Science & Nature

Rock Pipit

Strictly confined to coastal areas, never occurring more than a few hundred metres away from the sea, the Rock Pipit is nevertheless a common and successful species in Ireland, resident in all coastal counties. Its plumage blends in well with the colour of the tideline rocks which it frequents, and this, coupled with its reluctance to fly away when people approach, means that it is often overlooked,


No more turkey!

Find out what you've been stuffing yourself with for the last few days: Éanna Ní Lamhna on the history of this strange-looking birds, which were even more tasty in the time of the settlers


Dun Laoghaire to Dalkey

This walk hugs the DART line by the route of a railway which conveyed Dalkey granite, to build Dunleary harbour in the early 19th century. Remnants of the line are known as, “The Metals”, a term the locals call the whole route.

Birds: Great Black-backed Gull

Droimneach mór, Larus marinus: Often reaching a length of over 75cm, the Great Black-backed Gull, is the largest gull species in Ireland and, for that matter, the world. It is a common year-round resident here, though it is strictly confined to coastal areas. Unlike many of our other common gull species, it never occurs more than a few miles inland.

Christmas on Mars

Scientists are dreaming of a white Christmas on Mars once this latest robotic explorer is launched next August on a nine-month voyage to the Martian Arctic. The Phoenix lander will touch down near the north polar cap of Mars during the Arctic summer in May of 2008, but engineers hope it will survive long enough to take spectacular photographs as it is buried under two metres of snow during the onset of the Arctic winter.

A natural ability

Fourth-generation taxidermist Leon Bouten supplies, stuffs and restores all of the Natural History Museum's animals in his studio in Holland or, in the case of Spotticus the giraffe, on site in the museum itself. Emma Browne looks at this fascinating procedure.