December Moth, Poecilocampa populi

The December Moth flies between late October to early January. The adults come to light and can sometimes be seen in the morning on house walls when lights have been left on overnight. The female lays her eggs on the twigs of broad-leaved trees. The overwintering eggs hatch in April when the caterpillars feed on the buds and new young leaves.

December Moth, Button Bridge, 7 December 2016 ©Jon Cartwright

Mayfly – Ecdyonurus venosus

Kevin McGee photographed this mayfly larva Ecdyonurus venous from Dowles Brook where the closely related Ecdyonurus torrentis is also present. There are 4 species of Ecdyonurus in the UK. These larvae cling to submerged rocks in stream riffles from which they feed. They may be seen as adults between May and October.

Ecdyonurus venosus larva, Dowles Brook, 8 May 2016 ©Kevin McGee

 

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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