Dick Warner

Closeup of a flower of a blackthorn, Prunus spinosa blooming

BLACKTHORN(Prunus spinosa)

Dense sprays of blackthorn blossom are lighting up hedgerows around the country at present.

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Blackbirds battle for territory

OVER the past few days my small front lawn has become a disputed territory, something like a miniature Crimea. The rival claimants are two male blackbirds.

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March of the pine martens

The theory that pine martens prey selectively on grey squirrels and that this can lead to native red squirrels recolonising areas that they had been banished from by the greys is fairly well known.

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Nesting controls numbers

THE soil in my garden was saturated for most of the winter but it is just beginning to dry out enough to allow me to prepare the beds to receive the vegetable seedlings sprouting in the greenhouse.

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Time to nest and breed

FOR most of our wildlife, though not quite all of it, spring is the season for mating and breeding.

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Goldcrest

Solution to our Spanish travel ‘case’

WHEN the Swedish genius Carl Linnaeus published the first skimpy edition of Systema Naturae in 1735 he revolutionised the way we look at and describe the natural world.

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An early departure for geese?

ON one of the few calm days we’ve had recently, I was out contemplating my sodden vegetable garden and when I’d be able to prepare the beds for planting. I heard an unmistakable sound. The call of wild geese, which is like a distant pack of hounds in the sky.

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When huge pike ruled our rivers

THIS is the time of year when pike spawn. They usually travel considerable distances to do so, moving into very shallow water. The males and females travel separately, as the females are much larger and have cannibalistic tendencies.

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A lesser Redpoll

Bird’s eye view from my window

THE series of winter storms lashing the country, plus the fact I’ve had a cold, meant much of my recent experience of the outdoors has been confined to looking out at it through the window.

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Bunny oul’ weather

I WENT out to feed the hens the other day and was confronted by two rabbits.

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Nature Table

GOLDFINCH(Carduelis carduelis)

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Raining fish bring life to ponds

I HAVE made a number of garden ponds in my life and, because I’m interested in such things, I’ve always kept a close eye on the plants and animals that colonise them.

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Look who flew into my life

I’M just back after a short break from the Irish winter which took me to Morocco.

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Mistle Thrush

Where does your bird sleep?

WHERE do birds sleep? A small and simple question that somebody asked me the other day. Unfortunately roosting is rather a complicated subject so there isn’t a small and simple answer.

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Time to take down the tree

IF you follow tradition you will take down your Christmas tree today. January 6 is Little Christmas or Women’s Christmas and marks the end of the holiday. This seems to be a uniquely Irish custom. In Norway and Sweden the tradition is to take down the tree on January 13.

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The Arctic would leave you cold

THE outdoors haven’t been pleasant for the past couple of weeks, with Atlantic storms and short, dark days. But there are many places worse off.

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Solving the mistletoe mystery

DOES mistletoe grow in Ireland? A simple question but one with a rather complicated answer.

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Bees create a buzz with landing style

TO LAND a robot airborne device on an uneven surface presents a hugely difficult mathematical problem.

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Autumn feels the heat

I’VE just been checking an oak tree at the bottom of my little wood. It grew from an acorn from the Killarney National Park and I planted it out, as a young sapling, about 25 years ago.

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Wild boar make a comeback

THE way in which food has become a globally traded commodity in recent decades is truly amazing.

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November best for tree planting

NOVEMBER is the best month of the year to plant trees in this country. So, if you’ve any planting ambitions, you need to get to work fairly soon.

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