The cat hasn’t been killing pigeons, this bird has, what is it? Readers’ nature queries

Ethna Viney on slow worms, one of Ireland’s heaviest spiders, and lawyer’s wigs

A sparrowhawk, having caught a pigeon

A sparrowhawk, having caught a pigeon

 
A four-spot orb weaver spider
A four-spot orb weaver spider

I came across this gorgeous spider wrapping up a wasp in his web. His abdomen was huge, easily the size of a large blueberry.
Patrick O’Donnell, Ashford, Co Wicklow
It’s the four-spot orb weaver, a garden spider regarded as one of the heaviest spiders we have.

A shaggy inkcap or lawyer’s wig mushroom
A shaggy inkcap or lawyer’s wig mushroom

I think this is a maartent toadstool. They appear at this time of year on Roscahill Forest.
Tamar Scott, Moycullen, Co Galway
It’s called the shaggy inkcap or lawyer’s wig in this country, and is quite common at this time of year.

Part of a rag worm, often used for bait in fishing
Part of a rag worm, often used for bait in fishing

I saw this washed up near a rock pool on Youghal front strand and wondered what it might be.
Triona O’Gorman, Quin, Co Clare
It’s a king rag worm, or part of. They are prized as bait by fishermen.

A non-native slow worm
A non-native slow worm

This slow worm took up residence under a mat in rough grass beside our tunnel. I checked three times over a week and wondered if it would have young. I love the colour and pattern.
Aine O’Regan, Tubber Co Clare
The slow worm, Anguis fragilis, is a species of legless lizard. It is not native to Ireland and was introduced to the Burren from Britain.

A sparrowhawk caught in the act
A sparrowhawk caught in the act

It turns out it wasn’t the neighbour’s cat leaving pigeon feathers in the garden.
Alice Doring, Harcourt Terrace, Dublin 2
A sparrowhawk caught in the act.

The caterpillar of the fox moth
The caterpillar of the fox moth

Can you identify this caterpillar, which we saw on a visit to Galley Head, Co Cork?
Oliver Nash, Rathmines, Dublin 6
It’s caterpillar of the fox moth, an attractive brown moth that flies in summer.

An old bird box converted by some wasps
An old bird box converted by some wasps

Wasps converted an old bird box of ours, sealing up the hole and making one of their own.
Tom McCaughren, Dublin

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

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.