What are these eggs I found on the shingle? Readers’ nature queries

Ethna Viney on the common whelk, squirrels, potato urchins, spiders and the female hairy-footed flower bee

Common whelk egg mass

Common whelk egg mass

 

I found these sunlit eggs on the shingle at High Rock between Malahide and Portmarnock, a wonderful contrast between them and the dark pebbles. – Maris Heffernan, Malahide, Co Dublin
It’s the egg mass of the common whelk.

Grey squirrel
Grey squirrel

I came across this unusual squirrel in St Enda’s Park. He was half grey and half red, and was very friendly. – Jane Grayson, Firhouse, Dublin 24
It’s a grey squirrel in its winter coat.

Potato urchins
Potato urchins

I found these close to the shoreline near Dog’s Bay in Roundstone. They were very fragile and came apart in the hands. – Andrew O’Connor, Letterfrack, Co Galway
They are potato urchins, also called sea potatoes, and are covered with spines when alive.

Barn owl
Barn owl

This barn owl was a recent visitor to our garden. – Rod Tuach, Ashford, Co Wicklow

Barrel jellyfish
Barrel jellyfish

I saw this on Donabate beach. I walk the beach regularly and have never seen it previously. – Marie Arnold, Donabate, Co Dublin
It’s a barrel jellyfish, common around the coast, but usually not washed in quite so early in the year.

Hairy-footed flower bee
Hairy-footed flower bee

We found this little dead guy on our worktop at the end of last month. It was buzzing at the window earlier. It looks like a bee and we wondered why it was about this time of year. – Sean Doyle, Cabinteely, Dublin 18
Although I can’t see its legs it looks like the female hairy-footed flower bee, Anthophora plumipes, which can be seen from February. It gets into the house because it nests sometimes in the concrete of chimneys and falls down into the house. The male looks quite different, more like a bumble bee.

Common house spider
Common house spider

What kind of spider is this? – Mark McCloskey, Drogheda, Co Meath
The giant house spider, Tegenaria gigantea, a common and harmless arachnid.

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

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