Happy New Year! Nature Notes from the Mourne Mountains

I have terribly neglected my blog, I miss writing it so much – and of course the connection with all of you too! It’s been a busy year; but I don’t like looking back, just forward.

It’s going to be a great year, a busy one and a challenging one but one that I hope sees much more positive action for nature and wildlife. I’m going to try and do my bit and the next few months will see me speaking at a few conferences and events. I’m excited about them and will share all I can with you!

I’ve been doing preliminary field work with Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group for our Raptor Satellite Tagging Project ‘Hawk Eyes’ (remember the fundraiser? ☺️ We’ll firstly be working on sub adult buzzard and red kite – the two most persecuted birds of prey here in Northern Ireland. We’re trying to lure the birds with meat traps – so far, no go but we won’t give up and it takes a lot of time and patience. I’ll keep you posted!

My two roles as an iWill and RSPCA Youth Ambassador will also be keeping me busy. I’ll be working with my community and helping them to connect with nature in interesting and creative ways – a new post coming soon about some funding I’ve received!

I’m also going to be helping Chris Packham with his campaign and his Manifesto For Wildlife – not sure how yet, but I’ve been told to get ready to work hard. Luckily I like working hard!

I’m in the throes of writing my book, one of the most intense, exhilarating, frustrating, joyous and terrifying experiences of my life, so far! It’s a rollercoaster of emotions- particularly as it’s written in real time, with real and raw emotions; all from the heart. I’ll be finished writing it by summer and it will be published next Spring!

I would like to wish you all a wonderful and wild 2019. Thank you so much for all your wonderful encouragement and support.

To leave you, I’ll share a moment I had today on my new local patch. It’s taken me a while to find my feet, but like I said before, root tendrils are entwining me to this new and majestic landscape. Here, I watched Brent Geese feed alongside Lapwing, Curlew, Greenshank, Little Egret and Godwits. The sun was setting and it really touched me; when I feel this everyday connection to nature, it makes me fight harder to protect it, to care for it and never stop sharing the beauty and wonder of it.

[wpvideo ZFgS5mkZ ]

Every week, I’ll share a new element of my patch. I do this on Twitter but I’d like to share my ‘Nature Notes from the Mourne Mountains’ here, too.

Thank you all


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14 Responses

  1. Hi Dara! I follow you on twitter as you know and now I’m following your blog too. Feeling and finding our connection with nature is so important as you well know, and it is sadly something so many have lost, so I think it is wonderful you are helping people find it! I think once you have a connection and appreciation with the natural world it is of such great value and is something you can take with you wherever you go. I know that I find as much to discover and enjoy wherever I go in the world. I have been living in Portugal for the last four years and every day I go walking in a patch of scrub and woodland near where I live. There is always something new there as the seasons change, and if I go back on visits to the UK I find just as much pleasure from getting out and about to look at nature there too, though sadly I increasingly have been noticing the decline of so many species. This is one reason I think Chris Packham’s work is so brilliant because he is using his platform as a celebrity naturalist to be able to raise awareness of so many vital issues and to connect people with nature. It is wonderful that you are helping him. I hope he inspires people to walk for wildlife in countries around the world. Keep up all your really great work!

  2. My, you are busy! I look forward to reading your posts and to hearing about your work with Chris Packham on the Manifesto for Wildlife. We got our copy at the Badger Trust Symposium in November. This work is so very important for all of us. Keep up the good work . Enjoy your new patch. You are an inspiration, Dara.

  3. Good work, Dara. It is great to have a young person with your knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment spreading the word in the Mourne area. I think I will have to overcome my resistance to more new media and enter the world of Twitter. All the best.

  4. Hi Dara I just watched you on Country File. I thought the way you came across was amazing. Your passion for nature is infectious & hopefully will get more & more involved. I totally agree with your thoughts, I need to get out in the Countryside every day. It makes you feel so much better to see things no matter how small. I dont understand people who dont see it or need it. Keep up the great work.

  5. Dara, you are so inspiring, your parents must feel so proud and scared. I left Norn Ireland when I was 17 and visit often to see my family who still live there to climb every mountain and experience every park. I am looking forward to reading your book and sharing it with my kids who also love nature.

  6. Hello just found your book Diary of a Young Naturalist and am looking forward to reading it. I have entered it to the divine feminine app as a resource. You are amazing!

  7. I am still being knocked sideways by the beauty of your prose and the infinite insights of your ‘Diary…’., which I came to via Cheryl Frances-Hoad’s ‘Notes from the Wild’. Understandably you’re very busy, but I’d be very interested to hear on this blog about your specific response to Cheryl’s song cycle, which I gather you went to hear in Southward Cathedral (I reviewed it and may have pleased many folk because I couldn’t hear many of the words – which was no fault of the excellent performers, just the cathedral acoustics. I’d search out another performance, to be sure).

    Off to the London Wetlands Centre now on my bike to see if I can spot the bittern – but it’s so beautiful whether or not there are star turns.

    Keep up the amazing work – you’ve already earned your place among the great writers on nature.

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