Eye on Nature: Your notes and queries for Ethna Viney

Blue-tit chicks, white plume moths, great skuas and drumming snipes

Spotted: a great skua like the ones nesting on Inishshark, off Co Galway. Photograph: iStock/Getty

Spotted: a great skua like the ones nesting on Inishshark, off Co Galway. Photograph: iStock/Getty

 

Recently I came across two blue-tit chicks on the ground below their nest, which is behind the shed fascia. That’s too high for me to reach, so I made a makeshift nest from a ceramic pot. I worked some clay around the rim, leaving a small opening, and hung the pot, with the chicks, under the original nest. I watched for the parents’ return. After some puzzled looking around, one parent entered the new nest with some food, and they continued to feed the chicks for the next two days. On the third day they flew the nest.
Helen Ennis
Dunbeacon, Co Cork

I’m sending you a photograph of a creature that spent about four hours on my shed door.
James Brennan
Ballyouskill, Co Offaly

It is the white plume moth, ‘Pterophorus pentadactyla’, which flies May to August, and is attracted to light at night.

On Inishshark island, off Co Galway, recently I saw a pair of birds that were perhaps 50cm from wing tip to wing tip, full bodied like shearwaters. They had slimmish V-shaped black wings with two large circular white patches near the wing tips.
David Heap
Ranelagh, Dublin

A pair of great skuas is nesting on Inishshark.

Albert Nolan, who lives in Newport, Co Tipperary, sent a photograph of a poplar hawkmoth.

Earlier this year I received two recordings of a snipe drumming, one from Shane in Connemara and one from Michéal in Kinnitty, Co Offaly. The drumming is part of the male snipe’s display flight in the breeding season, and is made by stiff tail feathers vibrating while the bird is diving through the sky. It sounds like a goat bleating.

Ethna Viney welcomes observations and photographs at Thallabawn, Louisburgh, Co Mayo, F28 F978, or by email at viney@anu.ie. Please include a postal address

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