Why is there frogspawn in my garden already? Readers’ nature queries

Ethna Viney on starling murmurations, early-bird hedgehogs and cobalt crust fungus

 

I photographed this murmuration of starlings at Turloughmore, Co Galway on December 27th. The section shows a sparrowhawk among them looking for a takeaway.

- Conor Ledwith, Headford, Co Galway

I’ve seen these creatures before but never in action. This is the first time I’ve seen one eating a snail. It was pulling it across a rock.

- Caroline Lewis, Eyeries, Beara, Co Cork

Its a horse leech, which are known for preying on snails.

My 82-year-old father sighted a hedgehog in his garden in Ardrahan on January 21st. He thought it early for it to be out and about.

- John Walsh, Ardrahan, Co Galway

Hedgehogs sometimes wake up and go foraging in mild weather.

This deep blue colour is on the underside of a log that has been lying on the grass. Is it lichen, moss or mould?

- Sally Starbuck, Crookhaven, Co Cork

It’s cobalt crust fungus, which tends to be around in Autumn up to November.

On a milder February 3rd I found this frogspawn in the garden.

- Sally Kearney, Union Hall, Co Cork

Cork gets the earliest frogspawn, and it appears later and later as you move north in the country.

On our monthly clean-up in Clondalkin Park for January, Friends of the Camac collected 32 litter bags of rubbish, a child’s bicycle and a Christmas tree. The group won the Sustainability Award in South Dublin County Council’s annual Community Endeavour Awards.

- Tommy Keogh, Community Volunteer of the Year, Friends of the Camac

Ethna Viney welcomes observations and photographs at Thallabawn, Louisburgh, Co Mayo, F28 F978, or by email at viney@anu.ie. Include a postal address.

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