlantic bluefin tuna have survived extreme overfishing.

EU extremely unlikely to allow recreational fishing of bluefin tuna, Minister tells anglers

Pike: Illustration: Michael Viney.

Arrival of the alien, red-eyed roach changed fish life in Ireland’s lakes and rivers

It is, after all, the wind that swings sheep the right way in fields.

The magnificent and frightening energy of a gale in full force is something to behold

More than 70 different forms of dandelion have been  recorded so far in Co Dublin alone.

Mechanisms enable common weed to maximise light and direct water to roots

Illustration: Michael Viney

Genetic research on the Kerry slug has found strong links with those in Spain and Portugal

Atlantic rain by Michael Viney

Michael Viney: We need to tap into our groundwater resource

Dearg-a-daol, devil’s coach horse.

Michael Viney: Look out for orange harlequin ladybird – it’s pretty but it’s a pest

Edible crab: Illustration: Michael Viney.

Another Life: The process of physical repair, of growing on, extends to most forms of animal life

Illustration: Michael Viney

Restoring the golden eagle to the west has found the limits to bringing back a carnivore

“Like our neighbours, we once depended wholly on the stream, piped to the house by gravity from one of its higher pools.”

Access to water, and lack of it, shapes ecosystem for humans, flora and fauna alike

“The view from the top balcony can be sublime.” Illustration: Michael Viney

Michael Viney: The cliffs of Ireland are the island’s last wild land, the views enchanting tourists on the Wild Atlantic Way

Upland peat. Illustration: Michael Viney

Drought takes a toll on our peaty peaks – but a follow-up of torrential rain is a landslide risk

Weeping beech: We found a drift of self-sown beech seedlings, a few inches high, and pocketed one for the garden. Illustration: Michael Viney

Another Life: The weeping beech is the largest growing of all hardy weeping trees

For a leatherback turtle, a jellyfish or a plastic bag? Illustration: Michael Viney

Michael Viney: In 1989, decades before David Attenborough’s ‘Blue Planet 11’, I wrote a column for this newspaper on the threat of(...)

The Killarney fern – Trichomanes speciosum – is a filmy fern of finely cut, translucent tracery. Drawing: Michael Viney

Apart from its rarity and ethereal beauty, the botanical fascination of the fern includes a quirk of lifestyle largely peculiar to(...)

Cabbage white: many offspring are hatched by July. Illustration: Michael Viney

The cabbage white butterfly is a multifaceted insect – if only it would keep off my brassicas

A hoverfly at tomato flowers: drawing by Michael  Viney

Stingless, most no bigger than a thumbnail, hoverflies are a largely unsung legion among our insect pollinators

The angel shark has faced quite different threats to leave it ‘critically endangered’. Drawing: Michael Viney

Native to big sandy bays on the west coast it may not survive to breed there any more

For raptors like kestrel (above) and barn owl, the influx of voles and greater white-toothed shrew  offers a change of diet. Illustration: Michael Viney

The hovering kestrel has an ability to track voles on the ground through UV reflections from the urine and faeces the rodents use (...)

Pine marten: the distinctive smell of its scat is often described as like that of Parma violets. Illustration: Michael Viney

Another Life: Michael Viney on the slow return of one of Ireland’s rarest mammals

The lark ascending: the skylark has hoisted countless poets into verse. Illustration: Michael Viney

Another Life: Michael Viney on his awe for a key voice in ‘Dawn Chorus 2018’

Hedgerow blackthorn blossom provide early nectar for pollinating bees. Illustration: Michael Viney

Measuring some 300,000km, their value to biodiversity remains paramount

Bumblebee at broad bean flowers. Illustration: Michael Viney

Michael Viney: Smartphone cameras allow us to get in close, often to a hand’s breadth of the subject

Lophelia pertusa reef. Monitoring changes in reefs is prompting new remote video techniques, like that just pioneered by a science team from UCC. Illustration: Michael Viney

Lophelia pertusa is the great builder of deep-sea reefs, with live coral crests as rich in species as rainforests

Trawler balls at the house at Thallabawn. Illustration: Midhael Viney

Dr Don Cotton has produced a fascinating study of marine debris along the Sligo coast

Field mouse by Michael Viney

Every splurge of energy . . . prompts sitting down for a bit, to contemplate my own, much diminished, kingdom

Curled octopus. Illustration: Michael Viney

Timely publication of ‘Ireland’s Seashore’ (Collins Press, €15) a boon for beachcombers

Snipe: two flew up from the marsh, their long bills numbed from prodding ice at night, to try the softer ground under David Cabot’s window across the lake. Illustration: Michael Viney

Another Life: Michael Viney on tired birds, bitter temperatures and climate chaos

The pygmy shrew: A   York University researcher  was surprised to find that a small sample of our pygmy shrews shared a distinctive genetic lineage with those of Andorra. Drawing: Michael Viney

DNA research has explored the post-glacial sources of Ireland’s mixed bag of mammals

Ancient amber: about one in 1,000 blobs of Cretaceous conifer resin enveloped an insect. Illustration: Michael Viney

Another Life: Michael Viney on a rare find by two young sisters

Pretty penny: our “marine recreation” trips are worth almost €1.7 billion a year. Illustration: Michael Viney

Another Life: Michael Viney on the cash value of Ireland’s coastal ecosystem

Connemara corncrake: Inishbofin, out on my horizon, is now one of the bird’s few strongholds and probably where Richard Murphy first heard its “staunchly nailed iambics”. Illustration: Michael Viney

Another Life: Michael Viney on Richard Murphy’s Connemara life

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