Can you identify this bird I saw in Ranelagh? Readers’ nature queries

Ethna Viney on grey wagtails, rooks, fungus gnats and hummingbird hawkmoths

Grey wagtail spotted in Ranelagh

Grey wagtail spotted in Ranelagh

 

Can you identify this bird, which I saw recently in Ranelagh? – Kate Horgan, Oakley Rd, Dublin 6
It’s a grey wagtail, which will get its adult feathers any day now.

Pellet
Pellet

I found this pellet, just over an inch long, outside my front door. A friend thought he’d heard an owl. Could it be an owl or some other pellet-producing bird? – Geraldine Mitchell, Louisburgh, Co Mayo
It looks like a pellets regurgitated by a gull, probably a black-headed one.

Ladybirds emerge from ivy in Warrenpoint, Co Down
Ladybirds emerge from ivy in Warrenpoint, Co Down

These ladybirds emerged from the ivy on our fence in the warm sunshine on February 26th. – Kate O’Reilly, Warrington, Co Down

I have been feeding a flock of rooks since midwinter. I noticed that they were pulling off the blades of grass where I had scattered the seed, so I’ve gradually moved them around and they are doing a wonderful job mowing my lawn. – Fiona Mohr, Headford, Co Galway

I grow a few herbs and plants on my tiny patio and I’ve always been intrigued by a little swarm of dancing insects that seem to be constantly with us. – Mairéad Ashe Fitzgerald, Harold’s Cross, Dublin 6
They are probably fungus gnats. They lay their eggs in the soil and the larvae feed on algae and fungi.

On February 27th I watched a hummingbird hawkmoth as it fed from the blossoms of a winter cherry in my garden. I have only previously watched these beautiful moths in midsummer at valerian plants. – Susan Flynn, Ballybrack, Co Dublin
Like the painted ladies last week, it probably either overwintered or, more likely, was carried here on that warm current of air from the Iberian Peninsula.

Frogs mating at Carrickynaughton Bog, Co Roscommon
Frogs mating at Carrickynaughton Bog, Co Roscommon

Ger Henehan of Annaghdown, Co Galway sent a photo of frogs mating at Carrickynaughton Bog, Co Roscommon.

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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