How was amplexus for you, dear? Your nature queries answered

Ethna Viney on frog mating and whether grey squirrels are gaining the upper paw

Frogs in amplexus

Frogs in amplexus

 

In our garden on Howth Head we occasionally have had a red squirrel, but this year a grey has appeared. I wondered if the red squirrels are being displaced by the greys? Billy Quinn, Baily, Dublin 13
There is no suggestion yet that the Howth reds are threatened

Grey squirrel
Grey squirrel

This is a daily visitor to our garden looking for lunch. So far the finches have been too quick for him. Alan Marshall, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16
A handsome female sparrowhawk.

Sparrowhawk
Sparrowhawk

I almost stood on this pair of frogs on Sliabh Bán, Roscommon. Their colours were fascinating. – Padraig Gubbins
Great photo of frogs in amplexus. The male seems to have grabbed the female before she got to a pond.

On a sunny, sloping field near Tramore, Co Waterford, I saw about 100 curlews feeding. They flew up, banked, wheeled and landed. They were magnificent in the bright sun, sometimes black, sometimes grey. – Rosemary Ryan, Tuitestown, Kilkenny
They were winter visitors from the Continent.

I noticed a blackbird beside the garden pond, jumping and pecking at what looked like a large, wriggling worm. On investigation it turned out to be a brook lamprey. It is the time of year when these primitive fish emerge to mate. How it got into the pond in the first place is quite unknown. – John Lucey, Dukesmeadows, Kilkenny
A pair of brook lampreys usually spawn in nests they build in shallow streams. The eggs hatch in a few days and the larvae live buried in the sand for anything from three to seven years. They then metamorphose into adults and emerge into the water to spawn.

Brook lamprey
Brook lamprey

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

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