What is this slug on our patio? Readers’ nature queries

Ethna Viney on black swans, commons gulls and femal autumn hawkers

Great grey slug

Great grey slug

 

We saw this slug on our patio. Can you please identify it? – Kayla (12), Zoe (10) Hutchinson, Ballinhassig, Co Cork
That’s the great grey slug, Limax maximus, It is found all over the country.

Female autumn hawker dragonfly
Female autumn hawker dragonfly

My daughter Orla (6) spotted this beautiful dragonfly in the garden. What is it? – Gary MacNamara, Rathcoole, Co Dublin
It’s the female autumn hawker, Aeshna mixta, a relatively newcomer to this country. The male has blue spots.

Common gull
Common gull

I saw this bird on Grafton Street in the company of a common gull. Can you identify it please? – Siobhán O’Keeffe, Limekiln, Dublin 12
It’s a young (this year’s) common gull from one of the nests in the city centre. We regularly hear the gulls squawking in TV interviews outside the Dáil.

In Inch Wildfowl Reserve we saw what looked like two large black swans, one in close with a cygnet. Are these black swans? We also saw an otter eating what looked like a wildfowl. Do otters eat things other than fish? – Dave Hughes, Dangan Park, Dublin 12
There’s a black swan reserve at the Inch Wildfowl Reserve in Donegal. And otters occasionally eat waterfowl such as duck, coot and moorhens.

Caterpillar of the eyed hawkmoth
Caterpillar of the eyed hawkmoth

This guy was dropped by a frightened blue tit in our local park. It was about 6cm long. – Paul Kenny, Kimmage, Dublin 12
I’m not surprised. It’s the caterpillar of the eyed hawkmoth, which is big.

Grass veneer micro moth
Grass veneer micro moth

I saw this little beauty on the window outside my local coffee shop. Only when I looked carefully could I be sure that it was a moth and not a splinter of wood. – Oliver Nash, Rathmines, Dublin
It’s the common grass veneer micro moth. What it was doing away from a meadow only it knows. Grass moths are rarely seen unless one is walking through a meadow and disturbs them as they are very well camouflaged.

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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