Posts tagged with: 'fox'

Often, It’s the Simple Pleasures…

While we all love to view the spectacular sights and experience the wonderful places, often it’s the simple pleasures that we enjoy the most.

Like sitting on a rock, in silence, and watching the seals go about their daily routines. Or sharing a forest track with a hare for a surprisingly long time. Or coming across a fox in the middle off the road after dark, sitting on his hind legs as a dog would. Indeed, when he eventually noticed my approach, that fox jumped up, left the road and took up the same sitting position on a narrow garden wall.

Simple pleasures - seal

Grey Seal, Mayo

The other day, just after sunset, I had the rare pleasure of observing a badger plodding along a small track for 20 metres in front of me, before skulking into the ditch.

Among the most memorable of simple pleasures are those afforded by peregrine falcons. I’ve had the good fortune to sit and watch these magnificent creatures zoom through the air, like fighter planes, in chase of tasty pigeons and seabirds. Fantastic.

One early morning, while walking the cliff-top trails of North Mayo, I came across the scene depicted in the picture below. I stood still, taking advantage of the fact that I was downwind of the fox. For several minutes I enjoyed the incongruity of the situation, before I was eventually noticed and the protagonists scattered. What a discovery!

Simple pleasures

Sheep and Fox, Mayo

Rediscover simple pleasures

Of course, the message here is clear : you need to get out and about and enjoy the countryside if you want to experience any of these simple pleasures. Go and sit or stroll by the seaside. Find yourself a nearby river or lake and wander along its banks. Discover your local forest and enjoy the birds. Tread slowly and quietly. You never know what you might bump into…

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Learn about Ireland’s birds at Birdwatch Ireland and about our biological diversity in general at Biodiversity Ireland.

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Interesting Observations in Nature

Being out and about walking really gives you the chance to observe some interesting things in nature. There is a whole world out there that you may not be aware of and which, if you are willing to dedicate some of your time, can be observed.

As a rule of thumb, if you want to actually observe nature, as opposed to simply traversing it, spend at least 50% more time doing a walk than the ‘guideline’ completion time. So if you’re on a, say, 3 hour loop walk, take it easy and aim to complete in, maybe, 4 1/2 hours.

Mother Red Squirrel and Baby

A while back, in south Mayo, I was unbelievably lucky enough to witness a mother Red Squirrel carrying her young in her mouth. As she was on her way, presumably moving her young from one safe spot to another, she came across me on a forest track. I was crouched down, having heard her approaching through the fern undergrowth. We mutually observed one another for over a minute, until she continued across the track and on her way through the thick vegetation. I decided not to try to pull out the camera, afraid I might spook her.

Sheep and Fox

Look at the photos below. I came across this scene near a cliff top in north Mayo. Given that I approached from down wind, the fox did not seem to notice me for several minutes. This beautiful hunter was 2 metres away from the sheep in the picture, with an additional 3 sheep, including one lamb, no more than a further 2 metres away, just out of shot. Eventually, I needed to continue on and was the first to make a move. The sheep and fox then scampered away, but the former didn’t seem in the slightest bothered by the latter’s proximity.

Dead Shrew

I found the unfortunate dead Pygmy Shrew, below, the other day. Shrews are absolutely tiny, aren’t they ?

Pygmy Shrew

Pygmy Shrew


This year I seem to have heard healthy numbers of Cuckoo. But just last weekend, I saw not one, but two of these difficult to spot birds from Africa. Both were observed on telephone wires, both above bogs next to plantation forests, both during the early afternoon on quite warm days, both in NW Mayo, but in different spots.

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