Horsetail: Is it a weed of a miracle plant?

Horsetail: Is it a weed of a miracle plant?

Why do we regard horsetail as a weed when it offers so many health benefits, asks Peter Dowdall

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Letters to the Editor: Our disregard for nature has yet to run its course

Letters to the Editor: Our disregard for nature has yet to run its course

It is sickening to read that Ireland has been referred to the European Court of Justice for its failure to safeguard 423 sensitive wildlife habitats. Apart from the hefty fines that may be imposed (as if we didn’t have enough debt with the C19 crisis and resultant economic woes), this development shames our nation.

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Seahorses, snakes, and wildcat teeth seized by customs

Seahorses, snakes, and wildcat teeth seized by customs

More than two dozen dead seahorses, two desiccated snakes and a pair of alligator heads were among the bizarre items that people unsuccessfully tried to smuggle into the country through airports and mail centres last year.

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Damien Enright: Fruit trees are laden with their bounty as we prepare to leave

Damien Enright: Fruit trees are laden with their bounty as we prepare to leave

On June 26, we sat outside the first bar to open here since lockdown began on March 15. There are only two bars in the valley. Cafes serve drinks, but these are bar-bars, the kind that stay open after midnight.

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Richard Collins: Human crisis will offer chance for wild animal research

Richard Collins: Human crisis will offer chance for wild animal research

In October 1986, 52 mute swans, living peacefully on the Tolka in Dublin, were drenched in diesel oil accidentally released into the river. Swan-catchers went into action; only one bird died before they reached it.

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Donal Hickey: Gougane Barra has peace and wildness

Donal Hickey: Gougane Barra has peace and wildness

It's a typically Irish summer’s day of sunshine and occasional showers. Travel restrictions have been eased again and we venture forth to one of nature’s gems, Gougane Barra, deep in the mountains of West Cork.

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Niall Smith takes a look at the July skies - it's a month for night owls

Niall Smith takes a look at the July skies - it's a month for night owls

July is a month for late night owls. This year, patience and a cup or two of strong coffee can be rewarded by the sight of Jupiter and Saturn close to each other towards the south after midnight. They are not hard to find, especially given the brightness of Jupiter.

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In Pictures: Cooling down as a heatwave looms in the UK

In Pictures: Cooling down as a heatwave looms in the UK

Animals and humans alike were seen splashing around as the temperatures rose.

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Noble False Widow spider shares traits with Black Widow

Noble False Widow spider shares traits with Black Widow

The Noble False Widow spider – the most venomous spider in Ireland, is not so false after all because its venom is remarkably similar to the “true” Black Widow.

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Richard Collins: Childhood may be as valuable as having a big brain

Richard Collins: Childhood may be as valuable as having a big brain

Do creatures with big brains fare better in the trials of life than those with small ones? Developing a large brain requires an extended childhood, facilitating education.

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Donal Hickey: Aren’t the trees just terrific?

Donal Hickey: Aren’t the trees just terrific?

MAYBE it’s just because there’s more time to stand back and observe during the coronavirus crisis, but am I the only person who thinks our trees never looked better than they do this year?

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Damien Enright: An ‘event’ observed (for a while) over coffee on terrace

Damien Enright: An ‘event’ observed (for a while) over coffee on terrace

I took a break from scribbling this morning to have a coffee with my son, who had also taken a break from his writing. His mother and I met him and his wife and sat outside a cafe — where else would one sit in June (or at any time of the year) in the climate of La Gomera?

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Richard Collins: Skylarks are the star singers of the park

Richard Collins: Skylarks are the star singers of the park

Each morning, blackcaps and thrushes sing in Malahide’s Robswall Park. The star performers, however, are skylarks.

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The Islands of Ireland: Arranmore digs deep for safety

The Islands of Ireland: Arranmore digs deep for safety

As Bere Island and Inishfarnard in Co Cork are associated with the mining industry, so too, Arranmore, or Árainn Mhór, in Co Donegal.

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Damien Enright: Castaway, and trying to avoid exploding whales

Damien Enright: Castaway, and trying to avoid exploding whales

Last week, I wrote about a Cuvier’s beaked whale killed off our La Gomera coast by sharks or orcas and washed onto rocks at the mouth of a secluded beach. It had to be moved before it began to smell.

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Dónal Hickey: Taking water for granted

Dónal Hickey: Taking water for granted

In the coming years, we’re likely to be hearing a lot more about ‘rainwater harvesting’ which is common in places such as Australia and parts of America but something we haven’t really got to grips with here yet.

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Fox rescued after getting head stuck in sweet jar

Fox rescued after getting head stuck in sweet jar

The RSPCA treated the animal, which is expected to return to the wild soon.

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Stay calm and call an expert around bee swarm, warns keeper

Stay calm and call an expert around bee swarm, warns keeper

A bee-keeper with nerves of steel has urged people to call an expert if they discover a bee swarm over the coming weeks.

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Endangered species of seahorse returns to former stronghold due to lockdown

Endangered species of seahorse returns to former stronghold due to lockdown

Both of the UK’s native seahorse species were granted protected status in 2008 under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

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Prepare for potential tsunami, says geography expert

Prepare for potential tsunami, says geography expert

A cost benefit analysis may be prudent for coastal flood-prone counties to combat potential damage from a powerful tsunami, an expert has said.

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Richard Collins: Wildlife taking back the streets of our cities

Richard Collins: Wildlife taking back the streets of our cities

Fifty years ago, a fox was spotted in Dublin’s St. Stephen’s Green. The unfortunate animal was chased by local ‘gurriers’. It took refuge in a tree but was promptly stoned to death.

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The Islands of Ireland: Cape Clear tells its side of the story

The Islands of Ireland: Cape Clear tells its side of the story

The north pier on Cape Clear has been eerily quiet these last few months as no visitors disembark. The ferry is not unloading boatloads of tourists from Baltimore, 45 minutes away, or from Schull, as it would normally.

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Donal Hickey: Demand for water to soar

Donal Hickey: Demand for water to soar

If the Donegal postman and amateur weather forecaster has it right, we could be in for water shortages in the coming months. Michael Gallagher, who predicted the scorching summer of 2018 and the 2010 freeze-up, says we’ll have a ‘lovely’ summer.

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Spiders that hunt in packs ‘stay smaller in size’

Spiders that hunt in packs ‘stay smaller in size’

Scientists at the University of Portsmouth compared spider sizes from a large number of social and non-social species.

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West Cork conservation rangers on hand to keep sea eagle chick fed

West Cork conservation rangers on hand to keep sea eagle chick fed

A white-tailed sea eagle is getting help to keep her chick fed after its father went missing.

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Trust calls for 'wildlife crime unit' after mass buzzard poisoning in Cork

Trust calls for 'wildlife crime unit' after mass buzzard poisoning in Cork

Conservationists have called for tough new laws and the creation of a wildlife crime unit following the mass poisoning of 22 buzzards, a protected bird species, in West Cork.

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Camera donated by member of public captures amazing footage of lynx

Camera donated by member of public captures amazing footage of lynx

The lynx was spotted surveying the new addition to its habitat.

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Lockie the lockdown foal born at Cork donkey sanctuary

Lockie the lockdown foal born at Cork donkey sanctuary

A foal born at the Donkey Sanctuary during the Covid-19 lockdown has been aptly named Lockie.

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Believe it or not, Ripley the terrapin fails to relieve lockdown stress

Believe it or not, Ripley the terrapin fails to relieve lockdown stress

Believe it or not, a Cork family bought a pet terrapin to help relieve the stress of the Covid-19 lockdown.

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Cork TD: Ireland 'long overdue' a marine national park

Cork TD: Ireland 'long overdue' a marine national park

Holly Cairns of the Social Democrats says a marine national park would recognise natural and cultural heritage in coastal areas.

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No development on Blackwater if pearl measures not reversed

No development on Blackwater if pearl measures not reversed

The new government will have to try and negotiate a deal with the European Commission to reverse conservation measures for the freshwater pearl mussel, otherwise large swathes of land along the River Blackwater in Co Cork will see little or no new development into the future.

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Cork couple battling it out for 'Web Oscars' with Great Barrier Reef tracker

Cork couple battling it out for 'Web Oscars' with Great Barrier Reef tracker

A Cork couple is battling it out with NASA and National Geographic for one of the world's most prestigious internet awards.

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Limerick kids make way for gate crashing blue tit

Limerick kids make way for gate crashing blue tit

A family of birds has set up home in a children's garden playhouse in county Limerick.

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Threat from down under as Australian worm hurts soil

Threat from down under as Australian worm hurts soil

Gardeners have been advised to be alert for an invasive Australian flatworm which environmentalists say poses a serious risk to Ireland's biodiversity and economy.

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Sky Matters: Meteors in the May atmosphere

Sky Matters: Meteors in the May atmosphere

April was unusually good for viewing the heavens. Not only did we have about 20 clear, or nearly-clear nights, we also had a more stable atmosphere than is often the case.

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Damien Enright: Children’s joy back on the street as island lockdown lifted

Damien Enright: Children’s joy back on the street as island lockdown lifted

On April 25th, this Canary island of La Gomera was declared coronavirus-free. There were no deaths. Remoteness was an important factor.

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Richard Collins: German blue tits die from mystery illness

Richard Collins: German blue tits die from mystery illness

In 1929, a blue tit in Southampton pecked open a bottle-top to get at the cream underneath. Others copied it and, soon, tits all over Britain and Ireland were doing the same. Tackling today’s milk cartons won’t be so easy but a far greater challenge is facing blue tits in Germany; they are dying of a mysterious illness.

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Donal Hickey: Wonder all around to see

Donal Hickey: Wonder all around to see

People often say the wonders are all around us. If we only opened our eyes. And what better time than the May public holiday. Stroll at your ease along a country road, or even suburbia, and you’ll see nature blooming; birds, bees and butterflies all busy.

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Watch: Surfers come face to face with 20 basking sharks off Clare coast

Watch: Surfers come face to face with 20 basking sharks off Clare coast

They're normally out to catch the perfect wave but four surfers captured a jaw-dropping wildlife moment as up to 20 basking sharks fed in crystal-clear waters off the west coast.

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ISPCA tweets to the public for assistance with goldfinch Jonesy

ISPCA tweets to the public for assistance with goldfinch Jonesy

A chatty goldfinch by the name of Jonesy is currently in the care of the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA), after a member of the public spotted the bird sporting a ring around its leg, calling the ISPCA for help after it stayed in their garden for a number of days.

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Asteroid classed as ‘potentially hazardous object’ set to pass Earth on Wednesday

Asteroid classed as ‘potentially hazardous object’ set to pass Earth on Wednesday

Despite its category, scientists insist the space rock poses no threat to Earth.

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Penguins help map Antarctic regions in greatest need of protection

Penguins help map Antarctic regions in greatest need of protection

Scientists used tracking data from five types of penguin and 12 other species of predator to find the richest feeding grounds in the Southern Ocean.

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Africa’s Sahara ‘most dangerous place on Earth’ 100 million years ago

Africa’s Sahara ‘most dangerous place on Earth’ 100 million years ago

The region saw ferocious predators roaming a vast river system during the Cretaceous.

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3ft corn snake discovered in UK family’s bathroom

3ft corn snake discovered in UK family’s bathroom

The RSPCA collected the creature from the property in Grays, Essex.

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UK sees notable reduction in seismic noise caused by human activity – experts

UK sees notable reduction in seismic noise caused by human activity – experts

Noise levels across the country have dropped between 20% and 50% in the last five weeks since lockdown began in mid-March.

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Satellites used to identify plastics floating in ocean

Satellites used to identify plastics floating in ocean

The study could help develop a tool for aiding future pollution clean-ups, scientists say.

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Edinburgh Zoo welcomes four new penguin chicks

Edinburgh Zoo welcomes four new penguin chicks

People were able to watch them hatching live on the zoo’s webcams.

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PC Fox on the case to rescue stricken fox from drowning in Glasgow

PC Fox on the case to rescue stricken fox from drowning in Glasgow

The young cub had fallen down a hole that had filled with water near King George V docks in Govan, Glasgow.

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Life on the inside: 10 birds to spot from your window

Life on the inside: 10 birds to spot from your window

Take time to appreciate the joy of nature despite the constraints of the coronavirus restrictions.

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Crane comeback continues in the UK as population reaches 400-year high

Crane comeback continues in the UK as population reaches 400-year high

Conservation work and reintroductions have helped boost the UK’s tallest bird, which went extinct here in the 1600s.

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Damien Enright: ‘The Sausage’ finds himself between rock and a hard place

Damien Enright: ‘The Sausage’ finds himself between rock and a hard place

Lots of news to be reported from this remote island, despite the fact that we’re still banged up and only allowed to leave our flat for essentials.

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Donal Hickey: Birdsong and sound of silence

Donal Hickey: Birdsong and sound of silence

It’s the silence. The huge drop in noise from motor traffic, and fewer people out and about enables us to hear sounds that are usually muffled by the bustle of normal everyday life.

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Richard Collins: Shared habitats may result in disease spillover

Richard Collins: Shared habitats may result in disease spillover

The year 1347 saw the beginning of one of history’s most notorious ‘spillovers’.

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Flamingos ‘form lasting friendships and some behave like married couples’

Flamingos ‘form lasting friendships and some behave like married couples’

Researchers said their findings ‘indicate that flamingo societies are complex’.

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Fire chief warns against gorse-burning in Killarney

Fire chief warns against gorse-burning in Killarney

"You are breaking the law. You are putting my life and the lives of your family, your neighbours and your friends at risk" — the stark warning from a senior fire officer about illegal and unnecessary gorse fires.

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Letter to the Editor: Nature gets a chance to breathe

Letter to the Editor: Nature gets a chance to breathe

In the midst of so much anxiety and fear during the last few weeks, there are also a few positives to thousands of people suddenly having so much time on their hands.

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UCC study shows climate change impacting native trout

UCC study shows climate change impacting native trout

A study by the Environmental Research Institute at University College Cork shows that climate change is impacting the lives of native trout species.

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Donal Hickey: Stick to lowland walkways

Donal Hickey: Stick to lowland walkways

As one of the tens of thousands of people who took full advantage of recent fine weather to walk in the outdoors, it was clear to be seen that the vast majority of people were observing the physical distance advice.

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New feathered dinosaur one of last surviving raptors – journal

New feathered dinosaur one of last surviving raptors – journal

Researchers chose the official name Dineobellator notohesperus, which means “Navajo warrior from the Southwest”.

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