Eye on Na­ture Your notes and queries for Ethna Viney

The Irish Times - Weekend Review - - ENVIRONMENT - 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

Last month I spot­ted lots of these alien, cone-like plants grow­ing along the shore in the docks area of Belfast. They were grow­ing through stones.

James Shan­non, Belfast

They are the early shoots of horse­tail, an an­cient plant that is the bane of gar­den­ers when it gets in. It doesn’t have flow­ers.

I saw this crea­ture in our pond. It was about 25mm long. Mike Egan, Bal­livor, Co Meath

It is the larva of a cad­dis fly that has cam­ou­flaged it­self with de­bris in­clud­ing sand , leaves and small shells.

I spot­ted this un­usual in­sect on my wall. John Mc­Carthy, Cor­bally, Lim­er­ick

It is one of the ich­neu­mon flies which are par­a­sitic on the young stages of other in­sects. This one is the sabre wasp,

Rhyssa per­suas­so­ria, which lays its eggs in the lar­vae of the horn­tail or wood wasp that lays its eggs in the trunks of pine trees.

This lit­tle bird lives in the bush be­side my mother’s TV room. It flew into the house and I took a photo of it. Diana Dunne, New­cas­tle, Co Wick­low

It is a fledg­ling gold­crest.

Re­cently I no­ticed a lot of bees fly­ing around and at least 50 bees in the co­toneaster in our back yard. I also saw bees fly­ing into holes in the red-brick wall of one of our ter­race houses. Maireád De­lamere, Inchicore, Dublin 8.

The lat­ter were soli­tary bees that make nests in holes in walls, and are use­ful pol­li­na­tors.

Clock­wise from main: James Shan­non’s horse­tail; John Mc­Carthy’s sabre wasp; Diana Dunne’s fledg­ling gold­crest; Mike Egan’s cad­dis-fly larva

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