A frog in Sligo, hairy caterpillar in Kells and dead bat in Galway

Eye on Nature: Your notes and queries for Ethna Viney

I came across the gentleman in the picture while out walking the Barnaribbon Loup on Benbulben in Sligo. Any idea who he is?

Robert Rowlette, Sligo

It’s our common frog, whose colour ranges from brown to grey to reddish or green and provides camouflage against enemies. Some experts say that frogs can change colour to blend with the environment, but it has been established that they can darken their skin colour over a couple of hours.

I watched this very curious stoat scurrying in and out of holes in the stone wall outside my bedroom window. He actually stood up and looked in the window. Ann Higginson, Cleggan, Co Galway


I found this very hairy caterpillar in Kells. Online research tells me that it is the larva of the pale tussock moth.

Jon Reilly Williamstown, Co Meath

It will soon pupate in cocoons incorporating these hairs.

I found this dead bat in my back garden. My dad thinks it is a common pipistrelle. There was an orange patch like eggs on the back of the ear.

Edith O’Donnell, Gort, Co Galway

Bat expert Dr Kate McAney identified it as Natterer's bat from its grey underbelly and long ears. The patch was probably the larvae of a mite.

On September 15th this great northern diver just landed and waddled down the beach in Garretstown, Co Cork.

Robert Maxwell, Kinsale, Co Cork

Is this a mink spied at our house on Rosguill Peninsula, Co Donegal? Perhaps it’s a descendant from the 5,000 released by animal activists from a mink farm near Ardara in 2010.

Ann Smylie, Dromore, Co Down

Yes, it’s a mink. The animal rights people don’t seem to realise the damage they do to wildlife by such releases.

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