On sunny days in May Pearl-bordered Fritillaries may be seen flying in Wyre. They are often difficult to track as they fly so quickly like golden jewels above the ground vegetation, but Roger Plant was able to get this beautiful photo of a female when the sun went in and it had stopped for a rest.
The Bluebells were delightful in parts of Wyre this year. Many were in flower in the middle of April and they lasted right through May giving us some beautiful woodland scenes.
In New Parks there is an 8 foot high wooden post in a sunny glade. Wood Ants (Formica rufa) were observed climbing up carrying nest material, so Roger Plant devised a cunning technique to successfully obtain a photograph of the top of the post. We know that these ants often centre their nest on a dead log – but this pole is a bit ambitious! We shall have to see how the nest develops.
Ann Hill pointed out this small delicate moss on the trunk of an oak tree. A brown nerve protrudes from the tip of each leaf and these are often surrounded by clusters of brown gamma. The leaves curl up when dry. This is not common in Wyre, so it was good to record it this week. It has increased in Britain in recent years.
This Bullhead (also known as Miller’s Thumb) was found underneath a stone in Park Brook. Closer inspection revealed its eggs attached to the stone. Apparently, in the spring the male makes a shallow hollow in the stream bed in which several females lay eggs. Then he guards the eggs until they hatch after about a month. He was certainly very amenable to having his photograph to be taken under water before we gently replaced his stone.
Whilst recording in Rock Coppice, Oliver Wadsworth discovered this attractive and rare fungus weevil Platystomos albinus, the larvae of which are associated with dead beech and alder wood. It is similar to its close relative Platyrhinus resinosus which we see occasionally, and whose larvae develop in Cramp Balls Daldinia concentrica fungi.
We are seeing Dotted Bee-flies around in Worcestershire this spring, with several records from the Wyre Forest area, and wonder if this is undergoing a range expansion. To distinguish this species from the more frequently recorded Dark-edged Bee-fly Bombylius major, wait until the fly has settled and look carefully for dots on the wings. The black hairs at the end of the abdomen are conspicuous even in flight. I have found this fly less easy to approach for photography than the obliging Dark-edged Bee-fly.