After many days of rain, mist and gloom, the sunshine and blue skies on Saturday 14th April 2018 were welcomed! Nature responded and the air was filled with birdsong and the buzzing of bees, and many flowers opened. On the roadsides in Bewdley Lesser Celandines and Daisies were out in profusion – a celebration of spring.
Yesterday Wyre Forest Study Group members braved the cold rain and ventured out into Earnwood Copse, following an ancient sunken track down through the woodland. 2 micromoths Diurnea fagella were spotted on tree trunks, as was the attractive harvestman Megabunus diadema. A Larch Ladybird and spiders Diaea dorsata were found in conifers, and down at the stream water crickets Velia caprai were swimming around on the water surface in the eddies. In open areas near the stream Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage was flowering well. But the Sallow catkins were still closed, waiting for warmth and sunshine.
A late night walk in the snowy garden with a magnifying glass enabled me to see some detail in the snow flakes – what lovely patterns there are!
Elfcups are spring cup fungi that brighten our late winter woodland floor with their attractive fruiting bodies. They grow, often in troops, on rotten fallen twigs of broad-leaved trees. Previously thought to be one species, it has recently been discovered that there are two, only separated by details of the spores. Scarlet Elfcup (Sarcoscypha austriaca) appears to be commoner than Ruby Elfcup (Sarcoscypha coccinea).
In cold weather food is short for many birds, and they can become easier to watch and photograph when they come down to food we provide. Apples and seed put out on the ground in the garden during the recent cold spell, attracted many Blackbirds, Fieldfares, Redwings, Starlings and even several Song Thrushes all feeding together. But with the return of the mild weather they soon dispersed.
On a Wyre Forest Study Group walk along Dowles this week there were many signs of spring in spite of the cold temperatures. Wild Arum and Bluebell leaves were pushing up through the leaf litter, a few brave birds were singing and hazel catkins hung decorously from their twigs in glorious yellow.
This small fragile evergreen shrub (not often higher than 40cms) grows wild in just a few of our hedgerows and woods around Wyre where the soil it isn’t too acidic. It is flowering now and is pollinated by early spring insects.
Large amounts of snow fell on 8, 9 and 10 December 2017 – more than we’ve seen for a long time! Then on 11th the sun came out and the landscape looked fantastic under a foot of snow.
Redwings visit Britain each winter from as far away as Russia, Scandinavia and Iceland. They feed on berries, fruits and worms and often visit gardens, especially if we plant bushes with berries and leave fallen apples. Mick Farmer spotted this one in his garden during the snow, and took this great shot through his window.
It has been good to see Hawfinches in the Wyre Forest area. Here are 2 photos caught on a remote camera drinking from a small stream.