Anyone care for a cola bottle? Readers’ nature queries

Ethna Viney on the hedgehog slug, sociable wagtails and a new arrival woodpecker

We found this slug, about 2cm long, in our boiler house. My daughter Freya (6) compared it to cola bottle sweets, which are brown at the bottom and transparent at the top. I have never seen one like it. – Kate Bruton, Dublin 8
It's the hedgehog slug, quite common in this country; there are more than a thousand records of it.

In Dún Laoghaire library there is a water feature with bamboo in the middle. If you go there at dusk, you will see hundreds of pied wagtails and some grey wagtails fly into the bamboo to sleep. Is this rare? – Erin Brennan Conte (12), Blackrock, Co Dublin
Decades ago, when there were trees on O'Connell Street, hundred of wagtails used to flock every night on a plane tree there. It is not unusual for them to flock in large numbers in built-up areas.

These are some of the drift treasures I've found on Kilkee strand and around Loop Head over the years. The two large ones are coconuts; the next in size is Entada gigas, the sea heart. Then there is the horse eye bean; and the whitish one is a nicker nut. – Richard Collins, Ennis, Co Clare

This flock of oystercatchers was foraging for food on the winter beach near where I live. – Sara Robb, Hollywood, Co Down

We are regular walkers in Terenure's Bushy Park. Last March we spotted two egrets in the woods there. In mid-February we saw three egrets in the same spot, one bigger than the other two. – Patricia O'Donovan, Terenure, Dublin 6
There have been reports of great white egrets in Bushy Park and your photo proves them correct.

This male great spotted woodpecker has been a new visitor to our garden. How widespread are they? – Niamh Malin, Tullow, Co Carlow
They are recent arrivals, mainly in eastern Ireland.

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

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