Eye On Nature

I found a robin stunned on the side of the road and took it home hoping to revive it, but it was dead when I got there

I found a robin stunned on the side of the road and took it home hoping to revive it, but it was dead when I got there. However, I had a chance to look at the beautiful little body. To my surprise when I ruffled the feathers on his red breast I found that they were red only at the tips and were dark brown or black underneath.

Maureen Willis, Greystones, Co Wicklow.

In a letter to Eye on Nature (11/12/1999) a correspondent watched a wren helping a pair of blue tits to feed their young. My friend and I watched a wren and some blue tits feeding together in the garden, and both species seemed so at ease with each other.

Marie Lawlor, Blackwater, Co Wexford.


In October we had an invasion of daddylong-legs or crane flies in this area. There were thousands of them everywhere. Then a lady told me how one landed on her face and either bit her or stung her, and a child also got bitten. I have never heard of that species biting or stinging.

Brigid O'Donnell, Culdaff, Co Donegal.

Daddy-long-legs do not either bite or sting. The biting insects were probably the largest of the mosquitoes, Culiseta annulata which are like smaller crane flies. There must have been very favourable circumstances for hatches of such proportions.

Looking with new interest at trees I am struck by the output of a tree both in volume and tonnage. I am thinking of all the material shed by a tree in the course of a growing season: bud sheaths, flowers, leaves, fruit, the increase in branch length and bole diameter. Has anyone ever calculated this output?

Tom O'Mara, Goatstown, Dublin, 14.

I expect such a calculation could only be done on an individual basis, as the growing conditions of trees vary. To your list could also be added the benefit and support trees give to other species and the work they do as air filters.

Edited by Michael Viney, who welcomes observations sent to him at Thallabawn, Carrowniskey PO, Westport, Co Mayo. e-mail: viney@anu.ie. Observations sent by e-mail should be accompanied by postal address as location is sometimes important to identification or behaviour

Michael Viney

Michael Viney

The late Michael Viney was an Times contributor, broadcaster, film-maker and natural-history author