A frequent visitor to the garden and a bug in the bathroom

I did not recognize this bird, which has visited our animal-friendly garden frequently in recent weeks. I keep a birding journal. Max Roveri, Dublin

This bird is a leucistic accent, lacking the normal pigmentation over much of the front half of its body. Accents do not form pairs like many garden birds do at this time of year, but breed in flocks with two males and one female being the most common configuration. It will be interesting to see how this one performs. Be sure to submit your data, at least until the end of February, to Birdwatch Ireland’s Garden Bird Survey online.

male sparrowhawk

I am attaching a photo of what I believe to be a sparrowhawk on my garden shed in Mullingar. Gary Hill

It is indeed a very beautiful photo of a male hawk. Confusion arises when identifying hawks because the male and female are very different. As shown here, the male has white and orange barred underparts and a blue-grey back. The female is larger without orange, just barred with brown and white below and dark grey-brown above. (To see Look at nature from November 20, 2021.)

Ladle

Ladle

I have this dipper on my local river. It seems to have been the same for a few years now. What is the lifespan of Irish divers? Edward Barr

Divers live an average of three years, although the oldest recorded by leg ring data was eight years and nine months. What may remain the same for more than 100 years is the nesting site on a river, which is used by successive generations of birds. Each new pair builds a fresh nest there each year and breeds twice a year if the habitat provides plenty of insect food.

adult mayfly

adult mayfly

I found this bug in my bathroom and probably would have ignored it except for its v-shaped tail. Marc McDonnel

Our friend the squint wouldn’t have ignored it, it’s an adult mayfly whose wingless nymphs live under stones in clear water and make up a large part of the squint’s diet. Instants both have tails.

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