What are these good-sized grey clams found on Bunduff Strand, Co Sligo after rough seas? They’re unusual for here. They were very tasty. – Andrea McElroy
They were Arctica islandica, which are long-lived clams that inhabit the northwest Atlantic. Be sure any shellfish found on the beach are still alive before cooking and eating. If they are, they will snap their shells shut when handled.
I found this little bird (8cm long from beak to tail) dead outside my garage door. What species is it? – Brendan Twomey, Donegal
The bird in your hand is a male goldcrest, our smallest breeding bird, smaller even than a wren. It feeds on spiders and small insects.
I found this on a path in the Wicklow Mountains, on Mangan’s Loop to be exact. Is it a frog or a toad? – Petra Oorthuijs
It is a female frog, full of eggs and on the move to a breeding site where very interested males will be waiting. Frogs hop but common toads walk. Until two separate introductions in recent years, common toads never occurred here in Ireland.
I found this little crab on Seapoint beach; is it a spider crab? – Catherine Pasley (4)
It is indeed. The barnacles on its back and claws tell us that it has been a long time since it moulted its last shell.
This is Martini, one of the pine martens that visits our bird table. It has also been seen opening a wheelie bin and rummaging inside. While it’s a nocturnal animal, it can appear at any time, especially if porridge oats soaked in oil are on the birds’ menu. – Clare Dolan
It’s all part of the pleasure of having a well-stocked bird table in your garden.
Sharp-eyed Derek O’Reilly discovered this scaup with some tufted ducks at Blessington Street Basin in Dublin’s city centre on January 31st.
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