Eye on Nature: Tomatoes growing on the beach in Louth

Your notes and queries for Eanna Ní Lamhna

Look what Caitriona Maloney found on her neighbour’s wall – a female large house spider.

Look what Caitriona Maloney found on her neighbour’s wall – a female large house spider.

 

I saw this spider on my neighbours’ garden wall (fortunately for it, they didn’t). The body was fully 15mm long.

Caitriona Maloney, Dublin

This is an excellent, in-focus picture of one of our biggest spiders – a female large house spider. She makes strong triangular webs in dark corners under floorboards and in outbuildings, where she lives with a male. He stays for a few weeks after mating until he dies, and then she eats him.

This goldfinch flew into Frank Curran’s patio door.
This goldfinch flew into Frank Curran’s patio door.

This goldfinch flew into our patio door. Unlike previous ones, it survived and flew away a few minutes later.

Frank Curran

Large glass doors, especially if there is a window in an opposite wall, can fool birds into thinking there is a flight path through. Curtains or blinds would help.

Paul Brennan discovered this tomato plant on a beach at Salterstown.
Paul Brennan discovered this tomato plant on a beach at Salterstown.

I found these on a shingle beach at Salterstown, Co Louth.

Paul Brennan, Monasterboice

They are tomatoes, which can grow from seeds of discarded picnic tomatoes. These have done far better here than in many a cossetted greenhouse.

John Murphy stumbled upon this shaggy inkcap mushroom.
John Murphy stumbled upon this shaggy inkcap mushroom.

What is this mushroom I saw in the grass?

John Murphy, Baltimore, Co Cork

It is a shaggy inkcap.

Noeleen Leonard spotted this merlin in the autumn sunshine near Port, Co Louth.
Noeleen Leonard spotted this merlin in the autumn sunshine near Port, Co Louth.

We have two very large mature sweet chestnut trees in our garden. There is a huge crop of chestnuts this year, which the local crows have discovered. They never showed any interest before. There are now a dozen or more crows around the trees every morning, pulling off the unopened seed pods and flying off with them to the nearby field. There they peck them open on the grass, which presumably anchors the spines in place. This seems to be a newly learned behaviour, which has spread rapidly through the flock.

Eithne Walker

Crows are the cleverest species of bird and very quick to learn new ways of finding food.

Have you a nature query, observation or photo you would like to share with The Irish Times? Submit it, with location of the image, via our website irishtimes.com/eyeonnature

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