Dick Warner

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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Learning to love aliens in the Irish countryside

THERE is a strange and extremely unscientific prejudice embedded in the heart of the environmental movement. It is the prejudice against what are usually described, in distinctly emotive terms, as ‘alien invasive species’, writes Dick Warner

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A short history of geese in Ireland

My boat is moored in Ballinasloe, on the River Suck, and about a week ago I was sitting on deck, soaking up the spring sunshine, when a wild and beautiful sound made me look up into the sky.

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How now brown trout

FISHING seasons, unlike shooting seasons, are not the same everywhere, they vary from catchment to catchment, writes Dick Warner.

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The return of the bittern?

I’m told that a bittern has been heard booming in north Co Leitrim. 

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Roaming deer can be pests

I got a phonecall the other day from a friend with a problem, writes Dick Warner. In the past few weeks deer had started invading her garden and doing a lot of damage.

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The fascinating history of the humble Eucalyptus

Addis Ababa is the capital city of Ethiopia and its name, in the Amharic language, means ‘new flower’. 

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Worth Ravin’ about

I came out of the house the other day and heard an unmistakeable sound — a deep, guttural croak. And there it was, perched in the top of a tree at the bottom of the garden. A raven.

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Talking to your plants is not as strange an idea as you think

SOME people talk to their house plants and, even if you don’t, you would probably describe a geranium that’s wilting as ‘not looking happy’. 

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Pointless demise of Cork’s Heather the Hen Harrier

HEATHER was a female hen harrier, she was also the star of an online blogspot with around a quarter of a million followers.

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