Damien Enright

Ocean sunfish: Females produce up to 300m eggs at a time.

Sunbathing sunfish mellows in Courtmacsherry

IN THE sporadic appearances of summer last week, anglers and their boats went to sea, and even the ocean sunfish were basking, writes Donal Hickey


Rain-loving heron is a study in patience

IN THESE days of slate-hopping downpours, I sometimes wonder if the heron standing on our balcony is simply brainless or if it revels in the weather. It makes no attempt to find shelter.

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Where have all crabs gone? Surely not to Maine

Great hullabaloo on Courtmacsherry pier the other morning with dozens of boys and girls (and old boys and old girls) hauling onion bags stuffed with fish debris out of the sea and shaking the shore crabs hanging onto them into buckets, fish boxes and barrels.


Summer’s bounty of mackerel proves elusive

MY PAL, a sprightly walker and fisherman who has moved to Spain, got a bit of a land when he flew into Dublin Airport and went to rent a car.


South west summer brings dearth of wildlife

IN THE southwest, the summer has, so far, been indifferent. “Summery In-justice!” I’d call it. While the midlands have their share of sun-blessed days, here, on the holiday coast, when it isn’t raining buckets, a sea mist blots out the sun.

A mute swan and a little egret at home on the tidal waters of the Argideen River at Timoleague, West Cork.

Old friend proves himself to be no egret

Last week, an old friend of mine (not in the sense of seriously elderly, although he’s no stripling), Mr Kevin Hanly, a man with a great eye for the workings of nature and natural things, was abroad alone on his boat in Courtmacsherry Bay in West Cork, (something a seriously old person would not do), fishing for bass, writes Damien Enright


Following in the footsteps of the butter makers in West Cork

The sun comes out, and the butterflies follow. Few and far between, we saw only three on a 6km walk, two small heaths and a solitary speckled wood spiralling about under some beeches.


March of the ducklings is a real education

DUCKLINGS go to college? The sight of a troop of ducklings streaming in line after their mother through the gates of University College Cork had a definite, sentimental charm, but I saw it not so much as an endearing picture of “adorable, fluffy little creatures” seeking knowledge, as a testament to Nature’s unfailing geography of survival.

Oliver O'Brien's photo of aa baby hedgehog, about 10 days old. The white spines typically have a parting down the middle. Brown spines will grown amongst them and, after 15 days the white spines will be hardly visible.

Wildlife in West Cork: blink and you miss it

I arrive back from the Canary Islands, with a brief stop-over in London, and have messages on my telephone which make me wonder if there is more exotic wildlife to be seen in West Cork than in many far-flung places.


You’d be stone mad to journey to the ‘world’s best beach’

A ROCK falling on one’s head is a hazard rarely encountered on Irish roads. However, in the Canary Islands it is a distinct possibility on back roads not yet endowed with EU grants.


Shear beauty, and sheer hell on a desert island at night

AT NIGHT, here on the island of La Gomera in the Canaries, we hear the pardelas — Cory’s Shearwaters — mewling as they cruise high above the lights of the harbour; their calls echoing against the sheer rock face that rises 1,000m directly above the port beach.

Garajonay is a romantic place. It was there that my son and his 'novia', a lovely girl from Bedfordshire, made their marriage bond.

La Gomera’s lush green valleys have risen from the ashes

TO SEE green shoots rise from blackened branches in the vast swathes of forest destroyed by wildfires in La Gomera in the Canary Islands in August 2012 was at once a joy and a reassurance. 


When the rain stops and we find a world transformed

The recurrent showers of recent weeks has had us crouching under bushes for shelter.

A Great Northern Diver in full breeding array, Courtmacsherry Bay. This bird will soon fly to Iceland, Greenland or Canada to breed.  	Picture: Damien Enright

Birds of a feather stay on in Cork until breeding season

THE soldier stones that top the seashore wall for a kilometre or more from the east to the west end of this village are draped with the red stems and tiny purple flowers of ivy-leaved toadflax. If a lady could lift off this lacery of plant life and drape it on her shoulders, she would, it is sure, be wearing a shawl better than any designed by the top couturiers.


Ron’s rapping at the window, summer must be here

IT’S SUMMER again, whatever Met Éireann may say about it beginning in June. 


Lusitania: Path where our ancestors witnessed history 100 years ago

FOR a superb outdoor experience, salted with a bit of history, none will serve better on this Bank Holiday Monday than a coastal walk from picturesque Courtmacsherry village to Coolbawn (aka Blind Strand) on the Seven Heads.

The price of a 'plate' (perhaps 12 sparrow-size blackcaps, warblers, robins,) has gone from €5 to €50.

Traditional Cyprus is not a bird’s best friend

Tourist Information Office birdwatching guides to the Republic of Cyprus and Turkish-Occupied Northern Cyprus (Kibris) are second to none, full of information and beautiful photographs. Each of the two Cypruses want to attract birders, says Damien Enright.


Wriggle out of this, earthworms just about cut the mustard

After a fine dinner at our home last week, our guest (and chef for the evening) was (figuratively) in full flight and turned to the squirmy subject of earthworms.


Time to reward people who protect habitats

Last week, I wrote about the increasing destruction of habitats in marginal areas, where, in the cause of creating more grassland for more cattle to make more beef and now more milk — bedrock is smashed and removed and the land scraped of all the wild and hardy vegetation that has evolved there since the last Ice Age.

On the Sheeps Head in West Cork, of food for the spirit, there is a feast; bedrock breaks thefields and there is more gorse than grazing.

From milking the scenery to milking the marginal land

THE chatter of rock-breakers have long since replaced the hoarse cries of corncrakes in marginal farming areas of Ireland, writes Damien Enright