Adonis’ Ladybird (Hippodamia variegata)

This ladybird is not often recorded in north Worcestershire, but a few have been spotted in and around Wyre this month. August to October is the best time to see this species which is said to be extending its range northwards, probably in response to climate change. The colouration and numbers of black spots varies as its name suggests. Originally more commonly found around the coast, it is increasingly found inland, often in dry open areas, but not always in the same place from one year to the next.

Adonis Ladybird, Bliss Gate, 28 August 2017 ©Rosemary Winnall

Branched Bur-reed (Sparganium erectum)

This strange-looking plant, which can grow up to the height of 1.5 metres, may be found in still or slow-moving water. We find it in a few of our Wyre Forest ponds, track ditches and along sheltered banks of the River Severn. Each flowering spike has male flowers present above the female ones. The fruits, which can float, drop off when ripe and are viable for several months.

Branched Bur-reed, Longdon, 4 August 2017 ©Rosemary Winnall

Black Swan in Bewdley

For 2 weeks in July this Black Swan was present on the Severn in Bewdley town near the bridge. It fed with the other swans but was quite aggressive, pecking them and swimming after them, fluffing up and exposing its white flight feathers. Originally from Australia, these were brought into Britain as ornamental birds, and now breed in various locations. They are increasing in the wild where they compete with our native Mute Swans for food and breeding habitat.

Black Swan in Bewdley 22 July 2017 ©Rosemary Winnall

Black Swan in Bewdley 22 July 2017 ©Rosemary Winnall

Dark Green Fritillary, Argynnis aglaja

In recent years Dark Green Fritillary butterflies have started to breed in sunny open habitat in the Wyre Forest. The caterpillars feed on violets and the adults are on the wing from mid-June to mid-August. Care is needed to distinguish this butterfly from the slightly larger Silver-washed Fritillary.

Dark Green Fritillary female, Wyre Forest, 14 July 2017 ©Brett Westwood

Pyrausta moths

2 Pyrausta daytime-flying pyralid moths can be seen in Wyre during the summer. Pyrausta aurata, the commoner of the 2, can be found in gardens too where the caterpillars feed on mints, marjoram and other labiates. Mick Farmer spotted this one in Bewdley. The larvae of Pyrausta purpuralis feed on wild thyme and mints in Wyre.

Pyrausta aurata on Origanum, Bewdley, 18 July 2017 ©Mick Farmer

Pyrausta purpuralis, Town Coppice, 9 July 2009 ©Rosemary Winnall

Silky Wall Feather-moss Homalothecium sericeum

Whilst walking long the Bewdley quayside in Severn Side South Ann Hill photographed this moss. In the hot weather it was drying out, but mosses soon revive when they are moistened by the next rain and this allows them to survive in dry situations. This species is commonly found on rocks and tree bark as well as man-made structures, especially where the substrate is base-rich.

Silky Wall Feather-moss Homalothecium sericeum, Bewdley quayside, 5 July 2017 ©Ann Hill

Red-tipped Clearwing, Synanthedon formicaeformis

One male Red-tipped Clearwing moth was attracted to a pheromone lure in Bewdley this week, near the river below the Bewdley bypass bridge. Clearwings were rarely seen before pheromones were developed. These are artificially produced chemicals which are very like the pheromones produced by the female moths, and so they attract the males. All clearwing moths are daytime flyers, but are easily overlooked as they can look like wasps when they are flying.

Red-tipped Clearwing, Ribbesford, 3 July 2017 ©Rosemary Winnall