Is this a field mouse with a long tail? Readers’ nature queries
Ethna Viney on sparrowhawks, starlings, herons, dogfish, pilot whales and divers
A baby rat
I came across this mouse on the roadside. It has a very long tail, longer than its body. It it a field mouse? – Michael Kavanagh, Kilsallaghan, Co Dublin
The size of its feet indicates that it’s a baby rat.
I looked out our kitchen window and saw this sparrowhawk feeding on a pigeon. I think it might be a female. – Martin Glynn, Knocklyon, Dublin 16
The female sparrowhawk is bigger than the male and so can take on a pigeon.
In November, a murmuration of starlings flew over the garden. The noise from their wings was tremendous. It always happens in November and is a real sight. There were hundreds of them all flying together. – Vanessa Drew, Ballymoney, Co Down
Some weeks ago I saw 13 herons flying together east to west. I have never seen so many together – usually it’s less than three. – Conor Foley, Kilkenny
Herons often roost together in sizeable numbers, but your flock may have been adults and juveniles from this year’s brood.
This little guy came to an end washed up above the tideline of Cushendun beach. Is it a dogfish? – Frank McGreevy, Cushendun, Co Antrim
Yes, it’s either the lesser or the large spotted dogfish, depending on the size.
On December 6th I saw this whale stranded on Thallabawn Beach, Co Mayo. It was 3.5m to 4m long. – Liam Cabot, Westport, Co Mayo
It was a long-finned pilot whale, a member of the dolphin family. Adults measure from 3.8m to 7m long.
This red-throated diver in Howth Harbour was very confiding as it meticulously conducted its ablutions. – Francy Devine, Howth, Co Dublin
It was in winter plumage.
Ethna Viney welcomes observations and photographs at Thallabawn, Louisburgh, Co Mayo, F28 F978, or by email at email@example.com. Please include a postal address.