What are these washed up on Dollymount Strand? Readers’ nature queries

Ethna Viney on terrapins, foot-stomping seagulls and jellyfish in February

Audrey O’Flaherty’s North American freshwater terrapin

My sister saw three of these washed up on Dollymount beach. They were dead and about the size of a small water bottle. – Audrey O'Flaherty, Swords, Co Dublin.
Prof Grace Flannery identified them as North American freshwater terrapins, either red-eared sliders or yellow-belly sliders. They are sold in pet shops and she says that they are often dumped by irresponsible pet owners when they grow too big for their enclosures.

Every day we have two seagulls who seem to do a foot-stomping dance outside our office window. Some reckon it's getting worms up. – Karl Jennings, Santry, Dublin, 9.
Yes, they are dancing, simulating raindrops, to induce worms to come to the surface.

Mary Fagan’s goldfinch

We can't identify this bird and would be delighted to know what it is. – Mary Fagan, Abbeydorney, Co Kerry.
It's a goldfinch.

Barrel jellyfish, as spotted by Mary Counihan and Emily O’Byrne

When walking on Donabate beach last month I saw six jellyfish and wondered is it unusual to see them at this time of year. – Mary Counihan, Ballyboughal, Co Dublin.
We came across this jellyfish on Portmarnock beach. I can't find it in my water life book. – Emily O'Byrne, Batterstown, Co Meath.
They are both barrel jellyfish, Rhizostoma pulmo. Usually seen in summer, they were carried in from far out at sea by the February storms.

Clams on the beach in Benone, Co Derry by Michael Cross

These clams, Arctica islandica, littered the beach at Benone, Co Derry in the last week of February. Recent storms have dislodged them from their sandy subtidal habitat. – Michael Cross, Limavady, Co Derry.

viney@anu.ie ]