Eye on Nature: Your notes and queries for Ethna Viney

Kingfishers, swallows, gooseneck barnacles and a queen wasp

’Tis the season? The wasps that Susan Flynn saw mating

’Tis the season? The wasps that Susan Flynn saw mating

 

My most memorable nature sighting of the year was when I was standing on an unused bridge on the River Clody, close to my home, and suddenly down the river in an iridescent flash flew a kingfisher. Magic.

Michael Hart, Bunclody, Co Wexford

On December 7th two swallows were on a third-floor window in Wexford. Swallows nest in numbers in the town every summer. Any records of them wintering here?

Michael Lunt, Wexford

BirdWatch Ireland says that over the past few years there have been records of a few birds that haven’t bothered to migrate, and that the weather was mild enough for them to survive.

I saw a mass of shellfish attached by long, tubular appendages to washed-up debris on Marble Hill Strand, in northwest Donegal recently.

Kevin Cleary, Terenure, Dublin

From the photograph you sent, they were gooseneck barnacles, which are hermaphrodite. Their eggs hatch into free-swimming larvae that float around in the sea. As they develop they fasten on to flotsam, where they grow and reproduce to repeat the cycle.

I photographed a queen wasp and drone mating on December 9th. Is this another sign of unseasonably weather?

Susan Flynn, Ballybrack, Co Dublin

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