Damien Enright

Beautiful demoiselles du Bandon River

SEPTEMBER 27 brought the advent of butterflies, the first fall or hatch we’ve seen this butterfly-less summer. 


Midnight perambulations of woodlice and snake millipedes

Last Monday, as I left the house for a late night walk, a hundred or more woodlice were climbing the walls outside my front door. 

Photographed in Kerry, is this the rare sea aster mining bee? Or the yellow leggedmining bee? Neither are recorded in Ireland. Here, many males in a mating frenzycluster around a single female. Picture: Damien Enright

Buzzing with excitement after unusual-looking species

Is it possible that your correspondent has come across a colony of mining bees of a species hitherto foreign to our shores? Unlikely!


Blasket Islands provide evidence of trouble in paradise

Just beyond the breaking surf at the White Strand on the Great Blasket island, seals were standing up in the water to get a better look at us humans. 


Octopi working with tools while Homo sapiens still primitive

OCTOPUSES, as I wrote in my August 24 column, are highly intelligent and learn quickly.


Wasp’s nest provides a sting in the tale as summer ends

The most outstanding feature of this Irish summer — coming to an ‘official’ end this very day — has been the lack of winged insects.

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.

This story is enriched with multi-media content


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.