Eye on Nature: Your notes and queries for Eithne Viney

Candle snuff fungus, sparrowhawk, ocean quahog, sea mouse and brittle star

This lichen or fungus was found beside a hedgerow near Kilpedder, Co Wicklow in early October. Each little black stem was about 10mm.

Simon Rogers, Sandymount, Dublin 4. 
It looks like candle snuff fungus, which grows on decaying wood.

Driving through Moate's Main Street I came on this female sparrowhawk just after striking down a bird for dinner in the middle of the road.
Enda Murphy, Tubber, Co Westmeath

Can you identify this clam shell washed up on the Burrow beach in Sutton? I'm struck by its unusual size 1 1cm across.
Peter Kingston, Sutton, Dublin 13
It is the shell of the ocean quahog, Arctica islandica. One was the oldest known animal when it died at 507 years in 2006. They grow very slowly to 12.5cm, and this one could have been more than a century old. Another was found at Loop Head (Eye, January 2016).


I spotted three little birds in my garden. They were the size of a small tit with short tails, and the most significant bit about them were the two black stripes with a white stripe in the centre on the head.
Ursula Hakman, Dún Laoghaire, Dublin.
They sound like black-and-white warblers blown in from America on the hurricane.

I spotted a pair of foxes on the top of Corr Castle, an old keep attached to the Howth Castle Demesne. There is a broken stone stairway inside the castle.
Maria Heather, Howth, Co Dublin.

Jake Kinsella of Stephen’s Lane, Dublin 2, sent in photos of a sea mouse, a prickly cockle shell, an orange sponge, an otter shell and a brittle star, all washed up after the storm Ophelia on Bull Island.

  • Ethna Viney welcomes observations and photographs at Thallabawn, Louisburgh, Co Mayo, F28F978, or by email at : viney@anu.ie. Please include a postal address.