Eye on Nature: Your notes and queries for Ethna Viney
Ravens, seagulls, Belgian ducks and stranded starfish
Visitor: the duck Emer Buckley saw in her garden; it looks like one of the Belgian ducks, a Termonde or Huttegem
On my evening walk I see one of the crow family perched on the highest trees. It calls with a sonorous honk (or a throaty caw). It’s bigger than a grey crow and all black. I hope we have our first raven.
Frenchpark, Co Roscommon
Occasionally we have a gang of four seagulls. Like the mods and rockers of old, they get their kicks by harrying the buzzards and buzzing the heron.
Strawberry Beds, Dublin
Could you identify the egg in my photograph, which I found under the hedge?
It is a blackbird’s egg.
Could you identify a duck that flew into our garden recently? There are similar ducks in Ranelagh Park.
From your photograph, it looks like one of the Belgian ducks, a Termonde or Huttegem.
Down by the lake shore I was astonished to see a hen chaffinch twice rise up to devour an incoming mayfly, of which she made quite a substantial snack.
Ballyshannon, Co Donegal
Hearing a commotion in my back garden, I found a magpie attacking a fully fledged starling, which flew away while its parents dive-bombed the attacker. The attack continued across rooftops until the parents were bolstered by more adult starlings and the magpie gave up. The youngster was saved.
Maynooth, Co Kildare
Lots of dead starfish were washed up on the beach at Greystones. Is this a natural phenomenon or is something unusual killing these creatures?
Greystones, Co Wicklow
These strandings of starfish occur occasionally. Various reasons have been suggested, such as toxic algal bloom or pollution, but some experts to think that they are washed in on the beach because of stormy weather and expire there.
A clarification: the list of birds exempted from protection in the Wildlife Act has been scrapped, and now all wild birds are protected.
Ethna Viney welcomes observations and photographs at Thallabawn, Louisburgh, Co Mayo, F28 F978, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a postal address