Wyre Forest Study Group Field Notebook Blogs

A flotilla of swans on the Severn.

A flotilla of swans on the Severn.

Mike Averill was lucky enough to be able to observe and photograph a charming small flotilla of Mute Swans, consisting of 6 cygnets accompanied by one adult parent bird. Mike suspects that this family came from the annual Swan nest at the Riverside Pool, …

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Swifts nesting in the eaves!

Swifts nesting in the eaves!

Mike Averill fitted a swift nesting box (complete with camera) on the side of his house in 2023. Very quickly, to his surprise, a pair of Swifts were keen to occupy it. There was even an attempt to lay eggs and raise young. Unfortunately, this attempt was …

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Adalia decempunctata (10-spot Ladybird)

Adalia decempunctata (10-spot Ladybird)

Dave Barnett spotted this pretty ladybird on an Acer palmatum leaf in his garden and managed to photograph it. It is Adalia decempunctata (10-spot Ladybird) which has three colour forms, this being the ‘chequered’ form (f. decempustulatus). It had him …

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Welcome sign of spring’s arrival

Welcome sign of spring’s arrival

Susan Limbrey writes: “I was watching a Holly Blue butterfly by the house, when I saw this female Common Lizard, plus a juvenile which I couldn’t get a good photo of, popping in and out of a hole in the house wall. When I first saw it, it was lined up vertically … ”

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The Centre of Attention; Ants and Ladybirds

The Centre of Attention; Ants and Ladybirds

March 5 was the first real sunny day of spring and a stroll in Ribbesford Wood today produced a clutch of seasonal sightings : a Peacock butterfly fluttering around a brash-pile, a Comma in a sunlit glade and Zebra jumping spiders scampering over a stony …

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Juniper haircap – Polytrichum juniperinum

Juniper haircap – Polytrichum juniperinum

Shoots of the acrocarpous moss Polytrichum juniperinum Juniper haircap showing the small terminal “flowers” of the male plant at the shoot ends.

Found as a pioneer moss on acidic heathy ground throughout the Wyre Forest.

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It’s raining outside again …

It’s raining outside again …

Its the first of March and there is much speculation about it being the wettest February on record. Well i am sure it will have been somewhere in the UK but in Wyre Forest the local Meteorological Station in Kidderminster has measured 112.3mm …

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Female Hazel flower

Female Hazel flower

February is the time of year when the male flowers of Hazel, the long bunches of flowers we know as catkins, are frequently seen. But, the smaller female flower is rather less obvious but just as important if the species is to perpetuate!

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Male Tufted Ducks

Male Tufted Ducks

Male Tufted Ducks, Trimpley Reservoir, 11 Jan 2024. These ducks are seen every year during the winter, often in groups of 10 or 12 of males and females. Although the UK’s smallest diving duck, Tufted ducks are skilled swimmers and divers. They can dive to …

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Winter Heliotrope Petasites fragrans in flower.

Winter Heliotrope Petasites fragrans in flower.

5. Winter Heliotrope Petasites fragrans in flower, Tickenhill, Bewdley 4 Jan 2024. Only male flowers are found in the UK and so it spreads vegetatively. It flowers from November through the winter to February and can often be seen in large patches …

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Male Sparrowhawk with prey.

Male Sparrowhawk with prey.

Male Sparrowhawk with a tit for breakfast, 22 Nov 2023. The tit had been caught at the bird feeder and Sparrowhawks are frequent visitors to this food source. Sparrowhawks are incredibly agile and swift hunters, often chasing their prey prey through dense …

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Box-tree Moth Cydalima perspectalis

Box-tree Moth Cydalima perspectalis

Box-tree Moth Cydalima perspectalis found on the grass in a garden, Bewdley town, 12 Oct 2023. Introduced to the UK accidentally in 2007, and originally from SE Asia. The caterpillars feed on Box and can defoliate the shrub.Flies from late July to September.

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Guelder-rose (Viburnum opulus)

Guelder-rose (Viburnum opulus)

The Guelder-rose (Viburnum opulus), is a deciduous shrub that boasts beautiful clusters of flowers, vibrant berries, and striking foliage. It typically grows to a height of 10-15 feet, with a spread of 8-12 feet. The plant’s deep green, maple-like …

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Little Egret, Bewdley, River Severn

Little Egret, Bewdley, River Severn

Little Egret, Bewdley, River Severn, 2 Sept 2023. These birds are becoming increasing frequent along the river, especially when the water is low. This one has caught a Bullhead. It first appeared in the UK in significant numbers around 1989 and bred in Dorset …

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Musk beetle – Aromia moschata

Musk beetle – Aromia moschata

This fabulous longhorn beetle was found along the riverside at Blackstone by Ellie Reast on our August field meeting. This localised beetle takes 3 years to complete its life cycle. Eggs are laid on the bark of live willows and the larvae burrow in, ….

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Drab Lopper – Minoa murinata

Drab Lopper – Minoa murinata

Despite its common name, there was a good deal of excitement among the members of the WFSG, when several specimens of this day-time flying moth were recorded during a recent visit to the Wyre. The Drab Lopper moth (Minoa murinata) is a small …

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A glint of gold …

A glint of gold …

On a recent July field meeting of the WFSG to the Wyre, we were treated to the sight of one of the UK’s spectacular dragonflies – the Golden-ringed dragonfly.

The Golden-ringed dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii) is a very large …

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Club-tailed Dragonfly emergence

Club-tailed Dragonfly emergence

The Club-tailed Dragonfly emergence period is almost over now after two weeks and already it looks like a better year than 2022.
The only way to assess how well this dragonfly is doing is to count the …

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Common Cardinal beetle (Pyrochroa serraticornis)

Common Cardinal beetle (Pyrochroa serraticornis)

This attractive beetle feeds on small insects and pollen. Eggs are laid under bark of dead trees in which the larvae feed for at least 2 years. These beetles can be found across Europe, inhabiting woodlands, forests, meadows, and gardens.

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Greater Fork-moss – Dicranum majus

Greater Fork-moss – Dicranum majus

Dicranum majus Greater Fork-moss found growing along Bell Brook valley, Wyre on Sunday 23 April 2023.

Dicranum majus plays a significant role in its ecosystem. As a moss, it helps retain moisture in the soil, preventing erosion …

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Orthotrichum pulchellum – Elegant Bristle-moss

Orthotrichum pulchellum – Elegant Bristle-moss

On a recent visit to Habberley Valley by the Wyre Forest Study Group, Ann Hill found Orthotrichum pulchellum – Elegant Bristle-moss growing on a hazel branch. Orthotrichum pulchellum, commonly known as Elegant Bristle-moss, is a species …

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A Loveliness of Ladybirds?

A Loveliness of Ladybirds?

The Harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) is a species of ladybird beetle that is native to Asia but has been introduced to many other regions of the world, including Europe, North America, and South America. It is a highly variable species in terms of colour …

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Nature, the playwright

Nature, the playwright

One of the many delights of being able to visit Wyre Forest each year is being able to witness the ebb and flow of the seasons, along with the changing faces of the cast and characters that nature provides for each seasonal ‘act’. …

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Scabious Sawfly – Abia sericea

Scabious Sawfly – Abia sericea

Scabious Sawfly (Abia sericea) is a distinctive looking cimbicid sawfly often found feeding on the nectar of flowering meadow plants such as Devil’s-bit Scabious. The equally distinctive larvae also feed on Devil’s-bit Scabious in …

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Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth

Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth

On a fresh late spring day, the Wyre Forest Study Group was fortunate enough to be given permission to visit a relatively undisturbed and privately owned part of the forest. As is usual, members of the group had initially met and …

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Rapturous Raptors

Rapturous Raptors

A single female Kestrel had been observed and recorded regularly over the past 12 months on the Wilden Marsh SSSI. She would often sit high on a powerline strung between pylons overlooking the marsh below.

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Pied Flycatchers in Wyre

Pied Flycatchers in Wyre

It is good to know that Pied Flycatchers returned to the Wyre Forest again this year to breed in the nest boxes provided. Mick Farmer managed to successfully photograph a male collecting insects for his young – but can anyone identify the catch?

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A return after an absense of 8000 years?

A return after an absense of 8000 years?

After many rumors and false starts, it was finally possible to observe and photograph the incredulous sight of a terrapin. Sightings of this individual had been reported, often with an air of disbelief, …

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Waterscorpion

Waterscorpion

It’s difficult not to be impressed with the formidable nature of the Waterscorpion – Nepa cinerea. An accomplished predator often found in shallow, still water.

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Toothwort

Toothwort

On Saturday 17th April 2021 six members of the WFSG went on the postponed winter bird walk, but we don’t only look for birds! After our lunch stop near Arley we spotted Toothwort (Lathraea squamaria) growing …

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Common Whitlowgrass  – Erophila verna

Common Whitlowgrass – Erophila verna

I recently came across a large carpet of these tiny spring flowers growing on a dry bare trackway. These plants, only a few centimetres tall, flower and fruit by April, and are not easy to find later in the year.

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SPRING IS COMING!

SPRING IS COMING!

Spring is coming soon we trust, although winter is hanging on with more snow falling this week. But Great Tits are singing, Song Thrush males are proclaiming their territories and Winter Aconites and Snowdrops …

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Holding On

Holding On

I passed this Hazel tree growing near Dowles Brook recently and was reminded about the many difficulties we’ve experienced in 2020 when the ground seems to have been taken from under our feet and there has …

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Toad on a Stool

Toad on a Stool

On a walk in Wyre recently I spotted a nibbled Funnel Cap toadstool, so stopped to search underneath for the elusive Lemon Slug. Under the leaves I found this tiny young toad so carefully popped it on top of the …

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Meadow Cranesbill

Meadow Cranesbill

It is good to see that there are still a few plants in flower in October like this Meadow Cranesbill found down by the River Severn near Blackstone on a sunny autumn day.

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Rove Beetle – Staphylinus olens

Rove Beetle – Staphylinus olens

The ferocious looking Rove Beetle (Staphylinus olens), commonly known as the Devil’s Coach Horse, isn’t slow in showing that it means business! When caught out in the open it will …

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Waxcaps

Waxcaps

It’s autumn and grassland fungi are beginning to appear! Pink Waxcaps are an indicator species for what could be a special site for fungi, and if this is found it is worth returning to see what else comes up …

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Cygnets hitching a lift.

Cygnets hitching a lift.

Whilst walking along the riverside near Bewdley Rosemary Winnall spotted a female Mute Swan swimming upstream with her 3 small cygnets swimming alongside. As she watched, the cygnets climbed up …

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Pearls of delight

Pearls of delight

This year the flight periods of Pearl-bordered Fritillary butterflies and Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries have overlapped and they have been flying together in the hot sunshine. This has given us the chance to look ….

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Displaying Goldcrest

Displaying Goldcrest

The very loud urgent singing above my head attracted my attention to this determined little male Goldcrest that was trying hard to impress a female that was intend on feeding near by. She didn’t seem to take much notice.

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Cranefly – Tanyptera atrata

Cranefly – Tanyptera atrata

Susan Limbrey was surprised to see this impressive cranefly in her greenhouse at The Newalls in Far Forest. It is a male Tanyptera atrata and the Wyre Forest is a hotspot for this attractive fly.

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Emperor Moth – Saturnia pavania

Emperor Moth – Saturnia pavania

Mary Singleton was delighted to see 2 male Emperor Moths coming to her pheromone lure which she’d hung from her washing line in her Bewdley garden. She recorded them on 20th April 2020 at 3.50pm….

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Sparrowhawk alert!

Sparrowhawk alert!

Mick Farmer from Bewdley saw this male Sparrowhawk in his garden on 17th April 2020. Mick was very pleased to see it at such close quarters, but the small birds in his garden were not so enthusiastic!

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