Is this roadkill in Mayo a weasel or a stoat? – readers’ nature notes and queries

Eye on Nature: Ethna Viney on a giant egg case, a diving water beetle and a fighting sparrowhawk

An Irish weasel or stoat?

An Irish weasel or stoat?

 

This photo was taken on the Ballymote road from Charlestown. Is it an Irish weasel or stoat? Jim Owens, Charlestown, Co Mayo

It is a pine marten. It has recolonised the whole of the centre of Ireland from Sligo to Limerick and coast to coast. It is found also in the North and South.

I learned an interesting lesson last autumn. The wet weather prevented me from dead-heading and cutting flowers back. The result was that we had goldfinches feeding of the lavender plant and the wren has had plenty of feeding too. Joe Scully, Tallaght, Dublin 24

I found this egg case on Fenit Island beach. It is over 30cm long from tip to tip and the case is 15cm by 17cm. Siobhán Leahy, Ardfert, Co Kerry

It is the egg case of the common skate.

A sparrowhawk attacks.
A sparrowhawk attacks.

I had placed fine wire around the bird feeders to give the birds a fighting chance, but our local sparrowhawk was not deterred. In this photo he is attacking a goldfinch. Michael Brogan, Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo

Snake pipe fish
Snake pipe fish

My son found this sea creature on the shore in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin. It is a snake pipefish, Entelurus aequoureus, the same family as the seahorse, and they brood their young. Dr Mike Guiry, NUIG, Galway

The great diving water beetle
The great diving water beetle

The bug in the photo arrived in our hallway. We are not sure if it flew in or was helped by two collie pups. Lizzy Allen, Derry

It is the great diving water beetle, which lives in ponds and flies from pond to pond to breed. The large larva resembles a shrimp and like the beetle, is fiercely carnivorous, devouring anything in the pond – frogs, newts, fishes, tadpole and other insects.

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

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