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.

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

Golden-ringed Dragonfly

27 May 2014 A surprising find on the banks of the River Severn near Bewdley Ultrasonic Flow measuring station- A Golden Ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii) larval case. This species is associated with small brooks and wet flushes not the River Severn, so perhaps this one was washed out of the Dowles brook which is only 200 m’s upstream of this location

Yellow legged Water Snipefly

The Yellow-legged Water Snipefly

A Water Snipefly 9 May 2014

Seen near Bewdley this water-snipefly Atherix ibis is one of only 3 aquatic snipe fly species found in the UK. It is not very common but can occasionally be seen along the River Severn. This female shows the yellow legs and the characteristically well marked wings. The species is known for its unusual habit of clustering under vegetation over water, prior to egglaying.

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The Kateshill Sweet Chestnut

As part of a visit by the Countryfile TV programme, the Kateshill Sweet Chestnut was measured by the Wyre Forest Study Group. This tree known and loved by local people still looks good after possibly 500 years of growth. The girth was measured as 9.7 metres, a slight increase over the last ten years. This is the largest Sweet Chestnut in the County. It is unusual in that the long lower limbs have been allowed to grow out with some touching the ground. One of the longest of these branches is over 23 metres in length. It is not exactly known how old the tree is but it may have been planted in the early 16th Century, possibly by Prince Arthur, to mark his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. They briefly lived nearby at Tickenhill manor in 1501

Golden-ringed Dragonfly can be seen in Wyre now

The Golden-ringed Dragonfly, Cordulegaster boltonii, is one of the specialities of the Wyre Forest and is the only reliable place in Worcestershire to find them. They can be seen anywhere near the small streams and wet flushes running in to the Dowles brook. The males will patrol up and down the streams looking for females, while the females may be harder to locate but are usually will sitting nearby. When egg laying they use an elongated ovipositor like a garden dibber, to place eggs in to the silt. This female was resting by a small stream near Mawley.

Female Golden-ringed Dragonfly