Badger deaths total 1,990 to date, heaviest on the Dublin commuter belt in Leinster, and in Co Clare and west Cork. Drawing: Michael Viney

Michael Viney: Toll of human traffic casualties is dismaying enough, but annual toll on wildlife is also extraordinary

 Blackface make the most of rough upland herbage, with a coarse thatch of fleece that’s proof against wind and rain. Illustration: Michael Viney

Another Life: Plans to ‘enhance’ breed for a sustainable role on western farmlands

Ireland’s original ‘Scots’ pines were thought to have become extinct about AD 400. The variety above at Doolough, Co Mayo. Painting by Michael Viney

Recalling ‘a loved one’ has found a place in the urge to plant for sound ecological good

Preparing eels caught in Lough Neagh. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Michael Viney: Brexit and power stations are threats to Irish population hit by major decline

Wild Nephin. Illustration: Michael Viney

Michael Viney visits Nephin with Sean Lysaght, Connemara with Eamon Grennan

Mousetail Fern. Illustration: Michael Vinety

Co Kerry is notable for exotic species escaped into the wild from ‘big house gardens’

Coastal lake in Connemara. Illustration: Michael Viney

The Hidden Lakes of Connemara offers ‘a tribute to a fascinating landscape’

White blackbird. Illustration: Michael Viney

Blackbirds topped the list of a British ‘abnormal plumage’ survey, at over 40%

Just as dandelions close when raindrops fall, Dara McAnulty says, the bullying at school made him close himself off

Young author and his family live as ‘close as otters’ at the foot of the Mourne Mountains

Mola mola: a near-circular disc of a fish with a rather small mouth, the sunfish swims mostly vertically. Illustration: Michael Viney

Michael Viney: Mola mola, with its appetite for jellyfish, are in warmer Irish waters

 Sika like to tear the bark from  young conifers. Illustration: Michael Viney

Climate change has ‘greatly enabled’ a national surge in the range of deer

An elm tree. Drawing: Michael Viney

Michael Viney: Despite the threat of disease, Ireland’s living elms can still surprise

Even the robust oystercatcher had fallen from 109 pairs to 34 on the Inishkeas.

Michael Viney: A new survey brings arresting confirmations of decline

Janthina. Illustration: Michael Viney

The by-the-wind sailor’s sworn foe, the violet sea snail, floats upside-down alongside it

 Great Skua: Illustration Michael Viney

Michael Viney: North Atlantic’s top predator now shares island with 13 other species

A tree planted closer to the house grew into a strong-muscled, shapely candelabra, beautiful in every season. Illustration: Michael Viney

Michael Viney: The wayside ashes of the west stand as defiantly healthy emblems of their kind

Winged ants emerging for take-off. Illustration: Michael Viney

Individual ants are certainly not smart, but their group wisdom may exceed our own

Gannet with fish: Anyone who has watched the birds plunging vertically from the sky to seize mackerel deep beneath the surface must marvel at their anatomy. Illustration: Michael Viney

Michael Viney: Irish numbers have more than doubled since the counts of Operation Seafarer in 1970

Fox with prey: The urban adult is “thin and exhausted” from finding and ferrying food to its cubs. Illustration: Michael Viney

Michael Viney: A predator denning in parks, gardens and wasteland gets mixed responses

Choughs. Illustration: Michael Viney

A beefed-up, independent National Parks and Wildlife Service would be just the ticket

Cocksfoot grass: their hint of purple strong against the light in a sunny meadow

Michael Viney: Wild grasses have loved the mood swings of our climate this year

Puffins visit land only to breed, nesting in burrows and crevices. Illustration by Michael Viney

Another Life: As one of many of the world’s declining seabirds, puffins are now receiving much more necessary and serious attentio(...)

Alice C Tyler presenting the first Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement in 1974

Another Life: A new book on the founders of the Tyler Prize shows their political influence

The spotted flycatcher. Illustration: Michael Viney

Avian science journal Ibis reports ‘great conservation concern’ about the species

Dung beetle. Photograph: iStock.

Another Life: Dairy farmer Bruce Thompson examines impact of worming drug on beetles

 Ridge above Thallabawn.  Illustration: Michael Viney.

Michael Viney: Crumbling hilltop trig pillars’ played key role in the mapping of Ireland

The large and admirable Lumbricus terrestris earthworm, key architect of the structure and fertility of soil.

Antipodean flatworms pose risk to indigenous variety which could have severe knock-on effects

Cuckoo at other bird’s nest: Most cuckoos of both sexes resemble some sort of hawk. Illustration: Michael Viney

Another Life: Some floaters circle territories and sneak the odd ‘extra-pair copulation’

Swinging back the polytunnel door, I wish its leafy occupants a cheery good morning and ask them how they’re doing. Illustration: Michael Viney

Michael Viney: Plant intelligence rests in the ways by which they solve their problems

Goat willow in flower. Illustration: Michael Viney

A Life on Our Planet is a terrifying catalogue of our self-sabotaging transgressions

The narrow entry corridor for grey squirrels at Sutton Cross offered hope for the reds at a crucial balance in their breeding.

Greys carry squirrel-pox virus which is fatal to Ireland’s native reds

House sparrows: their modern decline in most cities of western Europe, in places to virtual extinction, has prompted much research. Illustration: Michael Viney

Another Life: The disappearance of this bird from cities has prompted much research

A Connemara bog. Illustration: Michael Viney

Robinson has followed Mairéad, his wife and collaborator, into the list of Covid-19 fatalities

Supermarkets emptied of eggs, Britons are seeking hens for their back gardens – such a bonanza for the UK’s urban foxes. Illustration: Michael Viney

Will Covid-19 begin a resurgence of the 1970s withdrawal from growth-driven capitalism?

Once a local badger chose to wrench a bunch of leaves and stems from a stand of flowering daffodils.

Greater industry involvement required if bovine TB to be eliminated by 2030 target

Ireland had an estimated 223,000 Irish hares in the winter of 2018/19. Picture: Michael Viney

Michael Viney: Camera traps are now used as a regular part of hare monitoring

Fish in seagrass. Illustration: Michael Viney

Marine life with very specific habitat needs threatened in the face of sweeping change

The lizard shares the Burren’s warmth with an alien but locally naturlised reptile, a legless lizard that most resembles a snake. Picture: Michael Viney

Three terrapins as pets seems a bit ambitious considering their needs

Wind-blown sheep. Illustration: Michael Viney

The list of causes of damage is long, making it hard to know where to start

Grey seals tend to eat fish whole. Illustration: Michael Viney

Few, if any, of Ireland’s mammals have evolved the ability to eat venomous creatures

Golden kelp. Illustration: Michael Viney

Golden kelp is notably bare of other sea life, so there are concerns over its possible impact

Lesser celandines. Credit: Michael Viney

Long-term objective is to see how wildflowers are responding to changes in weather patterns and climate

The skylark is among the species that has been attracted to Feargal Ó Cuinneagáin’s meadows of richly mixed native herbs and wild flower. Drawing by Michael Viney

Time to restore meadows once full of insects and nectar in summer and spires of seeds in winter

Dark Hedges of Stranocum, Co Antrim by Michael Viney

A new report shows no let-up in the loss of wildlife in Northern Ireland

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

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