Does this moth’s furry coat keep it warm? Readers’ nature queries

Ethna Viney on December moths, albino pheasants, cormorants and great spotted woodpeckers

December moth

December moth

 

I found this very dapper little furry moth on our wall. Does its furry coat keep it warm in this chilly weather? – Niki Whelan, Borris, Co Carlow
It’s the December moth, one of the eggar family of moths. All are rather furry.

A brain-like lichen or fungus
A brain-like lichen or fungus

A brain-like lichen or fungus was growing on a fallen tree at the edge of woodland in the Glen of the Downs. – Angela Keller, Bray, Co Wicklow

Albino pheasant
Albino pheasant

Pheasants often stroll through our garden, but we were surprised recently to see a white hen pheasant. – Bernadette Jameson, Donadea, Co Kildare
Albino pheasants occur now and again. If it has pink eyes it’s albino; if it has normal coloured eyes it’s leucistic. Leucism is a genetic mutation that prevents melanin from being deposited only in the feathers. Albinism prevents the production of melanin in the whole body.

Cormorant
Cormorant

In Howth fishing harbour I had a privileged, one-sided conversation with this young cormorant that was preoccupied with a methodical preen. Francis Devine, Howth, Co Dublin

We have a woodpecker in our garden, which is surrounded by farmland. We heard it in a tree all summer, but have only recently seen it. – Denis and Catherine McGrane, Kilpedder, Co Wicklow

Woodpecker. Illustration: Michael Viney
Woodpecker. Illustration: Michael Viney

We’re very pleased and excited to see a spotted woodpecker at our peanut feeder and then pecking in the surrounding trees. – Don Comiskey, Delgany, Co Wicklow
The great spotted woodpecker has become established in Co Wicklow. Previously a winter vagrant, for the past decade it has become a resident.

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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