Your notes and queries for Ethna Viney
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