David Cabot

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 Scoter sea ducks. Illustration: Michael Viney

The far lake behind the shore is “David’s lake”, cradled between the sandy machair and a land cliff dark with ivy. After a long life in ornithology,(...)

Perhaps the most beautiful of all terns, the snow-white seabird sports a jet-black cap and long tail streamers. Photograph: Brian Burke

A conservation success story is confirmed by touch down in Ireland this month. Roseate terns have flown in from West Africa to Europe and most are now(...)

 Roseate terns on Rockabill. Photograph: Alan Betson

Over the next few weeks a conservation success story will touch down in Ireland: roseate terns will fly in from West Africa to Europe to nest on Irela(...)

Little egrets have colonised Ireland, wading in estuaries, marshes and coastal lagoons in almost every county. Drawing: Michael Viney

Even in our early years at Thallabawn, when so much in life was extraordinary, it seemed unlikely there were flamingoes on Corragaun Lough, behind the(...)

Territorial: a raven’s skirmishes can be claw to claw. Illustration: Michael Viney

Living beneath the flight path of ravens commuting from the mountains to the shore has let me eavesdrop on a good few of the 64 calls supposedly ident(...)

Still frozen: the fjord at Klaegbugt, in Germania Land, in northeastern Greenland. Illustration: Michael Viney

Towards the end of February the light is creeping back across the Arctic, and that, at least, won’t have changed. I can also assume, I think, that the(...)

Dinner time: a peregrine with its prey. Illustration: Michael Viney

The wind above the cliffs of Dubhoileán Mór was dishevelling even for a peregrine, tugging so fiercely at the thatch of his wings that the usual trim (...)

Wicklow beaches: nesting terns have to be fenced off. Illustration: Michael Viney

Airy as spindrift, sharp as knives, they flicker beyond the third wave in flashes of white light, plunge-diving for sand eels. Their courtship is an a(...)

 Nephin’s nature: wilderness in a modified landscape. Illustration: Michael Viney

There’s a stretch of road in north Mayo, through Bangor Erris to Mulrany, where the sky opens up to twice its normal size and is lighted, at ti(...)

Feathered flotilla: some of Ireland’s threatened scoters. Illustration: Michael Viney

We have never had a better sense of the timescales of Earth, of the ebb and flow of life across the planet, the rise and fall of species (not l(...)