Sep 252012
 

Like Irelands Wildlife on FacebookWoohoo! The Ireland’s Wildlife page I manage on Facebook sailed past the 4,000 “likes” mark some time last week, and continues to grow apace. It’s great to see the level of engagement on the page continue to grow, and is a good sign for the overall level of enthusiasm and engagement for wildlife and nature in Ireland.

The website is also growing steadily, and I’m trying to add content as regularly as I can to keep the momentum going. Part of what I’m hoping to achieve with the Ireland’s Wildlife website is to encourage more engagement with and empathy for nature and wildlife in Ireland. It also serves as a handy general interest hub of Irish wildlife content on the web, and offers a jumping off point to some of the great niche wildlife and nature resources out on the web.

I’m in the process of approaching potential advertisers to sponsor / advertise on the site — starting with leading optics manufacturers who have submitted products for review. My goal is to attract advertising that’s useful and relevant to Ireland’s Wildlife readers, connect advertisers with a highly targeted audience with an interest in wildlife and nature and get the site to start paying its way so that I can spend more time developing its content and features.

It’s early days yet… but I’m pretty hopeful that Ireland’s Wildlife has value, and that it will ultimately pay its own way, allowing me to develop it into the outstanding resource I know it can be.

For now though, it’s great to see the numbers continue to grow… and to look forward to a time when I can legitimately go out with a pair of binoculars and call it “work”!

If you don’t already “Like” Ireland’s Wildlife on Facebook, what are you waiting for? And don’t forget to check out the Ireland’s Wildlife website while you’re at it!

Sep 252012
 

One of the things I spend a lot of time doing is helping businesses with their web content — working as a mentor to guide them through development of a web content strategy, troubleshooting specific content challenges to improve results and, for some clients, writing search optimised, conversion focused web content that resonates with a target audience.

This is just a very quick post to let you know that I’m currently offering my Web Content Review service at a discounted rate for a very limited time. Book your Web Content Review before the end of September, and you’ll get a report on the effectiveness of your web content for €350 instead of the regular price of €500.

Hurry though — it only applies to bookings made BEFORE the end of September.

Jun 232011
 
Umbrella with raindrops

Image via Wikipedia

Summer in West Cork tends to follow a familiar pattern – occasional brief periods of glorious sunshine when you really wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world, but for the most part soggy, wet dull… and bloody cold!

There’s a song that could easily be the West Cork summer anthem. Its pretty much perpetually stuck in my head from the end of May until mid-September. As soon as the familiar scattered showers of spring elongate into the protracted solid periods of unrelenting rain that are the hallmark of a West Cork Summer, it’s there.

I guess I should at least be thankful that the song is bearable.

Here Comes The Rain Again by The Eurythmics–could this be the ideal West Cork summer anthem.

I LOVE living and working in West Cork… and feel very privileged to do so… but please, please, please can we have a little bit of sustained sunshine, and some slightly warmer evenings. Lighting the fire at the end of June because you’ve got frostbite in your extremities is frankly no fun at all!

Enhanced by Zemanta
May 052011
 

Wow… just discovered that the amazing “Genesis” theme framework for WordPress and ALL Genesis CHILD THEMES are available for the staggeringly low one off payment of just US$249.95.

Genesis from Studiopress -- the best WordPress themes on the planet

It’s called the Genesis Pro Plus Package – and until 11 May Studiopress – which is part of Copyblogger Media – is offering this comprehensive set of WordPress Premium Developer Themes for more than $600 less than purchasing the framework and 36 child themes separately.

PLUS you’ll automatically get access to all future Genesis child themes they create as part of the bundle. Bargain!

A must for WordPress web designers, online marketers and bloggers rolling their own sites

How much is having some of the world’s best professional WordPress templates at your fingertips worth? More than US$250 that’s for sure! One project and it’s more than paid for itself!

If you’re a web designer building sites using WordPress day-in, day-out, and you’re not already using Genesis, then you’d be crazy to pass this offer up. It’s an incredible deal.

Likewise if you’re an online marketer or affiliate and create your own sites to promote online products – Genesis gives you all the tools you need, saving you time and money.

Even if you just maintain your own WordPress blog, and create occasional sites for for family, friends or colleagues it makes sense just for the time it will save you.

I’ve used the Genesis framework on a few client websites now, and just built my own pet project the Ireland’s Wildlife website using it. It really is wonderfully easy to work with, simple to customise, highly flexible and stable… it just ticks all the boxes. I guess that’s why it’s used by some of the world’s highest profile bloggers – like CopyBlogger Brian Clark, ProBlogger Darren Rowse, and the inimitable Chris Brogan at Chrisbrogan.com

Support, when it’s needed (which isn’t often), is available via a dedicated online forum on the Studiopress site, and the answer to every question I’ve had so far has been there already… a quick search and the solution’s at hand.

Check out the Genesis Pro-Plus Package if you’re into WordPress… I’d highly recommend it.

May 042011
 

After much deliberation and procrastination I’ve finally set the Ireland’s Wildlife Website free into the wilds of cyberspace.

image

It’s still very early days, and it’s a bit thin on content (I’m working on it… so please bear with me), but I think there’s a great foundation to build an online wildlife hub and resource for everyone who’s interested in Ireland’s wildlife, the places they live, and the people who work with the,

Take a look, and let me have your feedback, thoughts, ideas and suggestions.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Apr 202011
 

Woodchat Shrike, Rosscarbery -- photo by Colin Barton

Today was an amazing day.

You know those balmy April days that practically taste of the promise of summer… the vanilla-citrus scent of gorse blossom hanging in the unseasonably warm air. Well, this was one of those.

I had a meeting in the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery this afternoon, after which the plan was a leisurely stroll across the causeway and down towards the Warren Strand to meet the family for a picnic on the beach. Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? But it gets better.

A quick circuit of the reed-bed revealed an assortment of warblers in the deciduous trees at the western end… willow warblers, chiff-chaffs and a full on X-Factor-style sing-off between three male blackcaps.

DSCI2711There wasn’t much happening from the causeway – some late black tailed godwits and a couple of little egrets in their breeding regalia… they look so much “swankier” when they’re all dressed up.

So it was onto the Warren road, heading for the beach. Something made me stop scanning the estuary for waders and look up into the stubble field behind the houses on the other side of the road. A bird flew up and landed on the electricity wires… I swung up the bins.

Surely not…! I looked again… I was definitely seeing an adult female Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator).

I made my way into the field for a closer look. What a magnificent bird… a first for me, and a fabulous bird to find for yourself. I sent the news in to Colin Barton who runs @corkbirdnews and he was on the scene from Galley Head in short order. I’ve used one of Colin’s photos of the shrike above, as mine are a bit ropey (only had the compact camera with me, and handheld digibining is a tricky skill to master, see below).

These are my best two digibining efforts:

Woodchat ShrikeWoodchat Shrike

And here’s another one of Colin’s – a flight shot – to finish off.

Woodchat Shrike -- Photo by Colin Barton

A yellow wagtail in the same field (dubbed the “Woodchat field” by Colin – which has a nice ring to it, I have to say) was a bonus too, and the picnic with the family was a great way to round off a really fabulous day!

Apr 112011
 

Wood Warbler on Galley Head, Co. Cork

Serendipity is a wonderful thing.

Our house was complete chaos last weekend. The twins and the little one had their friends over on Saturday for a sleepover (more accurately described as a stay-awake-over). That meant that bright and early on Sunday we had a houseful of over-tired, hyperactive girls ranging in age from seven to ten.

It was mayhem. Then a friend of Sally Ann’s arrived with her daughter, and the female/male quotient hit critical mass. This lone male had to escape of risk terminal meltdown!

And so, somehow, me, the binoculars, the bird book and the camera ended up in the car. Quarter-of-an-hour later I was standing at the salubriously dubbed “Shite Lane” crossroads on Galley head, looking at a lovely example of a wood warbler (Phylloscopus sibilatrix).

Don’t you just love it when things work out?

I had a quick scoot along the Top Lane too, seeing as I was already in the vacinity. Secretly I wanted to bag a hoopoe (love that name… but the scientific name is even more impressive. Upupa epops anyone?)  on Galley, just to annoy @CorkBirdNews AKA Galley Head Birding, who was away from his home patch at the time. But no such luck, and he’s back now, so opportunity lost.

Did get some fantastic views of a peregrine on the deck (but crap photos – too far away for my poxy glass, and a mist rolling in didn’t help), and lots of hyperactive choughs mobbing a very vociferous raven. It was a happy reminder that great birding, even in the midst of spring-migrant-mania, isn’t all about rarities.

Peregrine on the deckLots of choughs aroundChoughs just after dive bombing the ravenRaven, trying hard to stay one step ahead of the choughs

That said, a few woodchat shrikes (Lanius senator) have been cropping up further east and west along the Cork coast, which makes me think there must be at least one or two lurking on nearby headlands too – Galley, Toe Head, or along the coast in between.

I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled… or failing that will monitor @CorkBirdNews on Twitter and let a more competent / dedicated / single / child free / retired birders find one for me Winking smile.

Apr 062011
 

Screenshot of Web Content Consulting homepageQuick heads up that I’m using this blog mainly for personal writing / posts / rants etc. now, and posting business related topics over on my web content consulting business site.

Here are a few recent posts you might enjoy:

You’ll find plenty more good stuff over on the business blog. If you like what you see, please share it with your friends, colleagues and online connections, and don’t forget to stay tuned here for sundry bits and pieces on writing, wildlife and life in beautiful, if occasionally soggy West Cork.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Mar 312011
 

Lesser Redpoll (top) v Mealy Redpoll comparisonThe mealy redpoll that spent the winter hanging around my garden is still making regular appearances at the feeders. During the recent spell of decent weather I managed to get these shots of first a lesser, followed a few seconds later by the mealy on the same station at the seed-feeder. Identical light, identical camera settings, etc. make for an interesting comparison.

It highlights the significant differences between two birds that in Ireland are still considered sub-species of the common redpoll, but in the UK are split into different species.

The Lesser Redpoll (Carduelis flammea cabaret / Carduelis cabaret) is on the top, the Mealy Redpoll (Carduelis flammea flammea) is on the bottom.

Click on the pic to see a larger version.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Feb 222011
 

No really, it isn’t… although in all fairness you could be forgiven for thinking it was morphing into one of late. That’s just a reflection of me rekindling an interest that’s been there since I was a wee nipper.

Inevitably life gets busy, and things fall by the wayside, but they’re always there, to be picked up again when time allows. That’s what’s happening now.

I’m enjoying re-acquainting myself with the common and not so common birds around me, brushing up very rusty fieldcraft and ID skills and generally re-calibrating the bird-radar.

It’s also seems to be rekindling my enthusiasm for this blog, which is no bad thing.

Where am I finding the time for this real life stuff? To be honest I’m mostly slotting it in around all the other stuff. It’s amazing what you can do with a spare ten minutes here, quarter of an hour there.

So… I hope you’re enjoying the wildlife and birding related posts, and I will get back to writing about other things soon.