Eye on Nature: Your notes and queries for Ethna Viney

Seals, dormice, brent geese, and two-banded longhorn beetles

 

Walking along the banks of the River Lee in Cork, across from County Hall, I watched an adult seal devour a fine salmon in the centre of the river. He kept surfacing at intervals, wolfing portions of the fish as the moving water carried both seal and remains down the river. It was like eating your dinner while the plate was being taken away.
Paul Murphy
Cork

The nectarine-sized guy in my photograph fell out of a sack lined with hay. What is it?
James Sheeran
Naas, Co Kildare

It is a dormouse, not a native, one of the recent arrivals mainly reported from Co Kildare. Experts say DNA samples indicate that their ancestors originated in France, from where racehorse stables regularly import hay.

We see brent geese feeding on the football pitches at Templeogue College. We usually see them at coastal areas. What types of grass do they prefer? How long do they stay here, and where do they fly to then?
Niamh Coffey (aged 11)
Terenure, Dublin

They often feed on playing fields and eat all kinds of grass. They arrive here in autumn from Greenland and Canada, and return there in spring.

Could you identify the insect that I photographed on a window sill at my house?
Dermot Nolan
Kilternan, Co Dublin

It is the two-banded longhorn beetle, ‘Rhagium bifasciatum’. The National Biodiversity Data Centre (biodiversityireland.ie) has lots of reports in a broad band down the centre of the country. The larvae live in dead wood and take two or three years to mature.

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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