Dick Warner

Waterhens are clowns of the water

My boat was tied up in a marina and I was sitting on deck when a visitor arrived. A waterhen walking slowly along the jetty. They really are the clowns among water birds.

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Wasps’ craving for sugar

THIS is the time of year when wasps become annoying, disrupting garden barbecues, country picnics, and the drinkers in the outdoor smoking area, writes Richard Collins

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Swanning it up on Shannon

EVERYONE has been complaining about the weather this summer but there are some small compensations. 

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Future not rosy for wildlife

This summer I have spent less time than usual outdoors and more time inside reading about the outdoors. 

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Nature’s gems in old quarry

IT WAS a beautiful summer day and my task was to take a group of 8 to 12 year olds on a nature walk as part of the Lough Ree Environmental Summer Festival.

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Best ways to attract butterflies

The buddleia bushes in my garden have just come into flower. There are two of them and they’re not very big because I only planted them a few years ago. The reason I did so, despite the fact that they are a slightly unfashionable shrub, is to attract butterflies.

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Feral cats a big risk to hens

A few weeks ago on this page I mentioned the mysterious slaughter of my hens, writes Dick Warner

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Butterflies at home in the Wood

I was out with my machete and gardening gloves attacking briars and nettles that were threatening to engulf the young trees and shrubs I had planted in the wilder end of my garden. I call this end of the garden The Wood, which is a little grandiose because it’s too small to be a real wood.

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Buttercup family is large one

THE window of the study in which I write looks out on a 10-acre meadow. While it’s not quite ‘unimproved grassland’ it’s also not managed intensively and is rich in meadow wild-flowers. 

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The mask of the merganser

I was invited to spend a weekend fishing on Lough Mask, based in the charming Co Galway village of Clonbur. I jumped at it because, despite a lifetime spent fishing all over the country, I had never fished for the famous wild brown trout of Mask.

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Learning from roadkill

I HAVE a habit, perhaps a rather morbid habit, of stopping to examine birds and animals that have been killed on the roads around my home. 

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Decline of European Kingfisher

THE OTHER evening I took a group of about 50 people for a nature walk along the banks of the River Liffey as part of the Newbridge Junefest. 

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Murder mystery most fowl

I AM living in the middle of a murder mystery, writes Dick Warner.

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Mayflies are frequent on rivers

Brief life of magical mayflies

LAST WEEK I was sitting in my canoe bailing out rain water when a large and beautiful insect floated by on the river --- a mayfly. 

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Renamingis hard to swallow

THE powers that control the world of ornithology have decreed that we now call them European barn swallows but most Irish people just call them swallows. 

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Hats off to the big dipper

It was a blustery day with short squalls of rain blowing in on the wind. A typical April day that happened to be occurring in May. Looking for a change of scenery, I crossed the county border and drove into the Wicklow mountains. I parked and walked up along the tumbling headwaters of the River Liffey.

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No sign of the cuckoo

SPRING is galloping on. It’s now the second week of May, the week in the year when gardeners in the cold Midlands, where I live, wonder whether the danger of night frosts has passed or if one morning they’ll find the potato shoots have blackened and that they planted out the French bean seedlings a few days too early. 

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Spring’s vernal wonders

SPRING in Ireland is not like spring anywhere else in the world. Because of our position out in the Atlantic at a latitude of over 50 degrees north it arrives late and in a rush.

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A nest and a swan song on the river

I was at the wheel of my boat, steering round a bend in the river. A small island appeared up ahead with a couple of willow trees and an odd object on its shoreline — a brown mound capped with white, like an enormous bun with icing on it. 

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Nature’s amazing spectacle

In the frosty part of the Midlands where I live you have to plant your potatoes quite late. I have learnt to wait until April is well established.

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The signs of spring’s arrival are visible by the river

Winter really hung on this year. Where I live we had snow at the beginning of March. I wisely proclaimed, to anyone who’d listen, that if March comes in like a lion it will go out like a lamb. Wrong again. It went out with bitter north-westerly winds and rain.

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