Nature is taking advantage of the absence of human activity during lockdown; left unchecked by the hand of man there is an explosion of wildness even in urban areas like Ballina. Drab roadside verges and muddy riverbanks are being transformed into wildflower meadows and the dawn chorus, even in my near-town-centre setting, has never sounded […]
An early morning walk took me into a foggy, mysterious world of curious shapes, faint silhouettes and a monochrome, wintry landscape not yet warmed by the rising sun. In this almost fairytale time just before sunrise, fog adds mystery to the most ordinary edge-of-town landscapes, letting the imagination take flight in the stillness of the […]
My purple fingers gave the game away. The tell-tale signs of my blackberry picking on a sunny afternoon as I slowly feasted my way along the briers fringing a hilly boreen near Ballycastle. September into early October is blackberry picking time in our house when we drive to one of our favourite foraging spots to […]
It’s early July and the tall and elegant foxgloves are in bloom along hedgerows and wild places all over Mayo. Its bright purple, bell-like flowers make the foxglove one of the most imposing and opulent of all our native wildflowers and its medicinal properties are used to treat heart failure. The foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) loves […]
We miss so much that past generations loved – the walk along a quiet country road or boreen. Following the green line as I like to call it – that mossy band of worn grass flecked with cheerful daisies unfolding down the centre of the quiet byway inviting the walker to stroll further into the […]
The weather forecaster said changeable in the west with scattered showers and sunshine. Along Enniscrone promendade and coastal walk it was blowing a rain-laced gale. In a brief break from the squalls, the greyness cleared with a burst of sunlight in a blue sky. A magnificent rainbow appeared – a perfect multicoloured circular arc over […]
Cong Wood is one of Mayo’s temperate rainforests – typical of lush, green and mostly deciduous woodlands found along the wet and mild Atlantic coastal counties of Ireland and the UK. These beautiful native and ancient woodlands are commonly known as Celtic Rainforests where nature abounds.
It’s mid-October and the Brent Geese (light-bellied) have returned to Mayo for the winter from their summer breeding grounds, over 7,000km away in Arctic Canada.
The Purple Sandpipers, perched on the cliff-top at Kilcummin Head, seemed completely unbothered by my presence, even when I edged closer to take a photograph.
I was standing in the middle of the bog that covers Benwee Head on the Children of Lir Loop Walk in one of the most scenic places in Mayo talking to a local man as he put in a late evening shift saving the turf.
My travels took me to Muingdoran last week that isolated headland near Doolough. The meadow grass was high with some fields blanketed by buttercups.
The Oystercatcher is one of our most common waders and can be seen all around the Mayo coastline. Kilcummin, the Moy estuary, and the many beaches of The Mullet peninsula are among my favourite locations in Mayo for watching Oystercacthers.
Nature, at its toughest, is a game of survival for both the hunter and hunted – something I was reminded of on a recent walk along the shores of Lough Conn when I noticed a mink stalking a duck and drake as the pair swam nearby.
May 2017: It’s early May and small groups of Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) have arrived in Mayo for a brief stop-off on their way to their summer breeding grounds in the Arctic.
January 2019 In mid-January 2019, I spotted a ringed Light-bellied Brent Goose in a flock of about 20 foraging for food on the rocky seashore in front of Kilcullen’s Seaweed Baths on Pier Road in Enniscrone. I emailed the photograph to the Irish Brent Goose Research Group in Downpatrick, Co Down, for identification and Graham […]
A significant increase has taken place in red grouse numbers in the Owenduff/Nephin Complex in County Mayo, according to a new report from the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. The results are linked to an improvement in habitat quality following destocking and appropriate grazing management. CAP subsidised stocking of sheep in the west […]