Eye on Nature: Your notes and queries for Ethna Viney

Sunfish, sundew, gatekeeper butterflies and an unwelcome beach find

 

I’m sending you a photograph of a sunfish on the surface of the sea near Melmore Head, in Co Donegal. There were at least four sunfish in the water beside us, and one of them breached four times, looking like a large stone skipping across the bay.
Dearn McClintock
Sheephaven Sub Aqua Club, Co Donegal

Could you identify a plant that I saw growing on Corstown Bog?
James Carolan
Drumconrath, Co Meath

From looking at your photograph it is sundew, a carnivorous plant that traps insects, including flies, midges, beetles and ants. The plants absorb mineral nutrients from their prey, especially nitrogen and phosphorus, which are in short supply in the bog.

Two butterflies I photographed were having fun on the warm bonnet of my car. What species are they? The markings are not very clear.
Ann Muckley
Sutton, Dublin

From the visible underside of the wings they are gatekeepers. They are not widespread and are mainly found on the east and south coasts from Dublin to Kerry. They fly from July to September.

Washed up this week on Greystones North Beach was a 10ft section of fishing net with floats attached. Unfortunately, entombed in the net were the bodies of a dozen crabs, one small dogfish and at least eight juvenile cormorants. It was a bizarre and sad sight to see the young fledglings caught (almost beak to beak) in the small piece of discarded net. What a waste.
Paul White
Greystones, Co Wicklow

Floating pieces of net cause havoc to marine and seabird life.

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

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