Your notes and queries for Ethna Viney

The Irish Times - Weekend Review - - OUTDOORS - Ethna Viney wel­comes ob­ser­va­tions and pho­to­graphs at Thal­labawn, Louis­burgh, Co Mayo, F28 F978, or by email at Please in­clude a postal ad­dress.

The an­i­mal in my pho­to­graph (main im­age, right) was seen on Boot­er­stown strand, on the south side of Dublin Bay. James Mont­gomery Black­rock, Co Dublin

■ It is a har­bour por­poise, the cetacean most fre­quently washed up on our shores.

The hand­some fox in my pho­to­graph, with black legs and coat dusted with black, crosses my gar­den every day. Cather­ine McGarry Tem­pleogue, Dublin

■ This is a melanis­tic fox, some­times called a cross fox be­cause the black hair pig­ment runs across the shoul­ders and down the back in the form of a cross. Me­lanism is a re­ces­sive trait that al­lows for greater ex­pres­sion of the dark pig­ment melanin in the an­i­mal’s coat. Black foxes are fairly rare.

I pho­tographed a stick in­sect on the shore­line and won­dered what type it was. Nick Bur­ridge Sneem, Co Kerry

■ It is the nymph of the un­armed stick in­sect, Acan­thoxyla in­er­mis, which is now the species found in Kerry.

We now have a flock of at least 20 yel­lowham­mers on the farm where we store grain. It started with just a pair five or six years ago . Carmel Cole­man North Cork

When my friends and I were walk­ing on Dol­ly­mount strand, on the north side of Dublin Bay, we saw the guys in my photo, about a foot long, scat­tered along the sand. What are they? Ann O’Sul­li­van Clon­tarf, Dublin

■ Com­monly called mer­maid’s purses, they are the egg cases of one of the rays, from the large size, prob­a­bly the blonde ray.

I pho­tographed this lit­tle dor­mouse in a neigh­bour’s shed. It had no fear of me, un­like our na­tive mouse. Eoin Roddy Hol­ly­wood, Co Wick­low

Cor­rec­tion: Last week’s pho­to­graph la­belled newt was a vi­vip­a­rous lizard.

Clock­wise from main: har­bour por­poise seen by James ■ Mont­gomery on Boot­er­stown strand; one of Ann O’Sul­li­van’s mer­maid’s purses; Eoin Roddy’s dor­mouse; Cather­ine McGarry’s melanis­tic fox; and Nick Bur­ridge’s stick in­sect

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