This category contains 34 posts

Lobster Season – Science and Sun

Late spring and early summer is lobster (‘gliomaigh’) time in West Mayo, and a few weekends ago, the combination of sunny weather, street music and outdoor drinking meant there were plenty of happy gliomaigh to be seen enjoying the festival atmosphere at Féile Chois Cuain in Louisburgh. Further west, about 300 yards outside the beach, … Continue reading

The Colony

Here’s a really nice piece we received this week from  Anthony Beese,   about a colony of Sand Martins at Red Strand (An Tráigh Dhearg),  Cork. It’s mid-April and the day is bright. There is a glare over the sea and a light offshore breeze cools the exposed shore. Fifty sand martins (Riparia riparia) wheel restlessly in … Continue reading

Life’s not that sweet for Cockles…

A less-than-common shellfish caught our eyes this week; not on any shore – the weather has been too bad – but stacked in an attractive display inside a doorway on a busy street. Their double-shells and creamy golden ridges suggested confectionery, not at all unlike a very out-of-place mound of Ferrero Rocher. However, the distinctive … Continue reading

Spring Blooms and Dolphins Exhibit on West Coast

Despite the surprising but very welcome warmth of last week, which confirmed suspicions of winter’s demise and reassured us of summer’s not-too-far away sunshine and growth, this is actually the coldest time of year in our coastal waters. As we are reminded of what 17° feels like again, the wildlife (and dedicated humans) who inhabit … Continue reading

Marine Litter and Some Cool Art

Heres something cool we were sent this week – Third year art student from WIT , Mags Keane , for her art and environment project, investigated our coastal landscape and documented the pollution of our beaches from  flotsam and  jetsam to general household rubbish washed ashore or left behind by visitors to our beautiful coastal area. She … Continue reading

The Clever Cuttlefish of Clew Bay

We were momentarily stumped last weekend. The second most common question asked of a marine biologist (after ’what’s wrong with my goldfish’), is ’I found this on the shore, what is it?’. And we can usually make a confident identification and throw in some interesting information on the species for good measure. But when an … Continue reading

Untidy Ingenuity in an Intricate Ecosystem

Around a small blue rock which jutted out of the sand and buffeted from the beach by a cottage-sized sand dune, a collection of broken snail shells lay damaged and useless like cars piled irregularly on a scrap heap. The protagonists in this intriguing scene were terrestrial (land) snails, but the background to everything found … Continue reading

Marine Life…As a Way of Life

The CAO deadline a week ago got some people in Mayo curious about marine life as a way-of-life, and led to a few queries in my inbox about pursuing studies in this field at third-level. It’s heartening to think of some of our local young adults as prospective marine scientists. But for them, it’s hard … Continue reading

New salmon season, same sea-lice problems

As salmon begin arriving back to our county’s rivers from their epic journeys through the North Atlantic, they do so oblivious to the interest, concern, intense research and sometimes conflict their existence generates among humans on the west coast of Ireland. The IFI, NWRFB, NIG, DAFF and SWI are all acronyms of organisations and boards … Continue reading

A Christmas Strand

Anthony Beese from Cork sent us this nice piece – On St Stephen’s day, Heir islanders (1) used to congregate at An Trá Bhán to play football. They chose the strand because a wide expanse of fine white sand is exposed there when the tide ebbs.  On their way, they walked along a path that crossed small … Continue reading