Eye on Nature: Ethna Viney answers your queries

A six-spot burnet, a pumpkin spider, buff back geese, and male and female flowers

Emer O’Shea saw this six-spot burnet

Emer O’Shea saw this six-spot burnet

 

Wild orchids are abounding up here in the northwest. At Tramore Beach I took this photo of a wee cinnabar moth on one.

Emer O’Shea, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal

The moth on the pyramidal orchid is a six-spot burnet, not unlike the cinnabar. Both are black with red spots, and both have red underwings, but the cinnabar has two spots along the leading edge of each wing, and the six-spot burnet has six spots on each wing.

I spotted a green and yellow spider in my recycling bin.

Kevin Jolley, Booterstown, Co Dublin

I was visiting my great-aunt in Blessington, Co Wicklow, when I saw a green and yellow spider on a plant.

Eva Barry (aged 9), Dunboyne, Co Meath

They were both the pumpkin spider, Araniella cucurbitina, an orb spider, usually found in gardens and spins webs on bushes and tree.

I was recently in the distillery (established 1909) in Bulgaria from which we source organic rosewater. Elders in the village said that the old stills were made of female wood, but they didn’t know why.

Ellen Cox, Atlantic Aromatics, Bray, Co Wicklow

Some trees have both male and female flowers on the same plant (monoecious). Others have female flowers on one tree and male on another (dioecious). A common list of these would include elder, ash, holly, juniper, poplar, aspen, willow and yew. Perhaps a century of experience found some benefit from the wood of female trees.

I spotted this pair of geese in Castle Harbour, Portumna and wondered what they were.

Frank Reid, Killaloe, Co Clare

The goose is a buff back, but I can’t be sure of the gander, could also be a buff back. They are domestic geese.

Ethna Viney welcomes observations at Thallabawn, Louisburgh, Co Mayo, F28F978 . Email : viney@anu.ie. Please include a postal address.

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