2011 Archive

30 December Caroline Roseman has had circa 30 Goosander on her pool at Lower Rochford this last week.

28 December Richard Pill and Amanda Allott walking round the lanes of Knighton on Teme today saw a flock of around 30 Lapwing today. Not too common in the Valley, it would be nice to see these birds making a come back to our local fields.

26 December Chris Peacock at Brimfield had a Great Spotted Woodpecker in the garden Christmas day morning. A nice Christmas present!. Also, Chris spotted another one in the garden of the Stockton Cross pub today.

25 December A Happy Christmas to all our contributors and followers of this web site. We hope you all have a great festive period.

22 December It must have been the relatively warm night last night that prompted so many December Moths to come out. Geoff Wookey had four in his moth trap at Boraston. Danny Arnold had fourteen at Upper Rochford and Ken Willets on the Highwood had a very impressive forty-two of them!

                                      Photo : Geoff Wookey

                                                                                December Moth

21 December Over at Boraston, Geoff Wookey was aware that his fish were disappearing from one of the garden pools. So he put up a camera trap and found the culprit. A Grey Heron was brazenly coming down. Geoff also reports a Buzzard coming down to drink on the pool furthest away from the house, so he is also going to try and get a close up photo on this on the same Little Acorn camera trap.

                                       Photo : Geoff Wookey

                                                                                             Grey Heron

20 December Down at the bird hides & bird seed field today at Eastham, there were around 200 Greenfinch still taking the sunflower seeds. Also spotted were two Buzzards on the Hop Poles opposite, two Raven, several Tits, Dunnock, Wren, Blackbird, three Mistle Thrush, numerous Pheasant, Robin, Chaffinch & Goldfinch.

Meanwhile, Dave Barnes reports that the Pied Wagtail Roost that historically over winters at Kerry's in Tenbury, is still about, even though there have been extensive changes made to the factory site. Whilst the numbers are not so great as in previous years, maybe due to it being a lot warmer this year, the roost is settling on the Tank farm railings, now that the energy pipes they used to roost on are no longer available.

19 December One of the Kestrel was spotted on a post just outside the main Upper Rocford Village today

15 December The Kestrel is in National decline. However, there were three spotted on a journey between Upper Rochford and Tenbury today.

14 December The Red Kite was spotted by Janice Lucas near to the Peacock earlier today

13 December Jeremy Hughes had the Red Kite flying low over his farm at Hillwood today. A good record as this winter, the bird has not been extensively reported.

12 December More birds on Ken Willett's Apple trees at Highwood. This time a Chaffinch and Fieldfare.


                                                                                        Chaffinch                                                            Photo : Ken Willetts


                                                                                                Fieldfare                                                         Photo : Ken Willetts

9 December Chris Kemble over at Knighton on Teme had a nice bird sighting today. A Kingfisher sat perched above her garden pool. Chris says there were no fish in the pool, so is not too hopeful of seeing this bird again, but no the less, a great garden record.

4 December A colleague of Chris Peacock informed him that they saw several Salmon swimming up the river Teme at Ludlow and a Dipper at the same time. Earlier in the week, his wife also saw a Barn Owl on the Bromyard - Tenbury road.

3 December Leaving a few apples on the trees can act as another great food source for some of our local birds. Ken Willets from Highwood sent in these photos of Blackcap, Blackbird and Bullfinch.


                                                                                        Blackcap                                                               Photo : Ken Willetts


                                                                                         Blackbird                                                              Photo : Ken Willetts


                                                                                      Bullfinch                                                                   Photo : Ken Willetts

30 November Down at the new bird hides again, there were a couple of Linnet mixing in with the Greenfinch on the seed heads today.


                                                                   A Linnet on the Sunflower seed head                                    Photo: Danny Arnold

29 November Down at the new bird hides and bird seed field at Eastham, there was a flock well in excess of an estimated number of 300 Greenfinch. There were patrolling the field, moving up and down the line of sunflower seed heads, then flying off into the distant hedge when spooked. Intermingling were small numbers of Chaffinch and Goldfinch.

Some of the Greenfinch Flock Photo : Danny Arnold

Also seen from the bird hides was this Blackbird 'mutation'. (confirmed by Dave Barnes & Steve Whitehouse). Displaying a much thicker beak than a normal Blackbird and the very obvious white bands down the sides of its tail feathers, which was what attract our attention in the first place.

'Mutant' Blackbird with white tail feathers Photo : Danny Arnold

28 November News came in this weekend that there was a very rare bird on the Titterstone Clee. The Desert Wheatear is rarely seen in the UK and even more unusual so far in land. So this arrival sparked a lot of interest in the bird World. One of our Local Bird experts Dave Barnes took some great photos of this bird. But, whilst up there, he also came across two Snow Buntings. What an afternoon!!

Snow Bunting Photo : Dave Barnes

Desert Wheatear Photo : Dave Barnes

Desert Wheatear Photo : Dave Barnes

25 November Roger Arnold spooked a Woodcock from a path over in Clifton earlier in the week. I wonder if this was a native bird or one of the migrants recently reported in the national news?

24 November Sallyann & Dave Williams took these two photos on their land which they have recently bought at Great Witley. Both are new contributors the the Group & web site and both are interested in wildlife and what their new site holds in terms of Wildlife. So we hope these are the start of many more photos from their area. They say they have pasture, woodland and pools, so there is plenty of habitat for a multitude of life. We look forward to showing on this web site what turns up.

Strangalia Maculata Photo : Sallyann Williams

Common Darter Photo : Sallyann Williams

23 November John Abbiss took a walk out by Woonton following a track lead by Alastair Hardy on the October Monthly Walk. En route, John came across this stand of Fungi. Great photo John!.

Fungi from Woonton Photo : John Abbiss

22 November Another photo from Richard Pill at Knighton on Teme. This time of a Mottled Umber Moth, which he found resting at his porch light last night. A common enough species in the Teme Valley, but very variable in colouration.

Mottled Umber Moth Photo : Richard Pill

21 November From Richard Pill at Knighton on Teme, this fungi from his Orchard. The warm weather we are seeing, in stark contrast to this time last year, is allowing fungi development to go on a little longer than usual for the time of year.

Waxcap type fungi Photo : Richard Pill

20 November Pictures from John Abbiss from the monthly walk. This month, the Group went into the Wyre Forest from the Button Oak side. A foggy morning made the forest even more special. Plenty of Fungi about and the various woodland types in cluding a Beech wood looked magnificent!

The November Walk through the Wyre Forest All Photos : John Abbiss

18 November Traveling along the Eastham to Stanford road this morning, six Magpies were seen in a field just below Hanley Dingle. How many have you seen locally at one time?

15 November At Upper Rochford, the first road kill of the year was put up on the Raptor Table and within two hours, the large female Buzzard that came down so regularly last year, found it. Isn't she a stunner!!

Buzzard on Raptor Table Photo : Danny Arnold

'The Business end' Photo : Danny Arnold

Danny Arnold also saw a Barn Owl this evening on the Rochford to Tenbury Road.

13 November More Fungi from Bill & Cherlye Spice at Stockton on Teme. Found in their garden, we went to local expert Rosemary Winnall for the confirmation of ID which is as shown. The Red Fungi below, is a waxcap, Hygrocybe coccinea but the green fungi, Stropharia caerulea, although it clearly has viscid properties, actually isn't a wax cap. Both, according to Rosemary, are fairly common.

Stropharia caerulea Photo : Bill Spice

Hygrocybe coccinea found at Stockton on Teme Photo : Bill Spice

12 November As if contending with an Otter visiting and decimating his garden pool fish stocks, Ken Willetts on Highwood had a Heron down today. These are the more usual culprit re garden fish pool losses.

Grey Heron Photo : Ken Willetts

9 November At around lunch time today, at the new TVWG bird hide site at Eastham, two flocks of around 100 Greenfinch came down and amassed into one flock of circa 200 birds on the Sunflower heads. Searching through the flock, six Goldfinch and three Chaffinch mixed in with them.

There were also Great Tits & Blue Tits taking some of the small seeds on the field. A Wren was skulking about in the lower vegetation, taking insects. A Mistle Thrush came in, and sat on top of a tree opposite the hide and started partaking of the Mistletoe berries. Over head, two Raven passed over to the wood behind the hide and two Buzzards did a fly past calling continuously. Several flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare made their way over the field, though didn't land.

Then, in unison, all the finches took off in one flock. Seconds later, a female Sparrowhawk, popped up onto one of the Hop Pole wires in the field on the opposite side 'first record for Worcs' to come from his site at Birchfield. This particular specimen was a female. On the continent, they are considered a pest species where the larvae attack maize crops. This one is almost certainly a migrant along with the recent influx of other migrant moths. (There is however a viable UK population that has become a resident population in and around the Thames Valley)


The European Corn Borer Moth - A first record for Worcs.

Also 'new in' to the Teme Valley 10km square last night is the moth Large Wainscot. The UK has an indigenous population, but once again, there are large numbers of migrants being reported coming in from the continent. There are not too many records of this species in Worcs, so again, a good record for the area.


Large Wainscot

29 September Yesterday, Geoff Wookey, at Boraston trapped a moth, Small Mottled Willow. Today, he trapped another one of interest, Rusty Dot Pearl. Both are migrants coming in on the warm air flows from the continent. There has been an large influx nationally of migrant moths into the UK and so there are clearly a lot coming into the Valley as well.

The migrant moth Rusty Dot Pearl Photo : Geoff Wookey

Ken Willetts over at Highwood had several butterflies in the garden attracted to him over ripe plum trees. This Small Copper Butterfly also appeared.

Small Copper Butterfly Photo : Ken Willetts

27 September Another photo from Ken Willetts, this time of a beetle. We called in the services of Harry Green on this one, who in turn turned to County Entomologist John Micklejohn. It turned out to be a not too common species Oncomera femorata. This is a relatively localised species in the UK, and confined predominantly to the South of the UK. It feeds on dead wood and has been associated with both Ivy and Sallow.

Oncomera femorata (female) Photo : Ken Willetts

26 September Ken Willetts up at Highwood continues to be having a stream of dragonflies on and around his pool. This shot taken of a Migrant Hawker Dragonfly (ID Confirmed by County Recorder, Mike Averill)

Migrant Hawker Dragonfly Photo : Ken Willetts

25 September David Patrick had a Hummingbird Hawk Moth in his Tenbury garden this afternoon.

23 September Brian Marsh had this Red Admiral butterfly in the garden this afternoon soaking up the early autumn sunshine

Red Admiral Photo : Brian Marsh

Across the Valley at Boraston, Geoff Wookey trapped this Brick Moth (so called owing to its colour). A sure sign that autumn is on its way when you start seeing this species. The larval stages of this moth feed on the leaves and flowers of Wych Elm and Poplar species, and with not that many of these tree species in the Valley, is not that common in the Teme Valley, although a few do turn up each year.

Brick Moth Photo : Geoff Wookey

20 September Mike Bowdler trapped this Silver Y species of moth over at his house in Stoke Bliss. The UK has an indigenous population of this species, but is supplemented by migrants from the continent. The Silver Y Moth is probably one of the most common of our migrant moths that come in from abroad and this year is no exception.

Silver Y Moth Photo : Mike Bowdler

18 September Danny Arnold had Eleven Buzzard up and circling on the thermals of warm air at Hill Top this afternoon.

Meanwhile across the Valley, Geoff Wookey had proof that autumn is on its way, should it be needed, with this non too common Beaded Chestnut Moth in his trap last night.

Brown-spot Pinion Photo : Geoff Wookey

17 September Over at the Haggetts, at Upper Rochford, Bernard Reece had a Red Kite over this afternoon

15 September Moth trapped last week by Danny Arnold at Upper Rochford, but only just identified with the assistance of Oliver Wadsworth, this is tiny moth with only a 5 - 6 mm wing span, 264 Bedellia somnulentella . Oliver goes on to say " I think I only got it because I have recently found the larvae at Diglis in Worcester and bred out the moth. These are the first records for over a decade, (In Worcestershire) but that is apparently what it does - locally common for a season or two then disappears for years on end only to reappear out of the blue! ....the moth leaf mines on Bindweeds - clear empty blotches with a little silk webbing underneath which catches some of the frass". He's a link to Oliver's photo of the leaf mine. http://www.flickr.com/photos/ols_photos/6105526765/in/photostream


264 Bedellia somnulentella

And found in the Orchard moth trap at Upper Rochford last night, Danny Arnold had another Teme Valley 'first' record, this moth measuring about 10mm in length, the Small Wainscot . There are several Wainscot Moths present in the Valley, but up until now, this one has not been on the list.


Small Wainscot Moth

14 September From Mike Bowdler's moth trap over at Stoke Bliss, we can tell autumn is on its way. Mike trapped this typical autumn species, Brown Spot Pinion.

Brown Spot Pinion Photo : Mike Bowdler

13 September The continued warm air has brought out some butterflies to Geoff Wookey's garden at Boraston. Seen were Speckled Wood, Comma and Red Admiral.

Speckled Wood Photo : Geoff Wookey

Comma Photo : Geoff Wookey

Red Admiral Photo : Geoff Wookey

12 September The warm Southerly air flow and gusting winds of the last couple of days has brought in a few migrant moths to the area recently. Danny Arnold had The Gem come to light at Upper Rochford. This is only circa the 12th record for Worcs, and a 'first' for the Teme Valley.


The Gem - A non too familiar migrant to the County of Worcs.

And also coming to a light trap last night, this migrant moth trapped by Geoff Wookey at Boraston, the Rush Veneer.

The migrant Rush Veneer Moth Photo : Geoff Wookey

11 September A new contributor, Sophia Dimmock from Abberley sent in these insect shots from her garden.

Not technically a true spider, Dicranopalpus ramosus is a species of harvestman that first came to light in Bournemouth in 1957. Harvestmen differ from spiders in that they only have one section of body as opposed to the usual two on a true spider.

Harvestman Spider (Dicranopalpus ramosus) Photo : Sophia Dimmock

And Sophia also found this Sloe Shieldbug (Dolycoris baccarum) on one of her Artichokes in the Garden.

Sloe Shieldbug (Dolycoris baccarum) Photo : Sophia Dimmock

Alice Hughes found a dead Dormouse on their drive way at Hillwood. It is not clear what killed it, but it is an interesting record if only to prove they are in the area.

9 September Found in their garden, Roger & Simone Arnold found this Garden Orb Spider in their garden a couple of days ago. A relatively large spider for the UK, this is probably the most common of all our garden spiders, characterized by the cross of white on its back.

The common Garden Orb Spider Photo : Roger & Simone Arnold

This stunning micro moth measuring only 7 - 8 mm in length came to the Upper Rochford light traps for Danny Arnold. Confirmed by Tony Simpson, the Worcs County Moth recorder as a variant form of the extremely variable species, Epinotia nisella. The larvae feed on Poplars and Sallows.


Epinotia nisella

This moth was light trapped by Geoff Wookey at Boraston last night. A 'first record' for the Teme Valley, this is a Mouse Moth. So called because of its habit of scuttling away on its legs rather than taking flight when disturbed.

The Mouse Moth Photo : Geoff Wookey

8 September Tonight was Owl Night at the Teme Valley Wildlife Group meeting and as well as having our main speaker Roy Fowler from the Worcs Barn Owl Conservation Group, along with some of his captive birds which his Group have saved, we also announced the overall winner of our Logo competition.

Pictured below receiving her prize from Danny Arnold, the Chairman of the Teme Valley Wildlife Group, with one of Roy's Barn Owls looking on and her winning Logo in the background, is the overall winner of the Logo competition, Miss Charlotte Jones formally of Lindridge C of E Primary School. Charlotte's prize consisted of a library of four wildlife books and a T Shirt with her Logo design on it. Very well done Charlotte!

Miss Charlotte Jones receiving her prize Photo : Richard Pill

6 September Geoff Wookey sent in this set of remarkable photos taken in his garden. Feeding the small bird population is something we all do. But some clever Raptors realise this too...and look out for it as they see all the small birds as a ready made meal larder. Just recently, Geoff has had a Male Sparrowhawk coming in and taking the odd small bird. But of late this Sparrowhawk has been getting braver & braver. To such an extent, he now WAITS at the bottom of the feeder pole for some unsuspecting Blue Tit to take up the offer of peanuts!.....and occasionally...it pays off !

Photo : Geoff Wookey

8 November Ken Willetts had this Red Legged Partridge in the garden this morning at Highwood.

Red Legged Partridge Photo : Ken Willetts

7 November Bill Spice sent in a few photos of Fungi he's got growing in these warm wet conditions around his trees at Stockton.

A selection of Fungi found at Stockton on Teme All photos : Bill Spice

Bill's wife Cherlye also sent in this picture of what looks to be a black and white Hoverfly species found on a Banana plant in September. Having spoken with Harry Green and Mick Blythe, the consensus is a bit more grisly. Mick says that its a male anthomyiid which is in the process of being killed by a fungus infection.

A male anthomyiid which is in the process of being killed by a fungus infection All photos : Cherlye Spice

Meantime, very close to the Kyre brook, near to the small industrial estate where Teme Valley veterinary practice is, John Abbiss spotted a pair of Kingfisher's, a Dipper and a Grey Wagtail on more than one occasion recently.

6 November The Otter was back in Ken's garden pool again last night!!

5 November Another outstanding record to come in from Ken Willetts...hes had an Otter in his garden pool at Highwood. This is remarkable in so much as there are no water courses in the immediate area. Ken said he watched it for several minutes going for his Goldfish.

4 November Ken Willetts continues to produce some outstanding moth records & data, trapping three migrant Rusty Dot Pearl moths last night.

3 November The relatively warm weather for the time of year has coaxed out this December Moth. One of only a handful of species that will fly during the winter months.

December Moth Photo : Ken Willetts

29 October Resembling a fly more than a moth perhaps, this small moth is one of the last tortrix moths to be on the wing in the year. Ken Willetts photographed this species Expate congelatella, trapped in his moth trap over night. Not a common species locally, there are a few records, but it by far more common in the northern parts of the UK.

1026 Expate congelatella Photo : Ken Willetts

25 October Chris Peacock and his wife had a Dipper sighting on the River Teme at Little Hereford this afternoon.

24 October Geoff Wookey had two Fieldfare in the garden at Boraston this afternoon.

23 October Chris Mussell had a close encounter with a Red Kite at Stanford this weekend. Flying in, just 30 feet or so above his house, it started soaring on the thermals above the garden. Chris dashed to get his camera....only to find the batteries flat!!Grrrr!

Caroline Roseman also had a Red Kite above her property today at Lower Rochford. Same Bird?

20 October Dave Barnes had circa 12 Pink Footed Geese fly over the Kerry's plant in Tenbury late this afternoon flying from Tenbury towards Stockton down the Valley.

18 October Brian Marsh spotted a Red Kite around Lindridge this afternoon.

16 October Ken Willetts continues to trap some beautiful autumnal moth species. Looking like a dead leaf, this Angle Shades moth is a relatively common species throughout the Teme Valley, though its outstanding camouflage makes it difficult to see.

Angle Shades Photo : Ken Willetts

15 October Sandra Willmott had a Red Kite fly over her house at Lower Rochford today. Meantime, last night at Stoke Bliss, Mike Bowdler trapped this Figure of Eight moth, a non too familiar species in this area, with only one or two being recorded each year.

Photo : Mike Bowdler

Figure of Eight moth

14 October Last night Ken Willetts trapped another Streak' moth, his second in two weeks. Danny Arnold also trapped one a couple of nights ago. Ken's previous capture is shown below (7th). Never recorded in the Teme Valley before, this moth who's larvae feed on Broom, has made a good showing with three records this year. Ken also sent in this photo of a Pied Wagtail on the roof of his garage.

Pied Wagtail Photo : Ken Willetts

The Redwing are now coming in, in good numbers. Geoff Wookey had a flock of 50+ over his house at Boraston today and Danny Arnold had several small flocks of 20+ fly over Birchfield at Upper Rochford.

On the moth front again, Bill Spice over at Stockton trapped this Vestal moth. There have been good numbers of these migrants this year which normally live in the South of France and northern Africa.

The migrant moth Vestal Photo: Bill Spice

Bill also trapped this non too common moth in the Teme Valley, the Pale Mottled Willow. This is a great photo as it shows the moth 'warming itself up', prior to take off. Many of the noctuid moths appear to "shiver" before taking off to get blood and muscle tissues warmed up.

Pale Mottled Willow Photo: Bill Spice

Bill also reports that his wife Cherlye spotted several Crayfish in one of the local brooks which feed into the Teme. This is we believe, the first reported record of Crayfish in the area, but is not that surprising given the quality of freshwater habitat we have in the area.

13 October Yesterday saw a large influx of Ring Ouzel into the UK. Today, Ken Willets up on Highwood was fortunate enough to have one perched on the telephone wires at his house.

Ring Ouzel at Highwood Photo: Ken Willetts

12 October Tony & Sally Thompson at Hope Bagot showing (again) that they grow some huge fungi out that way. (Either that or Tony has very small feet!?)

Photo : Tony Thompson

Huge Fungi coming up in the warm rain

11 October David Faulkner over at Caynham had the first Redwings of the year in at a field near to the house. As David pointed out, this is very early. Could this mean a bad winter??

8 October Ken Willetts on the Highwood has taken another migrant moth in his over night trap. This time the large moth with a wing span of 30 - 35 mm, known as The Dark Swordgrass. It feeds on a variety of herbaceous plants, but it has not been proven that it actually breeds in the UK.

Dark Swordgrass Photo: Ken Willetts

7 October The Red Kite has made a welcome return visit, this time seen at Birchfield, Upper Rocford this afternoon.

Meanwhile up a Highwood, Ken Willetts borrowed one of the Wildlife Groups OPAL sponsored Moth traps and on his very first night of using it, trapped the extremely rare moth for Worcs, the Streak. There are less than 50 records for Worcs for this species, of which half come off the side of the Malvern's. The larvae feed on broom. A great record for Worcs and the Teme Valley Ken.

The Streak Photo : Ken Willetts

5 October Rachel Packard from Boraston emailed to say that together with her daughter, last night, they heard a Nightjar chirring in the fields by the house. Given the current weather conditions, and the fact that this is a migrant...and the habitat is all wrong in that area for this bird species, we are guessing that this is most likely to be a bird 'on its way back' to the continent.

A great record Rachel.

And talking of Boraston and migrants, Geoff Wookey took another migrant moth last night, one that we reported on a six weeks ago in Herefordshire....and a couple of days ago in Worcestershire. So with Geoff being in Boraston, his Vestal moth covers the Shropshire base and has now been recorded in all three counties covered by the Teme Valley.

The migrant moth Vestal Photo : Geoff Wookey

4 October Ken Willetts sent in this great photo of a Lacewing which clearly shows the intricate nature of the wing veins.

Lacewing Photo : Ken Willetts

2 October Arguably, one of the UK's most stunning moths, the beautiful Merveille de Jour. The warm start to autumn has ensured that this species is out and about in good numbers locally. So keep your eyes open around any lights you leave on at night as they are attracted to light and will often lay up for the day having been attracted to the light the night before. This specimen was trapped by Geoff Wookey at Boraston.

Merveille de Jour Photo : Geoff Wookey

Meantime, Danny Arnold at Upper Rocford trapped yet another Migrant moth. This species was reported here in the Teme Valley back in August, but was a Herefordshire record, being just over the County boundary. Danny's record of the Vestal moth is first for the Worcestershire side of the Teme Valley.


Vestal moth

1 October If more proof were needed regarding the influx of migrant moths from the continent, Chris Mussell , at Stanford Bridge sent in this photo of a Humming Bird Hawk Moth sipping nectar from flowers in the garden.

Another migrant moth - Hummingbird Hawk Moth Photo : Chris Mussell

And last night, the Teme Valley at Upper Rochford produced yet another "first Worcs County record" in the form of this European Corn Borer Moth for Danny Arnold . As such, this is the first ever record for Worcestershire and is the sixthp style="margin-top:0;margin-bottom:0;"> Who's that in the grass?

Come on...I'm fed up of waiting! Photo : Geoff Wookey

About time....I was getting hungry! Photo : Geoff Wookey

4 September The Vestal moth from 14th August (see below) was one of just a few migrants coming in recently on the Lepidoptera front. Also recently in from the continent was a small Diamond back Moth and a new record for the Teme Valley yesterday, this rather bedraggled Small mottled Willow.


A migrant moth - Small mottled Willow

3 September The Group held its September walk today, a little earlier than usual, in the month. We spent a lovely morning at the Worcs Wildlife Trust site at Lower Smite. Caroline Corsie the site Farm manager gave us a tour of the farm set up and explained a lot of the rationale into how to farm, with wildlife in mind, without losing money. It was a very informative visit and well worth getting out of bed for on a Sunday morning.

Caroline Corsie talking to the Group in one of Lower Smite's fields Photo : Ian & Diana Parkin

1 September John Abbiss sent in these two photos from his garden at Oldwood Common. The Cricket he found on Oak and the Orange Swift moth on Lavender.

A Cricket found on Oak Photo: John Abbiss

Orange Swift moth on Lavender Photo: John Abbiss

29 August Ken Willetts latest offering, a Square Spot Rustic moth he found in his shed. They seem to be having a very good year this year with good numbers showing up in the local moth traps.

Square Spot Rustic Moth Photo : Ken Willetts

27 August Today, the second and third bird hides went up on the bird seed field. A BIG THANK YOU to all of you who turned out again to help get these units erected and in place.

The volunteer crew for the erection of the second & third hides today Photo : Amanda Allott

The inside of the first hide, now finished off Photo : Amanda Allott

Over on the other side of the Valley at Knighton on Teme, Margaret Bradley had a Red Kite circling over her farm at 8am this morning.

Ken Willetts found this beautiful geometer moth on his window over night. This is the aptly named Garden Carpet moth. A good record as there have not been too many seen this year.

Garden Carpet Moth Photo : Ken Willetts

26 August Over at Stoke Bliss yesterday, Julia Berry had a Red Kite circling over her farm at Stoke Bliss.

25 August As many people are aware, in the Spring, we won a grant to seed up a field, kindly peppercorn rented to the Teme Valley Wildlife Group by David Spillsbury at Eastham. The idea is to get local people involved with looking at the bird populations we have locally. The field has been seeded up with Sunflower, Millet, Linseed, Tritcale and other seed bearing plants. As the winter approaches, we hope this will become a bird feeding frenzy 'mecca' as the finches and like, move in on the seed pods provided by the crops. As part of the grant, we have also provided for three bird hides to be put up for people to come and sit and see the spectacle. Eardiston Sawmills provided the hides and Richard Pill the Vice Chairman of the Teme Valley Wildlife Group, asked for a band of volunteers to erected the panels and put the first hide. This was done last Saturday morning. A BIG THANK YOU, to all of you that turned out and made this job go so straight forwardly. Just two more hides to go!

The first of the Bird Hides going up Photo : Amanda Allott

A sure sign that Autumn is on its way? The appearance of this Feathered Gothic Moth as trapped overnight by Geoff Wookey at Boraston, is a pretty good indicator, its not far away!

Feathered Gothic Moth Photo : Geoff Wookey

And Ken Willetts at Highwood has also been photographing moths. These are the Dingy Footman and the small grass moth that everybody who has been walking through long grass lately has been seeing, Agriphila tristella. (Sorry, there is no vernacular name!)

Dingy Footman Photo : Ken Willetts

Agriphila tristella Photo : Ken Willetts

22 August More dragonfly shots, this time from Geoff Wookey's newly created pond at Boraston. It just goes to show that if you put a pond in, you will attract a whole new host of species to your garden.

Emperor Dragonfly Photo : Geoff Wookey

Common Darter Dragonfly Photo : Geoff Wookey

On a completely different note, have you seen a Large Black Cat in the Abberley area? There have been several reports over the years of such an animal in this general area and last night, Judie Welsh who lives in the same sort of area, saw such a beast. She said in her email it was "far too big for any of the local domestics (it was the size of a fox), black with pointed ears and a very long tail". She later adds, " Even her Husband thought it was odd". So, anybody else seen it about?

Ken Willetts also sent in a couple of photos taken today. One of a Southern Hawker Dragonfly and the other of two recently fledged Swallows, crying out to be fed. Great photos!.

Southern Hawker Dragonfly Photo : Ken Willetts

Swallows awaiting food Photo : Ken Willetts

21 August Sally & Tony Thompson sent in this shot of a Bracket fungus on an old tree stump at Knowbury. Apparently it just keeps regenerating itself. We had a photo of the same stump with Bracket Fungi a few months ago.

Bracket Fungi Photo : Sally & Tony Thompson

20 August Ken Willetts is still finding interesting invertebrates to photograph up at his house at Highwood. These are three photos Ken has sent in over the last three days.

Common Darter Dragonfly Photo : Ken Willetts

Spotted Cranefly Photo : Ken Willetts

The Herald Moth Photo : Ken Willetts

At about 4pm this afternoon, Pete Stevens had the Red Kite drifting over Lindridge Church.

16 August Will Watson sent in this photo of a rather unusual moth. Surprisingly it is not seen to much around here. 'Surprising' as the larvae of this moth feed amongst straw and chaff in barns, as well as on sheep-dung.....and I would have thought there was plenty of the latter, if not the former around our area! It is quite a large moth, but taxonomically it is in with the Micro moth group. It goes by the name of Large Tabby.

Large Tabby Moth Photo : Will Watson

Brian Marsh emailed to say that a Hobby was chasing the House Martins around his house at Stockton today. This is the second such report. I'm guessing that this could be the same bird doing the same thing as seen by Nick Benbow at his house at Frith Common on the 5th August (See below).

15 August Yesterday, we held our August Walk led by Steph Mocroft and Alastair Hardy along the River Teme at Little Hereford. John Abbiss's picture below shows the group en route and clearly indicates just how low the water levels are in the river at the moment. During the course of the walk, John also came across this moth. Its called Vestal and is the first record in the Teme Valley for this species....so a great record John!.

Members and friends of the Group looking at the low water levels in the River Teme Photo: John Abbiss

Photo: John Abbiss

The Vestal Moth - A first record for the Teme Valley

Meanwhile, a man never far from his waders, our aquatic specialist, Will Watson joined in on the Group walk and did some 'river dipping', to show the Group what was lurking on the river bed. Having such low water is a great time to do an aquatic study as it tends to pool up fish and invertebrates, making them easier to find....which is exactly what it did.

Will found an enormous number of Stone Loach (shown below), Stickleback, Minnow and Bullhead. Probably the best find of the day however, was the finding of the Brook Lamprey (also shown below), which resembles a very small eel, but lives most of its life feeding off planktonic material on the river bed. It has a large sucker type mouth with which it just hoovers up its food from stones on the river bed.

The incredibly well camouflaged Stone Loach Photo: Will Watson

The aquatic find of the day. A Brook Lamprey Photo: Will Watson

14 August Peter & Liz Gillard sent in these two photos. The first of farming & harvest the "old way" ....and doesn't it look fantastic! The second photo is of a pair of juvenile Great Spotted Woodpeckers which have been attending their feeders at home.

The Harvest at Kyre Photo: Peter & Liz Gillard

Juvenile Great Spotted Woodpeckers Photo: Peter & Liz Gillard

Also from today, Geoff Wookey over at Boraston trapped these to moths in his light trap last night. The Devon Carpet is a good record. Up until a few years ago, it was fairly confined to the SW of the UK. Since then, it appears to be spreading northwards, probably using the Severn & Wye Valleys as a natural corridor. We now take one or two of this species in the Teme Valley each year, but general numbers are still low. The second moth is much common in the area, although it appears not to be that bothered about coming to a light trap as we only trap relatively few in the area. We know they are widespread however as they can easily be disturbed in long grass during August, during the day. This is the appropriately named Yellow Shell moth.

Devon Carpet Moth Photo: Geoff Wookey

Yellow Shell Moth Photo: Geoff Wookey

13 August Caroline Roseman at Lower Rochford has a pair of Red Kite over the Orchard at her House today. The first time more than one has been sighted for some considerable time.

9 August Jo Sothers at Upper Rochford, wondered if this was the work of Leaf Cutter bees? Anybody have any other ideas?

The work of Leaf Cutter Bees?? Photo : Jo Sothers

7 August Sally Thompson over at Knowbury found this Elephant Hawk Moth larvae on one of her fascias. What a brilliant photo!

Photo : Sally Thompson

Elephant Hawk Moth larvae

5 August Nick Benbow heard a commotion outside and on going out to see what was going on, found the House Martins were being chased around the house by a Hobby! That's some garden bird tick Nick !

There are several 'Thorn' moths, many of which are very similar. This September Thorn moth is interesting, as, as a species, it comes out before the very similar August Thorn Moth ! This one was attracted to Geoff Wookey's trap at Boraston.

September Thorn Moth Photo : Geoff Wookey

4 August More stunning butterfly shots from up on the Highwood, by Ken Willetts. Marbled White and Common Blue Butterflies. Both doing well this year in the Valley. Also photographed by Ken, a Meadow Grass Hopper.

Marbled White Butterfly Photo : Ken Willetts

Common Blue Butterfly Photo : Ken Willetts

Meadow Grass hopper Photo : Ken Willetts

3 August The second reported sighting of the Red Kite for some time. Allen Hunt had it over at Knowbury this afternoon.

2 August This Spotted Flycatcher was caught on camera by David Sothers in his garden today. They had, according to David, been nesting locally.

Spotted Flycatcher Photo : David Sothers

1 August Rachel Lambert at Frith Common had the Red Kite over her house this afternoon. It was also seen further upstream by David Sothers at Upper Rochford.

This important Moth record is another 'first' for the Teme Valley. It is also an important record for Worcestershire. This moth , the Lesser Spotted Pinion, was trapped by Danny Arnold at light in Hanley Dingle this evening. Whilst there are a spattering of records from around Worcestershire, there is only one site where they are known to breed. Is Hanley Dingle a second site in the county for this species. The larvae feed on Wych Elm.


Lesser Spotted Pinion

31 July This also is a moth, from a group called the Plume Moths. This is the White Plume moth. There are about twenty or so similar looking species in this Group, but none of the others are white, which makes this the easiest one to identify. Ken Willetts garden was again the site of this photo.


                                                                                 White Plume Moth                                                   Photo : Ken Willetts

John Abbiss meanwhile over on Oldwood Common had this Small Blood Vein moth. The larvae feed on Privet and other low growing plants.


                                                                                 Small Blood Vein Moth                                                   Photo : John Abbiss

Possibly one of the strangest records we've had in for a long time. Nick Nevey from Stanford Bridge was alerted to the calls of a bird in a nearby tree. On investigating, he sent in this photo of a what we believe to be an Indian Blue Parrot. Closely resembling the now indigenous Ring necked Parakeet which is down in the South East of England, we think this is an escapee. If you want more info, or this is your bird, please get in touch.


                                                                                Indian Blue Parrot                                                  Photo : Nick Nevey

27 July Ken Willetts garden continues to be a wildlife paradise. This time Ken has has Small Copper Butterfly and a Mother of Pearl Moth.


                                                                             Small Copper Butterfly                                                   Photo : Ken Willetts


                                                                                Mother of Pearl Moth                                                   Photo : Ken Willetts

29 July Rob Humphries has noticed that one of his local Oak trees at Eardiston is losing its acorns before they are fully developed. We have asked several people about this, but as yet, we don't have an answer for this occurrence. Anybody out there have any ideas?


                                                                Acorns immature and falling early                                         Photo : Rob Humphries

27 July Felicity Beaumont opened her front door in the middle of Tenbury yesterday, to be confronted with a Sparrowhawk huddled over its kill, on the front lawn. Sparrowhawks are increasingly coming into our towns, as they are learning that where there are people, there are also bird feeders....and where there are bird feeders, there is an easy luch....or should that be breakfast!

Up at Highwood, this Copper Underwing was on Ken Willetts window. Obviously attracted to the indoor lights over night.

There are two very similar Copper Underwing species in the UK. It is not possible from this photo to say which this is with any certainty. It would just be recorded as "Copper Underwing aggregate".


                                                                    Copper Underwing agg. Moth                                                   Photo : Ken Willetts

An on Oldwood Common, John Abbiss photographed this small moth measuring about 100m across the wing. It is known as the Twenty Plume Moth the larvae of this moth feed on the buds of Honeysuckle.


                                                                                 Twenty Plume Moth                                                   Photo : John Abbiss

26 July Brian Marsh sent in this photo of a Goldfinch nest in an ornamental Acer. The birds were just about to fledge.

                                              Photo : Brian Marsh

                                                                       Goldfinch nest with fledglings

Roger & Simone Arnold sent in this photo of a Common Carpet Moth that was attracted to their porch light over night. This species is having a good year this year in the Teme Valley.

                                               Photo : Roger & Simone Arnold

                                                                          Common Carpet Moth

One of the most distinct caterpillar larvae we have in the UK, yet an adult moth that is seldom seen. This is the Mullein moth, which as the name suggests, the larvae of which feed on the plant of the same name. This photo taken by Pete & Vicky Stevens.


                                                                          Mullein Moth caterpillar                                        Photo : Pete & Vicky Stevens

Richard Pill sent in this stunning floral shot complete with Marsh Tit enjoying some of the early seeds at his house in Knighton on Teme.


                                                                                               Marsh Tit                                                           Photo : Richard Pill

25 July Ken Willetts was out again with his camera and caught this glorious sunset from his house on the Highwood, with hundreds of Corvids flying over to roost.


                                                                                         Corvids at Dusk                                                   Photo : Ken Willetts

Bob Edwards took another walk over Cramers Gutter reserve, where the Group had scheduled a Group walk just a week earlier. Unfortunately, the Group did not see this specialty dragonfly on the site, on their walk, but Bob managed to photograph it on his visit today. This is the Keeled Skimmer Dragonfly.


                                                                                        Keeled Skimmer                                                   Photo : Bob Edwards

Meanwhile at Upper Rochford, Danny Arnold had two Brown Hawker Dragonflies out on his pools today.

24 July There are three types of Skipper Butterflies that are fairly common in the Teme Valley. Ken Willetts had all three in his garden today. Note that the difference between the Essex Skipper and Small Skipper is the black tip to the antennae.


                                                                                   Large Skipper butterfly                                              Photo : Ken Willetts


                                                                                   Small Skipper butterfly                                              Photo : Ken Willetts


                                                   Essex Skipper butterfly with its black tipped antennae                           Photo : Ken Willetts

23 July This Antler Moth came to Geoff Wookey's moth trap over at Boraston. This is the first record for the Teme Valley. It is associated with down land and moorland, which is perhaps why it is not seen too often in this area. A good record non the less.


                                                                                         Antler Moth                                                        Photo : Geoff Wookey

David Sothers has been busy with his long lens and taken these fantastic shots of some of his garden birds at Upper Rochford.


                                                                                           Nuthatch                                                           Photo : David Sothers


                                                                                    Juvenile Blue Tit                                                      Photo : David Sothers


                                                                                        Chaffinch                                                            Photo : David Sothers


                                                                                           Goldfinch                                                          Photo : David Sothers


                                                                                           Great Tit                                                           Photo : David Sothers

21 July Ken Willetts emailed over this stunning picture of a Marmalade Hover fly which was feeding in the flowers in his garden. There has apparently, been a huge migration of these insects into the country over the last few days.


                                                                        Marmalade Hover fly                                                              Photo : Ken Willetts

20 July Richard Pill found this large beetle in his Orchard today. Local Worcs Beetle specialist Harry Green confirmed Richard's ID as a Lesser Stag Beetle. The larvae feed on white rotting wood with the adults appear just about now.


                                                                              Lesser Stag Beetle                                                           Photo : Richard Pill

19 July Jason Hales is on the reptile trail again over at Martley. Having first found the Wall Lizard, (see 13th June entry below) he has now photographed these two reptiles in the same area. Steve Langham and Alan Shepherd amongst others, have helped identify these as Moorish Geckos. They are not native to the UK and the consensus is that it is too cold for them to breed here. So the question is...how did they get here.....we are still trying to find out!!! (We have a few theories we are working on)


                                                                                 Moorish Geckos                                                             Photo : Jason Hales

16 July Ken Willetts sent in this photograph of a Holly Blue Butterfly which landed and posed long enough in the garden to take the photo.


                                                                         Holly Blue Butterfly                                                              Photo : Ken Willetts

15 July Whilst on the subject of Kestrels, they really do seem to be having a good year with plenty of young birds about. This is most encouraging for a species which is in national decline. Over at Farlow, Bob & Anne Edwards have for a long time, been involved with bird welfare. This photograph was taken through a scope and shows young Kestrels in a box which Bob put up. I'll let him tell you the story.

" Attached photo of my Kestrel brood for 2011.....this year there were 5 chicks raised which is a record for the box which was initially first installed some 20 years ago...At that time the birds were using an old dead tree on a nearby farm for their site which was subsequently chopped down before I could do anything about it.......I quickly managed to secure an old telegraph pole and erected it in our small field......The original box was eventually placed upon it and was basically scrap pieces of plywood screwed together.....Having seen the advertised Owl/Kestrel boxes from the BTO/RSPB range, I found them unsuitable and in many cases, impractical......This first attempt to attract the homeless couple was successful since the evicted pair moved in almost immediately.......the following year they bred for the first time and have subsequently raised a total of 41 young including this latest batch of 5......Two years ago, the old box virtually fell apart due to the unrelenting weather up here and a new replacement was installed...This was amazingly accepted that very same day.......Various other boxes in the field have also provided homes for Barn and Tawny Owl and it has been very gratifying to be able to do something to help them all....."

If ever there was a clear benefit of putting up LARGE nest boxes, this must be it! 41 Young Kestrel from one box in 20 years. A A brilliant and inspiring piece of practical conservation!!!


                                                                      Young Kestrel in nest box                                                   Photo : Bob Edwards

Over at Boraston, Geoff Wookey has had the nesting Spotted Flycatchers fledge from the Orchard next door. This photo shows one on a roof still wanting to be fed.


                                                                             Young Spotted Flycatcher                                            Photo : Geoff Wookey

14 July Here's a turn up! Geoff Wookey at Boraston has had three fledgling Kestrels bathing in his new garden pool. I wonder if they were the same three that Chris Kemble photographed just down the road at Knighton on Teme? (see the 28th June entry below). Geoff didn't manage to photograph them in the water...but here's one he did manage to snap, on top of a pylon drying out!


                                                                                  Young Kestrel                                                         Photo : Geoff Wookey

13 July Over at Clifton upon Teme, Roger & Simone Arnold came across this very colourful caterpillar in their garden. This is the larvae of the Knot Grass Moth.


                                                                             Knot Grass Moth Larvae                                  Photo: Roger & Simone Arnold

.....And Ken Willetts at Highwood has been out in the garden with his camera again. Another stunning photograph of an Emperor Dragonfly on his garden pool.


                                                                        Emperor Dragonfly                                                              Photo : Ken Willetts

12 July Ellissa Aldous Hughes emailed to say that she had the Red Kite circling low over her house at Upper Sapey today. Meantime, John Abbiss was out with his camera and sent in this photo of a Six Spot Burnet Moth and Meadow Brown Butterfly on the same flower head on Oldwood Common.


                                   Six Spot Burnet Moth and Meadow Brown Butterfly on Oldwood Common              Photo:John Abbiss

11 July Richard Pill sent over these two photos he took from Hunthouse Wood. The Silver washed Fritillary Butterfly is a Hunthouse specialty and one of the very few local places you can see this impressive butterfly. The other, the Marbled White Butterfly is another good record. Not often seen in the Teme Valley, although it has been recorded before, it is more often found on calcareous solis...of which we have very little here abouts.


                                                              Silver Washed Fritillary Butterfly                                                    Photo : Richard Pill


                                                                             Marbled White Butterfly                                                    Photo : Richard Pill

9 July Over at Docklow Fete, our local aquatic specialist, Will Watson, found this Oak Eggar moth flying around one of the tents. This is a very unusual find as there are only a handful of records for this species in Hereford & Worcs. A really good record!


                                                                       Oak Eggar Moth                                                                      Photo : Will Watson

7 July Rob Humphreys had this large moth turn up in his lounge. This is a Poplar Hawk Moth and is about the most common of the Hawk moths in the UK.


                                                                            Poplar Hawk Moth                                                       Photo : Rob Humphreys

  5 July Another interesting capture from Geoff Wookey in his moth trap last night. This Muslin Footman moth is a lichen feeder found more often in and around the dry stone walls in the South of the County. It seems that there is quite a hot spot in the Teme Valley for this little moth, which only measures perhaps 10mm across.


                                                                                    Muslin Footman                                                     Photo : Geoff Wookey

3 July Geoff Wookey sent this picture of a moth over. It is a little strange in so far as it is a melanic (black) form of a Moth called Engrailed. Some moth species do occasionally throw up these melanic forms, which can have you scratching your head for an identification.


                                                             A melanic form of the Engrailed Moth                                        Photo : Geoff Wookey

And Whilst on Moths, this Scalloped Shell moth came to a light trap at Upper Rochford overnight. Typically a woodland moth, this is not that common in the County, the stronghold being the Wyre Forest. It has not been recorded in the Teme Valley before so another good record for the area.


                                                                            Scalloped Shell Moth                                                                                  DMA

Again at Upper Rochford this afternoon, the weather was warm and sunny and from the Cherry Orchard came the following four insects. (The two Ladybird larvae were identified by Harry Green)


                                                                         Harlequin Ladybird larvae                                                                             DMA


                                                                       Seven Spot Ladybird larvae                                                                             DMA

The Snake fly is an interesting record as these are seldom seen as they spend much of their time in the canopy of trees.


                                                                                        Snake Fly                                                                                         DMA

The Red Belted Clearwing shown below, was one of nine of these Moths that were coaxed in by synthetic pheromone lures.


                                                                             Red Belted Clearwing                                                                                DMA

1 July Geoff Wookey recently put in a new pond & stream in his garden at Boraston, and was duly rewarded with a new Bird for his Garden Bird list a couple of days ago. A Grey Wagtail was making use of the newly introduced facilities.


                                                                              The new pond and stream                                         Photos : Geoff Wookey

Then today, a Kestrel came down to take a water bath. Following the bath, Geoff watched as it took off, headed towards the bird table, took an unsuspecting Blue Tit and flew off into the distance.... All from the comfort of his conservatory. Real Wildlife events are going on like this all the time in our gardens. We just have to be fortunate enough to see them. As Geoff says in his email "Priceless!"

28 June John Abbiss reckons that there were 300 plus Corvids flying over his house this evening. Other people in the valley also reported large movements of these birds.


                                        Corvids flying high over the houses on Oldwood Common                                  Photo:John Abbiss

Chris Kemble at Knighton on Teme sent in these two shots taken recently. Great top see Kestrels doing so well this year. A clear indication the vole population is doing well, as Kestrels only breed relative to the available food. In years when vole populations are low, some Kestrels will not breed any young through.


                                    Three Fledgling Kestrels perched on the Church at Knighton on Teme               Photo : Chris Kemble

And another stunning shot from Chris. This time of a Six Spot Burnet Moth.


                                                                          Six Spot Burnet Moth                                                          Photo : Chris Kemble

27 June Ken Willetts has been taking yet more photos of his garden wildlife. It just goes to show the diversity we can all get if we just go out looking!


                                      Emperor Dragonfly - Female laying eggs on submerged vegetation                 Photo: Ken Willetts


                                                                              Green Shield Bug                                                         Photo: Ken Willetts

We also had this great story from Ian Vanes at Eardiston....(quote) " Just a brief note about our Spotted Flycatchers.
We have been fortunate enough to have a pair nest in our garden for the past 15-18 years or so. Without fail they have nested, in a south facing wisteria or on the odd occasion in an east facing virginia creeper. There is normally a second clutch of eggs but this brood isn't always successful.

As usual they arrived again 3-4 weeks ago and can be seen flitting from tree to tree feeding. The wisteria had a blackbirds nest with a late brood, they fledged about 2 weeks ago. There has been no sign anywhere, wisteria, creepers, ivy, robin boxes etc of the flycatchers nesting..........until yesterday.

Digressing slightly : We have had as many as 6 pairs of house martins at a time nest around the house, but for some unknown reason they have deserted us for the past couple of years. Yesterday I happened to look up at a disused martins nest in the highest apex (south facing) of the roof and bingo......what should enter into it but one of our flycatchers.!
I've looked upwards again today and its definitely home for them this year."

26 June Up at Highwood, Ken Willetts has been out with his camera again. This time doing some macro photography. Close up shots of the Common Blue Bottle fly and the Ringlet Butterfly.


                                                                                Common Blue Bottle                                                      Photo : Ken Willetts


                                                                                       Ringlet Butterfly                                                       Photo : Ken Willetts

24 June John Abbiss has been back out with his camera over Oldwood Common. He sent in several flower photos including these two.


                         Common Spotted Orchid                                                       Ragged Robin                       Photos : John Abbiss

23 June Geoff Wookey over at Boraston is continuing to put significant new Moth data onto the South Shropshire Moth data base. New into his trap last night...and new for the 10km square he's in, were Garden Tiger, Figure of Eighty, female Ghost Moths and Triple-spotted Clay. All great records!

And whilst on the subject of moths, John Abbiss at Oldwood Common had a Humming Bird Hawk Moth taking nectar from his Honeysuckle. These moths are migrants and this year has seen an influx of them to the UK. Unfortunately it disappeared before John could get a photo.

Ken Willetts over at Highwood was a little taken aback when he went to smell the roses in his garden. The stamens were covered in tiny Pollen Beetles.


                                                                                      Pollen Beetles                                                           Photo : Ken Willetts

22 June Out with some members of the Worcestershire Recorders Group around the Knighton on Teme area, Danny Arnold sweep netted this Broad Barred White moth, which is a first record for the Teme Valley.


                                                                       Broad Barred White Moth

And also of significant importance on the day was the discovery by Simon Wood of this Nobel Chafer Beetle, which is the beetle that the recent Orchard Surveys have been concentrating on. The Beetle only comes out of the dead wood on warm days, and its presence is usually determined by way of identifying its very distinctive frass (droppings). So to see the beetle itself was a real bonus. Plus, it was in a newly surveyed orchard, putting another spot on the map for this beetle.

                                             Photo : Harry Green

                                                                                 Nobel Chafer Beetle

21 June David & Jo Sothers sent in this great shot of the now 'famous' Poppy field at Blackstone Bewdley. Great photo and well worth a visit.


                                                                  Poppy Fields at Blackstone Bewdley                                             Photo : Jo Sothers

20 June And yet more new records for Geoff Wookey in his moth trap at Boraston. Last night he trapped Common Footman and this rather nice looking Lilac Beauty, which as the name suggests, has larvae which feed on Lilac (and Ash).


                                                                             Lilac Beauty Moth                                                            Photo: Geoff Wookey

16 June Geoff Wookey at Boraston had a host of 'new for his garden' moths in last night, including Mottled Beauty, Rufous Minor, Dot Moth and Plain Golden Y ......as well as this spectacular Blotched Emerald....which is a very good record for the area and especially his garden as it is more associated with Woodland. He also had another 'first' , but this time for his garden bird list, a Spotted Flycatcher.


                                                                            Blotched Emerald                                                           Photo: Geoff Wookey

15 June Elaine Tibbetts at Lower Kyre Wood had a Humming Bird Hawk Moth visit some of the flowers in her garden today. Richard Pill at Knighton on Teme also had one.

The Group held its now annual Orchid Walk over at David Spillsbury's farm at Oak Hill, Eastham this evening. THe weather stayed dry and the Orchids were still out.


  The Group enjoying the views and Common Spotted Orchid on the old Highwood Common bank       Photos : Chris Mussell

14 June Ken Willetts continues to send in stunning photographs of the wildlife in his garden at Highwood. This time an incredible shot of a Broad bodied Chaser Dragonfly on a Yellow flag Iris.


                                                                       Broad bodied chaser Dragonfly                                              Photo : Ken Willetts

13 June Ken Willetts at High Wood sent over this picture of a Great Spotted Woodpecker (Male) feeding one of its young. These birds seem to have had a really good year this year, as there are lots of fledgling birds about in the Valley.


                                                  Great Spotted Woodpecker - Male feeding its young                                Photo : Ken Willetts

Over at Martley, Jason Hales took this shot of what was originally thought to be a Common Lizard (female?) on the wall of his house. However, since posting this, Steve Langham has been in touch and indicated that this is a far more scarce species of Lizard in the UK, the Common Wall Lizard. This species is common in mainland Europe, but Steve, the UK recorder for this species, says there are only about thirty sites in the UK where this lizard can be found. Further invstigation is hoped to get underway. Meantime, this is a great record Jason!!


                                                                       Common Wall Lizard basking in the sun                            Photo : Jason Hales

Chris Mussell at Stanford Bridge emailed this picture of a beetle which appeared out of Oak he was storing for burning. Apparently, there have been several appear recently in this house from this stored wood for the wood burner. Discussions with beetle expert Harry Green conclude it is Phymatodes testaceus the Tanbark Borer Beetle. The larvae live 1-2 years in recently dead wood, usually oak.  Adult May to July.  Nocturnal and attracted to light.  Fairly widespread in ancient woodland and pasture woodlands throughout Britain north to southern Scotland. The wood was locally sourced, so an interesting record for the Teme Valley.


                                                  Phymatodes testaceus the Tanbark Borer Beetle                                    Photo : Chris Mussell

11 June Tony Thompson at Knowbury confirmed having a Glow-worm in his Garden last night. Great record. Does anybody else get these creatures?

Tony also sent in this picture of this enormous Bracket fungus growing on an Oak stump. It is located in the Novers area just before Hope Bagot on the Clee Hill to Tenbury Road.

                            Photo: Tony Thompson

                                                                                 Giant Bracket fungi

A heavy rainstorm passed through the Valley today, quickly followed by some brighter light that resulted in this stunning Rainbow appearing, as seen from the kitchen Window at Birchfield, Upper Rochford.



9 June This remarkable photo was taken by Chris Kemble on the 25th May over her daughters house at Abberley. Remarkable in so much as this is the first record (that we are aware of) that shows more than two Red Kite in the same area of the Teme Valley at once.

Hopefully in the near future, it will become a more common sight!


                                                                    Red Kites over Abberley Hill                                                    Photo : Chris Kemble

8 June Chris Mussell saw the Red Kite over Broomyfields farm at Stanford Bridge first thing this morning. Then later on in the day, Ken Willetts was out with his camera in his garden at Highwood and photographed this Muntjac Deer. A great daylight photo Ken ! Certainly these deer are around the Hilltop/Highwood area as they can often be heard barking at night.



                                                                                      Muntjac Deer                                                          Photos : Ken Willetts

7 June Tony Thompson from over at Knowbury emailed to say that he had witnessed a Water Shrew diving in and out of his garden pond today.

6 June Owing to the rain over night, the Upper Rochford Moth traps ware almost not run. However, it was a good job they were, as the one trap produced another 'First Moth Record for Worcestershire' for Danny Arnold. This time, a large macro moth came to the light trap, called Double Lines This moth has not been recorded in Worcestershire before and now makes this the sixth 'first record for Worcs' found in the last three years here in the Teme Valley.


                                                    Double Line Moth - A First Record for Worcestershire

Also at Upper Rochford, the commotion of Blackbirds high in a conifer, gave away the presence of this young Tawny Owl.


                                                                                    Tawny Owl

And up at Highwood, Ken Willetts photographed these two Azure Damselflies in Cop.


                                                                      Azure Damselflies in Cop                                                        Photo : Ken Willetts

5 June David Faulker had the Red Kite over his home in Caynham today. Whilst further down the Valley, Francis Peplow reported Six Mandarin Ducks on the River Teme at Eastham Bridge, and a Male Pied Flycatcher at Hunthouse Wood. Both great records!

4 June The Big Bioblitz day at Birchfield, Upper Rochford. The event saw about a dozen invited wildlife specialists from Worcestershire and twenty plus members of the Teme Valley Wildlife Group descend on to the site to look for and log everything flora and fauna.

Much of the data has still yet to come in, but of note on the day, and probably the 'star' was John Bingham's discovery of Greater Broomrape. This is a parasitic plant which lives on Broom. It has no chlorophyll and is extremely scarce in Worcs, with there being no known sites for this species in this area, making it an extremely important record. It is also in rapid decline nationally, so finding it here had the botanists overjoyed.


                                                                             Greater Broomrape

John also found an isiolate Broad leaved Helleborine Orchid.

Also of note from the early data in, Will Watson found the small carnivorous water beetle Hygrotus decoratus. At just 2mm in size, this is a Nationally Notable B species, making it of specific interest to water entomologists.

Bob Edwards also had a pair of Redstart and a Garden Warbler on the bird front.

Mike Averill, the Worcs Dragonfly recorder, had six species of Dragon / Damsel fly on the day, including the White Legged Damsel fly, which was an unusual find, as this species is more associated with flowing water. Moreover, freshly emerged young were found on the stems of sedge on the waters edge, indicating that breeding of this species had taken place on site.

On the botanical front, Bert Reid & John Day had a fantastic day. They put together a very impressive list of 227 plants, of hitherto unrecorded plant species for the site. .

3 June At the monthly scheduled Moth trapping session at Hunthouse Wood, a Second Record for Worcestershire was trapped. This Waved Carpet moth came into one of Danny Arnold's moth traps. The other was trapped in the Wyre Forest some years ago.


                                         The Waved Carpet Moth - Only the Second Record for Worcestershire

Liz & Peter Gillard whose property boarders onto Kyre Brook had a Mallard with Eleven chicks in tow. But not to be out done by quantity, a couple of days later, they were privileged to have two male and one female Mandarin Ducks on their lawn, along with three young. A brilliant show, literally!


                                                                          Male Mandarin Ducks                                               Photo : Liz & Peter Gillard

2 June David Evans over at Menith Wood took this great photo of a young Great Spotted Woodpecker fledgling taking his / her first look at the big wide world.

                                    Photo : David Evans

                                                                      Great Spotted Woodpecker

30 May Geoff Wookey emailed to say that, inspired by Will Watson's talk on pond life, and the pond survey work he has been carrying out as part of our Local Teme Valley Pond Survey 2011 project, his own pool has now been built and is full of water, complete with birds drinking and bathing and damsel flies in abundance!

Geoff also trapped this plume moth in his moth trap last night. Whilst not particularly scarce, there are not many records for Shropshire, making this an important Salop record.


                                                                        1501 Platyptilia gonodactyla                                           Photo : Geoff Wookey

29 May David & Jo Sothers spotted TWO Red Kite above their house at Upper Rochford today. This is very important info, as this is the first time two birds have been seen together in a few weeks.

28 May Today was the last in the series of our four Orchard Survey training days. This was hosted by Chris & Jenny Rodgers at Stoke Bliss. A lovely day, interrupted by the odd shower, was had by the dozen or so folk who attended. Once again, Nobel Chafer was identified in the Orchard, meaning that All four Orchards surveyed for this project had this scarce beetle present. The Worcs Biological Records Center will be very happy with four new sites to add to their data base for this species.

25 May Lucy Bradley, who spends a lot of time with us in the Teme Valley, but who lives over at Stourport, reports that the people of the Teme Valley are not the only ones to have Red Kite reports. Lucy saw one being mobbed by Corvids on Wilden Lane today.

23 May Alice & John Sumner from Clifton upon Teme were out Walking today and came across two baby Tawny Owl Chicks on the Ground. They had clearly come down out of an old tree. Doing the right thing, they left them alone, but quickly dashed back home for a camera and long lens. Upon their return, the one had (presumably) dashed off to safety, whist this one, was proud to pose for a photo shoot from some considerable distance!!


                                                                              Tawny Owl Fledgling                                        Photo : Alice & John Sumner

22 May Anybody out there up on their Crane Flies ?? Andy Payne sent in this photo of a rather spectacular beast found at his house.

                                 Photo : Andy Payne

                                                                              Crane Fly Species

20 May Nick Benbow has had the Cuckoo calling for the past two evenings around his garden at Frith Common. Meanwhile just down the road at Menith Wood, Phil Morgan has got his Glow Worms back. Does anybody else have Glow Worms??

Over at Caynham, David Faulker also had a Cuckoo today, along with his first Spotted Flycatcher of the year.

Maggie Kingston at Stoke Bliss took a walk over Frog End Meadow, the SSSI site. She found the Heath Spotted Orchid in full bloom and a swathe of Yellow Rattle. Over head she also witnessed a Red Kite.


                                                                         Heath Spotted Orchid                                              Photo : Maggie Kingston

19 May Today saw the third of the Orchard Training Survey days, this time held at Richard & Amanda's smallholding at Knighton on Teme. Another very successful event with around 15 people attending....and yes, Nobel Chafer, that scarce beetle, was found on the site.

Along Cadmore Brook, Dione Sanderson witness the incredible sight of a Mayfly hatch. These beautiful insects appear to be having a very successful year this year.

And John Abbiss at Oldwood Common, found several Buff Ermine moths outside his porch light wall last night. These too are having a very good year, with good numbers being reported in local moth traps.

                                               Photo : John Abbiss

                                                                                         Buff Ermine

18 May Geoff Wookey watched a Dipper on the Kyre Brook (by the Scout Hut) for about 20 minutes this morning.

Meantime, Ken Willetts at High Wood was out with his camera in the garden to snap this Yellow Hammer. THese are definitely a bird in decline, though we do get the odd one reported, so hopefully they are just about holding their own in this area.


                                                                                Yellow Hammer                                                            Photo : Ken Willetts

17 May Nick Benbow heard the Cuckoo at Frith Common today. And further up the Valley at Caynham, David Faulker also reports another Cuckoo.

16 May Geoff Wookey is determined to put Boraston, which is just in the extreme south of Shropshire, well and truly on the Moth Map. Since taking up Moth recording at the beginning of the year, Geoff has already put over 70 new species into his 10km tetrad, including two new 'first records', for Shropshire. And moth records keep coming. New in today, geoff had Common Marbled Carpet, Small Magpie, Mottled Rustic, Treble Lines, Beautiful Golden Y and this Bright Line Brown Eye Moth. Its easy to see how the Victorian entomologists arrived at this name !! All these moth species are fairly common in the Valley....but all are new to Geoff and his tetrad.

                                              Photo : Geoff Wookey

                                                                        Bright Line Brown Eye Moth

The Wild Bird Seed field being planted up at Eastham. This project will help thousands of birds this winter and when the bird hides are in place, will give the public great access to see the spectacle of, hopefully, thousands of finches coming in to feed.


                                                                       Wild Bird Seed field being planted up

15 May Great News !!! We weren't allowed to make it public until today.....but our Wildlife Group has won a £10,000 Awards for All grant to Seed up a field with wild bird seed and to erect two bird hides which will be open to the public. The fields will be seeded up with a mixture of seeds in three distinct strips, which will appear at different times throughout the winter and provide both cover and food for a myriad of small passerine birds over the winter period. The field and hides will be easily accessible and we are looking for as many bird records as we can get from this site over this coming winter.

Ken Willetts sent in this cracking photo of a Treecreeper he saw skulking about on the trees in his garden. Ken, who lives at Highwood says that these are very infrequent visitors, so he was well pleased with this photo of this elusive little bird.

                                         Photo :Ken Willetts


14 May David Norsworthy, having come on one of the Orchard Training days, decided to go searching for Nobel Chafer in his own Orchard....And found the distinctive tell tale signs of frass of this beetle. Nobel Chafer is a nationally scarce beetle which lives in / on dead and rotting wood. Often fruit trees are implicated. The Worcs and Severn / Wye valleys are the UK's stronghold for this beetle, yet nobody really knows why!

Chris Kemble had the resident Red Kite spotted at Eastham Bridge today.

13 May Keith Holbrow sent in this picture of one of the waterfowl down by the River bridge in the middle of Tenbury. Does anybody have any idea what breed/cross breed this is ??

                                      Photo : Keith Holbrow

                                                                     What breed/cross breed is this?

Also, Roger & Simone Arnold reported hearing the Cuckoo at Clifton upon Teme today.

11 May Hanley Dingle, one of the Worcs Wildlife Trusts most inaccessible sites was moth trapped one warm evening earlier in the week by Danny Arnold & Dean Fenton, the local reserve manager. A vast array of new moth species was added the the site list, as the site had only been trapped about twice before.

The most important moth trapped was the Pauper Pug, a small quite unassuming pug moth, but which is one of only about 15 species out of the 2600 moth species in the UK on the Red Data Book list, meaning that it is afforded the highest ecological protection in terms of habitat and species management. So rare in Worcs is this moth, that there is only one other known site in the county where this moth can be found. A single individual turned up on the side of the Malvern's last year....but in Hanley Dingle, there were dozens coming to the light traps. This makes the Hanley Dingle an even more special site here in the Teme Valley, and one of national importance for the nationally scarce moth species.


                                                                                         Pauper Pug

10 May Nick Benbow up at Frith Common heard a Curlew calling as it flew over his house this evening, proving there are still a few Curlew around in the Teme Valley.

9 May Geoff Wookey heard the Cuckoo in his garden this morning. On investigating, found it was actually two birds calling....which he eventually saw fly off together. Great record Geoff! Meantime, over at Stoke Bliss, Chris & Jenny Rodgers also had a Cuckoo calling today.

8 May The Group held its monthly walk out at a small Woodland reserve adjacent to Westhope College in Shropshire, close to Craven Arms. Anne Dyer from the college led the walk which showcased her approach to sympathetic woodland management. There were many wild flowers en route, including many Blue Bells which were a picture. Most impressive though, was surely the wild flower meadow which was in its prime and showing off its glory with thousands of Cowslips..



                                                         Wild Flower Meadow full of Cowslips                                            Photos : Alastair Hardy

7 May Geoff Wookey sent in this rather rare moth to the Teme Valley. More at home on top of Clee Hill...which is where it probably came from, this Lychnis Moth is far more at home on Heather, than clay farm land!


                                                                                  Lychnis Moth                                                            Photo : Geoff Wookey

6 May David and Jean Faulkner heard the Cuckoo in the Caynham garden today. There certainly seem to be far more of these birds around this year.

4 May Richard Pill sent in these four cracking wildlife pictures taken whilst we were busy on a pool survey up at Knighton on Teme recently.


                                                                            Broad Bodied Chaser                                                          Photo : Richard Pill


                                                                      Large Red Damselfly in Cop                                                     Photo : Richard Pill


                                                                        Male Common Blue Butterfly                                                 Photo : Richard Pill


                                                                           Small Copper Butterfly                                                         Photo : Richard Pill

3 May Ken Willetts had the Kestrel back, which this time posed nicely for him on a post in the garden. Great photo Ken.


                                                                                     Kestrel                                                                        Photo : Ken Willetts

The Local Pond Survey is well underway a two pools have been identified locally as holding all three Newt Species. This is two very important records for the area. We know that Great Crested Newts and Smooth Newts are fairly common in the Teme Valley. What wasn't expected was the turning up of the Palmate Newts, which are more associated with Acid heath land type habitat with low nutrient waters.


                                               The very distinctive web feet of a Male Palmate Newt

2 May Andrew Palmer had a Cuckoo calling today over at Milson. Simone Arnold also had another Cuckoo at Clifton on Teme. Meantime, down on Sutton Pool, Austin Palmer took this photo of two proud Canadian Geese with their seven off spring.


                                                                             Canadian Geese & Young                                             Photo : Austin Palmer

1 May Ken Willetts over at Highwood had this Brimstone Moth on his Kitchen Window this morning. It had clearly been attracted to the light in the evening and settled out on the glass over night. Not to be confused with the Brimstone Butterfly.


                                                                               Brimstone Moth                                                               Photo : Ken Willetts

At Upper Rochford, Danny Arnold had two Grass Snake in the purpose scraped out snake pit. One a juvenile of about 6 inches long, the other around two and half feet long. These are the first two Grass Snake seen this year. No camera to hand unfortunately!!

30 April Pete who lives in Bewdley had a Red Kite over his house today. They certainly are spreading Eastward!

29 April Ken Willetts at Highwood had a Kestrel swoop down and take some small rodent prey from his lawn today.

28 April Nick Benbow heard a Cuckoo over Frith Common this afternoon.

27 April Geoff Wookey trapped a second Silver Cloud Moth last night, making this the second record of this species for Shropshire!! He also had the Red Kite fly over the garden today. That's one heck of a garden bird tick !

Meanwhile, Ed Scholefield and Hilda Philips both report seeing the Red Kite in the Eastham area over the last few days.

And more brilliant bird pictures from Nick Birkin. Stunning!

                                     Photo : Nick Birkin

                                                                Goldfinch on Niger Seed Feeder

                                     Photo : Nick Birkin

                                                           A buzzard looking at a Lindor Rabbit !!

Janette Blair emailed this picture of a strange looking fungi that appeared recently at her house. We think its a Black Morel morchella elata


                                                                   Black Morel morchella elata                                                       Photo : Janette Blair

26 April The prolonged warm weather spell is bringing in all sorts of moths early. Geoff had this a couple of nights ago at Boraston, and last night, two Lime Hawk Moths came into the traps at Upper Rochford, along with a stunning Green Silverlines moth....which shouldn't be around for another month yet!!


                                              One of the spectacular Hawk Moths - The Lime Hawk Moth


                                                     Green Silver Lines - out about one month early!

John Abbiss had a Red Kite spotted over Oldwood Common today. Meanwhile at Stoke Bliss Chris & Jenny Rodgers heard the Cuckoo as well as finding two Slow Worms under some corrugated sheet they put down, just two days after seeing it done during the first Orchard Survey training day at Upper Rochford.

Geoff Wookey trapped a Silver Cloud Moth in his trap last night. (see a picture below under the 24th April entry). What makes this moth so special is that Geoff, living in Boraston is just over the Worcestershire border into Shropshire, making this the first ever record of this moth in Shropshire. Very Well Done!! A great record.

25 April Richard Pill put his moth trap out again last night at Knighton on Teme and tempted in this stunning Chocolate Tip moth.


                                                                    The stunning Chocolate Tip Moth                                              Photo : Richard Pill

Brian Marsh heard a Cuckoo at Stockton on Teme. This is the second report from this area, so hopefully, the bird will stick around.

24 April Another scarce moth record came in overnight, this time to the Upper Rochford Moth traps. Two Silver Cloud Moths came to light. These are a moth fairly exclusively located in the Severn Valley area. No one really knows why. Only three records exist of it having been trapped before at the Upper Rochford traps...then two come at once!


                                                    The relatively scarce nationally, Silver Cloud Moth

Harry Green of the Worcester Recorders Group (who were working with the WBRC on the Orchard survey last Saturday), got in touch. He said that a larvae specimen that was collected from one of the Apple trees at the Survey on the 21st at Eastham, had now hatched and turned out to be a relatively uncommon Notable B species of Crane Fly. Ctenophora pectinicornis (Identified by David Green). Once again, a rarity turns up in the Teme Valley and just goes to demonstrate the importance of such survey work.

23 April Today was the first of the Pond Surveys carried out by members of the Group. Four Ponds were surveyed and pond dipped in the Eastham area. Two of the pools produced Smooth Newts, whilst one produced a really important record, a Male Palmate Newt. All the pond data is being collated by Chloe Elding, who will be putting a report / presentation together on the findings at the June indoor meeting. If you would like to get involved, or have a pond in the area suitable for survey, then please get in touch. We already have approximately twenty pools to look at, but the more we get, the more meaningful and comprehensive the data will be. This is a 'first' for the Teme Valley and we want to get as much data as we can about the wildlife living in and around the pools and ponds in our area. This survey has been made possible in part, by the OPAL grant funding we won last year which allowed us to purchase dip nets, specimen trays and sample pots.


                                                                    Even small pond hold surprises!


                                                 A very rare (in the Teme Valley) Male Palmate Newt

And just to confirm the value of the reports you all send in, two Cuckoos have been reported today, at around the same time, in two different locations. So we know there are at least two birds about. The one was heard by Chris Kemble at Knighton on Teme, the other by Chris & Jenny Rodgers at Stoke Bliss, some few miles away, but both in 'our area'. Also, right on the edge of our area, Alan Althorp heard a Cuckoo on at High Vinnals carpark on the edge of Mortimer forest, Ludlow.

Meantime, this un seasonally warm weather is bringing a lot of moth species out very early. Geoff Wookey at Boraston, trapped a Lime Hawk Moth in his trap last night, a really good and relatively scarce moth record for the area.

22 April A fairly rare moth for this part of the County, and a 'first' for the Teme Valley and the moth traps at Upper Rochford, came to light last night. This stunning Dark Barred Twin Spot Carpet moth, is more commonly found more to the North & East of the Teme Valley. This specimen may mean their territory is moving westward.


                                                                      Dark Barred Twin Spot Carpet

21 April Another report from Geoff....Two Housemartins are nest building in his eaves at his house in Boraston. Also today, was the second of the Orchard Survey Training days run at an Apple Orchard in Eastham, in conjunction with the TVWG and WBRC. Once again, Nobel Chafer frass was found.

19 April Geoff Wookey observed two Grey Wagtails on Kyre Brook, right in the middle of Tenbury along side the Crow Pub. Totally oblivious to all the people and traffic around them.

17 April Richard Pill took up the challenge and set up a moth trap in his Orchard at Knighton on Teme last night. He was rewarded with several nice moth species, including this Waved Umber moth.


                                                                                          Waved Umber                                                     Photo : Richard Pill

16 April Today saw the first of the Orchard Survey Training Days being run by the Worcs Biological Records Center (WBRC) in conjunction with the Teme Valley Wildlife Group. This survey took place at a very old (100 years +) Cherry Orchard at Upper Rochford. Several of the WBRC experts were on hand to identify any wildlife found, and it was not long before Jenni from the WBRC found the droppings (frass) of the Nobel Chafer Beetle in one of the cherry trees. This was later supplemented by one of the Teme Valley Wildlife Group also finding frass in a second tree. This is a beetle found predominantly in the Worcs area, and these findings are important new dots on the map for this species. Also found was a rare centipede only usually found in ancient woodland.


                              The first Orchard Survey in a Cherry Orchard in full bloom at Upper Rochford

Meantime, Ken Willetts from Highwood sent in this picture of a Meadow Pipit from his recent visit up onto the Clee.


                                                                                    Meadow Pipit on post                                                Photo : Ken Willetts

15 April Nick Benbow reported hearing a Cuckoo at Frith Common this morning and Alan Micklethwaite had a Red Kite over Hanley Childe Church this afternoon. Meantime, this warm weather spell has warmed up the ground very early this year, resulting in a lot of reptile and amphibian movement. Both Austin Palmer and David Evans photographed Slow Worms in their gardens today. David also got an interesting shot of a Spider climbing over the Slow Worm....what happened next?

                                                                                  Slow Worm and Spider                                               Photo : David Evans

                                                                           Slow Worm in Compost Bin                                            Photo : Austin Palmer

14 April Geoff Wookey on the lip of the Teme Valley at Boraston also light trapped a Mullein moth last night. Perhaps this is a good year for them?

13 April Just like buses, nothing for ages, then two come at once! This is one of a pair of Mullein Moths trapped over night at Upper Rochford. Relatively scarce in Worcs, (less than 50 reported records), these are the fourth and fifth records to the Upper Rochford site. The larvae can easily be identified on the Mullein plant, but as an adult, they are not particularly attracted to light, hence the low number of records. A stunning moth never the less.


                                                                                         Mullein Moth

12 April. At last, the Red Kite has been seen over the house at Birchfield, Upper Rochford. It travelled towards and circled over Rochford Mount, before coming back again....which just allowed time to grab the camera. This is, from the markings, exactly the same bird Pete Thorp photographed a few weeks ago over at Woodston.


                                                                The "resident" Teme Valley Red Kite

Alan Hughes is the first to report the return of the Cuckoo into the Teme Valley. We had a report from Peter a few days ago, of a bird at Cleobury Golf Club, but this is the first in the Valley, on Orleton Lane, Stanford Bridge this morning.

11 April Andy Payne had his first Sallow and first Swift this afternoon at Mill Lane Earidton.

Meanwhile, five Buzzards were up over Birchfield at Upper Rochford, including the female (below) that visits the Raptor Table.


                                                            Buzzard circling over head on the Thermals

9 April Up at Highwood, Ken Willetts saw the Red Kite fly over his house. Unfortunately, no camera to hand for that sighting, but he did get this Chiffchaff singing high in a tree. Stunning photo Ken !.


                                                                                          Chiffchaff                                                               Photo : Ken Willetts

Geoff Wookey had the first Swallow over his house at Boraston today, and Annabel Elliott at Hanley Childe had her first Swallow today too. She also reports a Red Kite being seen last week in this area.

7 April Mike Harley from Eardiston took the top off his compost bin today to find two Slow Worms inside. The picture below shows one of them. They like compost as it produces a warm environment in which to breed.


                                                   Slow Worm taking in the warmth of a compost heap.                              Photo : Mike Harley

6 April Peter from the Pig Sty Studio at Abberley emailed to say that he had a Swallow and a Cuckoo (first reported of this year) on Cleobury Golf Course today. His note also includes the sighting of a dead Pole Cat seen on the road at Shelsley.

Meanwhile over night, this Streamer Moth  came into the Moth light traps at Upper Rochford overnight. So called because of its "streamers" markings on its wings.


                                                                                   The Streamer Moth

5 April Pete Stevens saw the resident Red Kite over Lindridge Church this afternoon.

4 April Chris Mussell had two Muntjac deer close to his house this morning and also had a Swallow (second record for the Teme Valley this year) perched on a line by his house.

Meantime, Geoff Wookey took this photograph of a White Marked Moth. This is a relatively scarce moth nationally, but once again, the Teme Valley seems to do very well for this species which is showing up regularly at moth traps around the Valley.

                                Photo : Geoff Wookey

                                                                                 White Marked Moth

3 April Coming back home today, two pairs of Lapwing were seen on the ploughed fields at Hilltop, Upper Rochford. Twenty years ago, Lapwing were a very common site, but not so now. So these birds were a welcome sight.


                                                        Lapwing making a welcome return to the area

Also flying overhead whilst taking this picture, a Skylark was high in the air singing.....another scarcity in the area. Great to see the both back!

Steph Mocrofts parents saw the Red Kite at the Hopyards in Eardiston and later at Stamford Bridge this afternoon.

2 April Up at Hanley Broadheath, Alan Micklethwaite found this rather bedraggled moth drowning in a horse trough, rescued it and as he wasn't sure of its identification, photographed it. What a good job he did!


                                                                     Orange Underwing Moth                                               Photo : Alan Micklethwaite

This moth is an Orange Underwing. A day flying moth that is hardly ever seen. The main reason is that it is only found in and around birch trees and spends most of its time, high up, out of sight, in the trees' canopy. Very rarely does it come anywhere near ground level.

But perhaps more importantly, this is a first record for the Teme Valley and a new record for the 10km square in which the largest proportion of the Teme Valley sits.

The next closest reported population of these moths is the Wyre Forest to the East, and a colony was also found by Danny Arnold at Bircher Common to the West, last year.

This is a great record for the area!

1 April Geoff Wookey at Boraston had a Redstart in the garden today. A great record for anybody's garden bird list! Geoff also trapped his first Brindled Pug Moth in his Moth trap last night. More proof that Sping has arrived!

A little out of our area, but of interest, Nick Benbow was working with a volunteer group for the Worcs Wildlife Trust, on their Devils Spittleful site just outside Bewdley. He spotted a Red Kite above the reserve. This shows that the progression eastwards for this bird is very much ongoing, as this site is almost in Kidderminster!

30 March Margaret Bradley has the honor of being the first with a sighting this year of a Swallow at her farm at Knighton on Teme.

29 March Over at Caynham, David Faulkner had a Red Kite circling over head. Is this the bird we now see regularly in the Woodston area, or a 'new bird', making its way down the Valley? David also had a Kestrel spotted from his house today.

28 March Felicity Beaumont from Tenbury reports having three Small Tortoishell and one Peacock Butterfly in the garden this week. Is anybody else getting butterflies yet?

Roger Arnold had two Red Kite flying over Heaton House Martley today.

Richard Pill at Knighton on Teme got this great photograph of two Lesser Redpoll in his Garden. There have not been too many reported this winter, so this would appear to be a relatively rare sight this year.


                                                                                      Lesser Redpoll                                                           Photo : Richard Pill

26 March Alan Micklethwaite at Hanley Broadheath found Psychoides verhuella larvae on the Harts Tongue Fern at their house. Another good record for the area.

25 March Geoff Wookey had his first Chiffchaff of the year up on the edge of the Valley at his home in Boraston.

Pete Stevens saw the Red Kite again today, but this time on the Lower Road between Lower Rochford and Eastham.

And Phil Morgan had his first Cowslips appear today at Menith Wood.

24 March Pete Stevens spent about 15 minutes today watching the resident Red Kite from his house at Lower Frith Common

23 March David Sothers found this Peacock Butterfly in the dog kennel. Almost certainly the butterfly had over wintered there with the dog!

                              Photo: David Sothers

                                                                         Peacock Butterfly

Pete & Vicki Stevens have also found  Psychoides verhuella larvae on the Harts Tongue Fern at their house in Frith Common

                               Photo : Pete Stevens

                                                                    Psychoides verhuella larvae

22 March David Evans reported the Red Kite over Eardiston today.

20 March At Birchfield, Upper Rochford, the first Chiffchaff of the year was heard and frog spawn appeared in one of the shallow pools. A good indication spring has sprung!

19 March Two more sightings of Red Kite in two different areas of the Valley at around the same time, indicating the likelihood that there are two distinct individuals around. Chris & Jenny Rodgers at Stoke Bliss had one fly over their home at Stoke Bliss, whilst at Eastham, Diana Clarke had one over her house, being mobbed by two Corvids.

Having regular reports coming in, helps to establish just how many individuals there are in the area.

18 March Liz Sneath saw the now resident Red Kite at Woodston today.

16 March David Evans over at Menith Wood found the larvae of Psychoides verhuella  This is a small fairly nondescript micro moth which lives and breeds on Harts Tongue Fern. There are only two larvae which feed on this plant, which is usually found in shady damp habitat. The Psychoides verhuella larvae can be distinguished from the Psychoides filicivora larvae as the former has a black head....the latter a brown head. The larvae use the spores of plant (found on the underside), to hide / feed in, forming a cocoon from and eventually pupating. This is another important record not just for the Teme Valley, but Worcs generally, as there are very few records of this day flying moth in the County.

                                                    Photo : David Evans

                                                                      Psychoides verhuella larvae

15 March Nick Birkin sent in this brilliant picture taken from his place in Tenbury....Im sure there is an appropriate caption that alludes to a Vulture waiting for dinner...but I cant think of it just now. Great Photo Nick !

                          Photo : Nick Birkin

                                                                         The Buzzard & Wood Pigeon

14 March The Wyre Forest Moth Trapping / recording evening went ahead on Saturday night, even though there was a little drizzle. Plenty of moths were recorded from the trapping site right in the middle of the forest at the area known as the experimental pool. 559 moths of 26 species were recorded from six skinner traps.

Richard & Amanda reported finding the larvae of the micro moth Psychoides verhuella on their Harts Tongue Fern in their garden following a request to the Group to keep looking out for it.

Yesterday afternoon, the Group held its first walk of the year, organised by Alastair Hardy, over at Croft Ambery / Bircher Common. The weather was superb, bright sunny and just right for walking. En route, several Roe Deer were seen, as well as Marsh Tit and Buzzard and best of the day, a Goshawk seen circling high over head.

13 March Maggie Kingston has reported the Frogs in her pool have now spawned. They were also spawning and croaking in force at the pools at Upper Rochford.

Charlotte Hughes and her husband at Hillwood spotted the two Red Kite today, gliding on the thermals above their farm.

And a single Red Kite was seen by Cassie Willmot and her father over the Fox pub at Broadheath.

11 March Great News!....Rachel Jacks is the first to confirm the sighting of TWO Red Kite together in the Teme Valley. A little later in the day Margaret Bradley emailed to say she too had seen the two birds together. Both in the Eastham and Knighton on Teme area.

Shirley & David Hambelton spotted a nice and unusual visitor on a post in the adjoining field. A Merlin, the smallest of the UK's birds of prey sat eating a small field vole or similar.

10 March Ian & Diana found Mistletoe growing in three tree species locally to them at Abberley. Lime, Crab Apple and Hawthorn.


                                    Mistletoe on Lime                                                                  Mistletoe on Hawthorn

                                                 All three photos by Diana Parkin

                                                                              Mistletoe on Crab Apple

David Norsworthy has also emailed in this photo of Mistletoe on Poplar....one of the more common plant hosts.

                                 Photo : David Norsworthy

9 March Richard Pill saw the Red Kite at Newnham Bridge this morning. This is the first reported sighting for a few days and is a little further up stream than usually seen. Same bird??

6 March More people on the Mistletoe hunt. Felicity Beaumont found masses of Mistletoe in the Burford Church yard.

5 March Ken Willetts at Highwood once again proving he has a very productive garden on the bird front. Siskin have this year, been very few and far between....but not in Kens garden, as this photo shows!


                                                                    Siskin on nyger seed feeder                                                     Photo : Ken Willetts

1 March Moth traps often trap 'other things' as well as moths...This Hawthorn Shieldbug was found in one of the Upper Rochford light traps recently. Similar to the Birch Shieldbug, this insect would have over wintered as an adult.


                                                                                 Hawthorn Shieldbug

26 February Dave Barnes photographed this Otter whilst down on a tributary of the River Teme near Ludlow. Clearly in broad day light, the animal was fairly oblivious to Dave being there. We are now getting several sightings a year of Otter on the Teme and they are certainly far more common than most people think. A 'first' for this web page...a couple of cracking photos of a 'local' wild Otter.


                                                                                                                                                                        Photo : Dave Barnes


                                                                             Otter on the River Teme                                                  Photo : Dave Barnes

26 February Ken Willetts at Highwood has been getting some great bird photos of late.  This Lesser Redpoll is one of only a handful of reported sightings this winter.


                                                       Lesser Redpoll on nyger seed feeder                                                     Photo : Ken Willetts

24 February Brian Marsh emailed to say he had a frog invasion in his pool at Eardiston last night. Around 20 Frogs appeared all croaking. The warmer weather clearly brought the amphibian world to life!

Chris & Vickie Melling have been on the Mistletoe hunt...finding it not only in local apple, but also an ornamental Plum in their garden.

23 February A much warmer evening last night with a low of 8.5C meant that there was a flurry of moths on the wing after the relatively cool evenings of late. The main trapping site at Upper Rochford recorded 85 moths belonging to 19 species. There were several 'new in for the year', including this example of a Lead Coloured Drab.


                                                                                 Lead Coloured Drab

Four Ravens were also seen over Upper Rochford and a chime of twenty Goldfinch were sat perched in the top of a Rowan in the same area.

22 February A Kestrel was seen on the edge of Upper Rochford village, drop down into the verge and pick up and carry away a small vole. This bird is now becoming a relatively common sight in the area.

21 February Geoff Wookey has been using one of the OPAL funded moth traps over at Boraston, right on the northern lip of the Teme Valley. Geoff only started this new moth trapping venture in January of this year as part of the Teme Valley Wildlife Group's endeavour to get more people involved with recording the wildlife around them. As well as putting new moth data into his 10km tetrad, he has this weekend, trapped a tiny Micro Moth called 451 Ypsolopha mucronella. This is one of the largest Ypsolopha species and over winters as a fully grown adult. This one appears to have come out of hibernation a little early, not usually being seen on the wing until March. This record is of significant importance as Geoff has been informed by the Shropshire County recorder that this is only the Second County record for Shropshire for this species!.


                                                                           451 Ypsolopha mucronella

Steve Tuck emailed a note in saying he had spotted four Red Kite over the Food Hall on the main Ludlow Road. This of course is only a few miles up the Valley from where our resident Red Kite is being seen. Hopefully our bird will find a mate!

Steve also had a Sparrowhawk in the back garden this weekend. A testament to this birds ingenuity in finding easy food around a bird table, as Steve lives in the middle of Urban Leominster!

20 February Amy Jones spotted a Red Kite at Hanley Childe.....Is this the same bird that frequents the Valley around Lindridge....or another bird?

Also, a new record for the Teme Valley and only the 8th confirmed record for Worcestershire this Centaury (13th Worcs record ever), this large Macro moth, Red Sword Grass came into one of the Upper Rochford Light Traps last night. This is a comparatively large moth, about an inch (28mm) long, which emerges in the Autumn, then overwinters as an adult, and appears again in the Spring.

This is a species more associated with the damp moorland / woodland to the north and west of the UK. The Teme Valley is is not really a typical territory for this species, but once again goes to show that the localised habitat does exist to support this species.


                                Looking like a dead twig, a master of camouflage The Red Sword Grass moth

Will Watson also reports another Red Kite seen this time over Survival Foods in Leominster

19 February Chris & Jenny Rodgers have a "Brambling fest" at the moment. Whilst many of us struggle to see just One Brambling in the Garden, they are getting up to a dozen of these birds at one time at their home in Stoke Bliss.


                                               Brambling taking seed from under the bird feeders                   Photo : Chris & Jenny Rodgers

18 February Ian & Diana Parkin have been out looking for leaf mines on Bramble. As well as finding the usual trail mines of the micromoth Stigmella aurella, they have also found the much less common 'funnel mine' mine made by the moth Emmitia marginea. All found on their home patch at Abberley.


                                                           Emmitia marginea leaf mine on Bramble                                       Photo : Diana Parkin

Charlotte Hughes also called today to confirm a sighting of what is thought to be the same Red Kite on / around the Hill Wood area of the Valley. Charlotte also indicated that it was calling frequently and being mobbed by corvids.

Also seen by Pete Thorp, at 10pm last night, A Barn Owl on a post at Woodston.

17 February Rosemary Winnall reported seeing the Red Kite , east of Eastham Bridge today.

15 February Pete Thorp again reported the Red Kite in the same area today.

14 February More Red Kite sightings at Stockton and Lindridge today reported by Ruth Hackett and Pete Stevens

13 February Pete Thorp reported the Red Kite in the Woodston area again today.

12 February Two independent reports of the Red Kite today from David Sothers and Dave Barnes, both in the Woodston / Lindridge area. Steve Whitehouse also reports the Great Grey Shrike back on Bircher Common.

10 February - Ken Willetts back out with his camera again, sent it this great photo of a Marsh Tit. In this area, Marsh Tits are by far the more common of the "Is it a Marsh Tit or Willow Tit" question . The best course for identification, is to learn both their calls. they are completely different.


                                                                                           Marsh Tit                                                              Photo : Ken Willetts

Claire Wright sent in this photo of Elf's Cup fungi she found in her woodland just outside Tenbury. A colourful and distinctive species.


                                                                                      Elf's Cup Fungi                                                        Photo : Claire Wright

9 February - Ken Willetts contacted us by email to say that whilst out in his garden today, one of the Goldcrest he is fortunate to have around his property at Highwood, dropped down onto the ground in front of him. With camera in hand, he managed to get this photo of this usually secretive little bird.

                               Photo : Ken Willetts


6 February At long last, we have some photographs of the Red Kite. Pete Thorp took these fantastic photographs at Woodston. As can be seen, the bird is free from tags and rings, so is clearly a 'wild bird'. The under side wing markings make it very recognisable. Please keep an eye out for this bird, and even if you don't get a photo, please check to see if the bird you are seeing is marked in the same way. A Red Kite plumage can be extremely variable. We would like to know if all the reports were are getting in (and thanks for sending them in....and please keep sending them in) are just a single bird....or whether there is more than one in the area. If you can commit the wing patterns to memory, it might just help. Here are Pete's brilliant shots:

         Photo : Pete Thorp

         Photo : Pete Thorp

         Photo : Pete Thorp

5 February Rob Humphreys emailed. He too has seen the Red Kite today at Eardiston. It is clearly staying in the area.

3 February The Red Kite is still around. Pete Stevens emailed to say Betty Anderson followed it for several hundred meters in her car today near the Menith Wood turn on the A456

2 February The Red Kite was reported by Brian Marsh today. Seen at Stockton.

1 February The Red Kite was reported by Steve Whitehouse as over Pensax Common today.

31 January Chris Wells emailed with some very interesting news today, to say that a roost of 15 Red Kite had been located on private land in the Teme Valley, some few miles west of Ludlow. This is the first known roost in Herefordshire. Whilst out of our area, it is interesting as the Teme Valley could be the artery which is funneling birds down into our area....possibly from this roost. Please continue to report All Red Kite sightings to us. It helps build up the bigger picture of what is happening, distribution and breeding wise, to these fantastic birds.

26 January A little out of our area, but included out of interest, a Humming Bird Hawk Moth was found flying around in a Stourport on Severn Garden, clearly having woken up early from its over wintering hibernation.

25 January Mark Lawley emailed to remind people that if they would like to go on the Border Bryologists day out at Cleobury on the 13th March, they need to book their places with him ASAP. This is a free of charge event and gives people the opportunity to learn a bit more about this fascinating subject. Contact us via this web site and we will pass your details onto Mark.

24 January David Hambelton had a Woodcock set to flight in front of him at his house in Upper Rochford. Characterised by the distinctly zig zag flight pattern.

There was no TVWG walk this month, but many of the Wildlife Group members attended the walk and lunch organised by Maggie Kingston and her Village Hall Committee to raise funds for the Stoke Bliss & Kyre Village Hall fund. The walk took a 3 mile circuit from Bannall's farm, around Kyre Pool and back. This was a very interesting walk across some of the areas finest countryside.

                                 Photo: Ian & Diana Parkin

                                                              Taking the 'long way around' the field

                                 Photo: Ian & Diana Parkin

                                                                                       Kyre Pool

23 January On the 14th January a small Tortrix micro moth was trapped by Danny Arnold at Upper Rochford. This moth did not fit the usual suspects flying at this time of year, so looking further a field, was submitted to Tony Simpson the Worcs County Moth recorder for verification that it was in fact, Acleris abietana. Tony confirmed the record on the 21st January.

Looking this up on the NBN Gateway map, this is only the 5th record in the UK. That said, Tony is aware of one other record which does not appear on this system, making it the 6th known record of this species for the UK.

Its first appearance was in Scotland (Perthshire), where three records were noted in the late 1990's. A further record was from around Keilder Water and one from Herefordshire a few years ago. The larvae feed on coniferous tree species and it is thought that it originated initially from Scandinavia, brought in on firs which were subsequently planted in Scotland. Once again, the Teme Valley proves itself as being one of the most pristine Lepidoptera habitats in Worcs, pulling out the 4th "first record for Worcs" on the moth scene in less than two years!


                     Acleris abietana....1st record for Worcs....and possibly the 6th record for the whole of the UK

16 January Phil Vincent up at Clifton had a badly injured Otter brought to him. Unfortunately it had been involved in a suspected Car Accident at Ham Bridge and didn't survive the night. It was however in other wise good condition. A female.

14 January Dave Barnes has sent in the link to his set of pictures of the Bittern in December, swallowing a Brown Trout. Some truly awesome pictures! Click here.

11 January Geoff Wookey emailed to say that he had several Hawfinch in the Wyre at Lodge Hill today. The moth traps at Upper Rochford were a little busier last night with five species of moth coming in on a slightly warmer (4C Lowest temp) night. This included another Ypsolopha ustella , December Moth, Winter Moth, Mottled Umber and the first Early Moth of the year.

9 January Margaret Bradley had the Red Kite over the house also today at Knighton On Teme. Danny Arnold had a single Hawfinch in the Wyre Forest at Lodge Hill Farm.

A 'new' micro moth record for the traps at Upper Rochford last night, the tiny Ypsolopha ustella came in. One of the few micro moths on the wing at the moment, it having survived the extreme cold and over wintered successfully. The adult moth is quite variable in colour and is just 10 mm in length. The larvae feed in Oak.


                                                                                    461 Ypsolopha ustella

8 January Three really important / interesting pieces of wildlife news in today. Firstly Bill Spice rang in to say that the Red Kite which is often seen from Stanford through to Eastham, was over his house at Stockton today. This is a great record as it had not been reported since before the snow in December. Clearly it has managed to feed and survive the bad weather.

The second piece of info was rung in by Mick who lives on the Oaklands. He reported seeing the Little Egret (seen below) flying over his house this afternoon (presumably to roost). This would indicate that it has probably been on the Kyre Brook for the past three days.

And finally, Dave Barnes confirmed that the Hawfinches were still around in the Wyre Forest today.

5 January 2011 Well unless you know differently, the Bittern looks as though it has moved on. There have been no reports of sightings in since the last time it was seen, which was the 30th December.

There is however some good news on the bird front.

A little out of our area, but I post this info as the Group did hold one of its monthly walks there in October last year, there are five Hawfinch in and around Lodge Hill farm in the Wyre Forest. For those of you that were on the walk, follow the old railway line up to the first sandstone bridge (where the barrier is across the track). They have been in this general area for the last few days.

At Worcester on the River Severn behind the Tech College, take a look at the Swans on the river. In amongst the Mute Swans is a single Whooper Swan. It is wearing a ring, but there is no BTO ring, so it is probably a Swan that has been into a rescue center, ringed and released.

And the best news of today, we might have lost the Bittern from the River, but look what's turned up on Kyre Brook, right in the middle of town (Tenbury). Keith Holbrow took these amazing pictures of a Little Egret perched in a tree on the brook.



                       Little Egret perched in a tree in the middle of Tenbury over Kyre Brook        Photo : Keith Holbrow

1 January 2011 - A Happy New Year to all that visit this site. Please keep your sightings and information on Wildlife seen in the area, coming in. It helps keeps the site fresh and allows others to go and see what you've seen. Thanks for all your contributions in 2010.

To go to the 2010 archive, click this link : 2010 archive