Eye on Nature: Your notes and queries for Ethna Viney

Mushrooms, thunderworms, jackdaws and rooks

Eyes on nature: the flock of birds that Brian Nolan saw at dawn in Co Galway

I photographed a fungus in October. Could you identify it?
John Mullins

The mycologist Kieran Connolly identifies it from the photograph you sent as a 'Hypholoma' species, probably 'H fasciculare' (sulphur tuft) or 'H lateritium' (brick tuft). It would need a microscopic examination to decide.

In the middle of December I found an unusual mushroom in the garden. What is it?
Gerry Burns
Richhill, Co Armagh

Eyes on nature: the Hypholoma mushroom that John Mullins photographed in October
Eyes on nature: the earthstar mushroom that Gerry Burns found in his garden in Co Armagh

It is one of the earthstar mushrooms, from looking at your photograph. Like John Mullins's, it needs closer examination to decide which.


I'm sending you a photograph of a worm that I found in a paddling pool, just swimming about. Its tail tip was forked, its head was like a pinhead, and its body was like a thick brown hair. It was 20cm long.
Derek Vial
Killybegs, Co Donegal

It is a thunderworm, a nematode or round worm, 'Mermis nigrescens', not related to earthworms, as it is not segmented. It lives in the soil and comes out after rain and for the female to lay eggs. These are eaten by insects, mainly grasshoppers; when they hatch the larvae consume the innards of the insect.

On December 19th I went down to Barna to video the dawn. I was greeted by the cacophony of a murder of crows – at least 100. It was sight to see, with the dawn's glow in the background over Salthill and the Burren and the waves lapping on the pier.
Brian Nolan
Barna, Co Galway

It was a flock of jackdaws or rooks (or both) leaving a roost somewhere nearby.

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