Dick Warner

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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Losing a peach of a beech

A FRIEND and neighbour of mine owns a farm on which there are several hundred beautiful mature trees. He loves them but recently they have cost him rather a lot of money.

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Be gentle with herons. They break

THE other morning I woke early in my bunk on the boat and I did what I always do first thing in the morning —- I pulled back the curtain to check on the weather.

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Odd sound of frogs croaking

THE other evening I was sitting on my patio enjoying a glass of chilled white wine before dinner. It was warm and still and this is my favourite time of day, when work is finished and it’s time to relax.

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Rudd is making a comeback

I WENT fishing the other day. Fly fishing for trout in a small stocked lake. The day was hot, there was no breeze and the sun blazed down on a lake that looked as though it was filled with molten lead. These are not good conditions for catching trout.

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Genetically encoded robins

I HAVE been adopted by a wild bird. Every time I go outside it appears within minutes and follows me around. It gets very close. It’s a rather odd sensation. The bird is an immature robin, still in its speckled baby plumage.

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There’s a bond in pond again

I WAS tidying up the small pond on the patio — taking out the algae that had grown in the warm weather and weeding the margins — and I noticed the number of goldfish had dwindled down to one, a plump yellow fish that had become rather reclusive, spending most of its time in deep meditation under a fringe of aubretia that had grown down into the water.

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Insect book that promises not to bug you

IF you have a vegetable garden May and June are the months when the weeds try to take it over. They seem particularly aggressive this year, probably because May was rather wet and the soil is still holding a lot of moisture. So I’m spending time using the hoe, or on my knees hand-weeding the spots where the hoe is too indiscriminate a weapon. This year, however, I have a new interest. I’m looking out for the forget-me-not shield bug.

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Brimstone butterfly rare sight

IT’S said that the English word butterfly was first coined to describe the brimstone, which is butter yellow in colour. At least the males are, the females are more green than yellow.

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Made-up theories swan about

I SPEND a lot of my time on or around water and because of this I have regular encounters with swans.

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Lough Leane, Killarney

Aspen stands out in summer

THE aspen is, in my opinion, one of our most attractive native trees.

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