2010 Archive

31 December Dave Barnes is at it again...this time picking out a Female Mandarin Duck amongst the many Mallard down on the River in Tenbury. Mandarin are fairly common around the Dowles area of the River Severn at Bewdley...but until now...unless you know differently, un-recorded this high up the River Teme. Another great record Dave!


                                                                 Female Mandarin Duck                                                  Photo Dave Barnes

The Moth traps at Upper Rochford have, over the last couple of nights, been trapping a few of the winter species of Moth. Last night was particularly productive with good numbers of Winter Moth, December Moth, Satellite Moth and Mottled Umber showing up. This Mottled Umber below was particularly striking in its colouration...but is well known for being a very polymorphic species when it comes to colouration.


                                   Mottled Umber - One of the few moth species on the wing at this time of year.

29 December Peter Lloyd emailed to say that following our write up in the Abberley Parish Magazine, his wife saw several Waxwing on Hawthorn at their home at Abberley around the 9th December. This date ties in well with the general influx of these birds to the area.

27 December Judith Dunkling at Burford has had a Goldcrest on her fat balls feeders today. An unusual but great record Judith

25 December Happy Christmas to all our readers and contributors. Please keep your wildlife sightings coming in. Cheers. Danny.

24 December Judith Dunkling informed us that the Bittern was still around by the River Bridge in Tenbury today, and also today, Dave Barnes has taken some absolutely brilliant photo shots of it taking a Brown Trout. Here's one to whet your appetite!. The remaining photo shots in this series will be shown at the January Meeting of the Teme Valley Wildlife Group (see dates above), and we will be posting a link to these photos shown after the meeting.


                                                                              Bittern taking a Brown Trout                             Photo Dave Barnes

23 December Elissa emailed to say she too, like Chris Kemble below (20th Dec) had witnessed a similar mysterious pale Greenfinch over at Upper Sapey. It is likely that these are migrant birds coming in from the continent.

22 December Another photo from the same platform feeding station at Upper Rochford as below (19th). This time a Jay moved in on the acorn offerings.


                                                                           A Jay taking an Acorn

21 December - Austin Palmer saw the Barn Owl (photographed below), out towards Sutton this morning. Again, it was quartering the fields looking for food.

Judith Dunkling had eleven Waxwings in Little Hereford Churchyard today. She also reported two female Goosander, a Kingfisher and several Fieldfare and Redwing.

John Abbiss over at Oldwood Common had a Blackcap on his feeder today.

20 December Dave Barnes caught sight of the Bittern on the river in Tenbury again this morning. A good sighting, as it was not seen/reported over the weekend.

Chris Kemble at Knighton on Teme has noted some very pale (female?) Green finch about this year. Has anybody else noted this?

19 December - At times of snow and severe frost, food is hard to come by. This Jackdaw took exception to this Song Thrush muscling in on the available food on one of the large feeding stations at Upper Rochford.


                                                                   Jackdaw & Song Thrush encounter

Phil Parsons has been back on. This time he's sent a link to some video footage he took of the Waxwings down in Tenbury along side the river on the 12th December. Click Here to go to the You Tube link.

So, no apology for posting another couple of photographs of these stunning birds . These were taken on the Swimming Pool car park in Tenbury today.



                                         Waxwings photographed on the Swimming Pool car park, Tenbury.

Judith Dunkling had seven Waxwings at the electricity sub station, just down and opposite the Rose & Crown pub in Tenbury today.

17 December - Well, our resident Bittern made it onto BBC Hereford & Worcs Radio's Drive Time program at 5:30pm last night. Danny Arnold had a brief live interview with Mike George, the presenter. You can listen to this for the next few days on the BBC iplayer service. Click this link and scroll through to about 1hr 32mins 50 seconds. BBC Hereford & Worcs have also put a snippet of info on their Web page too. Click this link here. BBC WEB PAGE

Phil Parsons also got in touch. He has taken a video of the Bittern, which he has now posted on You Tube. Click this link, to see this brilliant bird, posing for the camera. Great footage Phil.

Five Goosander were down on the River Teme in Tenbury today. Bullfinch and Little Grebe were also see on/along the river, on and around the Burgage. 40 or so Waxwings remained feeding on berries on the Swimming pool car park, Tenbury, although it is doubtful they will stay around much longer as they have now virtually stripped these trees of their berries.

Traveling back up through Upper Rochford this evening, a Barn Owl was seem quartering the fields. Unfortunately the light was very poor but at least a camera was to hand....which allowed a couple of 'record photos' to be taken.



                                                                   Barn Owl Seen Quartering the fields

15 December - Our resident Bittern was showing off today, catching a Chub of around 1.5 lbs. as witnessed by Dave Barnes around mid day.

Pete Stevens, saw a female Goosander on the Teme by the bridge today also. He also reports regular sightings of Kestrel between Lindridge Church and Eastham bridge. Good news for a bird that is nationally in decline.

A Kestrel was seen at Upper Rochford yesterday too.

135 Waxwing were counted (photographed) in and around the trees on the Burgage and Swimming pool car park in Tenbury. That's is, until a Sparrowhawk came through dispersing them in all directions. Hopefully they will be back tomorrow.


                            Just a few of the 135 Waxwings seen at the swimming pool car park today


                                                           Waxwing Acrobatics on the berry laden trees

Judith Dunkling saw a Little Owl perched on a gate post at Burford Church last night. A good sighting this....Little Owls are not often seen / reported in this area now a days!.

14 December The Bittern was back just upstream of the River Bridge in Tenbury at 2:30pm again today. Reported by Andy Payne. 40+ Waxwings were seen on the Boraston Estate Burford feeding on Hawthorn. A further flock of similar size was seen also in Tenbury, flitting between the Burgage (sat in the top of a tall poplar), from where they would periodically come down en masse and feed on Rowan in the Swimming Pool carpark.

The following two Bittern pictures were taken on the 12th downstream of the river bridge.



                                                                    Bittern - Still around after a week

And whilst watching the Bittern, this Cormorant came over.


                                                                         Cormorant heading up river

Andy Payne reports six Waxwing on Mill Lane Eardiston today, and six Goosander, A little Grebe, the Bittern and a Cormorant flying over, in Tenbury today.

13 December - Andy Payne saw 30 + Waxwing on the Swimming Pool Carpark Rowan trees today. And Judith Dunkling at Burford saw a similar number flying over the Burford Churchyard.

12 December The eagerly awaited Waxwing irruption sweeping the UK has finally reached Tenbury and the Teme Valley today. Several reports have been coming in, from single birds, to a flock of about 70 reported on Boraston Drive by Gavin Peplow.

There were around 40 birds (possibly part of the flock above) seen and reported by Nick Benbow in and around the Swimming Pool carpark and Burgage in Tenbury....and earlier, out at Eardiston, Andrew Payne rang through to say there were five birds on a Rowan in Mill Lane. Here's one of the photos from that site taken this morning. A few more photos can be seen by clicking this link. WAXWINGS



Also of interest, one of the Waxwings at Eardiston was ringed (see photo below). We have been in touch with the ringing coordinator for Waxwings Raymond Duncan of the Grampian Ringing Group, who confirms that this particular bird was ringed in Aberdeen on the 28th November 2010.....just 14 days ago.


                                     Waxwing Ringed in Aberdeen just 14 days ago. At Eardiston today

Also today, whilst watching the Waxwings along side the River Teme / Burgage, The Bittern was still showing extremely well and posing for anybody that stopped to watch. A pair of Bullfinch were noted, Nuthatch, Little Grebe, Grey Lag Goose, Three Canada Geese, Three Goosander, a pair of Kingfisher, and a Cormorant went over. Not a bad tally for a Sundays birding!

11 December Just for those of you who are asking....The Bittern is still about down in Tenbury, seen today just upstream of the river bridge at 3pm.

Jenny Rodgers emailed to say that, this time, today, they did see the Bittern.

9 December Robin Hemming sent over the picture of the Bittern being apparently spooked or attacked by a Rat, as can be seen from Robins picture. The rat can just be seen behind the head of the bird. The bird was forced out into the current and eventually made a forced flight onto the Worcs bank as reported yesterday. Today it has been seen on both banks and also by a party of school children out on an outdoor exercise. What a great spectacle.

                                                 Photo : Robin Hemming

                                                     Bittern being spooked / attacked by Brown Rat

8 December The Bittern is still showing on the River Teme in Tenbury. Today it moved 75 meters down stream. It was fishing and taking what looked like Trout and Grayling from the river margins (info from Dave Barnes), as well as smaller fish (Gudgeon?) It also moved onto the Right Worcs bank this afternoon after what looked like, being attacked by a Rat. Hopefully we might have a photo of this tomorrow. Thanks to every one who kept us informed of how it was doing today. A great No of people have actually gone to see this very rare bird.

Geoff Wookey emailed to say he too had now seen the Bittern, the first time he had seen one after several years of trying! He also said he saw it take a fish of about 6" long.

Margaret Davies also emailed to say she too had seen the Bittern and managed to get a photo of it, along with a Kingfisher, in the same picture!

Chris & Jenny Rodgers, missed the Bittern today, but did see a Kingfisher taking small fish, by the river bridge in Tenbury. Chris also says that with all this cold weather attracting the small birds to their feeders at home, a Sparrowhawk has been buzzing the feeding station, trying to get an easy meal!

7 December A quiet week on the wildlife front, dominated by snow and hard frost. Last night registered -11C at Upper Rochford. And the low temperature resulted in this very unusual visitor to the River Teme in Tenbury. This Bittern was first spotted by Dave Barnes and had presumably moved from its usual still water haunts which would have likely frozen up over night, and unusually, come down to the River where it could at least still catch fish. During the time this and other photographs were taken, it was seen taking several small fish from the margins of the river. To see more photos taken of this extremely rare bird on the River Teme, click this link here



                                                                        Bittern on the River Teme

Sandra Willmott had -12C at her home in Lower Rochford last night. And over at Abberley, Ian & Diana Parkin recorded -11C and note that they are seeing a few more Chaffinch about in this colder weather.

Over at Clifton on Teme Lyn & Gerald Emery had Eight Waxwings in their Garden feeding on Rowan Berries. This could be the start of the Irruption of Waxwings into this area.

And whilst on Waxwings, Felicity Beaumont also reported a single Waxwing in her Garden, also on Rowan.

Judith Dunkling at Burford had both Male & Female Blackcap on her bird feeders today.

26 November One of the local Buzzards at Upper Rochford were taking advantage of a road killed Pheasant which had been placed on the Raptor Table. The light was a little better for this photograph, and judging by the markings, is the same bird photographed on the 16th November entry below.


                                                                              A Buzzard's lunch

25 November - Judith Dunkling emailed to say that she had just had word that nine Waxwing were seen by a friend of hers in the Hope Bagot area. This is the first sightings in the area of this spectacular berry munching Scandinavian visitor.....and with the wind turning to come in from the NE, we can expect more sightings over the coming few days.

Chris & Jenny Rodgers have had a Red Kite flying low over their fields at Stoke Bliss. Has this bird moved into the area permanently?

A sad story, but Keith Oddy shows the comparative tiny size of this Gold Crest. Unfortunately, it had been predated by a cat. The good news however, is that this species does seem to have had a bit of revival this summer after numbers fell substantially in the Teme Valley over the very hard winter we experienced at the beginning of this year.

                                                 Photo : Keith Oddy

                                                           Gold Crest - The UK's tiniest bird

24 November - John Abbiss again....this time with SEVEN bird species shown in one photograph. Can you do better?. We want to see just how many bird species you can get in one photograph. Send you entries into the email address in the contacts list.

Johns species list for this photo are : Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Jackdaw & Wood pigeon. John is in the lead with this so far!

                                              Photo : John Abbiss

                                                          SEVEN bird species in one photograph

23 November - John Abbiss has sent in another photo of this now regular garden visitor. John has a resident Sparrowhawk that terrorizes the local small bird population.

                               Photo : John Abbiss

                                                         Sparrowhawk (Male) in John's garden

20 November - David Sothers has been playing around with Macro Photography and taken this close up picture of Moss. It just goes to show that there is 'another world' out there, which goes almost un-noticed. Great photo David!

                                          Photo David Sothers

                                           The Myriad of microscopic plant life found in moss

18 November - Judith Dunkling at Burford has reported the first sightings of Brambling we've had this year. Great to see and hear of these back.

17 November - David Norsworthy has been busy breeding up some Grey Partridge as part of a reintroduction program for the species, back to his farm near Leominster.

                               Photo : David Norsworthy

                                                                              Grey Partridge

16 November - On the 'Raptor Table' at Upper Rochford one of the local Buzzards is coming down to feed on the bone marrow and scraps from a local butcher. This is just one of the photos taken from the hide.


                                                               Buzzard on Raptor Table - Upper Rochford

15 November - The Great Grey Shrike is back on Bircher Common. First reported by Steve Whitehouse yesterday, so hopefully it will be around for the next few weeks. A bird has been around on Bircher Common at the beginning and end of winter, for the last few years. The same bird?...Possibly. Below is Robin Hemnming's great photograph taken of the bird which was on Bircher Common in March earlier this year.

                               Photo : Robin Hemming

                                                 Great Grey Shrike....back on Bircher Common

11 November - Judith Dunkling today had 26 Mistle Thrush in Burford Church yard. Almost certainly Scandinavian migrants coming in.....Watch out for any Waxwing !!

10 November - Steve Whitehouse reports 150 plus Lesser Redpoll being present at Hunhouse Wood. This is a good sighting as last year there were very few of these birds about.

Judith Dunkling at Burford Church also reports two Lesser Redpoll in her bird feeder today and says that they are almost a month early compared with previous years.

9 November - Nick Benbow at Frith Common reports seeing a Great Tit with a gall growth on its head. Similar to those reported in the winter of 2009. We have also seen the same at Upper Rochford this year. Lets hope its not another bout of this Avian pox. Please report any sightings you have to us, so we can catalogue just how widespread and big a problem it is.

The best ways to minimise the spread of this disease is to keep feeding areas scrupulously clean. That I'm afraid, means regular washing of feeders and feeding stations with soap and hot water. The avian pox is thought to be spread through the saliva of infected birds.

8 November - David Norsworthy over near Leominster found these two Great Crested Newts under some slabs he was moving in the garden. David safely re housed them to a safer area in the garden. Great record David.

                               Photo : David Norsworthy

                                                                            Great Crested Newts

5 November - Chris & Jenny Rodgers over at Stoke Bliss really have found themselves sitting on a prime site for Waxcap fungi. In addition to those species reported earlier in the month, which included the scarce Pink Waxcap, they now report even more Waxcap fungi showing through. As Chris indicated, had it not been for Rosemary's talk a few weeks ago, all these fantastic species would have otherwise gone un-noticed. Here are just a few of what Chris and Jenny have found.


                            hygrocybe intermedia                                                                        clavaria helvola


                         clavulinopsis corniculatus                                                             h ceracea - Yellow Waxcap


                                 h chlorophana                                                                       h chlorophana - Underside


                        h virginea Snowy Waxcap                                                         h virginea Snowy Waxcap


                       hygrocybe conica var conica 3                                                  hygrocybe conica var conica 3

   All Photos by Chris & Jenny Rodgers

                                         h coccinea

1 November - Leo Smith, who gave the Group a talk on Red Kite earlier in the month is looking for some help in the production of bird data from the SE corner of Shropshire ....basically the Wyre Forest area north of Dowels Brook. He needs someone to do two times two hour scouting of a couple of tertrads to log down all the bird species seen. One during the winter months and one during the breeding season.

This info will then go towards compiling and Atlas scheduled to be published in July 2011. If you fancy doing a bit of Bird ID / Survey work, let us know via the links on this page and we will put you in touch with Leo.

28 October - Andrew Palmer confirms records of more Ravens in the area. This time two at Milson. Andrew also Invited Rosemary Winnall over to look at some Waxcap fungi he found on 'his patch'. Andrew says that several were discovered by Rosemary, all of which add to the general Waxcap data base for the area. Great records Andrew.

26 October - Linda Hamling saw two Raven over Kingswood Nature Reserve at Martley yesterday. Another good sighting proving that Ravens are spreading and doing well in the Teme Valley at the moment.

25 October - Caroline Roseman had two Corn Bunting in a Silver Birch just outside her house today at Lower Rochford.

21 October - Coming into the moth traps at Upper Rochford last night, a 10th record for Worcestershire. This small (14mm) tortrix moth 1026 Exapate congelatella is one of the very few 'micro moths' on the wing in the autumn. More associated with uplands and moorlands further north, this could be another 'migrant' off the Clee Hills.


                                                        1026 Exapate congelatella

20 October - The winner of the Summer Photo Competition with the theme 'Moods of the Teme Valley' is Alastair Hardy. Well done Alastair, who will receive a book prize. Alastair's photo is shown here:

                       Photo: Alastair Hardy

                                                           Cattle in the morning mists

19 October - Chris and Jenny Rodgers at Stoke Bliss report a Red Kite going over their house. The same bird as Pete saw on the 14th maybe??

They also sent over some more photos of more wax cap fungi they have been finding on their land. This time they have found the H.psittacina, a distinctive green/slimy looking form. They seem to have a wonderland of fungi on their land that hitherto, they were unaware of. Great records!!

                      Photo : Chris & Jenny Rodgers

                      Photo : Chris & Jenny Rodgers

                                                          H.psittacina Wax Caps

18 October - The Group had its October walk which was yesterday afternoon, in the Wyre Forest. Using an off the beat entry to the forest, the Group had the trails and tracks pretty much to themselves. The walk followed Dowels Brook for about a mile, returning along the old disused railway track.

En Route, we saw Dipper and Kingfisher, as well as a variety of Tit species. Both Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were heard, but not seen on this occasion. Some of the group also saw a Red Deer disappearing over the valley rim and on the ground were a lot of different fungi varieties.

                                         Photo : John Abbiss

                                                    The only 'up hill' bit of the walk

14 October - Pete Broadly reported seeing a Red Kite over at Stoke Bliss. This is a great record as it begs the question, is this the same bird that is being seen at Frith Common??...or do we have another completely different bird in the area. Photos required !!

9 October - Judith Dunkling sent in a report that her mother found a Canary Shouldered Thorn Moth in her porch. No photo on this occasion, but again, another stunning autumnal moth, with....just as it says on the tin....Canary Yellow coloured shoulders!

4 October - Rachael sent in a record of an Angle Shades Moth she found on the wall at her home. This is a stunning autumnal moth which looks like a dead leaf when at rest.

                                           Photo: Rachael

                                                               Angle Shades Moth

Teme Valley Wildlife Group Photo Competition Summer 2010

The Theme is : Moods of the Teme Valley

Three photos per person can be submitted.

Photo's can be anything to do with Moods of the Teme Valley.

Pictures MUST be taken in the Teme Valley Area and reflect "Moods of the Teme Valley".

There will be two age categories: Under 16 and Senior. The age category must be clearly marked with any photos submitted.

Open to anybody bar professional photographers.

The first prize in each category will be tickets to a local wildlife centre / day out.

Winners of each category will be notified by email or phone.

Pictures must be submitted in jpeg no larger than 1200 x 1200 pixels format via email attachment together with name address and Tel No to : pete@petethorp.co.uk


A hard copy print of no larger than 5" x 7" can be submitted by posting

to : Pete Thorp, 7 Woodston Oast House, Woodston Tenbury Wells Worcs. WR15 8JG

(This cannot however be returned, but it CAN be collected after the competition at the April Wildlife Group meeting). Name and address should be put on the rear of the print.

The Competition Opens 8th July 2010 and Closes 30TH September 2010.

The judging panel will be chaired by Pete Thorpe, who has final decision in all matters of deadlock.

The panels decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into.

28 September - Overnight, this Orange Sallow Moth came into the light traps at Upper Rochford. This is a relatively scarce moth in the County with less than 30 records on Mapmate for the whole of Worcestershire. The larvae of this moth feed on Lime and there is, unless you know otherwise, not a lot of Lime trees in the Upper Rochford area. This makes this record even more remarkable.


                                                             Orange Sallow Moth

27 September - Chris Rodgers at Stoke Bliss came up trumps with this scarce Pink Waxcap Fungi growing in his field. This is a great find and may indicate that there are other waxcap species to be found locally. A great record.

                      Photo : Chris Rodgers

                      Photo : Chris Rodgers

                       Photo : Chris Rodgers

                                                The scarce Pink Waxcap Fungi

26 September - A few shots from this weekend down at the bird hide at Upper Rochford. The Wood pigeon was photographed on the walk down to the hide, sat in an old Cherry tree.

It was good to see (just about!!) the Goldcrest. These have not been seen since last Autumn before the very hard winter of last year which decimated the local population. Great to see them back!

The Wren was in constant 'Alarm Mode', sounding off at any click of the camera's shutter....and the Grey Squirrell...just an unusual shot drinking.


                                                                    Wood pigeon






                                                            Grey Squirrel Drinking

20 September - John Abbiss sent in this photo of a small micro moth Eudonia angustea. John found it amongst the Rosemary / Sage / Thyme growing in his herb garden. This is one of the latest flying Micro Moths to be on the wing.      

                      Photo : John Abbiss

                                                       Eudonia angustea (1342)

16 September - Chris Kemble sent in this photo of a Grey Dagger Moth Caterpillar. There are two species of 'Dagger' Moths in the UK which are very similar (Grey Dagger and Dark Dagger) . So much so, that as adults, you cannot separate the two by eye. The caterpillars are however, completely different. This one is seen clearly feeding on one of Chris's Rose leaves.

                                      Photo : Chris Kemble

                                                     Grey Dagger Moth Caterpillar

15 September - This warm and wet weather has brought the fungi out around the area, and as a result, your photo records have been coming in thick and fast. Many of you have said that you were quite inspired by Rosemary Winnalls talk on fungi last week at the September indoor meeting of the Group.

Robert Barlow from Knightwick sent in this fungi which was growing on his lawn. We are not sure what this fungi is? Anybody out there have any ideas???

                                           Photo : Robert Barlow

13 September - Alastair and Pauline Hardy over at Woonton sent in these pictures of Blackening Waxcap fungi - ID Confirmed by Rosemary Winnall... Rosemary says that this is one of the more common forms of Waxcap found in the UK and can be found in meadows, along hedges and road verges.

                      Photo : Alastair Hardy    

                                          Blackening Waxcap Fungi showing the gills

                     Photo : Alastair Hardy  

                                                    Blackening Waxcap Fungi in situ

11 September - John Abbiss has been out and about with his camera. The Puff Ball fungi was taken over on Oldwood Common, as was the Meadow Saffron and Fairy Club fungi. All important records for the Common. Whilst out, John got a call from his wife saying there was a Sparrow hawk in the Garden. John dashed back to get a photo of the bird, seemingly not thinking of going anywhere, through the glass window. Great photos John!

                     Photo : John Abbiss

                                                                      Puff Ball Species

                                      Photo : John Abbiss

                                                  Sparrow hawk (Male) on Garden Fence

                     Photo : John Abbiss

                                                                  Meadow Saffron

                      Photo : John Abbiss

                                                The Fairy Club fungi - Clavaria fragilis

9 September - Another good Moth record for the area....and indeed the County of Worcestershire. This Cypress Pug came into the light traps at Upper Rochford last night. This is only the 5th record of this moth in Worcestershire. It is a relatively 'new' moth to the UK. First seen in the UK in 1959, it is originally thought to have come in on coniferous tree imports. It is now likely that it is breeding in low numbers in the UK, being seen predominantly in the more southern counties. Another good record for Worcestershire....and the Teme Valley! This moth has a wingspan of about 20mm.


                                                                      Cypress Pug Moth

8 September - A pristine Small Copper Butterfly was seen in amongst some rough under growth at Upper Rochford today. These stunning little butterflies are clearly still on the wing at the moment.

6 September - John Abbiss over at Oldwood Common had a whole host of Buff Tailed Bees and Common Carder Bees on his Lavender. Lavender is one of those late flowering plants that keep the insects supplied with nectar right through the Autumn.

                                    Photo : John Abbiss

                                                                  Buff Tailed Bee

5 September - This tiny but distinctive Micro Moth Ypsolopha dentella - The Honeysuckle Moth came into the light traps at Upper Rochford over night. Although relative wide spread, this is a 'first record' for the Teme Valley. As the name suggests, the larvae feed on Honeysuckle. The moth is about 10mmm long.


                                           Ypsolopha dentella - The Honeysuckle Moth

4 September - Chris and Jenny Rodgers reported more than 200 Swallows on the telephone lines by their house over at Stoke Bliss. These must be birds flocking up ready for the return migration to Africa.

1 September - Chris Kemble has a young Buzzard in her vicinity at Knighton on Teme that likes perching in an old pear tree. Makes for a great photo opportunity.

                      Photo: Chris Kemble

                                                                     Young Buzzard

31 August - Mike Bowdler at Stoke Bliss had a welcome visitor to his garden flowers this weekend. A Hummingbird Hawk Moth. This migrant moth is almost certainly the first confirmed record in the Teme Valley supported by a photograph. A great record.

                      Photo : Mike Bowdler

                      Photo : Mike Bowdler

                                               Hummingbird Hawk Moth at Buddleia

30 August - Margaret Bradley emailed to say that the Red Kite is still around. Margaret has seen it over the last few days at her farm at Knighton on Teme. Great News!!

29 August - Thanks to Nick Benbow and Judith Dunkling for altering us to the presence of a Wryneck on the Titterstone Clee. This is a very secretive bird and rarely seen. It has been around for a few days and is in the area just below the main car park.

26 August - And another Stoat story. John Abbiss heard a high pitched squeaking from around by his pool. On investigation, he found this small baby Stoat which must have got separated from its parents. John put some food out, which went...along with the Stoat.

                      Photo : John Abbiss

                                                                        Baby Stoat

24 August - Judith Dunkling over at Burford had two butterfly 'firsts' for her garden. Both Speckled Wood and Comma came by. Judith also has a Stoat doing some acrobatic antics in the garden, which involved it dashing around 20 feet up a tree and back in a mad 20 minute session. Judith says she was spell bound by its activities.

David Norsworthy from over Leominster way sent in this picture of one of the smaller 'brown' butterflies around at the moment on his farm. This Small Copper Butterfly was making the best of the last few rays of summer sunshine.

                      Photo : David Norsworthy

                                                            Small Copper Butterfly

23 August - Interspersed between the showers of the weekend, when the sun did shine, butterflies came out and were attracted in numbers to the buddleia in the Garden at Upper Rochford. Below we have Small Tortoishell (top) , Painted Lady (Middle) and Red Admiral (bottom).




20 August - Mike Bowdler over at Stoke Bliss took this great photo of a Southern Hawker Dragonfly on the reeds in his pool. It flies between June and October and is one of the last Dragonflies to be seen before winter sets in.

                                       Photo: Mike Bowdler

                                                        Southern Hawker Dragonfly

17 August - Occasionally we have photos come in of Caterpillars, some of which are difficult to identify. This one found on Sallow at Upper Rochford is confirmed by Tony Simpson as being an early instar of the Pale Tussock Moth. It was about 1" long with the distinctive black spot, tuft and red tail.


                                          Pale Tussock Moth Caterpillar - Early Instar

14 August - Another pretty little moth to come into the Upper Rochford light traps overnight was this Lime Speckled Pug Moth. I guess there is no need to explain why it has its name!


                                                               Lime Speckled Pug

13 August - It is always nice to see the Tree Creeper foraging around the trees at Upper Rochford. They seemed to take quite a hit during the hard winter, but signs are they have had a reasonably good spring, with a few more being seen about.


                                                                     Tree Creeper

12 August - Tony Simpson the County Moth Recorder for Worcs confirmed Danny Arnold's most recent moth capture was only the Second Confirmed record in Worcestershire of the Large Ear Moth. There are four species of Ear Moth, all virtually impossible to differentiate in the field.


                                                                      Large Ear Moth

11 August - Robin Hemming sent through these two photo's from the walk on the 8th, over the Wigmore Rolls. The Adder photo was taken at the Wigmore Rolls just a couple of days prior to the walk, and although some people did see the Adder on the walk, non of us got as good a view as this.

                      Photo : Robin Hemming


The enormous Wood Wasp (2"+) with its long ovipositor, drills down into the bark on trees to lay its eggs. It does not possess a sting, but looks exceedingly menacing all the same!

                      Photo : Robin Hemming

                                                      The 2" long Wood Wasp - Urocerus gigas

10 August - This photo is of a Pyralid Moth with the name of a Brown China Mark. It is a slightly unusual aberration of this moth in that the markings are far more defined than is usually the case. It came to a light trap at Hunthouse Wood on the 2nd August, as part of the ongoing moth survey project there.


                                                                 Brown China Mark

9 August - This small micro moth came into the traps at Upper Rochford over night. It's a woodland species with the larvae feeding on Acer and particularly Field Maple. Its official name is Ypsolopha sequella . But it is unofficially known as the 'Playboy Bunny Moth'....can you see why??


                                                            462 Ypsolopha sequella

8 August - Robin Hemming the Herefordshire Butterfly Conservation officer led a walk over the Wigmore Rolls today. Pulling out all the stops, he managed to allow the Group to see fifteen species of Butterfly, including the extremely rare Wood White Butterfly. The Wigmore Rolls is, according to Robin, one of the, if not the, best places in the country to see this rarity. The Group were also treated to Adders, Slow Worms and a very interesting Wood Wasp Urocerus gigas. Pictures to follow shortly.

2 August - John Abbiss has been busy with his camera of late and found these in his garden at Oldwood Common.

                     Photo : John Abbiss

                                                                    Scorched Carpet

                     Photo : John Abbiss

                                                            Common Blue Butterflies

28  July - Back in April a couple of dead hazel sticks were collected from a site in Upper Rochford and from Hunthouse Wood. Both sticks had a black spot fungi growing on them, and the classic signs of frass tubes. These frass tubes are formed by the larvae of the micro moth Namapogon Clematella . The larvae feed on the fungi and eventually pupate from the tube. The hazel was stored..... and over the past few days, the adult moth has appeared.  


                                                        Frass tubes on dead hazel


                                                          220 Namapogon Clematella

25 July - Richard Pill sent in this photo of a caterpillar found on Hawkweed. Does anybody out there have any ideas as to its identity??

                                     Photo : Richard Pill

                                                        Caterpillar found on Hawkweed

11 July - It just goes to show...if one thing doesn't use a home, something else will. These Wasps saw the opportunity to build their home in a bird box which went begging this year.....the paper covering it getting bigger every day!!


                                                      Wasps taking over a bird box

10 July - The warm weather has brought a myriad of butterflies out, including this Small Skipper. Photo taken at Upper Rochford.


                                                      Small Skipper Butterfly (Male)

9th July - Chris Kemble sent in this wonderful photo of a Green Woodpecker adult with one of the young, probing the lawn for ants. Great photo!

                     photo : Chris Kemble

                                                   Green Woodpecker with young

8th July - Judith Dunkling is asking if anybody is seeing a lot more Great Tit young about this year. She says that usually its predominantly Blue Tits she sees, but this year, the Great Tit population is far greater. Anybody else seeing this trend in their garden?

4th July - More exciting moth species continue to stream into the Upper Rochford Light traps. This time Another "First record for Worcestershire". Never before been recorded in the County, Tony Simpson the Worcs County Moth recorder confirmed the record of 1008 Philedone gerningana, as being new for the County. This means that the Teme Valley has now thrown up Three "County First records" for moths, this year alone!!


                                                           1008 Philedone gerningana

The July scheduled walk took place today at Hanley Dingle. This is an extensive piece of Woodland managed by the Worcs Wildlife Trust. The walk was lead by Dean Fenton, who provided detailed information about the site and its wildlife.

                     Photo : Alastair Hardy

                                             Some of the Group in the heart of the Dingle

Dean also pointed out some of the rare flora to be found, like this Broad Leaved Helliborine which is just a few days away from coming into flower.

                                              Photo : Alastair Hardy

                                                                      Broad Leaved Helliborine

...And eagle-eyed Pauline Hardy spotted this nest high up in a tree, complete with fledgling Buzzard....needless to say...we moved quickly on.

                     Photo : Alastair Hardy

                                                 Buzzard Chick, not far from fledging

3rd July - Still on a moth theme and another rare record. This time a 7th record for Worcestershire of a pretty little micro moth

646 Telechrysis tripuncta. It came to light at the Upper Rochford light traps.


                                                                646 Telechrysis tripuncta

Andrew Payne reports seeing the Red Kite over the Eardiston / Menith Wood area again yesterday.

2nd July - The moth traps have been busy again at Upper Rochford. This time a 4th and 5th Record for Worcestershire. Two tiny well marked Micro moths, 469 Eidophasia messingiella of just about 7 mm long . Trapped a week apart indicating there may be a colony about locally. The larvae feed on the plant Hoary Cress, though it's uncertain where this food plant is located in the Teme Valley.....Any ideas??


                                                          469 Eidophasia messingiella

1st July - Judith Dunkling over at Burford Church is reporting the presence of Spotted Flycatchers in the area. There don't seem to be too many about, or being reported this year in the area. This is a good record.

30th June - Dave Barnes emailed with another important local sighting / record. That of a Hobby over and around the Burford Church area, last week, on the 24th June.

27th June - The extremely warm bout of weather, coupled with the warm nights has ensured that the moth activity has been kept up after dark.

New in to the Upper Rochford moth traps last night and new to the local list is this stunning Garden Tiger Moth, surely one of the most spectacular moths in the UK.


                                                              Garden Tiger Moth

And also new records for the same moth traps, this Four Dotted Footman, more akin to acid heath land and probably a migrant from the Clee Hill, and this Blackneck, associated with damp marshy ground....Both moths are seldom recorded in Worcs.


                                     Four Dotted Footman                                                               Blackneck

26th June - David Hambelton sent in this picture, taken in his garden at Upper Rochford over the weekend. It shows exactly what a lot of people have ben saying in the Valley. There seem to be a lot of Jackdaws about this year. Certainly in one of the Upper Rochford Orchards, they stripped the cherry trees in around three days. Given the number of birds David has captured in the photo (There are 390!!!), you can see why they could decimate fruit trees in such a short time. Other people too have reported seeing large flocks locally. The breeding success rate must have been exceptionally high.

                     photo : David Hambelton

                                                       Jackdaws...all 390 of them !

23th June - Mike Southall reports he read a recent report that a Violet Carpenter Bee has been seen in Tenbury. If its you that saw or reported it, get in touch.

Down on the pools at Upper Rochford, the Moorhen pair, having already raised one of an initial pair of chicks successfully this summer, have had another brood. Two chicks again this time. Photo soon....I hope!

22nd June - Nick again, this time reporting a Broad Bordered Bee Hawk Moth attending to the nectar of his flowers in the garden. Again, another impressive record.

19th June - Nick Benbow has heard a Curlew up at Frith Common recently. Forty years ago, these birds were common in the Teme Valley. Not so now. A great record Nick.

17th June - Clearwings are a non too common sight around Worcestershire...or at very least, they are under recorded. A type of primitive moth species, unlike other moths, they do not have many scales on their wings...hence their name.

There are about a dozen species in the UK, but unlike other moths, they do not come to light, hence they seldom get recorded. These two species were lured in by the use of synthetic pheromones in one of the old cherry orchards at Upper Rochford today....The pheromones are specific to each species, so a different one is used for different species. A pheromone is a scent which is released to the air that attracts the males, thinking they are flying after a female.

The Current Clearwing below currently has just 11 previous records in Worcs on the Mapmate database for moths in the county, whilst the Red Belted Clearwing below, has just 30 records in the County.


                                                                    Currant Clearwing


                                                               Red Belted Clearwing

15th June - Just outside of our area, but one of our local moth trappers has trapped yet another 'first record for Worcestershire' with a moth species in his back Garden. Just goes to show...you can have important scientific data right in your own garden! Oliver Wadsworth from Worcester trapped and recorded this tiny micro moth Cydia illutana ...never before recorded in Worcs!!

                     photo : Oliver Wadsworth

                                                                        1266a Cydia illutana

11th June - Alastair & Pauline sent in a few interesting photos. This warm weather has certainly brought out the insect life. Below are photos of some Moths and Mayflies they found during the day, including two Ghost Moths...otherwise engaged. Ghost Moths are not that common in Herefordshire or Worcestershire and Alastair reports that the field at the back of his house at Woonton was alive with them in the evenings last week. The Male is pure white, whilst the female is Yellow with Orange markings.

                                                 Photo : Alastair Hardy

                                                                          Ghost Moths in Cop

                     Photo : Alastair Hardy

                                                           May Fly - Ephemera danica

                     Photo : Alastair Hardy

                                                        Silver Ground Carpet Moth

This Silver Y is a migrant but relatively common moth seen at this time of year. It can be easily disturbed from plants and gets its name from the 'Silver Y' on its fore wings.

                     Photo : Alastair Hardy

                                                                  Silver Y Moth

Gerald Roseman has also been out and about photographing bugs. Here is one of a Spider he took recently. We believe this to be a female Misumena vatia spider which lives primarily on flowers. It has the ability to change colour's depending on its environment.

                     Photo : Gerald Roseman

                                                            Misumena vatia spider

10th June - Well the Ravens at Upper Rochford have fledged. Two we believe. That's given the Jackdaws something to think about !!

8th June - Two more big pieces of news on the Moth front. We have had a "First County Record for Worcestershire" from the moth traps at Upper Rochford. The County Recorder, Tony Simpson confirmed that the moth trapped by Danny Arnold on the night of the 4th June was a Light Knot Grass. This is an upland heath moth, more associated with heathers, upon which the larvae feed. On the same night, the traps also trapped a moth called Shears, again, a heather feeder. It is most likely therefore that this moth found its way from the Clee Hill area, where is can be found in Shropshire. This however is the first time ever, it has been recorded in Worcestershire...and in our own Teme Valley area!


                                           Light Knot Grass - A 'First record for Worcs'

The other piece of news is regarding this Gold Spot moth that came into the Moth Traps at Upper Rochford on the evening of the 6th June. This is another County scarcity, there only being a handful of records (less than 25) on the Moth Mapmate data base for Worcs. And of those, only three records since the year 2000.


                                                The Scarce in Worcs - Gold Spot Moth

7 June - Yesterday, the Monthly scheduled walk took place over at Martley on the Worcs Wildlife Trust's tiny reserve at Penny Hill Bank, led by James Hitchcock, the WWT reserve Manager.

It was difficult to describe the weather conditions...."torrential" doesn't seem to do it enough justice. Rain, it did, but still 10 of us braved the elements and were treated to Jame's expert knowledge of the site. The site, which is the remnants of a chalk grass land is a rarity in the Teme Valley area, and as such, is a very specialised local habitat for a number of flowers and animals.


               photo : Pauline Hardy - (who would have easily won the "wet T shirt contest" on the day!)

                    An intrepid bunch, braving the elements at Penny Hill Bank Nature Reserve

When the weather eventually dried up, Jame's also found this Grass Snake (and a couple of slow worms) sheltering under some corrugated tin sheet.

                     photo : Alastair Hardy

                                                                      Grass Snake

Phil Morgan sent in this picture of a Glow Worm from his property out towards Menith Wood. Phil says he gets them every year. Does anybody else know of, or have Glow Worms around them. This is certainly a new record for this web site.

                     photo : Phil Morgan

                                                Glow Worm luminescence in the dark

6 June - The local Teme Valley Wildlife Group, Moth trapping session went ahead at the usual monthly meeting at Hunthouse on Friday night just gone (4 June). It was without doubt the most overwhelming number of moths ever seen by any of us there. We estimated something like 2000 moths in all of the six traps put out. There were moths in the traps, moths on the traps, moths in the grass, moths on the floor, moths in the air, moths in the bushes, moths covering us!!!...It was an absolutely amazing site the likes of which, none of us had ever encountered before. In the end...counting was an impossibility and it was a a case of 'counting' 1, 2 or 2+ of any one species, looking out for the 'odd' species amongst the many.

The moth Highlight of the night was surely the Beautiful Snout trapped by Oliver Wadswoth. This is a Wyre Forest specialty and only found in the Wyre and sparsely at one other small wood in the county. So to find it at Hunthouse is a real bonus as it indicates there is now a third site for this moth in the County.

                     Photo : Oliver Wadsworth

                       Beautiful Snout - Hunthouse, a third site in the County for this species

Oliver also trapped a Green Arches during the evening. This is a relatively common moth in the Teme Valley, but this one must have emerged during the same day, as it was in pristine condition. What camouflage !

                                               Photo : Oliver Wadsworth

                                                     Green Arches Moth Freshly Emerged

Back at Upper Rochford, the five traps set out over Friday Night were also 'full'. And we are hopeful on a new Worcs County Record for a particular species. More info tomorrow when the specimen goes to the County Recorder for verification.

Liz Sneath at Woodston is seeing two Lapwing regularly in the fields at Lindridge. It will be great if they are nesting around here, as the species has seen a significant decline over the past few years.

5 June - Judith Dunkling passed on her recent sightings from the Church yard at Burford. It really is quite a wildlife center down there when you take the time to look around you. Judith has had two Spotted Flycatchers come back and set up Home in the garden next to the church and she has also had a Cuckoo fly over.

Judith also reports both Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Nuthatches having nests and fledglings around the Church yard, and her Blue Tits fledged from at nest at her house yesterday.

Following on from the Spindle Ermine reports (See 2 June below), Both Judith and Julian Mason went out to take some photos of these fantastic webs which are adorning the hedgerows locally.

                                 Spindle Ermine Webs in the Hedge Rows (Photo : Judith Dunkling)

                            Spindle Ermine Webs and larvae in the Hedge Rows (Photos : Julian Mason)

4 June - This bout of warm weather has really brought all the wildlife out. This Slow worm was one of a pair found under some sheet metal at Upper Rochford. The Slow worm is not a snake, it is actually one of Britain's only three lizard species. (It has the ability to blink it eye).


                                                                       Slow Worm

3 June - Sheila Benbow reports seeing the Red Kite over her house at Frith Common today, as indeed does Caroline Roseman at Lower Rochford. Caroline also had eleven Buzzard soaring on the Thermals above the house.

Phil Morgan from over at Menith Wood has glow worms in his Orchard! A really nice record for the Valley. He also has Common Spotted Orchids coming through and has a Redstart nest in one of his buildings with fledglings in it.

2 June - Margaret Bradley and Judith Dunkling both report seeing massive cobweb like structures in the hedges around the area. These are formed by a tiny little micro moth called a Spindle Ermine. We will endeavour to get some photos of this phenomenon in the next few days.

Rachel Jacks at Eastham heard a Cuckoo at Eastham today. Great record Rachel. Cuckoos seem to be doing well this year!

31st May - John Abbiss, still on the dragonfly theme, sent in these two pictures of dragonflies on his pool in his garden. John says its a tiny pool, but he gets good insect life around it.

The first picture is of a Club-tailed Dragonfly A species common along the Teme Valley according to Mike Averill (Thanks for the positive ID Mike).

                     Photo : John Abbiss

                                                            Club-tailed Dragonfly

                     Photo : John Abbiss

                                                             Large Red Dragonfly

30 May - Chris Rodgers went to an open garden day at Moors Meadow and came back with some pictures of Dragonflies. Dragonflies really do seem to be doing well this year. Here's the Broad Bodied Chaser Chris took a photo of. This is a relatively common Dragonfly in Worcs and is a vigorous defender of its territory, chasing off anything that comes into range.

                     Photo : Chris Rodgers

                                                                  Broad Bodied Chaser

24 May - Mike Bowdler got into Moth trapping last year. This year...in fact last night...he was rewarded with a Lime Hawk Moth. We're hoping Mike has a picture so we can post it to the web site.

22 May - Richard Pill reports hearing two Cuckoo's over at Woonton last week, and also a bird calling regularly at his home in Knighton On Teme. These are good records as the Cuckoo has been in very short supply over the last few years. This year, the general numbers in the Valley seem to be up.

18th May - Chris Kemble sent in this photo of a Spotted Flycatcher which caught her attention in the garden.

                     Photo : Chris Kemble

                                                                   Spotted Flycatcher

16th May - Judith Dunkling has been back in touch to say that the Mandarin Duck at Burford House Gardens, whilst a little skittish, is still about. She has also seen Muntjac deer in the field behind her at Burford.

15th May - Felicity Beaumont recorded 12 Swifts over her house in Tenbury today. A nice record as this species of Bird seems to be absent to date, this year.

14th May - Ian & Diana Parkin sent in some photos from the Walk at Haugh Wood on Sunday. A really nice spring afternoon had many butterflies out, this Orange Tip included.

                     Photo : Diana Parkin

                    Some of the Group walking through one of the cleared rides in Haugh Wood

                                       Photo : Diana Parkin

                                                            Male Orange Tip Butterfly

13th May - Robin Hemming sent in this picture of the Pearl Bordered Fritillary he took from the Walk on Sunday over at Haugh Wood, Hereford. A spectacular Butterfly and extremely rare in these parts. Haugh Wood is one of the last local strongholds for the species.....unless you know differently!!

                     Photo : Robin Hemming

                                                              Pearl Bordered Fritillary

Jo Sothers has been out and about at Oldwood Common and took this shot of a Pussy Willow. This is an early source of nectar for many insects.

                     Photo : Jo Sothers

12th May - Caroline Roseman sent in this picture of an enormous Bracket Fungus going at the bottom of her drive at Lower Rochford. Her husbands shoe is in the picture to give the shot some scale.

                     Photo: Caroline Roseman

                                                                 Bracket Fungus

10th May - Judith Dunkling has reported seeing a Male Mandarin Duck on the pools at Burford House. If you have never seen this bird (which isn't native....but is found on many ornamental type pools), its well worth going to see.

9th May - The Group held its May Walk over at Haugh Wood, SE of Hereford today. Led by Robin Hemming of Butterfly Conservation, the star of the show was the Pearl Bordered Fritillary Butterfly, of which we saw several during the afternoon.

This very rare species has quite a strong presence in this location and is one of only a very few sites locally where you can reasonably expect to see this stunning butterfly.We also saw, Peacock, Holly Blue, Wood White and Orange Tip, as well as several tortrix moth species and another rarity, the moth Drab Looper.

On the flower front, we saw several Purple Orchids and carpets of Bluebells in almost every glade.

                                          Photo : Alastair Hardy

                                                    Purple Orchid, in amongst the Bluebells

Steph, Jo and Pauline were also pointing out many of the wildflower species (name of which I can’t remember!) we saw en route. Robin also found slow worm, and we were treated to a myriad of bird song, including Garden and Wood Warblers in amongst the trees, of which there were a vast area of species, all of which were in the throes of coming into leaf.

                                          Photo : Alastair Hardy

                                                        Beech Trees just coming into leaf

5th May - The Housemartins are back at last, darting between the buildings at Upper Rochford and the shrill call of Swifts were giving their presence away and just about visible very high in the sky today.

4th May - Shirley Hambelton emailed to say that she has been getting several Orange Tip Butterflies in her garden this year. They do seem to be having a good year. Shirley has also had a couple of Red Admirals and a Heron in the field next to her.

3rd May - David Norsworthy sent in this shot of a Reed Bunting at his home out towards Leominster

                     photo: David Norsworthy

                                                                      Reed Bunting

1st May - Judith Dunkling emailed to say she has has the first two Swifts of the year over there house at Burford.

30th April - .....Still on the Lepidoptera theme, Julian Mason took this superb close up shot of a Male Orange Tip butterfly. Note how the white and Orange upper side, is completely hidden when at rest, with the camouflaged mottled underside of the wings.

                     photo: Julian Mason

                                                             Male Orange Tip Butterfly

...And at Upper Rocford the light traps over night tempted in this moth. Its called Mullein, as the caterpillar larvae feed on the Mullein food plant. The caterpillars are easily, and indeed regularly seen on the food plant (See David & Jo Sothers photo dated 24th June 2009 (in the archives) to see the very colourful larvae). The adult moth however, does not regularly come to light and there are currently less than 50 entries on the Mapmate County recording system for Worcs. for this species. Its a large moth, about 4cms long, and, as can be seen, is another one of our spectacular, but seldom seen species.


                                                                 Mullein Moth

29th April - Chris & Jenny emailed and June Mack rang to say they had all heard the first Stoke Bliss Cuckoo this year. Going by previous years, this is about three weeks later than usual.

John Abbiss sent in a couple of Wild Flower photos. One of Wood Anemone and one of Ground Ivy. Both can be seen here, in the Wild Flower gallery under April.

Pete Thorp emailed in a photo of a spectacular moth his wife Liz found in their porch. This is a Waved Umber, a fairly common moth in the Teme Valley but not easily seen, owing to its tremendous camouflage. Its larvae feed on Lilac and privet.

                     photo: Pete Thorp

                                                                           Waved Umber

28th April - Ken Willetts sent in this picture of a Muntjac Deer, seen in broad daylight in his garden at Highwood. These deer are known to be well distributed on this side of the Valley, though they are seldom seen...let alone in daylight.

                     Photo : Ken Willetts

27th April - Julia Berry has had her first Swallows over at Stoke Bliss this weekend. Julia also reports seeing an Orange Tip Butterfly in the garden.

And not to be out done in photography stakes, Jo Sothers sent in these three pictures. The first is what must be considered the equivalent of living in a bird 'high rise'....or perhaps the ultimate in bird recycling...either way...it a great photo. It shows a Wrens nest, having been built on top of a Swallows nest from last year. What a great image!

                      Photo : Jo Sothers

                                            A Wrens nest....built on an old Swallows nest

Jo has also sent in photos of Stichwort and Dogs Mercury which can be seen in the Flowers Gallery here under April.

26th April - David Sothers has been out with his long camera lens and taken these lovely shots of a Blackbird feeding its young.

                      Photo : David Sothers

                      Photo : David Sothers

                                                               Blackbird feeding young

25th April - Annabel Elliott emailed to say that she has been watching a pair of Canadian Geese sitting on a nest out Kyre way. Hopefully they may have some offspring soon. Annabel also heard a Cuckoo at Stoke Bliss.

24th April - A coincidence?....no not really. Another Micro moth came to the light traps at Upper Rochford last night. This time by the name of Epermenia chaerophyllella. And the food plant is once again, Wild Parsnip and Hogweed. Are there any botanists in the Teme Valley familiar with the location of this plant in the Teme Valley / Upper Rocford area??


                                         483 Epermenia chaerophyllella - just 7 millimeters long

23rd April - A Parsnip Moth came into the light traps at Upper Rocford last night . As the name would suggest, it feeds on plants like Wild Parsnip and Hogweed. It emerges as an adult in the Autumn (Sept / Oct) and then over winters by laying up somewhere dry and re-emerges on the wing in late April May. Its only about 11mm in length so easily missed. Whilst relatively widespread, this is a first record for the Teme Valley.


                                                 A Parsnip Moth (672 Depressaria heraclei)

20th April - Gerald Roseman has been out with his camera around Lower Rochford. Two great bird shots. One of a Song Thrush on a nest, and the other of a Robin, with breakfast.

                        Photo : Gerald Roseman

                                       Song Thrush on nest made from twigs and moss

                        Photo : Gerald Roseman

                                                                       Robin with Worm

The Cocoon Mystery below has been solved. David has rechecked following some local input and found that these are fungi.

19th April - David Norsworthy out towards Leominster has taken a photo of these Cocoons on a tree stump. Any ideas what they house??

                        Photo : David Norsworthy

                                                                 Cocoons on tree stump

18th April - Seen at Upper Rochford today, two Tree creepers, one carrying nesting material. Also in the same area, the Nuthatch pair are back in the Ash tree that they used last year. The hole which had collapsed over the winter is now firmly cemented back up.

15th April - Maggie Kingston has reported several more sites around the Stoke Bliss area where Stigmella aurella leaf mines have been found on bramble. These have been added to the local Mapmate data base.

13th April - More Red Kite Sightings. This time, David Norsworthy saw a Red Kite over his home out towards Leominster today. Maggie Kingston reports yet more Stigmella aurella leaf mines on Bramble out Stoke Bliss way. And David Sothers shows via the photograph below, that the weather is really warming up, as the Newts are on the move in his pond.

                        Photo : David Sothers

                                                                      Common Newt

12th April - The April 'Walk' for the Group was at the SSSI site at Frog End Meadow yesterday. Blessed with glorious weather there were 24 members on the walk, who enjoyed the spectacle of the Wild Daffodils on the site.


                                                   Members of the Group at Frog End Meadow


                                                            Wild Daffodils at Frog End Meadow

This is unusual, in so far as these flowers are more usually asociated with ancient woodland. Here, they grow freely in the open meadow. Also en route the Group also passed, Bannalls meadow, a SWS, again, another open meadow full of the Wild Daffodils.

10th April - A tiny Micromoth, trapped in the Upper Rocford traps on the 8th April has been confirmed as only the Third record for Worcestershire, and another 'first' for the Teme Valley. The moth, Caloptilia falconipennella is an Ash feeder and just 6mm long.


                                     Caloptilia falconipennella - Third record for Worcestershire

Felicity Beaumont saw her first Swallow today down in Tenbury.

9th April - The April meeting of the Wildlife Group was very well attended last night. The talk was on Badgers given by Steve Bennett and Martin Macefield. It was also the AGM of the Group which is now just two years old. A new committee was elected and some of the necessary points ratified.

8th April - Gerald Roseman had his day out with local photographer Pete Thorp, as a result of winning the photo competition last Summer. Pete took Gerald up onto Bircher Common in search of the Great Grey Shrike. The bird didn't show up, but the weather was exceptional, which allowed Gerald to take plenty of other macro and landscape photos.


                                                                  Gerald lining up a shot

7th April - The moth traps at Upper Rocford were busy last night as the air temperature remained elevated. This brought out many moth species, hitherto unseen this year. The most important record was this Mottled Grey....a moth out of place!! This moth is usually associated with heathland. Finding it in an Orchard moth trap today was there a real bonus. This is a 'first record' for the Teme Valley and is scarce generally in Worcestershire. The only other 'local' place it has been seen is in the Wyre Forest, fifteen miles up the road.


                                                                          Mottled Grey

6th April - Whilst walking in the Valley locally, company was being kept by this inquisitive Robin. Also photographed was some of the amazing forms of Lichens, which are yet to be catalogued in the area.




                                                                      Lichens on Blackthorn

5th April - The data from the Hunthouse Moth trapping session on Friday 2nd April has been collated and as a result a further five Macro species of moth have been added to the site list. These include Brindled Beauty, Dotted Border, Lead Coloured Drab, Grey Shoulder Knot and Early Grey. All are early spring moths and fairly common in the Teme Valley. As can be seen, there were a couple of prolonged showers which required the alternative use of a fishing umbrella to keep the moth trap dry !!


                                  Alternative use for a fishing umber ella to keep the moth trap dry

The fine weather this weekend brought many of the flowers out, including these Primroses at Upper Rochford.


                                                          Primroses at Upper Rochford Pools

4 April - Two Ravens are nesting in a tree in the Valley. This is unusual as they usually seek sites with a rocky crag or ledge. We'll keep you posted as to whether any young are reared. The nest is in an Oak tree, approx 30 feet off the Ground. Its already about 3 feet deep with sticks, and more comes in each day.


                                                                           Raven Nest

Dave Baynton and his wife Tammy saw a Sparrowhawk take a Jackdaw at Upper Rocford this afternoon. Grisly, but interesting!

                                             Photo : Dave Baynton

                                                       Female Sparrowhawk taken a Jackdaw

3 April - Margaret Bradley has seen two Swallows over at Knighton on Teme today- Spring??....I think Summer is here!!

and Judith Dunkling had two Male Ring Ouzel up on the quarry at the Titterstone Clee this afternoon. Whilst up there Margaret also had five Wheatear, M & F Reed Bunting, Skylark, Kestrel, Pied Wagtail & an abundance of Meadow Pipit.

We held the April moth trapping session at Hunhouse Wood last night and despite some extremely heavy rain showers, the six traps managed to add five more macro moth species to the Hunthouse Moth list. Well over 300 moths for 16 species were trapped recorded and released.

31 March - Annabel Elliott has found yet more Stigmella aurella mines on Bramble over at Kyre other local places, and Faye Pritchard also found Stigmella aurella mines in the middle of Tenbury, on footpath from Berrington Road to Bednall Bridge, confirming that this moth is indeed widespread in the Teme Valley.....just totally under recorded.

Annabel also sees two Ravens most days and had a close encounter with a female Sparrowhawk, as it flew up the road in front of her on the lane down to Hanley Childe recently.

30 March - The new Leaf Mining web page has been launched on this web site. Its still in its early stages of development, but as more leaf mining examples come in, so the page will grow. Click on the 'Moths' Galleries page to the left or click here.

Dave Barnes heard his first Chiffchaff of the year down by the Peacock pub on the lower Tenbury Road yesterday.

29 March - David Norsworthy had a slightly unusual bird visitor to his garden today....A Reed Bunting. They seem to have had a good year this year.

Alan Micklethwaite also confirms Stigmella aurella leaf mines on Brambles at his place at Hanley Broadheath.

                             photo : Alan Micklethwaite

                                                        Stigmella aurella leaf mines on Brambles

28 March - Judith Dunkling from Burford has had four Swallows flying overhead!!.....This is very early! Judith also had 40 Fieldfare, 2 Redwing and 63 Starling in Burford Church yard!

The first Chiffchaff was heard here at Upper Rochford today.....and the two Ravens are still about.

27 March - Just when I thought we were going to be totally without any this year, Chris Kemble at Knighton on Teme has had Siskin on her feeders. This time last year they were a common sight in the Teme Valley, bur this year, there have been very few reported sightings.

                              photo : Chris Kemble

                                                                         Siskin on the feeders

Chris also reports seeing the Stigmella aurella leaf mines on Brambles at her site and heard the first ChiffChaff of the year today....A sure sign spring has sprung!!

26 March - A Red Kite Blitz today....

Margaret Bradley emailed. Margaret had a Red Kite Sighting at Knighton on Teme.

David Sothers also reports seeing Red Kite over at Upper Rochford today.

Elaine Tibbetts saw it at Eastham.

And Andrew Payne at Eardiston this morning.

All the same Bird as Barry saw yesterday?? .....must be??

Andrew also saw a Barn Owl quartering over the fields out at Menith Wood early this morning. Another nice and scarce record for the area.

24 March - Barry Matthews emailed regarding his sighting of a Red Kite over at Stockton on Teme.

22 March - Sandy Blakeway-Smith emailed. Sandy has seen Stigmella aurella leaf mines on Brambles on her field too over at Pensax Common.

21 March - David Norsworthy came across this Herald moth....In fact he came across two! The Herald over winters as an adult, sheltering away in some secluded corner until the weather gets a little warmer, when it then reappears. As an adult, if feeds on nectar such as the flowers of willows, aspens and ivy. It will only come to light traps in small numbers, so is probably under recorded in the area.

                                                      photo : David Norsworthy

                                                                               Herald Moth

Maggie Kingston emailed to confirm the presence of Stigmella aurella leaf mines on Brambles on her field at Stoke Bliss. She also noted that there was fresh frog spawn in the pool, indicating the frogs had been busy, as well as noting the daffodils and celandines were out.

20 March - John Abbiss sent in a couple of photos of Badger tracks found in the mud down near Cadmore Brook. The broad imprint is quite characteristic on this animal.

                                                  photo : John Abbiss

                                                                             Badger tracks in mud

19 March - You guys certainly got to grips with looking for the bramble leaf mines. Alan Althorp, John Abbiss and Ian & Diana Parkin have all identified the mines of Stigmella aurella locally on bramble. These are all new records for this part of the Teme Valley and will be uploaded to a national data base in time. Towards the end of this month, we will also be putting together a 'leaf mining' web page as part of this site, as some of your photographs have been very impressive. As new leaf mines and moths are identified, we will post them to the page.

Alan also reports seeing a Cormorant on the River Teme opposite the Bread Walk - Ludlow yesterday.

17 March - Judith Dunkling dropped me an email to say that she was on a walk behind Little Hereford Church yesterday as saw both a male and female Goosander, Dipper and Grey Wagtail on the river. Also encountered on the fields were a mixed flock of Fieldfare and Redwing ~ approx 100 in number.

And Vicki Stevens got in touch. She must be one of the really fortunate ones as she came across two Goldcrest in the garden at Frith Common. These birds seem to have really suffered over the winter as very few have been reported as being seen this year. Vicki's other sighting was also impressive. A Bat flying in broad day light. It might be that the warm weather had brought the bat out of its deep sleep and it woke up hungry. The warm air certainly brought some insects out on to the wing too, so it was probably a good time to go insect hunting, before the air temperature dropped again over night.

16 March - Collected yesterday off bramble at Upper Rochford by Oliver Wadsworth, these two leaf mines. Both are made by a different tiny micro moth; Stigmella aurella & Emmetia marginea. In both cases, the adult moth lays the egg actually IN a bramble leaf. The larvae then 'mine' their way through the leaf, getting larger and larger before finally emerging as a caterpillar / grub. These two mines can be used to readily identified the presence of two moth species in an area, as the two mines are completely different from each other, but both found on bramble. Can you find signs of these moths on a bramble patch in your area?...Let us know!


                                         Stigmella aurella mine                                Emmetia marginea mine

15 March - This Yellow Horned Moth came into the moth traps at Upper Rochford last night. It is not that uncommon nationally, but not regularly recorded in the Teme Valley area of Worcestershire. This is an early spring moth, the larvae of which feed on Birch. Hence it is somewhat surprising that this is the first record of this moth for the Upper Rochford light traps, as there are a considerable amount of Birch Trees in the locality.


                                                               The Yellow Horned Moth

14 March - Caroline Roseman came across a severely injured Polecat on the Lower Rochford road. The animal was in a very poor state, presumably having been hit by a car, and unfortunately had to be dispatched. But it does show that these animals are about in relatively good numbers, especially if they are now making up 'road kill' numbers.

And on a brighter note, Liz Sneath from over at Woodston, saw a Lapwing in a local field. These once common birds are now a bit of a rarity in the area and also on the RSPB's Red list indicating a 50% decline in the last 25 years. A nice local record / sighting.

13 March - John Abbiss sent in this shot of two Dippers from over on Cadmore Brook. John says there are actually two pairs in the region, which is unusual, as these birds are usually very territorial.

                          photo : John Abbiss


12 March - David Sothers has been out and about with a long lens and achieved some great photos of some of our Common Birds. They look brilliant in close up.

                           photo : David Sothers

                                                                                    Blue Tit

                           photo : David Sothers

                                                                                      Coal Tit

11 March - We are now providing a Wildlife Monthly write up into four local parish magazines. The Teme Triangle which covers Clifton and Upper Sapey will now, providing there is space, include our articles. This is in addition to the Temespan, Abberley Parish Magazine and the one we started with, Teme Valley South News. We have also been given a link from the Clifton Village web page hosted by Jerry Johns at www.clifton-upon-teme.co.uk

10 March - The Muntjac was seen at the pools at Upper Rochford again this morning. The slightly warmer evening last night following the warm but windy day yesterday also allowed a few moths to take to the wing. Satellite, Chestnut, March Moth and the Torticodes alternella were all trapped last night at the Upper Rochford light traps. Noticeably, many of the 'spring' moth species that should be on the wing....like the Oak Beauty below, have still not shown up yet this year, again, owing to the extremely low temperatures currently being seen.

9 March - Chris Kemble sent in a photo of this moth which appeared on the curtains. This is an Oak Beauty, a relatively common moth of the Teme Valley and one of the first 'big' flying moths of the year. That said, this is the first reported record of this species in the Teme Valley this year, making it a relatively late appearance. In previous years it has been seen on the wing as early as the second week in February, but the current ongoing spell of cold weather has clearly kept this species in hiding.

Although it is called Oak Beauty, it is not dependant on Oak specifically. The larvae can feed on a variety of deciduous trees.

                             photo : Chris Kemble

                                           Oak Beauty - One of the first big moths to fly in the year

8 March - David Sothers sent in this great photo of a male Great Spotted Woodpecker on a bird feeder at his house. The photo clearly shows how Woodpeckers use their tail feathers to aid support when going after food.

                              photo : David Sothers

                                                                    Great Spotted Woodpecker

7 March - A Red Kite was seen by Dave Baynton taking off from some road kill at Stanford Bridge late on Friday afternoon (5th). Was this the same bird seen over at Frith Common recently?

Also, a very strange sighting. Jennifer Welling's and a friend were coming back through Eastham late on Friday evening when they saw running down the road in front of the car, for several meters before disappearing into the hedge, what they believe was a Skunk !

Skunk are not indigenous to the UK, but there have been reports of them being found in the Wild. Certainly there are several reports of them being down in the New forest and even a couple a little closer to home around Gloucestershire.

These are almost certainly escapees or animals which have been released into the wild having been pets.

....and going by the flora and fauna in the Teme Valley, almost anything could turn up !!

6 March - A Munjac Deer was seen down by the pools at Upper Rochford at 5pm yesterday evening. It was then heard after dark. The Munjac is also known in some parts of the world as the 'Barking Deer' Click the play button below to find out why !!

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5 March - Inspired by Robin's Great Grey Shrike picture below, I took myself off to Bircher Common today to see if I could get a similar shot. Unfortunately, no bird today !! I did however see two pairs of Bullfinch in the Gorse and heard the first Chiffchaff of the year.

4 March - Robin Hemming was quick off the mark when the Great Grey Shrike, also known as the "Butcher bird", returned once again this year to Bircher Common. It seems this bird is a regular visitor probably using Bircher as a re fueling stop off on it migration back to the continent for the summer. Definitely worth taking a look if you have the time. It usually stays (if previous years are anything to go by) for a couple of weeks and always perches distinctively in the top of Scrub and trees, so its fairly unmistakable if its about. It was first reported as being seen on Monday 1st March - three days ago.

                               photo : Robin Hemming

                                                                               Great Grey Shrike

27 February - Rob Humphreys/ Barry Matthews and Pete Stevens all reported a Red Kite over at Lower Frith common Yesterday / Today. Could it be looking for a nesting sight?? Pete also witnessed a lone Roe Deer in the field next to him.

Also yesterday, Judith Dunkling from Burford, emailed to say that there was a rare spectacle going on in Tenbury. A Pied Wagtail roost. So tonight, I went to check it out. Sure enough, in the field opposite the Rose & Crown / Kerry's in Tenbury at 5:45pm, there were about 250 Pied Wagtail on the telephone wires that cross the field. The birds eventually all went up and settled for the night on Kerry's factory building roof.

Here's a photo taken in the fading twilight.


                                                          Pre - Roost gathering of Pied Wagtails

25 February - Judith Dunkling emailed to say she had been getting some great records from in and around her garden at Burford. On the List were three Blackcaps, a Lesser Redpoll and probably best of all, a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. She has also heard Woodcock over the last few evenings too!

Last night (24th) was the first relatively warm night of the year (well - ok....it didn't drop below 6C !!). That meant that there were a few winter / early spring moths flying,....the first for a long while over this cold spell. Dotted Border, Chestnut and Pale Brindled Beauty, all came to the Upper Rochford light traps, along with this tiny 'micro' moth called Tortricodes alternella .

(Thanks to Patrick Clement for the positive ID). Being a 'micro' moth, as the name suggests, it is very small....only about 9mm in length !! The food plants for this little moth are a range of trees and bushes, chiefly oak (Quercus) and hornbeam (Carpinus), but often also other species. The larva spins together leaves to feed within.


                                               1025 Tortricodes alternella

22 February - David & Jo Sothers sent in this stunning shot of newly emerged Snow Drops in their coppice at Upper Rochford. Is Spring finally on the way?? To see some more of these Snow Drop Shots....click here.

                                photo : David Sothers

                                                                                      Snow Drops

20 February - Ok, we freely admit we have no idea as to what made these tracks in Chris Kemble's daughters garden. Any ideas??

                                                         photo: Chris Kemble

                                                                               Tracks in the snow

19 February - Annabel Elliott emailed to report the over wintering Goosander were back in good numbers on Kyre Pool. Annabel says they have been there for about 10 days in fluctuating numbers, with at least 50 present today. Also seen were a pair of Canada Geese and three Herons.

14 February - Over the Christmas period a "Raptor Table" was constructed at Upper Rochford. This was a large 1.5 x 1.0 meter platform placed 20 feet up in the air in a self set Ash tree, the top of which, we removed. Any rabbit or pheasant "Road kill" from the area is put up onto the table. A small motion triggered camera was placed on the table and has been showing a Buzzard coming down regularly over the last couple of weeks, albe the pictures produced are low and poor quality resolution. So the aim has been to try and get some DSRL Camera shots.

Today, from the top hide (the furthest hide and 50 meters from the Raptor Table) we managed to get our fist photograph of the Buzzard, using a long camera lens. Hopefully this will be the first of many, both in terms of photographs and Buzzards that come down.

At the moment, we believe it is the same bird coming down each time. It was noticeable today however that there was another calling in the locality.


                                                                     Buzzard on the 'Raptor Table'

13 February - Liz Sneath reported six Cormorant at Woodston recently, which included three juveniles.

12 February - Last night saw a large turn out of people to the February meeting of the Wildlife Group. The village hall was pretty much packed with the 46 people that turned up to hear and see Roy Fowlers presentation on the Barn Owl. The fact that Roy also brought along three rescued captive Barn Owls and a rescued Bengalese Indian Owl might have also had something to do with the large turn out. The gathering was treated to a brilliant presentation on this spectacular bird.

11 February - A 60+ flock of Fieldfare are currently residing in the hop field directly opposite the Nags Head pub on the Tenbury to Newnham Bridge Road. They have been there for the past three days and look to be gorging themselves on worms. (They were ground feeding)

8 February - 18 people from the Group descended on Mortimer Forest yesterday for the February Nature Walk organised by David & Jo Sothers. David led the walk up through the forest and around a two mile loop. For many, it was a 'new walk' in the area and everybody came away with an indication they would be going back themselves, which at the end of the day, is one of the main aims. With 18 people on the trail, there wasn't too much wildlife about, but this is the site for a unique collection of Long haired Fallow Deer and also one of a very few local habitats where Crossbills can be seen.

7 February - John Abbiss once again caught sight, this time, of two birds which he spooked from out of a damp patch in an orchard where he was working up by Cadmore Brook. John is still trying to determine if these are Woodcock or Snipe. Descriptions suggest Woodcock, but the landowner thinks Snipe. John is going to try and get a photo in the near future. Good Luck !

......And Alastair and Pauline Hardy out at Woonton, did manage to get a photo this time. This Female Sparrowhawk has been a regular visitor to the garden over the past few weeks, watching (and probably catching) birds from the bird table. Apparently, this bird is quite skittish and doesn't stay around too long, but on this occasion obliged and posed long enough for a picture to be taken. A great garden record shot!!

                               Photo : Alastair Hardy

                                                                         Female Sparrowhawk

5 February - Its always the way!. Mention that nothing is happening and all of a sudden something does. No moths in the Upper Rochford traps...until last night.....when we had just one micro moth 1045 Acleris notana / ferrugana (Cant tell which without dissection, which wasn't done). A common moth in the Teme Valley at this time of year.

4 February - Julia Berry came across a Barn Owl in her headlights whilst out driving last night on the Kyre Road out of Tenbury. We also had a report of another Barn Owl seen out at Eastham by Claire Evitts, whilst walking her dogs on Sunday.

Mike Bowdler trapped his first Moth of the new Year. A Pale Brindled Beauty. These cold days and nights mean that there are not many moths about at the moment, so this is a good record for Mike, given the conditions. The traps at Upper Rochford have been empty for the past few nights owing to the low / cold temperatures.

1 February - Robin Hemming emailed to say that there were several Crossbills about in Mortimer Forest last week. The Wildlife Group has a walk planned there on Sunday (7th). So this is another bird to look out for.

Steve Whitehouse also emailed to say that 40+ Mealy Redpoll have been seen on Bircher Common recently.

31 January - Andrew Mawby sent in another couple of shots of birds from his garden at Abberley showing signs of disease. These two birds, a Bullfinch and Chaffinch are both suffering from a disease known as Knemidokoptiasis, scaly leg disease, which is caused by a mite. Once again, we'd like to hear from you if you see this on birds in your garden.

                                 Photo : Andrew Mawby

                                                                     Bullfinch with scaly leg disease.

                                 Photo : Andrew Mawby

                                                                     Chaffinch with scaly leg disease.

30 January - Caroline and son Gerald think that these may not now be Barn Owl pellets but Kestrel Pellets (29th January). Gerald managed to get this great shot of a Kestrel which had flow up from the general location of the pellets. Gerald and Caroline have collected some of the pellets and are drying them out so they can be dissected. This should help confirm the origin. Meantime this photograph shot with a Canon 500D camera and 300mm lens shows just what can be achieved if you are prepared to go looking, as Gerald has.

                                 Photo : Gerald Roseman


Caroline also believes she 'spooked' a Cormorant from her pool today. Unfortunately, no camera to hand this time!. They have been seen in this area, so it is quite possible.

29 January - Caroline Roseman sent in this photo of Barn Owl pellets from near a barn at Lower Rochford. A great find associated with this relatively scarce bird in the Teme Valley Area. Pellets are regurgitated indigestible fur and bones of voles and mice. Careful dissection of the pellets can give clues as to the birds diet.

Barn Owl pellets are characteristically and typically black and glossy when fresh, irrespective of diet. Other Owls pellet are usually a more grey colour.

                                  Photo : Caroline Roseman

                                                                                   Barn Owl Pellets

27 January - Margaret Milchard emailed reporting another local Otter sighting. This time on the River Teme in the Ludlow area. It scattered a group of ducks that Margaret and her Grandson were feeding. Great sighting !

The 2009 Hunthouse Wood Moth Report has now been written up and is available on request, free of charge, in pdf format. This gives a detailed breakdown of the moth species trapped in this pristine WWT woodland in 2009. In total 223 moth species were identified in 2009 in this wood, with many more yet to be found. There will be some moth trapping sessions going on this year to help add to this data. Use the contact link on the left if you require more info about the planned trapping sessions.

A photo of the 6th most common bird seen in the Teme Valley and the third most common in terms of numbers as found in the 2009 Local Common Bird survey 2009. The Wood pigeon is a fairly common sight and often seen in good numbers. (Rooks and Jackdaws were No's #1 and #2 in terms of numbers)


                                       Wood pigeon the 6th most common bird seen in the Teme Valley in 2009

26 January - A week for Kestrels. Another Kestrel was seen this time at High Wood. Again on a Telephone pole. Interestingly, the very next pole had a Buzzard perched on it.

If you have had any trees down this winter, rather than storing to burn it, try stacking some of the smaller pieces of timber in to log piles. The insects will love it which in turn will encourage more bird life in to the area.


                                                                         An insect hotel - A log pile

25 January - A Kestrel was seen on a telephone pole along the flat between Eastham and Woodston today.

24 January - John Abbiss saw a Woodcock whilst working in an Orchard over by Cadmore Brook. This bird has an unmistakable 'zig-zag' flight pattern and is easily spooked and flushed from cover. Johns next aim is to try and get a photo !

Lucy Bradley emailed about her pond in the frozen weather in Stourport. Lucy had some dead frogs in the pond and asked about pond maintenance in frosty weather. Where a pond is likely to freeze, its important if fish are present that there is enough depth of water. So any pool with fish should have a depth of at least two feet. The fish should be able to survive under the ice for relatively long periods as their movement and thus energy levels are low in the cold and thus not so much oxygen is needed to be extracted from the water.

However, problems can occur even in deep pools. If the pool has a high organic content in its base, i.e. a lot of accumulated leaf debris, then if left from one year to the next, the leaves can decay causing toxic methane and /or gaseous sulphur compounds to be released. These can get trapped under the ice and build up to levels which might be capable of killing fish and other oxygen dependant creatures.

Keeping a football floating on the pond in cold weather may help to minimise freezing over, and will allow a water / air contact for any toxic gases to escape.

23 January - Following the Robin picture below that Chris sent in, we sent out an email to the Wildlife Group asking about any incidences where you might have seen diseases specifically in Great Tits. Last year at Upper Rochford, we saw several Great Tit with large bulbous growths on their heads. In some cases these growths completely covered the Eye socket, effectively blinding the birds. We wanted to know if this was a 'common' occurrence.

You responded well. Here are some of the abbreviated responses:

Robin Hemming reported seeing Greenfinch with a growth on its head out a Marden in Herefordshire. Robin is not sure that this is the same type of infection we are talking about in Great Tits though.

Andrew Mawby also responded from Abberley. Andrew sent a picture of this Chaffinch with a growth on its beak. Again, another disease/deformity, but not quite the same as seen in Great Tits.

                                 Photo : Andrew Mawby

                                                                  Chaffinch with growth on beak

Joyce Horsfall sent in some great information. Joyce has seen this in Great Tits in her garden last year around August/Sept and did some detective work. It appears that it is a type of avian pox. Joyce sent the following link


Which makes interesting if not rather grizzly reading. It does however give some guidance as to how to minimise the spread of the disease, which essentially comes down to good bird feeder housekeeping. At this time of year, birds congregate around feeders in large numbers. The spread of any disease therefore is more likely at this time owing to the close proximity of birds. Water should therefore be changed regularly and bird feeders cleaned and washed out to minimise the "mouth to food to mouth" contact.

Both Margaret Bradley from over at Dinmore and Elaine Tibbetts from Kyrewood have also experienced the same Avian Pox swelling in Great Tits in their respective gardens.

So within the Teme Valley, there have been confirmed incidences of Avian Pox in Great Tits from Eastham right through to Tenbury. If you see any more sightings, please let us know.

22 January - Chris Kemble over at Knighton on Teme sent in these two shots from her garden. The first is a classic Long Tailed Tit shot, with a mass of birds all vying for the feeder. You can also make out a solitary Blackcap trying to get a look in, together a couple of Goldfinch looking on.

                                                        Photo : Chris Kemble

                                                                        Long Tailed Tit Invasion

The Second is a rather more sorry photo of a Robin, which looks like it is suffering from a Tick, or similar. As on Animals, these ticks bury themselves into the skin of birds and gorge themselves on the hosts blood.

                                  Photo : Chris Kemble

21 January - Ian Parkin up at Abberley, emailed about his recent garden sighting, a Kestrel sitting on the garden wall. Ian thinks that the bird was eyeing up the small birds in and around the garden feeders as the snow which was down at the time, would have been preventing the bird from its usual hunting of voles. Birds dependant on voles can suffer greatly during prolonged snow.

20 January - Wanda Arnold heard the Cuckoo again at Upper Rochford / Hilltop again yesterday. Clearly a bird that's here to stay! ....

...............And Margaret Bradley from Knighton on Teme reports her first Lesser Redpoll in the garden this year.

19 January - With all the snow melting virtually overnight, the River Teme is rising fast. This picture shows the usually quiet river in full flow from on the bridge at Little Hereford.

                                 photo Jo Sothers

                                                                      The River Teme in full spate

16 January - The first moth traps of the year went out last night at Upper Rochford as the warmer air moved in after the two weeks of minus temperatures. The milder weather prompted some of the early moths out including six December Moths, one Satellite, one Chestnut and one Dark Chestnut. These last three are all out quite early, only appearing last year, in February.

The Woodpecker Log feeders also at Upper Rochford were also taking visitors today. Both a male and female Blackcap were taking food. The female (shown in the photo) below was displaying a fanned tail support seen by many tree climbers such as Nuthatch and Tree creepers. The Blackcap is not a tree climber and we have not witnessed this before with this species. Have you??


                               Female Blackcap displaying tail fanning as a means of support on a log feeder

Alistair Hardy sent over this picture from the recent walk at Queenswood on the 10th January. It shows a large bracket fungus growing on a Silver Birch.

                                   photo : Alastair Hardy

                                                                                Bracket Fungi spp.

14 January - David & Jo Sothers at Upper Rochford have been out detecting foot prints in the snow and found Badger, Fox Hare and Muntjac tracks on their land.

Shirley Hambelton has also confirmed track marks of Muntjac on her land too at Upper Rochford. These secretive deer are clearly more widespread than sightings alone would indicate and clearly shows the benefits of being able to read animal tracks.

13 January - This snow has certainly shown up the fact that we are inundated with wildlife around us. There are tracks left in the snow almost everywhere you look. Two good sightings were these two sets of prints.

This first one is sent in by Chris & Jenny Rodgers over at Stoke Bliss and is of a Brown Hare....the one seen below on 5th January. The tracks are very distinctive for this animal. The print nearest the camera is the first front foot going down and the second closest print is the other front foot going down. The two prints parallel to each other and furthest away are where the back legs have hopped forward past the front legs and landed, a classic hare print.

                                                      photo Chris Rodgers

                                                                Brown Hare prints in the snow

This second set of prints was sent in by Caroline Roseman from Lower Rochford and she believes it to be of a Otter, which had been traveling over the frozen ice on one of her neighbors pools. It may even be two animals as there were two sets side by side.....or one animal going and returning?

She also had another rare sighting, and a sighting which her son had also seen the day before, a Curlew took off in front of her.

                                 photo Caroline Roseman

                                                                      Otter prints on a frozen pool

12 January - John Abbiss at Oldwood Common reports having Blackcaps (a pair) on his bird feeders. These usual shy birds do seem to be greeting brave in this cold weather!

11 January - Ok...this sounds amazing...and it probably is....but a Cuckoo was heard at Upper Rochford today!!....However, what is really interesting, is that a Cuckoo was also heard around the same time & in the same place, this time last year. The same bird I wonder??

10 January - The snow didn't deter some of you from doing the January walk at Queenswood Arboretum today!

                                 Photo : Jo Sothers

                                 photo : Alastair Hardy

                                                                                                                          Photos from the Queenswood Walk                                                                                                                                                         

7 January - The snow continues and the birds are desperate for food and water. This Long Tailed Tits photo was taken in Julian Masons garden yesterday. Apparently there were about 20 of them, vying for a spot on the bird table. Julian says there was a constant relay of birds between hedge and table.

                                 Photo : Julian Mason

                                                                               Long Tailed Tits

6 January - This bout of snow has moved some of our more common coastal birds inland. Pete Thorp over at Woodston saw an Oyster Catcher flying over the pools this morning. Keep an eye open for all sorts of unusual bird sightings in this weather. Literally anything could turn up in a field, pool or bird table near you.

Steve Ashton also reports having Redwing, Wood Pigeon, Blackbirds and Starlings, all sheltering in hedge near to his house.

5 January - Chris Rodgers over at Stoke Bliss startled a Hare in the Orchard this morning. He managed to get a photograph by tracking it in the snow!!

                                                            Photo : Chris Rodgers

                                                                   Brown Hare in the Snow

3 January - Pete Stevens over at Frith Common reports seeing the six Goosander too, but this time on the pool at Woodston. Being just up the road from Lindridge, these are probably the same six seen by Nick, on the Teme. Pete has also seen a Brambling in his garden.

2 January - Nick Benbow reports that the Glossy Ibis was still down at Holt Fleet last week, so there is still an opportunity to see this bird. Nick also reports 6 Goosander on the River Teme at Lindridge (by the church).

1 January 2010 - Happy New Year !! The pools at Upper Rochford were still frozen over today, but that didn't stop this magnificent Grey Heron showing its legs.


                                                                               Grey Heron

To go to the 2009 archive, click this link here : 2009 archive