Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Beetling About

The noble chafer - a rare beetle whose larvae live in decaying fruit trees - had just emerged from a small hole in a plum tree.  I know them better from our Tiddesley Wood nature reserve but this one was found in an old orchard in the Teme Valley.

If you see one please let us know - and preferably take a picture.  In late June and July they visit hogweed, meadowsweet and elderflowers.

I've just heard of the first sighting in Buckinghamshire since 1914 and we've had two recent records from Tiddesley Wood.  So it could be a good year as hot weather encourages them to fly.

Please get in touch with the Biological Records Centre or me via the main Trust office at Lower Smite Farm if you see any this summer.

Thank you
Harry Green, Tiddesley Wood

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Colourful Feckenham

The ragged robin has almost gone over now except for a few flowers that are still hanging on. Nevertheless, the reserve is looking good with the meadows showing an abundance of colour. Now that the marsh thistle, bugle, purple loosestrife, various vetches and the masses of umbelliferae are all in full bloom, the insects and butterflies are begining to increase in number and variety. 

Scorpion fly (male)
Scorpion fly (female)
These two photos show male and female scorpion flies. There are many different flies on the reserve and they're well worth looking out for as you can see their colours and markings are spectacular.
 We have had our first common blues, small skipper and large numbers of ringlet and meadow brown. There are also a large number of day-flying moths and in particular 6 spot burnet.

Meadow brown

Common blue

Reed bunting
Our warblers are still very active as is our pair of whitethroats. Reed bunting can be seen flying up from the long grass and sedge and a chiffchaff is still singing down by the main hide. The cuckoo was seen last week and we have had two sightings of a lone red kite which only stayed around for a very short time. 

Common darter
Dragonfly and damselfly numbers continue to increase and many broad-bodied chasers are regularly seen flying in tandem with the female breaking off to lay in the larger of our new ponds. Emperor and southern hawker dragonflies are also now on site. This newly emerged common darter was sunning itself in the marginal vegetation.
What we need now is more settled, warm and not so windy weather!
Don't forget to have a go at the quiz on my previous is really easy!

Paul, Feckenham Wylde Moor