Eye on Nature: Your notes and queries

Earth star mushrooms, tar spots, pheasants and spaniels

 

I came across a bulb or plant when weeding under evergreens. It looked like an alien when it opened.
Fionuala McGuinn
Dunboyne, Co Meath

Your photograph shows a brown bulb-shaped object that peeled out into a six-sided star to reveal a round, brown inner spore body. It is an earth star mushroom, ‘Geastrum morganii’, which is relatively rare.

I found an odd black patch on a willow leaf. When I broke it open it had a white centre.
Albert Nolan
Rear Cross, Co Tipperary

The black patch, from your photograph, was a fungus infection called tar spot, which can affect tree leaves in the autumn.

A beautiful, slim, silver-backed pheasant has adopted our garden. I wonder at him being in the Inishowen Peninsula.
Ros Harvey
Malin, Co Donegal

It must have been introduced by a gun club.

Our springer spaniel eats blackberries off the plants. This year he has gone a step further and convinced two of our others to join him. The fourth has yet to be won over.
Regina Perceval Blunden
Kilkenny

Michael Viney welcomes observations at Thallabawn, Louisburgh, Co Mayo, F28 F978, or by email at viney@anu.ie. Please include a postal address

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