Science & Nature

Birds: Kittiwake

Though perhaps not familiar to many readers, the Kittiwake is a common breeder on cliffs all around the Irish coast; around 50,000 pairs nest here. A member of the gull family, it occurs in both the North Atlantic and North Pacific, and it is by far the most numerous species of gull in the world.

Walks: Farmleigh, Castleknock, D15

The Office of Public Works (OPW) now administrates the former Guinness family estate at Farmleigh, beside Phoenix Park. Farmleigh is closed to the public during government business and visits by foreign dignitaries, but the house and over 30 hectares of gardens and parkland are usually open to visitors on Thursdays, Fridays, weekends and bank holidays from March to December.

Mobile phones

So, here's the dilemma. You like your Nokia phone, but have recently found yourself leering at your colleague's BlackBerry. (Those unfamiliar with the phenomenon, see the box below.) You want to do the BlackBerry email thing, but don't want to desert your familiar Nokia. Well, the new Nokia E61 could be a solution.


Birds: Spotted Flycatcher

A widespread but declining species in Ireland, the Spotted Flycatcher is strictly a summer visitor, arriving in May and departing for southern Africa in September. A small bird, just 15cm in length, about the same size as a sparrow, it nevertheless has quite a stocky build, making it appear somewhat larger.

Walks: Tallinn, Estonia

The old town is the heart of Estonia's capital city, Tallinn. That Baltic jewel is an ideal place for walking. Within a compact pedestrian area, there are historic churches, defensive towers and walled fortifications. The Gothic townhall used by Hanseatic merchants dominates Raekoja Plats, the cobbled market square. On the steeple, a symbolic town guard has served for centuries as a weather vane. The omens are favourable as the sun shines.

Gadgets: $100 laptop unveiled

The first demo of the $100 laptop was given in June at the Red Hat Summit Nashville, USA. The project, developed under the banner of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), is an ambitious and idealistic proposal aiming to provide laptops to children in the developing world.

Walks: Old Bergen, Norway

Stroll back into medieval history in Bergen, formerly Norway's capital. The old city is beside the harbour. Rows of distinctive wooden buildings line the waterfront at Bryggen. The Hansetic merchants' trading centre is now a museum recalling the austere lifestyle of German apprentices who prepared dried fish for export.