What is this bird I saw in the reeds beside the river Suir?

Eye on nature: Ethna Viney replies to your queries and observations

Sedge warbler

Sedge warbler


Q.I saw this bird in the reeds beside the river Suir on the Waterford greenway.

Gerard O’Neill

A: It is a sedge warbler, a common summer visitor from western and southern Africa, that nests in reeds and bushes near water.

Bank vole

Q: I came across this small, mouse-like mammal in a Coillte forest near Arklow.

Timothy Morgan, Arklow, Co Wicklow

A: It is the bank vole that seems to be spreading from its stronghold in the southwest. It had advanced throughout Munster and well into Leinster by 2010, according to the Biodiversity Data Centre.


Q: Are these insects wasps or flies?

Tom Curtis, Ringsend, Dublin 4

A: They are hoverflies, the common wasp hoverfly and the dark wasp hoverfly. They are important pollinators.

Fire salamander

Q: I came upon this dead, frog-like creature with yellow and black stripes.

Noel Harvey, Letterkenny, Co Donegal

A: It is a fire salamander, lost from someone’s collection. It is a native of southern Europe and north Africa, and could have originated here from a pet shop.

A very clearly marked common frog sent by Francis Devine, Howth
Common frog

And a very clearly marked common frog sent by Francis Devine, Howth.

Poplar hawkmoth

Lorna McCudden, Killiney, Anne Duggan, Cavan, and Mairead Heffernan, Athy, sent photos of the poplar hawkmoth, a resident moth that hibernates as a cocoon in the soil and emerges the following May to lay eggs. It doesn’t feed.

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