I saw this beauty on the lake – where is it from? Readers’ nature queries

Ethna Viney on Mandarin ducks, lichen, hermit crabs and more

Mandarin ducks came originally from China but have been in the Dodder for more than a decade.

Mandarin ducks came originally from China but have been in the Dodder for more than a decade.

 

The spring sunshine highlights the intricate detail of the fruiting bodies on this lichen on a twig in our garden. – Michael Cross, Belfast

Xanthoria parietina is a fairly common lichen in Ireland.

The intricate detail of Xanthoria parietina lichen.
The intricate detail of Xanthoria parietina lichen.

I spotted this still living creature on Killiney beach. – Mary Convery, Sandycove, Co Dublin

It’s a hermit crab, which lives in the shells of shellfish – often, as here, in the shell of the common whelk.

A hermit crab seen on Killiney beach, Co Dublin.
A hermit crab seen on Killiney beach, Co Dublin.

I found this crab on Harbour View beach, in Kilbrittain, Co Cork. I grew up by the sea but never saw a crab with a tail and long feelers like this. – Julie Doyle Daly, Ballinadee, Co Cork

This is a masked crab, a female, as the male has one much longer claw.

Masked crab seen at Harbour View beach, in Kilbrittain, Co Cork.
Masked crab seen at Harbour View beach, in Kilbrittain, Co Cork.

I saw this beauty on the lake in Bushy Park but no sign of a female. Do they breed in Ireland or where would he have come from? – Patrick Fitzgerald, Terenure, Dublin 6W

Mandarin ducks have been established on the Dodder for more than a decade. They came originally from China and escaped from domestic collections.

I found this fusion of a mussel shell and an oyster shell on Dollymount Strand. Is this unusual? – Claire Wilde, Dublin 3

Yes, it is unusual, a puzzle to solve.

Unusual fusion of a mussel shell and an oyster shell.
Unusual fusion of a mussel shell and an oyster shell.

I had no sooner cleaned out and rehung the nest box when a lodger, a blue tit, arrived and spent every night in it. – Frank Curran, Leixlip, Co Kildare

Blue tit spotted by Frank Curran, Leixlip, Co Kildare.
Blue tit spotted by Frank Curran, Leixlip, Co Kildare.

While walking in St Enda’s Park I met this friendly squirrel, who thought he had bagged a tasty mouthful.– Brian Swan, Churchtown, Dublin 14

A squirrel spotted in St Enda’s Park, Dublin.
A squirrel spotted in St Enda’s Park, Dublin.

We have a water rail family nesting in our garden. Every year they come out to eat frog spawn from the pond outside our window. – Colm de Bhaldraithe, Oileán Mhúinse, Co na Gaillimhe

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

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.