Wood Ants massing in the spring sunshine

Wood Ants (Formica rufa) spend the winter months in a state of dormancy underground in their nests. Then, in the spring sunshine when the ground temperature is high enough, they can be seen massing together on top of the nest in large numbers as seen here. Their dark colour enables them to absorb the heat of the sun and when they return to the nest their radiated heat can warm the nest.

Wood Ants massing on their nest, 13 April 2016

Wood Ants massing on their nest, 13 April 2016

Black Poplar Catkins are out

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True Black Poplar trees are scarce nowadays but there are a few around Bewdley. They were once characteristic of river valleys like the Severn but their seed is hard to germinate and the timber is now longer required. At this time of year, before the leaves come out, the catkins of the male trees are easy to spot if you have the right tree.