This insect looks a like twig when resting – what is it?

Eye on Nature: Your notes and queries for Ethna Viney

Buff-tip moth

Buff-tip moth

I thought this was a twig that somehow got stuck on the wall. On closer inspection it revealed itself as, I assume, a moth.
Darryl Broe, Corca Dhuibhne, Co Chiarraí
It’s the buff-tip moth, which looks like a twig when resting.

I saw this insect in my garden hovering over flowers with its long proboscis, and then quickly flying away. I have not seen it before.
Kevin McCartan, Kilkenny

Dark-edged bee fly (Bombylius major)
Dark-edged bee fly (Bombylius major)

It’s the dark-edged bee fly, Bombylius major, not noticed very often but widespread when we get time to look. Harmless.

This green insect with long transparent wings alighted on my window. It was 2-2.5cm in length from the head to the tip of the wing.
Philip Marron, Raheny, Dublin 5

Green lacewing
Green lacewing

It’s the green lacewing, very useful in the garden as it feeds on aphids.

Can you identify this little flower that grows in our field. Is it an orchid?
James Gallagher, Dungloe, Co Donegal

Northern marsh orchid
Northern marsh orchid

It’s one of the marsh orchids. According to Ireland’s Wild Orchids by Brendan Sayers and Susan Sex, there are six marsh orchids: three early, the flecked, the western and the northern. Yours looks like the northern marsh orchid.

This is the photo of a peculiar fungus on a dying mahonia tree. I wonder what it is.
Billy Linehan, Castleknock, Dublin 15

Jelly ear or wood ear fungus (Auricularia auricle-judae)
Jelly ear or wood ear fungus (Auricularia auricle-judae)

It is called jelly ear or wood ear, Auricularia auricle-judae.

This larva of a dragonfly (identified earlier) attached itself to my table. We put the table outside and we watched it emerge for hours. Do you know its name?
Linda and Arva Quinlan, Blackrock, Co Dublin

Amber-winged hawker dragonfly
Amber-winged hawker dragonfly

According to Ireland’s Dragonflies by Brian Nelson and Robert Thompson, that was the first form of the amber-winged hawker as it emerged from the larva case. The adult dragonfly has a brown body and brown eyes with a reflection of blue (male) or yellow (female).

Ethna Viney welcomes observations and photographs at Thallabawn, Louisburgh, Co Mayo, F28 F978, or by email at Please include a postal address.

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