Young Fermanagh Naturalist – On the Move – An Update!

In ancient times, our ancestors moved with the seasons and opportunity. We need to do that a lot less, these days. We settle and we stay, for the most part. Our family, since my birth have moved from South Down to Belfast to Fermanagh and now in full circle, back to South Down. We move in less than a fortnight.

My heart has been banging against my chest, flipping in the cavity; all sorts of emotional turmoil. I can’t go into the reasons why we we’re moving – just that it’s best for all our family and our journey together. We are a tight unit and have weathered many storms, huddling together – in these recent years, sheltered by the landscape and all that it has given us. Specifically, all that it has given me. Wherever we go, as long as we are all together – that’s what matters.

So, we are moving from West to East and with that comes lots of opportunity to explore new landscapes and find our new secret places. Places with beaches, overlooked by the towering Mourne Mountains and holding at its centre Red Kites, amongst other amazing species. I’m leaving behind ‘my’ Hen Harriers. I will miss them, but I’ll have some exciting news coming very soon with the launch of ‘Project Hawk Eyes’ – remember the money you/we/I raised? I have an update coming soon! I’ve spent a few days in Scotland also, observing and taking part in satellite tagging raptors and fieldwork with the Scottish Raptor Study Group – it was so exciting and exhilarating. I learned so much and I cannot express enough, my thanks to Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group for the opportunity to accompany them with my mum – she fell in a bog, but I won’t go on about that! ???? It’s quite covert and brave work and I can’t say too much, except that it changed me, it completely solidified my obsession and passion for raptors!

Above -Goshawk Chick and Female Barn Owl.

All this activity means that I haven’t had much head-space for my blog, but I have been writing – lots! I’ve been encouraged and am being nurtured to write something which hopefully, in the not so distant future, will be sold in shops, bound up in book form. I’m very excited about that and will bring news as I receive it!

The weather has been beautiful, if stifling, and I long for a little rain to help the wildlife. We’ve been working hard, keeping our birds, butterflies and bees fed and watered. We also, just a few days ago, had a very unexpected and exciting visitor to our garden?! A Red Squirrel! I could hardly believe it, as we don’t live in the countryside!!

These photos were taken through our kitchen window in bright sunshine – hence the bad quality; but what excitement!!

We’ve also had an Osprey at Big Dog last month, which was another shock!

I’ve had quite a few enquiries regarding not posting in a while – thank you all for your concern. I’m okay!! If you’re on Twitter, you can find me there most days @naturalistdara

I’ll try my best to post a small ‘Diary’ piece as much as I can. I really enjoyed doing that! My book’s working title is ‘Diary of a Young Naturalist’. I’ll keep you all posted, don’t worry!

So what happens to ‘Young Fermanagh Naturalist’? I’m not sure. Fermanagh will always be the place which made me wilder, which lit the fire to the already burning desire to see more and learn more about our wildlife. It’s where I became a blogger…a writer…an explorer. That will always be a huge part of me.

Thank you everyone for all your encouragement and support.


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15 Responses

  1. The best of luck with the move, Dara. I hope it goes well and that you’re soon posting more amazing finds from your new landscape. So excited about your book too – I’ll be picking up a copy for sure! I’m working on a book too… hard work but I’m sure we’ll both get there. I’ll look forward to hearing more.

  2. I wish you and your family a smooth transition into your new home. I look forward to reading more from you in the years ahead whether in a blog or a book, or both. It has been a joy to watch you grow as a naturalist and writer, Dara. Never lose your passion for nature, raptors or the world in which you live.

  3. I have missed your Blog especially as I can’t follow you on Twitter. Good Luck with the move and the next stage in your wildlife journey

  4. My goodness, what a lot you have going on, Dara! Good luck with these exciting new projects and good luck to all of you with the house move. Do try to keep us updated on the blog when you can, even if you’re no longer in Fermanagh. Twitter and I have no plans to get acquainted!

  5. Wishing you and your family, so precious to each other, all the best for your move, Dara. Looking forward to reading about further exploits when you can. Go for it!

  6. What a lot of exciting things going on. Hope the move goes smoothly and you settle in to your new chapter quickly. Looking forward to hearing more about the trip and the book. I fell in a bog once. One leg in a deep, water-filled hole and, luckily, the other out. It put me off climbing haha 🙂

      1. Same! It was a squelchy hike back, I remember, even though it was a long time ago! Actually, fortunate not to be injured. A friend of mine did the same down a man hole at her hen weekend. That is another story :/

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