Dick Warner

Plants can provide a forecast for weather and point to climate change

PHENOLOGY, the study of seasonal changes in living things, measures the timing of events like the arrival of migratory birds, the breaking of buds, the spawning of frogs and the falling of autumn leaves, writes Dick Warner

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February a harsh month weather wise but Spring is edging closer

February is an odd month, writes Dick Warner

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Feeding is a boost for birds and increases survival rates

FEEDING garden birds is becoming increasingly popular in Ireland.

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Black vultures are alive and well in parts of Europe

I’m just back from a brief holiday in Spain, spent in the mountains of Andalucia, inland from Malaga.

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Our bad record on emissions makes our challenge tougher

Our international obligations to reduce this country’s contribution to global climate change pose a real and immediate challenge, writes Dick Warner

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Mistle thrush sings to welcome stretch in evening

The first, barely perceptible, stretch in the evenings is celebrated by the mistle thrush. 

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Flirtatious dunnocks buck trend

AT THIS time of year the feeders in my garden are covered in a squabbling mass of finches, tits, and sparrows from dawn to dusk.

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Ireland must grasp the climate nettle

Ireland, along with most of the rest of the world, is now committed to legally binding targets to reduce the rate of climate change. 

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Storms come galloping

The storms came tearing across the bog to the west and fling themselves against the house, writes Dick Warner

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Ireland's position in the Atlantic means we must work hard to tackle climate change

In Paris, an army of scientists and policymakers from around the world are grappling to produce a strategy to combat climate change. 

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Time of year brings issues for pleasant pheasant

This is not a good time of year to be a pheasant in Ireland, writes Dick Warner

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The blackbird builds an incredible structure in a nest

IT WAS a dirty day, howling gusts of wind carrying cold, hard rain.

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Rooks are fascinating birds

IT WAS dusk, a blustery November evening, and I was watching rooks, writes Dick Warner

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Queen shelters in my shed

Many people, mostly men, have a shed. 

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Joni and the house sparrow

ABOUT 10 years ago something went missing from my garden. The small flocks of cheeky, noisy house sparrows disappeared. 

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Magical autumn woodland

The other day, a work assignment took me to Tullamore in Co Offaly and a walk around the Charleville estate. It’s a good few years since I last visited and I’d forgotten how magical its woodland is, particularly in autumn. There is no better place in Ireland to appreciate the majesty of the pedunculate oak tree.

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Autumn blazing in gardens

There’s been a lot of high pressure over the past few weeks and this has resulted in sunny autumn days followed by quite cold nights, writes Dick Warner.

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Birds of a feather dry together

The summer cruising season is now over and my boat is back at its home base on the River Suck but, thanks to the fact that it has a small solid fuel stove, I can still use it during the autumn and winter. 

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Sowing seeds of success

At this time of year many perennial plants have to solve a problem. They produce seeds but if they just drop them on the ground the young plants won’t flourish because of competition from their parents. They have evolved a variety of strategies to solve this problem.

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Oh, for a sleepy winter for Irish wildlife

As the days get shorter and the nights get colder many animals are preparing strategies for surviving the winter. 

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Sandy home for martins

My study window looks out over a 10-acre meadow with a small hill on the far side. Under the grass on the hill there’s esker sand and gravel laid down in the last Ice Age. Back in the days when the main forms of transport round here were powered by horses and donkeys people had to be more locally self-sufficient, particularly for heavy items like sand and gravel, and a small quarry was opened up on the west side of the hill.

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Roach and dace in harmony at Shannon Bridge

One of the childish pleasures of boating on the inland waterways is throwing the crusts overboard after breakfast and watching the melee. 

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