Dick Warner

Caught in a spider’s web

I WAS cleaning out my greenhouse, because, in a few weeks’ time, I’ll be switching on the heater and germinating the first seeds of the year.

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Gibbons can communicate with each other and have an extensive vocabulary

FOR MOST of history we have been firmly convinced that we are completely different to animals. This has been reinforced by various theologies — in the Christian world it’s expressed by the idea that mankind was created as an image of God.

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Ever wondered what the effects of that 'stretch in the evenings' are? 

We’ve reached that time of year again — people meet and say, often with a touch of anxiety, ‘I think there’s a bit of a stretch in the evenings’.

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A rare bird in Canaries

To escape the cold I migrated south to the Canary Islands for a couple of weeks.

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New species of animals and plants probably won’t destroy our ecosystem

THE arrival of any new species of animal or plant in this country is almost invariably greeted with alarm by the authorities.

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Ginkgo has to be a goer

A friend invited me round for afternoon tea. Actually, that’s not precisely accurate – she really invited me round to admire the new tree she’d planted and we didn’t drink tea, we drank wine. But afternoon tea sounds better, doesn’t it?

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Season for mice and men

I WENT down to the village shop the other day to buy mousetraps but they had sold out.

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Worm divides opinion

It’s the time of year when many gardeners are cleaning out their plots and digging them over. 

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Yes, there is an upside to strong winds 

Hurricane season in the Caribbean is drawing to an end and the death throes of these violent tropical storms have an effect on far away Ireland. 

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I really dig planting new trees

There is no doubt that November is the best month of the year for planting trees in this country.

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Why I’m hooked on perch

I went fishing the other day. The plan was to catch pike by spinning for them from my canoe. I knew there were a lot of smallish pike in the bit of river I was fishing so I used small lures. The result was quite predictable - I caught no pike but quite a few nice perch.

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Nature Table: BIRCH

Birch (Silver Birch is Betula pendula and downy birch is Betula pubescens)

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Nature Table: TEAL

TEAL

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A rose by any other name ...

There is a rhyming riddle from Northern Ireland that goes ...

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Piracy and pillage on high seas

THE marina where I keep my boat is owned by a pair of magpies. At least, they seem convinced they are the proprietors of the harbour and a certain amount of the surrounding land. They hop confidently on and off the boats and jetties searching along the water’s edge for dead fish or anything else edible.

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Migrating birds are baffling

OUR summer migrant birds are starting to leave and our winter visitors will soon be flying in from the north.

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Squirrels away with the birds

I SAW a squirrel the other day. It ran across the road in front of my car. It was quite a narrow road with Scots pine trees on either side and it was a red squirrel.

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Nature Table : SWALLOW(Hirundo rustica)

Over the next couple of weeks you will probably spot large groups of swallows perching on roof-tops and telephone wires and ‘chattering’ to each other.

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Nature Table - FIELD MUSHROOM(Agaricus campestris)

Over 3,000 species of fungi grow in this country and many of them are good to eat.

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Birds have little fear of humans

I WAS sitting on the terrace of a hotel enjoying some autumn sunshine when a bird walked over my foot. It was a bit startling. A family of pied wagtails were busily working the terrace searching for whatever it is pied wagtails regard as food.

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Goldfinches shine in my garden

I WAS sitting in front of the computer but instead of concentrating on the screen I was looking sideways out of the window, staring rather vacantly at a neglected meadow, hoping for inspiration.

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