Glass Paintings of a robin and of badgers from Black Hen Designs

Glass Paintings of a robin and of badgers from Black Hen Designs

A couple of charming glass paintings from Roscommon’s Black Hen Designs:

Closer detail:



On St Stephen’s Day, I awoke to see a sparrowhawk perched regally, and not at all discreetly, on the roof of one of our bird tables.

It stood, as if posing for a textbook illustration. I called the children. One came and then ran off to get “something to take a photo with. ” I tried to get her to stay and enjoy the moment.

It flew onto the boundary wall, where it perched equally comfortably, flying off before any photo could be taken.

No other birds were seen for quite a while.



In the current issue of BirdWatching Magazine I came across this item on the Waxwing, one of the “Five To Find in December”:

The anonymously-published text is:

As we say every year, the number of Waxwings in the UK is massively variable from winter to winter. Out Finnish contacts reported, at this summer’s Birdfair, that there appeared to be a shortage of suitable berries in their breeding grounds in the late summer; and that this looked promising for an ‘irruption’ heading our way. So, with luck, we will have these superb, soft-plumaged, shape-shifting, Starling-sized, supermarket soft-fruit-scoffers by the score, sometime soon.

Aside from the alliteration this inspired me to get some about-to-expire soft fruit from a supermarket.

Birdwatch Ireland have a Waxwing page:

Wintering: Winters mainly in southern Scandinavia, with only a few sightings in Ireland every year. Every few years there is a larger invasion into Ireland when the food supplies in their normal winter range is exhausted prematurely. Normally seen in groups of five to fifty birds, but flocks of up to 400 Waxwings have been recorded in Ireland.

Where to See: Waxwings are best looked for at sites with a large number of berry bearing trees, such as Rowan.

Known in Irish as síodeiteach which is literally “silk wing.” I wonder is this a vernacular name or an academically-derived one?

Of course, the Waxwing features in the first line of Nabokov’s ‘Pale Fire’

“Swallows”, George Szirtes

George Szirtes is a poet who writes both children’s and grown-up verse. His book “How To Be A Tiger” neatly shows how ostensibly children’s verse can be as valuable as adult-orientated work

One highlight: “Swallows”:

Hustling on the wing

all billow and swoop

Laughing as they go

Pouring from the sky

In one vast troupe

They fly tails forked

Suddenly uncorked.

“The Barn Owls of Tipperary”, talk by Áine Lynch of BirdWatch Ireland, Tirry Centre, Fethard, October 4th

In case a Blessing of the Animals is not enough for one day, there is a talk at 7.45 pm in the Tirry Community Centre, Fethard on the Barn Owls of Tipperary.:

The Tipperary Branch of BirdWatch Ireland will be hosting an illustrated talk on the Barn Owls of Tipperary on Thur 4th October at 7.45, Tirry Community Centre, Barrack Street, Fethard. This is a free event suitable for all. There will be also a raffle on the night for a couple of framed pictures of Barn Owls.

The only time I have seen a Barn Owl is in Tipperary so this seems appropriate. BirdWatch Ireland have an informative booklet on this species which does merit that overused word, iconic.

All September’s #ExtinctinIreland posts in one handy page

As demanded by absolutely no-one, here are all the posts I have done this month on species extinct in Ireland since the coming of humanity….

Extinct in Ireland: September 1st, the sturgeon

Extinct in Ireland: September 2, the wolf

Extinct in Ireland, September 3. The Capercaillie

Extinct in Ireland, September 4th, the Bittern

Extinct in Ireland, September 5th, the Barberry Carpet Moth – last seen in Clonmel!

Extinct in Ireland: September 6th, Perkin’s Mining Bee (Andrena rosae)

Extinct in Ireland, September 7th, the Corn Bunting

Extinct in Ireland, September 8th, Triple Spotted Clay Moth (Xestia ditrapezium)

Extinct in Ireland, September 9th, Black-necked Grebe

Extinct in Ireland, September 10th, the Great Auk

Extinct in Ireland, September 11th. Meadow Saxifrage

Extinct in Ireland September 12th – Spiral Chalk Moss (Pterygoneurum lamellatum)

Extinct in Ireland, September 13th – Lapidary snail, Heligonica lapicida

Extinct in Ireland, September 14th, The Diminutive Diver (Bidessus minutissimus)

Extinct in Ireland, September 15th, The Beautiful Moss Beetle, Hydraena pulchella

Extinct in Ireland, September 16th, the wild boar

Extinct in Ireland, September 17th, Pheasant’s Eye (Adonis annua)

Extinct in Ireland, September 18th – the Osprey

Extinct in Ireland, September 19th, Spotted crake

Extinct in Ireland, 20th September, the Woodlark

Extinct in Ireland, September 21st – the red squirrel

Extinct in Ireland, September 22nd – the purple sea urchin -Paracentrosus lividus

Extinct in Ireland, September 23rd, the North Atlantic right whale

Extinct in Ireland, September 24th- Rannoch rush (Scheuchzeria pallustris) and the life of John Moore

Extinct in Ireland, September 25th, the mud pond snail, Omphiscola glabra

Extinct in Ireland, September 26th, Large copper (Lycaena Dispar)

Extinct in Ireland, September 27th – Small mountain ringlet (Erebia epiphron)

Extinct in Ireland, September 28th – the golden eagle

Extinct in Ireland, September 29th, the Lynx

Extinct in Ireland, September 30th, the crane

This slideshow requires JavaScript.