Roy Finch spotted this piece of detached Fallow Deer antler velvet in Postensplain. The Fallow bucks cast their antlers each spring and the new growth, extensions of the pedicles, develops very quickly over about 4 months being fed by many blood vessels in the velvet. When the antlers are fully grown, the velvet is rubbed off to expose the new clean antlers beneath which are ready when the bucks fight in the October rut.
It is worth examining the seed heads of Spear Thistle at this time of the year for this attractive lace bug, Tingis cardui. An adult and nymph can be seen here. A similar species can be found on Creeping Thistle earlier in the year.
This large and attractive hoverfly is now seen annually in the Wyre Forest as well as gardens nearby, since extending its range from SE England in recent years. The larvae have been found in the nests of the hornet and social wasps.
Whilst pond dipping in Snuff Mill Pools, with permission from the owner, we caught this tiny creature. It was about 2 mm long, flattened, transparent and fast swimming. Will Watson has identified it for us as the free-swimming stage of the fish louse Argulus foliaceus. This is a crustacean that will eventually parasitise fish by attaching itself to the skin which it pierces to feed on its body fluids.
This large and attractive longhorn beetle may be seen nectaring on flowers between May and September. The larvae spend between 2 and 4 years feeding in dead wood, especially birch.
A few Dark Green Fritillary butterflies have been spotted flying in Wyre this summer, along rides and in meadows. It is thought that they may have been released by a breeder rather than be natural colonisation. Jonathan Cartwright was able to get these photographs – not an easy task as these butterflies are strong flyers, especially in the heat of the day!