Science & Nature

Birds: The Knot (Cnota, Calidris canutus)

The Knot is a winter visitor to Ireland, arriving here from its high Arctic breeding grounds from late-August onwards. It can take a bit of practice to separate it from the other small wader species that visit our beaches, estuaries and mudflats, but with experience it becomes quite distinctive.

Walks: Glendalough, Co Wicklow

At the heart of the Wicklow Mountains National Park, Glendalough is a scenic amenity and heritage site. There were monastic settlements in the valley since St Kevin's time in the early Christian era. The OPW administers the interpretative centre and the historic core which attracts visitors to the national monuments, including the Round Tower.

Birds: Feed the birds

Winter is a tough time for our garden birds. Putting out food for them is one of the best ways to help them survive. It is simple to do and will make it far easier for the birds to keep warm. It is also a fantastic way to observe them at close quarters and learn all about their fascinating behaviour.

Walks: Bruges, Belgium

The capital of West Flanders, Bruges, is accessible from Brussels on Belgium's excellent road and rail network.

Scare stories

Éanna Ní Lamhna is outraged at the unfair – and downright untrue – press that our wildlife gets every Halloween

Birds: Tree Sparrow (Gealbhan crainnr, Passer montanus)

The Tree Sparrow is Ireland's "other" sparrow species. Closely related to the well-known House Sparrow, it is much less familiar, being confined mainly to agricultural areas with a combination of dense hedgerows and cereal crops. This means that its range in Ireland is becoming ever more fragmented and it is now more or less restricted to the eastern and northern coastal regions.