This small beetle (5-8mm) has been seen in the Wyre Forest again this year. At first it looks like a small cardinal beetle, but unlike these it has distinctive yellowish tips to the antennae. It is a Notable B species. The larvae feed inside rotting wood, and the adults are usually found on vegetation not far from deadwood.
These galls are commonly found on Bracken in the summer and autumn. They are caused by the larvae of a Cecidomyiid gall midge which cause these black, shiny, and rolled swellings to occur on the fronds. The mature larvae leave the galls to pupate in the soil, and there are two generations a year.
This summer a group of these sawfly larvae have defoliated the top of a small ornamental pine tree in my garden in Bliss Gate. They have been recorded here since 2014. There are still a few larvae present in the middle of September, but they will soon all have moved down into the soil where they spin overwintering cocoons in which to pupate. They will emerge as adults during next May or June.
The Mocha moth visited Oliver Wadswoth’s light trap on the Study Group’s evening meeting on 20th August 2016. This is a new moth species for Wyre so we were all very pleased to see it. The larvae feed on Field Maple which only occurs occasionally within the Forest.
It was good to find Sneezewort flowering in a meadow near Button Oak recently. We don’t find this plant growing very often around Wyre. It grows in damp grasslands. The smell of the flowers is supposed to make you sneeze, although it was the roots that used to be collected to treat toothache apparently.
This large and impressive bracket fungus (up to 40cms wide) is usually found on live oak trees, although it can grow on other deciduous trees, generally appearing near the base of the trunk and always attacking the heartwood causing whiterot. The robust humpy fruiting brackets appear in early autumn when they weep an amber liquid from depressions on the upper surface.
Garden Snails (previously Helix aspersa) are commonly found in our gardens and countryside. They are best observed on a damp warm evening after rain. These 2 were found mating on a plant pot in the greenhouse. Like all Pulmonate snails, they are hermaphrodite (each having both male and female gametes), and exchange sperm during a process that can last several hours. After about 2 weeks each snail will lay up to 80 white eggs, usually in soil under logs and stones. The young snails take up to 2 years to mature. Although these snails are valued in some countries and collected to eat, they are not welcomed by gardeners in Britain!
This large cluster of eggs was found on a Salix leaf near a wet flush in Longdon Wood, possibly laid by one of the large Tabanus horseflies?
This Grey Wagtail was watched unobserved having a good preen in Dowles Brook. Its distinctive undulating flight, and bobbing tail when on the ground, are common to all wagtails. But the grey back and yellow chest and under-tail feathers show that it is a Grey Wagtail. This species is commonly found along watercourses.
This beautiful and impressive moth is on the wing this month. The larvae live inside small branches of various deciduous trees, taking up to 3 years to mature. The adults are nocturnal and cannot feed, so need to reproduce speedily when they emerge. The males (as seen here) have impressively large comb-like antennae so that they can pick up the pheromone scents of emerging females. These moths are attracted to light but can sometimes be seen during the daytime resting on tree trunks.