More than any other season, Spring is defined by firsts. First swallow, first cuckoo, first snowdrop, first frog spawn, first bumblebee queen. For me though, the arrival of Spring these past few years has been heralded by something a little smaller, hidden beside a very ordinary bench at Strumpshaw Fen. It would be excessively easy to … More BURROWERS


What is it about old museums? Me and Ye Olde Zoology are continuing our love affair, which recently lead me to dig out my copy of In the Heart of the Amazon Forest, but also to revisit a much-loved gem of a museum in the middle of Dublin. There are a few natural history museums that … More THE DEAD ZOO


Has anyone been watching Wild Ireland? Colin Stafford-Johnson’s trip up the west coast of Ireland in a currach was an enthralling masterpiece- and it resonated particularly closely as I was still going through pictures from our brief trip to Connemara at the beginning of March. Like him, we wandered from forest to mountain to coast, and while … More BEACH


Aside from, you know, the time I spent studying for an MSc, the year I spent living in Dublin was full of awesome side trips to the far extremities of the country. We went camping on Inis Mór, surfing in the Atlantic in December, and on fruitless sea eagle searches in Killarney National Park. Despite this, the list … More CONNEMARA


As is becoming habit, I’m using packing for a new trip as an excuse to get all nostalgic about ventures past. This time we’re hopping over the Irish sea to Dublin and thence to Connemara, but two years ago I was filling a much bigger suitcase from a trip to the other side of the world. New Zealand … More NEW ZEALAND


A word of warning: any palaeo friends (i.e. most people I know in Manchester) might want to stop reading now, as I’m about to reveal the extent of my ignorance when it comes to ancient life. I’ve always enjoyed the ichthyosaur section in the Natural History Museum as much as the next person, and noted with … More FIRST LIFE


Back when I started Stripy Tapir, I wanted it to be a diary of sorts- an annotated field book and a place to look back on past adventures. I didn’t really have high expectations for it and hoped it would be able to stay afloat despite PhD work and intermittent lack of internet. Last Thursday, however, I … More THANK YOU


Wait a minute Stafford, shouldn’t you have done this a month ago, when veganuary a thing? OK- let me explain. There is broad scientific consensus that animal agriculture is a major source of global greenhouse gas emissions. Headlines like the one below, from the Guardian a couple of weeks ago; are becoming frighteningly more common. The main culprit? … More VEGUARY


I found myself in Canterbury during the brief flurry of snow we had last week, watching it fall from the window and wondering if my train journey back to Manchester would be delayed (and after crossing London on the way there during the tube strike, I really wasn’t in the mood for another ‘adventurous’ journey). It … More WINTER


When I moved to Dublin to study for my Masters degree, one of the salient memories of my first commutes into the city was the glimpse of a sea of white as my bus crossed the grand canal at Rathmines. That sea, it turned out, was a large gathering of mute swans, congregating near a … More EALAÍ