Water Shrew, Neomys fodiens

The Water Shrew is an secretive mammal that is said to be widespread, although not often seen. Records are usually made from skulls in owl pellets or a dead animal. However, I was very pleased to see a live one in the small stream in my garden (a tributary of Gladder Brook) at Bliss Gate on 26th August 2013. I watched it for about 5 minutes whilst it was busy feeding amongst the Fool’s Water-cress Apium nodiflorum. Luckily I had my camera round my neck and managed to get a few shots before it scuttled off under the vegetation.

Water Shrew, Willow Bank, 26 August 2013

Water Shrew feeding, Willow Bank, 26th August 2013

 

 

Araneus alsine, the Strawberry Spider

This Araneus alsine¬†female was found on 10th August 2013 on one of the Wyre Forest’s wet flushes. It was in a refuge made out of a dead oak leaf that it had carefully attached to some Purple Moor Grass leaves. Its bright colour was conspicuous and the yellow mottling even resembled the seeds on the outside of a strawberry! These spiders are usually hard to find as they generally stay well hidden within their refuge.

Female Araneus alsine, the Strawberry Spider