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 [email protected] Please in­clude a postal ad­dress

I found this very dap­per lit­tle furry moth on our wall. Does its furry coat keep it warm in this chilly weather?

Niki Whe­lan, Bor­ris, Co Car­low

It’s the De­cem­ber moth, one of the eggar fam­ily of moths. All are rather furry. A brain-like lichen or fun­gus was grow­ing on a fallen tree at the edge of wood­land in the Glen of the Downs. Angela Keller, Bray, Co Wick­low

Pheas­ants of­ten stroll through our gar­den, but we were sur­prised re­cently to see a white hen pheas­ant. Ber­nadette Jameson, Don­adea, Co Kil­dare

Al­bino pheas­ants oc­cur now and again. If it has pink eyes it’s al­bino; if it has nor­mal-coloured eyes it’s leucis­tic. Leu­cism is a ge­netic mu­ta­tion that pre­vents melanin from be­ing de­posited only in the feath­ers. Al­binism pre­vents the pro­duc­tion of melanin in the whole body.

In Howth fish­ing har­bour I had a priv­i­leged, one-sided con­ver­sa­tion with this young cor­morant (right) that was pre­oc­cu­pied with a me­thod­i­cal preen. Fran­cis Devine, Howth, Co Dublin We have a wood­pecker in our gar­den, which is sur­rounded by farm­land. We heard it in a tree all sum­mer, but have only re­cently seen it. De­nis and Cather­ine McGrane, Kilped­der, Co Wick­low

We’re very pleased and ex­cited to see a spot­ted wood­pecker at our peanut feeder and sur­round­ing trees.

Don Comiskey, Del­gany, Co Wick­low

The great spot­ted wood­pecker, pre­vi­ously a win­ter va­grant, has be­come es­tab­lished in Co Wick­low.

Clock­wise from left, a young cor­morant in Howth; il­lus­tra­tion of a great spot­ted wood­pecker by Michael Viney; and an al­bino pheas­ant

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