Pearl-bordered Fritillaries, Boloria euphrosyne

These lovely butterflies are now on the wing and flying in sunshine. Their caterpillars need violet plants on which they feed, but the adults nectar on a variety of flowers, especially Bugle. They were close to extinction in Wyre in the early 1990s, but ongoing conservation management by Butterfly Conservation, the Forestry Commission and English Nature to open up sunny sheltered areas has halted their decline and resulted in increased numbers.

Pearl-bordered Fritillary on Bugle, Wyre Forest, 14 May 2018. Photo by Mick Farmer

Glowworm larva!

It was great to see a Glowworm larva walking across the track in Wyre recently. Larvae are usually nocturnal, but in their third year, between April and June, they start to wander around both in the daytime and at night prior to pupating. We look forward to seeing the adult females glowing after dark in June and July…if we can stay awake that late!

Glowworm larva, Wimperhill, 21 April 2018, photograph by Rosemary Winnall

 

A wet day in Wyre

Yesterday Wyre Forest Study Group members braved the cold rain and ventured out into Earnwood Copse, following an ancient sunken track down through the woodland. 2 micromoths Diurnea fagella were spotted on tree trunks, as was the attractive harvestman Megabunus diadema. A Larch Ladybird and spiders Diaea dorsata were found in conifers, and down at the stream water crickets Velia caprai were swimming around on the water surface in the eddies. In open areas near the stream Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage was flowering well. But the Sallow catkins were still closed, waiting for warmth and sunshine.

Diunea fagella, Earnwood Copse, 4 April 2018 ©Rosemary Winnall

Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage, Bliss Gate, 3 April 2018 ©Rosemary Winnall

Water Cricket Velia caprai, Bliss Gate 24 April 2005 ©Rosemary Winnall

Elfcup (Sarcoscypha sp.)

Elfcups are spring cup fungi that brighten our late winter woodland floor with their attractive fruiting bodies. They grow, often in troops, on rotten fallen twigs of broad-leaved trees. Previously thought to be one species, it has recently been discovered that there are two, only separated by details of the spores. Scarlet Elfcup (Sarcoscypha austriaca) appears to be commoner than Ruby Elfcup (Sarcoscypha coccinea).

An elfcup (Sarcoscypha sp.) in the snow, New Parks, 17 March 2018

Birds in the snow

In cold weather food is short for many birds, and they can become easier to watch and photograph when they come down to food we provide. Apples and seed put out on the ground in the garden during the recent cold spell, attracted many Blackbirds, Fieldfares, Redwings, Starlings and even several Song Thrushes all feeding together. But with the return of the mild weather they soon dispersed.

Redwing in the snow, Bliss Gate, 2 March 2018 ©Rosemary Winnall

Fieldfare in the snow, Bliss Gate, 2 March 2018 ©Rosemary Winnall

Starling in the snow, Bliss Gate, 2 March 2018 ©Rosemary Winnall

Signs of Spring!

On a Wyre Forest Study Group walk along Dowles this week there were many signs of spring in spite of the cold temperatures. Wild Arum and Bluebell leaves were pushing up through the leaf litter, a few brave birds were singing and hazel catkins hung decorously from their twigs in glorious yellow.

Wild Arum leaves, Dowles valley 7 February 2018 ©Rosemary Winnall

Bluebell leaves, Dowles valley 7 February 2018 ©Rosemary Winnall

Spurge Laurel Daphne laureola

This small fragile evergreen shrub (not often higher than 40cms) grows wild in just a few of our hedgerows and woods around Wyre where the soil it isn’t too acidic. It is flowering now and is pollinated by early spring insects.

Spurge Laurel, Callow Hill, 26 January 2018 ©Rosemary Winnall

Spurge Laurel in hedgerow, Callow Hill, 26 January 2018 ©Rosemary Winnall

Snow, snow and more snow!

Large amounts of snow fell on 8, 9 and 10 December 2017 – more than we’ve seen for a long time! Then on 11th the sun came out and the landscape looked fantastic under a foot of snow.

Snowing at Uncllys Farm 10 December 2017 ©Linda Iles

Sheep at Uncllys Farm 11 December 2017 ©Linda Iles

Uncllys Farm, 11 December 2017 ©Linda iles

Wimperhill, 12 December 2017 ©Phil Rudlin

Near Experimental Pool, Dowles, 12 December ©Phil Rudlin

Trees in snow, Woodwards Coppice, 11 December 2017 ©Rosemary Winnall

 

Hawfinch

It has been good to see Hawfinches in the Wyre Forest area. Here are 2 photos caught on a remote camera drinking from a small stream.

Hawfinch near small stream, Callow Hill, 3 December 2017 ©Rosemary Winnall

Hawfinch near small stream, Callow Hill, 1 December 2017 ©Rosemary Winnall