Your nature queries answered: From death caps to cross-bred ducks

Plus: Insects discovered on a Christmas tree and buzzing camellia flowers

These ducks have been in Tymon Park, Dublin, for a couple of months

These ducks have been in Tymon Park, Dublin, for a couple of months

 

What are the most poisonous mushrooms?
Damien Maguire, Maynooth, Co Kildare
Fly agaric and other Amanita species such as the death cap and the destroying angel; webcaps, Cortinarius species. See nifg.org.uk/edible_fungi.htm.
___________________


This was a wonderful sight recently on the clifftop at Downpatrick Head. What is the plant growing on the mounds?
Anne Lavin, Knock, Co Mayo

They are cushions of sea pinks, not mounds of earth with plants on top, a lovely sight when in bloom.
___________________

These ducks have been in Dublin’s Tymon Park for a couple of months. They have brown heads with a white strip running from the top of the head to the beak. Any idea what they might be?
Carmel Lynch, Terenure, Dublin 6W
They are most likely to be last year’s flock of a mallard hybrid with some other duck. Mallards cross-breed with dozens of other ducks, and each hybrid will look different. I found one photo online that had a strong resemblance to yours. It was a mallard/muscovy duck hybrid.
___________________

I couldn’t identify this bird, which I saw at the Botanic Gardens in the autumn. It had a reddish-brown chest and back with blue barring on the wing edge and a lot of white underneath.
John Thompson, Sutton, Dublin 13

It is a jay, a member of the crow family.
___________________

On February the bees were busily buzzing on the camellia flowers in Killarney.
Carmel Hourican, Muckross, Co Kerry

Glad to see that it was a honeybee, with a sizeable ball of pollen.
___________________

Correspondents Fiona Brennan and Mary Winders both found insects on their Christmas trees. The insects were the giant conifer aphid, a known pest of Christmas trees.
___________________

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

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.