Eye on Nature: Your notes and queries for Ethna Viney

Pine marten in Donegal, long-tailed tits in Carlow and a bracket fungus in Howth

This badger is a new daily visitor to my bird table.

Thomas Wilmot, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal

This pine marten was captured in an electricity substation in Trillick, Co Donegal. It was released later.

Liam Smith, Buncrana, Co Donegal


If people complain about the weather in the west of Ireland, it could be worse. Many parts of Spain have less than two months’ supply of water left due to mismanagement and the changing climate. The wheat crop failed in Spain this year. The wet west of Ireland is a treasure.

Conor Farrell, Valladolid, Spain

I was walking on the cliff path at Howth and noticed this fungus growing on charred gorse.

Frank Smyth, Sutton, Dublin13

It is a bracket fungus and looks like trembling merulius, which grows on rotting wood.

Seven long-tailed tits arrived on December 30th. Are they early? Also a pair of blackcaps – the first female I have seen in 20 years.

Eugene O Connor, Paupish, Co Carlow

The long-tailed tits are here all year around, but they move about a lot and seem to have certain places they choose at certain times of the year. A small number of blackcaps winter here in the east, so perhaps yours had been here and moved in early.

I took a photo of a pair of snow buntings from the East Pier at Howth on January 7th. There was also a purple sandpiper feeding there.

Francy Devine, Howth, Co Dublin

Kevin Toolan, Carrig-on-Shannon, sent a website with advice on what should be fed to swans, geese and ducks on ponds: beautyofbirds.com/swandiet.html

Ethna Viney welcomes observations and photographs at Thallabawn, Louisburgh, Co Mayo, F28F978, or by email at viney@anu.ie. Include a postal address.