Lily of the Valley

The Lily of the Valley plants in the Wyre Forest are in flower this week and are beautiful to see. There are large clumps in various parts of the main forest, but most of these are south of the Dowles Brook. They are also present in Ribbesford Wood and Rock Coppice. They are well adapted to a coppice cycle and reproduce vegetatively when light conditions are poor. Then, when trees are cut and light reaches them, they flower and produce their bright red berries.

Lily of the Valley, Shelf Held, 25 May 2015 ©Rosemary Winnall

River Severn

The banks of the River Severn are colourful with flowers at present – comfrey, red Campion, Garlic Mustard, Cow Parsley and others. Much of the comfrey we see locally is Russian Comfrey Symphytum x uplandicum which is a hybrid between Common Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) and the introduced Rough Comfrey (Symphytum asperum).

River Severn and banks south of Arley, 23 May 2015 ©Rosemary Winnall

Flowers along the River Severn south of Arley, 23 May 2015 ©Rosemary Winnall

Rhingia campestris

This species of Hoverfly ( seen at the moment along the Severn), has the distinctive long snout of all the Rhingia species. Larvae are associated with cow dung. Adult males feed on nectar, while adult females feed on protein rich pollen

Long-tailed Tits

Whilst on an early morning walk in Button Oak the shrill chatter of a family of Long-tailed Tits drew my attention to a gorse bush. It was soon apparent that there was a nest in the bush from which the youngsters were fledging one by one. I counted 6 flying into the surrounding trees, but managed to get a quick photograph of the last one as it left the nest.

Fledging Long-tail Tit, Button Oak, 16 May 2015 ©Rosemary Winnall

Rue-leaved Saxifrage Saxifraga tridactylites

This small inconspicuous plant grows along the quayside in Bewdley. It is only about 4cms tall and has 3 fingered leaf lobes from which it gets its latin name. It is an annual, flowering in April and May, and the white flowers have petals measuring only 2mm. The sticky leaves often have windblown seeds and hairs attached.

Rue-leaved Saxifrage, Bewdley quayside, 16 May 2015 ©Rosemary Winnall

Horned Treehopper, Centrotus cornutus

This strange-looking homopteran is about 10mm long and can be found infrequently in Wyre’s woodland. The very long pronotum and ear-like projections are distinctive features. It feeds on plant juices, overwinters as a nymph and has a 2 year life cycle. The adults can be found between April and August.

Centrotus cornutus, Wimperhill, 9 May 2015 ©Rosemary Winnall

Centrotus cornutus, Wimperhill, 9 May 2015 ©Rosemary Winnall

Minotaur Beetle Typhaeus typhoeus

Minotaur Beetles are found occasionally in Wyre, but it is only the male that has these 3 impressive projecting horns, making him easy to identify. They hibernate in the burrows in pairs over winter and breed in the spring. They feed mainly at night, and provision their deep egg tunnels with rabbit droppings and other dung.

Male Minotaur Beetle, Park House woods, 6th May 2015

Male Minotaur beetle, Park House woods, 6 May 2015

Bristly Millipede Polyxenus lagurus

Gary Farmer found this beautiful little Bristly Millipede in Wyre near Lodgehill this week. It only measures 2-3mm so is not easy to spot. We have been looking for it since Katy Dainton found one at the Great Bog in February. They are nocturnal and feed on lichen and algae and are found on old walls, trees and stumps. Apparently they are most easily found by searching walls at night with a torch. Wyre Forest is right on the edge of its range.

Bristly Millipede Polydexnus lagurus, Town Coppice ©Gary Farmer