What’s this pink stuff that fell from my window? Readers’ nature queries

Ethna Viney on moths, caterpillars, flycatchers and bracket fungus

Eyes on nature: the pink stuff, presumably regurgitated by a bird, that dropped from Vincent Devlin’s window

Eyes on nature: the pink stuff, presumably regurgitated by a bird, that dropped from Vincent Devlin’s window

 

I found some pink stuff on the floor that had dropped from my open Velux window. It looks like something that was regurgitated by a bird or animal. It was 35mm long and very light.
Vincent Devlin
Dublin

A month ago Helen Lawless of Mountaineering Ireland sent photographs of precisely similar stuff, which she found on two mountains 30km apart (St Luke’s, in the Mourne Mountains, and Slieve Gullion, in south Armagh), which suggests regurgitation by a bird. But what was it eating?

Eyes on nature: the elephant hawkmoth that Robert Thompson found on his driveway, in Co Down
Eyes on nature: the elephant hawkmoth that Robert Thompson found on his driveway, in Co Down

I found the insect in my photograph on my driveway recently. Just after I took the picture a robin landed and devoured it.
Robert Thompson
Saintfield, Co Down

It is the beautiful, native elephant hawkmoth, so-called because of the trunk-like snout of the caterpillar.

Eyes on nature: one of the spotted flycatchers in Michael Brogan’s garden
Eyes on nature: one of the spotted flycatchers in Michael Brogan’s garden

What a pleasure to watch the spotted flycatchers in our garden. They seem to be able to retain a fly in the beak while continuing to catch more.
Michael Brogan
Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo

Eyes on nature: the death's head hawkmoth on James Cotter's terrace in Tenerife
Eyes on nature: the death's head hawkmoth on James Cotter's terrace in Tenerife

I photographed this moth on my terrace in Tenerife. What is it?
James Cotter
Dublin

It is the death’s head hawkmoth, which occasionally visits Ireland in summer. (See Eye on Nature of September 24th, 2016.)

Eyes on nature: the Dryad’s saddle bracket fungus that Brendan Crowe saw on a sycamore at Skerries Golf Club
Eyes on nature: the Dryad’s saddle bracket fungus that Brendan Crowe saw on a sycamore at Skerries Golf Club

Could you identify this beautiful toadstool growing on a sycamore tree at Skerries Golf Club?
Brendan Crowe
Skerries, Co Dublin

It is a bracket fungus called Dryad’s saddle, which grows on the trunks and stumps of broadleaf trees.

Eyes on nature: one of the magpie-moth caterpillars infesting Paul Brennan’s laurel hedge
Eyes on nature: one of the magpie-moth caterpillars infesting Paul Brennan’s laurel hedge

My laurel hedge has been infested with the caterpillars in this photo.
Paul Brennan
Bennettsbridge, Co Kilkenny

It is the caterpillar of the magpie moth.

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