Outdoors

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Blue tit on garden bird feeder; ‘You can spot them building their nests as they carry sticks and bits of grass.’ Photograph: Getty

With most families confined to their homes in efforts to curtail the spread of Covid-19, there has arguably never been a better time to observe and ap(...)

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

The song thrush joins me half an hour before dawn, perching on the bare, topmost branch of the hawthorn outside my workroom window. He sings steadily(...)

A sea cucumber.

In mid-March my daughter found this creature while walking on the beach in Salthill, Galway. It was about 3 inches long. – Fran McCormack, Salthill, G(...)

‘Roses’ on a larch: the female cones are very beautiful at this time of year, but often overlooked. Photograph: Paddy Woodworth

The German poet Rilke captured such moments well: “The sap is mounting back from that unseeness Darkly renewing in the common deep Back to the ligh(...)

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

My morning foray to the rain-gauge, measuring tube in hand, is a plod along a well-worn, muddy track in what used to be the lawn. Head bowed to the wi(...)

Frogs in amplexus

In our garden on Howth Head we occasionally have had a red squirrel, but this year a grey has appeared. I wondered if the red squirrels are being disp(...)

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

In an early initiation into sheep-country nightlife, I was awoken on a winter night by a sudden blaze of light beyond the bedroom curtains. Peering ou(...)

Regarded as Ireland’s national tree, oaks live for 200-250 years. Photograph: Getty Images

It’s easy to forget at a time like this that something as ordinary as the annual National Tree Week is taking place. As walking is one of the few acti(...)

Cowslips in Sutton

Spring has come early to Sutton. My neighbour’s clematis montana rubens is already in full bloom, and cowslips are out in good numbers at Red Rock. I’(...)

Fish in seagrass. Illustration: Michael Viney

Swamping the ditches, swelling the streams, brimming the rivers beyond their banks, February’s floods arrived at the sea with a whole new burden of se(...)

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