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

On first encounter a generation ago, it seemed such gawky jargon, the coinage of science journals, that I winced at using it here in ordinary, affable(...)

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

The last of the November sun found the islands floating in what looked a lot like silence. There are sea-sounds always, sighing away even in a flat au(...)

A litter of fox cubs emerging from their den in Delgany, Wicklow. Photograph Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Given that we seem to either love them or loathe them, let me start with the declaration that when it comes to foxes, I belong firmly to the first cam(...)

Robin in the polytunnel. Illustration: Michael Viney

For several months, my unfailing companion during visits to the polytunnel has been a robin – always the same one, I think, hopping in at my heels as (...)

Cattle on the Shannon Callows. The landscape is rich in birds and plants but changes in climate and agricultural practices are affecting the landscape. Photograph: Stephen Heery

There doesn’t seem to be anything at all remarkable about the field we are gazing across, though a great river must be flowing somewhere beyond it, si(...)

Ireland, the UK, Belgium, and the Netherlands had the highest percentage of their fishing quotas for 2018 in excess of scientific advice. Photograph: Annie Sakkab/Bloomberg

Ireland is one of the worst EU member states for overfishing in the Atlantic, and is undermining international efforts to restore fish stocks to susta(...)

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

Quicken your tune, O improvise, before The combine and the digger come, Little bridegroom. – Richard Murphy I was reading one of the many online(...)

Starter binocular options at about €120 can greatly enhance your observations. Photograph: ZenShui/Odilon Dimier/Getty Images

Very few people are entirely indifferent to birds, and most of us find them an occasional source of some brief wonder and delight. Even the most comm(...)

The black-legged Kittiwake in classical pose, perched on a coastal cliff face.

The survival of the Kittiwake, a small cliff-nesting species of gull which breeds in colonies around the Irish coast, is globally threatened, accordin(...)

Sweet-pea is a fast-growing annual climber that is ideal for training against a sunny wall or garden fence. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Help! We’ve planted our brand-new garden with lots of long-lived trees, shrubs and perennials that we’ve been assured will look lovely once they grow (...)

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