Dick Warner

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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Cormorants cause concern

I WAS travelling up the Shannon on my boat the other day. It was a stretch of river I hadn’t been on for a few years and one thing that struck me was the increase in the number of cormorants.

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A lesser kestrel is a big deal

I’M just back from a short break on the Mediterranean coast of Spain. I was staying in a friend’s seaside apartment on the Costa Blanca. That bit of coast is a concrete jungle.

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Musings on mystical mayfly

MAY is the high point of the year for the fly fisherman. People with no interest at all in fishing have heard of the mayfly and the excitement it inspires in fish and fishermen when it makes its annual appearance.

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Fruit of the forest in your garden

ON a fine spring day, there is nothing in the Irish countryside more splendid than a large, wild cherry tree in full blossom. There are two species of native wild cherry.

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Butterflies a rare sight in April

IT’S quite unusual to see butterflies on the wing in April in this country but I’ve seen quite in recent weeks.

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A spring clash with the ash

I WENT down to my little wood the other day to check up on the progress of spring. It was sunny and the birds were singing but the ground felt cold and some things were behind schedule.

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Closeup of a flower of a blackthorn, Prunus spinosa blooming

BLACKTHORN(Prunus spinosa)

Dense sprays of blackthorn blossom are lighting up hedgerows around the country at present.

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Blackbirds battle for territory

OVER the past few days my small front lawn has become a disputed territory, something like a miniature Crimea. The rival claimants are two male blackbirds.

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March of the pine martens

The theory that pine martens prey selectively on grey squirrels and that this can lead to native red squirrels recolonising areas that they had been banished from by the greys is fairly well known.

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Nesting controls numbers

THE soil in my garden was saturated for most of the winter but it is just beginning to dry out enough to allow me to prepare the beds to receive the vegetable seedlings sprouting in the greenhouse.

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Time to nest and breed

FOR most of our wildlife, though not quite all of it, spring is the season for mating and breeding.

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