What’s this albino creature seen on the Erne estuary? Readers’ nature queries
Ethna Viney on barnacle geese, gorse spider mite, mistletoe, holly and white mink
White mink on the Erne estuary in Donegal
I caught this shot of an albino creature on the Erne estuary. It was foraging in the seaweed and seemed at home in the water. – Emer O’Shea, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal
It’s probably a white mink, an escapee from a mink farm.
This leucistic barnacle goose was ringed and photographed on Islay in Scotland in 2016 and was photographed by Brian Cahill on a field in north Sligo recently. – Martin Enright, Ballysodare, Co Sligo
Barnacle geese breed in the Arctic and winter on the western islands of Scotland and in Ireland on Inishkea Islands in Co Mayo, north Co Sligo and on several sites on the coast of Co Donegal.
I saw this web on the Hill of Howth, what spider it is? – Esme Lydon (aged 6), Sutton, Dublin 13
The web was made by the gorse spider mite, which damages the gorse bush. There are dying flowers in your photo.
For over 30 years mistletoe grew on our two old apple trees which died a few years ago. That finished, as we thought, our supply that was gifted to friends and sold for charity. To our delight we found recently a small quantity growing on a red robin bush. Will it develop and spread? – Roger and Joan Johnson, Newtown, Waterford
The plant will grow larger and the seed can be spread by birds to other trees, like apple, of the rose family.
Recently I was admiring a holly tree with lots of berries at a neighbour’s house. He said: “last year when I was throwing out the Christmas holly, which I bought, I stuffed it into that tree, and lo and behold it produced berries for the first time. It is about 40 years old.” – George Harding, Blackrock, Cork
Ethna Viney welcomes observations and photographs at Thallabawn, Louisburgh, Co Mayo, F28 F978, or by email at email@example.com. Please include a postal address.