2009 Archive


31 December - Lapwings have been seen in a field near Eardiston and also a field out towards Leominster recently. This was once quite a common winter bird, but of late, is seldom seen in these parts. These recorded sightings by David Norsworthy are therefore important data for the area. Are they making a come back?

Alan Althorp reports two Goosander on the River Teme in the area of the Burgage in Tenbury. I wonder if one of these is a 'new bird' that has teamed up with the resident one, or whether these are both new birds?

Finally, where's the camera when you need it...!

We had today, the most unusual visitor to the pedestal style bird bath in the garden at Upper Rochford....A Moorhen !!....and of course, by the time I'd fetched the camera....it had gone !!!

30 December - Another stunning 'front room window' shot from Julian. This time of a Song Thrush braving the cold over the Christmas break. Another of Julian's Redwing shots can also be seen in the bird gallery here.

                                Photo : Julian Mason

                                                                               Song Thrush

23 December - Julian Mason sent in this stunning shot of a Redwing taken through his front room window. Julian currently has two birds residing in his front garden, stripping berries off a holly tree at some pace. These birds tend to wander relative to food source, so as soon as these berries are gone, they are likely to move on to another berry laden tree. Meantime, this photo shows just how colourful these winter visitors are, with their copper coloured flanks and cream eye slash.

                                 Photo : Julian Mason

                                                                                    Redwing

22 December - The hardest frost for a long time. Minus 8° C at Upper Rochford over night. It made for a spectacular morning though, when the sun eventually rose above the hill. The twin Oak and Silver Birch are completely frost laden.

A good time to get your 'Winter in the Teme Valley' pictures taken for the winter photo competition!. Full details of how to enter at the bottom of this home page.

                                 

                                                                                     minus 8 °C !!

20th December - Another day that barely climbed above freezing. Much of the wildlife was quite. Even this usually noisy Jay at Upper Rochford didn't have much to say today!!

                                                      

                                                                                         Jay

19th December - With the change in wind direction, the NWesterly winds have brought in good numbers of Fieldfare this year. There also appears to be good numbers of migrant Blackbirds too. With the first heavy frosts having taking their grip, the apples tress that were hanging on to any remaining fruit have given up their cargo and as a result, the Fieldfare and Blackbirds are gorging themselves on the fallen fruit in the orchards.

                             

                                               Fieldfare (and Blackbird) feeding on fallen apples

But its also worth scanning these flocks carefully, as occasionally there will be one or two other birds of interest mingling in with them. Robins, Chaffinch and Redwing are all partial to fallen apples. One of the most interesting birds found on the apples this weekend was this Blackcap. We have a UK population which travels South for the winter. Interestingly though, more Northern populations travel South to the UK , over-wintering here. This is almost certainly such a bird.

                              

                                         A migrant Blackcap (and Blackbird) feeding on fallen apples

16th December - Julia McDowell reports seeing a Muntjac Deer along the road by Eastham Grange. They can certainly be heard occasionally in this/p>

14th December - The forecast for the end of this week is for Easterly Winds to come in. This should bring with it the first big influx of the winter migratory birds from Scandinavia. They will take a while to reach Worcs being this far in land, but It'll make for an interesting birding period over the Christmas festive period. Keep a look out for Redwing, Fieldfare, Waxwings, Lesser Redpoll and Siskin. And wouldn't it be something if we had our first Teme Valley Short Eared Owls appearing!!

13th December - A female Sparrowhawk was 'spooked' out of a tree by a Buzzard flying low over the Pools at Upper Rochford today.

12th December - A male Bullfinch was spotted feeding in a hedge on Poke Lane Upper Sapey today. A few Fieldfare were in one of the Orchards at Upper Rochford and a few Fieldfare and Redwing were seen feeding on fallen apples in an orchard above Eastham Bridge.

11th December - The Male Kingfisher was still present on the pools at Upper Rochford. Eight Redwing were also seen in the tops of the trees.

10th December - An excellent end of year Wildlife Quiz rounded off a successful year for the Teme Valley Wildlife's Group indoor meeting program. Thanks to Julian Mason who put so much effort into making the quiz so varied and interesting.....and to making most of us realise, either how much we don't know about the wildlife in our area, or how much we've forgotten !!

7 December - For this Mallard pair, an intense courting ritual of bobbing heads and mimicking each others actions, lasting about 5 minutes was followed by mating, then a flurry of water bathing (see the female in the background) and eventually this fluffing up and 'drying off' period. They had a brood of 16 young last year!!.....I wonder how young many we are set for this year?

                             

                                                                    Mallard Drake - Drying off

6 December - One of a pair of Marsh Tits that have been around all year at Upper Rochford. Very difficult to distinguish against a Willow Tit, the most reliable method is by their call. The Marsh Tit has a very high pitched "ppsheww" call, which tends to 'cut the air' and stand out as being a lot louder than other bird song in the area. Definitely a bird call to learn.

                                                     

                                                                                      Marsh Tit

4 December - Ok, this is just outside our normal Teme Valley reporting area, but its close enough to demonstrate that absolutely anything could turn up here on our Teme Valley area. This photo, taken at about 200 meters range, is of a most unusual visitor, a Glossy Ibis. A bird more commonly associated with the warmer areas of Europe...(Greece, Turkey etc). Today, this bird was located and photographed just down stream of Holt Fleet Bridge, over the River Severn, Worcs. We believe it to be a 'first' for Worcestershire, so another important county record right on our door step.

                              

                                                                                Glossy Ibis

3 December - David & Jo Sothers at Upper Rochford have had both Jays and a Kestrel in their garden recently. Fantastic sightings!.

2 December - David Norsworthy from out towards Leominster emailed with this picture of a Jay taken from one of his remote wildlife cameras. Apparently David has two Jays that regularly come to bird feeders in the garden. This is a great and unusual flight shot of this elusive species.

                                                photo : David Norsworthy

                                                                                   Jay in flight

27 November - Andrew Mawby over at Abberley has reported the first Lesser Redpoll of the winter, on one of his niger seed feeders today. Anybody else seen them yet? They are quite partial to 'soft seeds', so if you have niger seeds, you might find them competing with the Goldfinches for it. Keep an eye out also on any fields where thistles are still standing. Thistle seeds are another favourite.

Now that they are at the Eastern end of the Teme Valley, there is a very good chance that they will now be moving down through the valley over the next few weeks. To see a picture of this colourful finch, click here.

22 November - Its a fact of life that most of the UK has a Grey Squirrel population. This one however appears to have recently lost its tail. Underneath the furry stump is clearly a new wound where the tail has been decapitated. Does make you wonder how it lost its tail??

                                   

                                                                                Grey Squirrel minus tail

...And here's a picture of the same Kingfisher the day after on the same pool...this time 'thinking about going fishing'...This photo was by Pete Thorp, who had come over for the afternoon.

                                    photo : Pete Thorp

                                                                                         Kingfisher

21 November - Ask anybody who photographs birds and they will tell you that capturing a Kingfisher diving is one of the most challenging photographs to take. Whilst the time and place were right on this occasion at Upper Rochford, the elements and specifically the light was against us which meant that the shutter speed of the camera was still far too slow, even with the highest ISO setting and lowest f stop No available, to get a set of good quality shots. Still, it can only get better !! This male spent about an hour fishing during a rare dry spell this afternoon. It appeared that he was taking small newts from the pool. Judging by the quantity he was taking, there was clearly a good number in the pool for him to go at. These are most likely to be Common Newts, as they have been found in good numbers in this pool in the past.

                                                                                 Kingfisher taking a Newt

19th November - Steve Aston emailed with a sighting of a Jay over at Milson Woods on the Cleobury to Tenbury Road. This year has seen not too many acorns around, one of the Jays primary food supplies, so its worth keeping an eye open as these birds scavenge food in areas where they are perhaps not so commonly seen.

18th November - Dave Barnes emailed to say that the female Goosander still present down at the river bridge over the River Teme in Tenbury. This is one of the 'saw tooth' waterfowl and is usually quite timid. This one however seems relatively unphased by people on the bridge, so allows a close up inspection if you haven't seen one close up before. If you look at the 3rd Sept entry below, Dave submitted a photo of the bird.

17th November - The list of speakers for the 2010 monthly meetings has been posted above. Hopefully, there is something for everyone....so put the dates in your diaries...

16th November - A reminder that the Teme Valley Wildlife Winter Photographic Competition launched on 12th November. The Theme is "Winter in the Teme Valley".

Full details of how to enter can be found at the very bottom of this home page.......so get snapping!!

15 November - A new "Woodpecker feeding Pole" was put up at Upper Rochford. It took this male Great Spotted Woodpecker just 24 hours to find it !!

                                                       

                                                                Great Spotted Woodpecker - Male

13 November - Andrew Mawby gave an excellent talk on the study of Dippers he and his brother had carried out in the Yorkshire Dales. Work spanning almost 50 years. Apart from the wonderful photography, the talk highlighted the benefit of taking the time to record sightings over a period of time.

10 November - Found an Injured Bird??...Take a look at our page on places that may be able to give you advice on what to do next. We don't advocate any one specifically, but all these people listed on this page have been very helpful and recommended by people using them in the Teme Valley. The page is located under the "Birds" menu above. You can also go to it here.

9 November - Pete Broadley emailed to give details of Otter sightings he had seen around the Teme Valley over the last few years. The reports stretched from Abberley through to Stoke Bliss and indicate that once again, the Teme Valley has prime habitat for yet more under recorded species. If you have any info on Otter sightings over the last couple of years in this area, please get in touch as it will allow a bigger picture to be built up on this elusive mammal in the area. When compared with coastal Otters, the amount of information available about inland Otters is relatively sparse, so any details are of interest.

Pete also reports seeing a late Red Admiral on the 2nd Nov at Vines Lane - Stoke Bliss and also a large flock of Fieldfare coming over his fields, also at Stoke Bliss.

8th November - Plenty of Redwing are now coming into the Teme Valley area. Look out for them in local Orchards, gorging themselves on the fallen apples. A Thrush sized bird with a distinctive cream stripe through the eye and rust coloured flash on the sides of its chest. You may well see them in mixed flocks with Fieldfares.

                             

                                                                                   Redwing

6th November - David & Jo Sothers sent in this picture of sunlight streaming in through the tree canopy of a local wood, as Autumn descends upon us. Which is really good timing, as next Thursday 12th November, at the Monthly Teme Valley Wildlife Group meeting, we will be announcing the Theme of the Winter Photo Competition. The Summer competition went down so well, you asked us for another one....so get along to the meeting on Thursday and we'll give you all the details.

                               Photo: David & Jo Sothers

                                                                   Sunlight in a wood in Autumn

2nd November - Cherie from Frith Common emailed to say that she had seen a Hare crossing a field up towards Rock. She also had a late Red Admiral on 28th October. Both nice records Cherie.

Pete Stevens also emailed to say he too, had a late Red Admiral and a Painted Lady in his garden today over at Frith Common. Again, very late records for these butterflies. Keep letting us know if you are still seeing butterflies about.

1st November - If proof we needed about the presence of Polecats in the area, one of Group, David Sothers, was shown a 'road kill' by Glenn Powell. A small female Polecat found out at St Michaels. Glenn also reported to David seeing one (a large male) by the disused garage at Upper Rochford recently.......have you seen any about?

27th October - ....and Heather Hughes also had an unusual sighting recently. Heather describes driving back from Eastham one evening......."My first impression was a young fox - a area, but this elusive deer is seldom seen. < reddish colouring with pointy face but as it turned on its heels and dived back into the hedge it revealed not a brush attached to its rear but a long cat-like tail reddish in colour with dark rings along it.  It was definitely larger that a domestic cat and far too pointy for a feral cat". ......Heather is sure it wasn't a mink or polecat....any ideas?? ....let us know...

23rd October - The Applefest quizzes went down very well and we can now tell you the winner of the quiz where we asked :

"How many UK Birds can you name, as listed on the RSPB's web site identification page, beginning with the letter 'G' " ...was

                                            Richard Franklin

who managed a creditable 20 species. Very well done Richard.

In close second place came Joyce Horsfall and third place Elise D'Arcy.

As a foot note, all three top entries also included birds which you might have thought would figure on the RSPB list or web page. Things like Great Bustard which are down on Salisbury plain and Green Winged Teal, Green Parakeet and (Red) Grouse were all discounted based on them not appearing on this RSPB page.

The actual total number possible was 35 Birds. We wont list them here, but if you want to see what you missed out on, you can click here and it'll take you to the RSPB page in question.

On the Picture quiz, Well Done to the winner, who was :

                                             Eleanor Pearce

Well done Eleanor for getting 6 out of 10 right. This was closely followed by Claire Preston who managed 5 plus Claire was the only person to get the correct number of moths right, hiding on the tree in the tie break question, which was 27. In third place, with another 5 out of 10 but one short on the number of moths on the tree, well done to Joyce Mills

Here's the full answers:

         

              Common Blue Damselfly (d)                         Little Egret (b)                                      Painted Lady (d)

         

                           Moorhen (a)                                       Nuthatch (c)                                                Rudd (e)

        

                            Stonechat (e)                                Feathered Thorn (c)                                          Kestrel (a)

                                     

                                                       Pale Tussock (a)                                           27 moths

Well done to everyone that entered!!

21st October - Susan from up near Stockton had a great sighting yesterday morning. An Otter walking up her garden path !!

Susan said that at one time, she was barely 3 meters away from it and it seemed totally oblivious to her presence, or that of her cat which was following it. A great record! Has anyone else seen Otters about recently??

20th October - Another Moth of Interest. This time appropriately named Figure of Eight. This is a Worcestershire C List 'Scarce' moth and the first time it has been trapped at the Upper Rochford light traps.

                                                  

                                                                    Figure of Eight Moth

19th October - Pete Thorp over at Woodston had a close encounter today. A Peregrine Falcon was perched on his gate post as viewed from the Kitchen Window at breakfast. That's quite some record for you garden bird list Pete !!

Also yesterday, the first influx of Redwings were seen (and heard) in the Orchards at Upper Rochford.

18th October - Applefest weekend in Tenbury. Pictured on the stand are David, Jo, Amanda and Richard.

                             photo : Pete Thorp

14th October - An interesting shot of a moth featured on 28th September below. This is the under side of a Red Underwing Moth as seen through a pane of glass. Photo taken by David & Jo Sothers. Lovely markings.

                                                      photo : David & Jo Sothers

                                                            Underside of a Red Underwing Moth

10th October - Judith Dunkling emailed to say she saw a Goshawk over a field at the back of her home in Burford yesterday. Great sighting!!

8th October - Jo Sothers took this shot of a large piece of Fungi growing on an old Sycamore stump in her garden. It measured about 6" across. Are there any fungi experts out there who can put a name to it?

                          photo : Jo Sothers

                                                                    Fungi on Sycamore stump

5th October - Philippa Ball from over at Woodston rang to say that she had seen a Brown Hare down by Tenbury Hospital, a first for her in several years she said.

4th October - We received three interesting photographs from John Abbiss over at Oldwood Common this weekend.

This first shot shows a large chrysalis of what John believes is an Elephant Hawk Moth. It's difficult to confirm from this chrysalis alone, and the only way to be sure would be to keep it safe over winter and see what emerges in the spring.

                                                   Photo :  John Abbiss

                                                            Elephant Hawk Moth chrysalis ??

This next shot is of a baby toad John found in his pool. The size can be judged by the floating duckweed adjacent.

                                    Photo :  John Abbiss

                                                                                    Tiny Toad

And finally, just proving John has great eye sight!....this tiny common newt he found whilst digging the garden.

                                     Photo :  John Abbiss

                                                                               Common Newt

3rd October - The last of the Hunhouse moth trapping sessions for the year was run last night. Around twenty species of autumn moths came in, including a few 'Brick' moths. This does not appear to be a particularly common moth in the Teme Valley, yet in Hunthouse, there were plenty about. Looking at the larvae food plant, we could see why...... Elm. Hunthouse has a good number of well established Elm trees.

2nd October - Another Moth related entry. Whilst by no means a particularly spectacular moth, this Dusky Lemon Sallow is another important record for Worcestershire and the Teme Valley. It is the first time this autumn moth has been trapped at the Upper Rochford light traps and is classified as 'Scarce' in Worcestershire, being on the Worcs C List. One of the reasons for its scarcity listing is that the lack of larvae habitat which feed on Wych Elm, a tree in no great numbers locally.

                            

                                                    Dusky Lemon Sallow - Scarce in Worcs.

28th September - One of the UK's most spectacular Autumn moths came to one of the Upper Rochford light traps last night. This Red Underwing is also one of the UK's larger moths measuring about 2.25 inches across the wing. It is fairly obvious how it came by its name!

The larvae feed on a variety of Poplars, Aspens and Willows, so whilst not abundant, is regularly recorded in the Teme Valley as the general habitat along the river valley is very suitable.

                             

                                                                              Red Underwing Moth

26th September - We held an Ancient Tree Workshop at Upper Rochford, where Rebecca Lashley came and gave some practical guidance into the ways in which ancient tree are measured and recorded. Weather wise, it was a bright sunny afternoon and we could not have hoped for a better climate.

                               Photo : Wanda Arnold

                                                                    Rebecca delivering some training

                               Photo : Wanda Arnold

                                          Richard, Alastair and Amanda discussing a Lapsed Layer Hedge

25th September - Carol Day at Eastham called to say that she is getting a regular Lesser Spotted Woodpecker on one of her feeding stations. These birds are relatively scarce and makes this an important record for the Teme Valley Area.

24th September - John Abbiss sent in this sunset from last night. Taken from Oldwood Common. Spectacular!

                                photo : John Abbiss

                                                                                     Sunset

23rd September - A Worcestershire First!!...At the monthly Wildlife Group moth trapping session in Hunthouse Wood held on 3rd July, Patrick Clement took away a tiny 'micro moth' for species analysis, as he didn't recognised the moth. It turned out to be a UK Notable species - Coleophora adjectella . This is the FIRST CONFIRMED WORCESTERSHIRE RECORD of this moth, confirmed by county moth recorder, Tony Simpson.......and it was found in the Teme Valley!! What other wildlife jewels does this area hold??

20th September - Muntjac Deer are fairly widespread throughout the Teme Valley, though they are extremely shy and seldom seen. This photo shows one taken remotely by an Infra Red trail Camera at Upper Rochford.

                                

                                                                                      Muntjac Deer

19th September - Sandra Willmott emailed to say that she recorded a Red Kite over the Church at Lower Rochford today. These records of these birds are very important as the Teme Valley certainly appears to be the area which is favourite for the first breeding pair in Worcs.

These sightings of Red Kite in the area, are being recorded not necessarily regularly, but with increasing frequency.

18th September - Lichens are not a single "species". They are made up of an algae and and a fungi. In the relationship, algae provides a source of food nutrient and the Fungi provides a structure on which the algae can live. As well as using Photosynthesis to create food, Lichens absorb water and minerals from rainwater and from the atmosphere. As such, they are extremely sensitive to atmospheric pollution.

Different lichen species vary in their tolerance to pollution and therefore make very good biological indicators of levels of atmospheric pollution.

The air quality in the Teme Valley is generally of a very high quality. Hence we have many examples of Lichen growing. This photo was taken at Upper Rochford and shows Lichen growing on an Ash tree.

                                 

                                                       Lichen growing on Ash - Hypotrachyna revoluta

15th September - HELP !! - The Wildlife Group is looking for a piece of land on which to start a Local Nature Reserve. The best possible scenario will be land which is of little economical agricultural/farming use. So marshy, boggy plots that are of no real farming interest, tucked away remotely, are of great interest. Do you have, or do you know of any such plots, that might be for sale? We are looking to develop a lasting legacy for the Group, through the management and development of a new Nature Reserve in the Teme Valley. Any size plots are of interest.....If you have any ideas, please get in touch.

14th September - David Norsworthy emailed to say one of his security cameras had pictures of a Polecat. This is the second recent incidence of Polecats in the area reported....the other being reported by Nick Benbow out at Frith Common. Then, not 24 Hours later, David & Jo Sothers report one on their lawn today!! David Spillsbury has also seen them over the last few years at Eastham / Lower Rochford.

Here are three of David Norsworthy's pictures. If Polecats are in your area, we would like to know just exactly how widespread they are throughout the valley.

             

                                                           photos : David Norsworthy

                                                                                              Polecat

13th September - All the winning photos of the recent Teme Valley Wildlife Photographic Competition, can be seen on the attached link. This is together with the Runners up and the Commended (top ten) category. Clicking this link here. The winners will have a half day out with Profession Photographer, Pete Thorp, and their camera equipment.

11th September - After waiting about an hour and a quarter in a hide at Upper Rochford, the Kingfisher which was known to be in the area, eventually turned up and posed on a perch in the pool. This is a male bird, confirming that there are a breeding pair in the area, as earlier sightings have been of the female. The Male has a completely black lower bill, whilst on the female, the lower bill has some distinctive orange markings. For more pictures of both the male and female, click here.

Kingfishers are very short lived, less than 5% make it through to a second breeding year. They also are very much affected by the environment and food supply. Every day, they need to consume their own weight in fish. This typically means they require 18 - 24 minnows (or equivalent).

When breeding, the parent birds will need to catch 100 + minnows per day between them to feed their young. It is important therefore that they are able to 'fish'. Highly coloured water, with low visibility, can greatly affect the ability of these birds to feed themselves and their young.

                               

                                                                             Kingfisher - male

10th September - An absolutely brilliant talk with some wonderful photographic images was given tonight at the September Wildlife Group meeting by Patrick Clement of the Halesowen Wildlife Group. Patrick discussed loads of practical ways their group had become involved in promoting wildlife in their area, and provided images of the work being undertaken, and the resultant wildlife attracted. A very enjoyable evening.

We also had the long awaited results of the 1st Teme Valley Wildlife Photo Competition. .......and the winners were, in the Junior Section, Gerald Roseman for his vivid colour picture of a Hover fly on a sunflower.............And in the adult section, Julian Mason , took the top spot for his wonderful reflection of a newly fledged Mallard. The two winning shots are shown below.

                                photo : Julian Mason

                                              1st place winner - Julian Mason - Young Mallard

Judges comment (paraphrased) : A crisp clear photograph of a young Mallard making its way on a mirrored water surface. The reflection detail is as sharp in the reflection as on the bird. Every tuft of down in pin sharp. The muddied beak adds to the picture in so far you know this bird has just been probing around in the mud.

                                                         photo : Gerald Roseman

                        1st placed winner - Junior Section - Gerald Roseman - Hover fly on Sunflower

Judges comment (paraphrased) : A vivid composition of mimicry in natures colours. The yellow and black of the Hover fly complimenting the yellow and black of the sun flower. The leaves draw your eye into the center where the Hover fly is located. Great colour.

Very well done also to the runners up. Julian Mason also nabbed the Second place spot with the two fledgling House Sparrows in the bird bath. Many people rated this very highly on the evening. The 'eye contact' between the birds is very endearing.

                               photo : Julian Mason

                               2nd Place - Julian Mason - two fledgling House Sparrows in the bird bath

And in a joint third place, we had Julia McDowell's fantastic young Swallows on the nest shot, and John Abbiss's mist over the hay fields, both shown below. Other highly commended shots can be seen here.. Very well done to all of you that entered. You have certainly set the bar high for next year!

                               photo : Julia McDowell

                                        Joint 3rd Place - Julia McDowell - young swallows on the nest

                               photo : John Abbiss

                                           Joint 3rd Place - John Abbiss - Cut Hay Fields in the Mist

6th September - John Abbiss sent in this photo of these two Small Tortoishell butterflies. The picture was taken in late August over at Oldwood Common. This is right at the end of the flight period for the second brood. They are unlikely to be seen now until next March.

                                         photo : John Abbiss

                                                                          Small Tortoishell

3rd September - Dave Barnes is on the case again. If you go down to the Bridge over the River Teme in Tenbury, in amongst the Mallards that are the usual 'ducks' down there you will this odd looking bird. This is a Goosander and is generally quite a skittish bird. We reported 40+ on Kyre pool earlier in the year, but they were so wary that getting a close up photo from the road side was just not possible. This bird however, seems to be quite at home with the Mallards around. So get yourself down to the bridge over the river and have a close up look at this one, you wont normally be able to get this close. For more of Dave's photos of this bird, click here.

                               photo : Dave Barnes

                                                       Goosander on the River Teme in Tenbury

2nd September - Dave Barnes rang in tonight saying that he had spotted a Little Egret on the River Teme on his way home tonight. This is an important record as we are unaware of any other records of this bird species, this high up the River Teme.

Suitably enthused, I dashed off with 500mm lens and camera in the car, rain throwing it down and managed to catch up with the bird, just as it was 'spooked' by a man walking a dog some 100 meters further down stream from me.

Grid ref for the sighting is SO548681. (Downstream from the Temeside Public House).  Thanks to Dave for this excellent sighting information.

                              

                                                                            Little Egret

1st September - A Kingfisher was seen on the Pools at Upper Rochford. This bird has now been about for a month now.

Beginning to wonder if there are a pair that have nested locally?? Saw it dive in and bring out, what appeared to be a newt. Don't they know newts are a protected species !!

A Speckled Wood Butterfly was also making the most of the little sunshine over the bank holiday week-end. Seen flitting amongst the blackberries and brambles, again at Upper Rochford. This has one of the longest flight periods for a UK butterfly, stretching from April through to October.

The Photo competition has closed and first indications are that there are some photographs of a very high standard that have been submitted. Full results and some of the photos entries, including the winners and runners up, will be shown and announced at the September Wildlife Group meeting on the 10th. Details above.

31st August - Alastair & Pauline over at Woonton sent in this picture of 'one of those' Squirrel proof bird feeders............

..........Obviously nobody told the grey squirrel it was squirrel proof!!

                                                  photo : Alastair & Pauline Hardy

                                                    Grey Squirrel 'in' a squirrel proof feeder !!

27th August - David and Jo had a nest being built under the eves outside their bedroom window. (see 2nd August below) They are pleased to announce that a pair of Swallows have hatched and, as the following picture shows, are doing very well. They should be fledging within a week, then it will be time to pack on some weight ready for the winter migration. For a couple of other pictures of these Swallows, click here.

                          Photo : David & Jo Sothers

                                                             Two Swallows ready to fledge

24th August - Nick & Sheila Benbow and Steph Mocroft organised another walk yesterday down through the WWT SSSI site at Hunthouse Wood. It was a good turnout with Twenty four in attendance. The walk then passed through farmed pasture, rising up to Menith Wood, through Ancient grassland and finished back at Nick & Sheila's for cake and drinks. It was a lovely afternoon, the weather was just about right for walking and we were treated to a walk which most had not done before. There were plenty of wildflowers en route, including Marsh Willowherb and Devils bit Scabious, (an important food plant for some very rare species of insects).

There was also an array of butterflies including Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Large White, Common Blues (male and female) Small Copper and Small Skipper and one or two moths including Silver Y, Straw Dot and a few of the grass veneer micro moth species .

Our thanks to Nick Sheila and Steph for organising this walk. Also to Pete & Nick for doing the driving back to the site to pick up the cars.

                         photo : Wanda Arnold

                                                        The group on a track in Hunthouse Wood

21st August - Chris & Jenny over at Stoke Bliss heard a thump on the French Windows. On investigating, they found this Juvenile Blackcap had flow into the glass. They made sure it was ok, put it on the deck and after about an hour, it flew off, apparently no worse for the encounter. It did however, give Chris a chance to get a very close encounter picture.

                         photo : Chris & Jenny Rodgers

                                                                     Juvenile Blackcap

20th August - Hare Bells are still going strong on Oldwood Common. David & Jo Sothers captured this picture whilst walking the dog.

                                                 photo : David & Jo Sothers

                                                                               Harebell

David & Jo also sent in this rather bristly fly resting on Mistletoe. We think it is a Tachina Fera fly......unless you know differently. This is a parasitic fly which lays its eggs in larvae of other insects, such as moths.

                          photo : David & Jo Sothers

                                                                              Tachina Fera

19th August - Here's the picture of the Dark Marbled Carpet from Saturday night. Interestingly, this moth is classified as 'Scarce' in Worcestershire, although once you move north of Stafford, they become far more common. The food plant for larvae is Birch, Heathers and Sallows.

                          

                                                                      Dark Marbled Carpet

17th August - One of own comes to the rescue!!. Steve Tuck, one of our Wildlife Group, whilst driving over in Belgium last month, stopped to help a couple of guys who's car had come off the road and gone into a ditch. No one was hurt and on getting chatting, Steve found out that these were two Dutch Birders who were on their way to see a rare Marbled Teal a few miles down the road. Not having seen this bird himself, Steve offered to take them to the site, where they all saw this bird......he even got an acknowledgement on the Dutch Bird web site.......just goes to show, you never know what the benefits will be in helping someone out!!

John Abbiss over at Oldwood Common found this 2" long caterpillar larvae climbing into his verandah over the weekend. John correctly identified this as a Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar which was as thick as his little finger. These moths lay eggs over the summer on the food plants which tend to be of the Willowherb family and the caterpillars once grown, leave, searching out places to cocoon over winter. This is often in amongst plant debris or just below ground. It then hatches the following spring.

You can see pictures of the adult moth below under enteries of 23rd and 26th June.

                                  photo : John Abbiss

                                                              Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar

16th August - A very successful Moth trapping event went ahead last night. The weather was dry, warm and cloudy, which always bodes well. We had Eight traps running over a mixed terrain of 18 acre . This resulted in 89 moth species being recorded on the night, including two new species for the site, Dark Marbled Carpet and Currant Pug.

                            photo : Austin Palmer

                                     Some of the group inspecting the light traps' moth contents

15th August - Julian Mason, sent in these fantastic images of a juvenile Sparrow Hawk that came into his suburban garden. Julian said that in keeping the small bird population fed, it appears to have attracted this young female bird. It made a feeble attempt at taking a House Sparrow, but gave up and started pacing up and down Julian's lawn in disgust ........still a bit to learn then!......Not something you'd see every day!!  For the full set of Julian's Sparrow Hawk pictures, click here.

                            photo : Julian Mason

                            photo : Julian Mason

                                                                                Juvenile Female Sparrow Hawk

14th August - The August Wildlife Group meeting was held last night, and although we are in the middle of the holiday season, we still attracted our largest audience to date. 47 people turned up to hear Rebecca Lashley's talk on Ancient Trees.....and what a good presentation it was.

As a result, we will be forming another small group within the Wildlife Group, for those people interested in doing some practical field study work on recording Ancient trees in the area. Like with most other areas of Wildlife in the Teme Valley, trees are way under recorded. In conjunction with Rebecca's County project.....hopefully, we can put the Teme Valley on the Worcs tree map.

                                                

                                                          The large Twin Oak at Upper Rochford

10th August - Out and about in Upper Rochford this weekend, there seems to be so many fledglings about. Blue Tits appear to have had a really good year, with a lot of young in evidence. A young Buzzard was also seen and two young Moorhen. Also down by the pools, two adult and two juvenile Spotted Flycatchers were busy taking flies over the pools at mid canopy level.

                           

                                                                Juvenile Spotted Flycatcher

                           

                                                                          Spotted Flycatcher

9th August - The warm weather today has brought some of the surface feeding fish to the surface in the local pools. These Rudd were a few of many seen.

                            

                                                                                      Rudd

8th August - David & Jo sent in an up date to the wild flower gallery. They also sent in this picture of Cabbage White butterfly caterpillars munching their way through the veg patch!!

                            Photo David & Jo Sothers

                                                                 Cabbage White Caterpillars

6th August - It seems that there are a pair of juvenile Green Woodpeckers in the Upper Rochford Orchard (photographed under 12th July's entry below). The latest update it that they turned out to be one of each, a male and female..... And the Spotted Flycatcher which had a nest in shed with four eggs, ended up with two young that both fledged safely.

2nd August - David and Jo Sothers have a Swallow nesting just under the eves outside the bedroom window. They should be in for some birds eye viewing of the fledglings.

                            Photo David & Jo Sothers

                                                               Swallow nest with eggs

1st August - Pete Thorp kindly allowed the Teme Valley Wildlife Group to put up a small display in his marquee at the Tenbury    Show. Yet again, rain put a dampener on the initial few hours although the sun did break through in the late afternoon. David & Jo Sothers kindly fronted the Wildlife stand and kept visitors informed about the activities of the group.

                                                    Photo David & Jo Sothers

John Abbiss sent in some pictures of a few insects taken both recently, and this time last year over on Oldwood Common.

This Cockchafer came to a porch light. Fairly widespread across this area, though not often seen in the daylight.

                            Photo John Abbiss

                                                                          Cockchafer Beetle

And its nice to see these butterflies and moths in our area.

                                    Photo John Abbiss

                                                               Common Blue Butterfly

                                    Photo John Abbiss

                                                         Narrow Bordered Five Spot Burnet (Moth)

                                    Photo John Abbiss

                                                                     Small Copper Butterfly

26th July - Another big "Thank You" to Pauline and Alastair Hardys for organising and hosting another nature walk this weekend at Woonton, just over the boarder into Herefordshire. Once again, it rained!....but once again, a group of not to be deterred walkers rallied round and in the end, another great walk was had by all. Plenty of photos were taken of the wildlife seen on the way, (mainly by Richard Pill). As a result, there are some wild flower updates in the July section here, some amphibian pictures here.

                            Photo Richard Pill

                            Photo Richard Pill

25th July - Pete Thorp had a nighttime visitor in his porch this evening.

This Pipistrelle bat turned up and decided it was a good place to roost. As it is an offence to disturb bats, Pete left the door open for a few hours and fortunately, it found its way out again.

                            Photo Pete Thorp

                                                                               Pipistrelle bat

24th July - David & Jo had this Large White Butterfly come into their conservatory today. This is both a migrant and UK species. Common in Worcs. The larvae are brightly coloured to warn off predators. They concentrate up mustard type toxins from the food plants, which are distasteful if eaten.

                            Photo David & Jo Sothers

                                                                    Large White Butterfly

David & Jo have also sent in a couple of photos of some fungi which has appeared after some rain. Click here to see them.

They have also added to the wild flower gallery for July, here.

20th July - The Open Air Laboratory Project confirmed back by email, their receipt of our application.....fingers crossed!!

19th July - Richard Pill and Amanda orgainsed a butterfly / nature walk over some pristine countryside at Knighton on Teme today. Unfortunately the weather was not too kind, but there were a few of you made of stern stuff and turned up anyway. Richard took the walk through some of the lanes an local woodland and several plants and butterflies were seen on the day. Thanks to Richard and Amanda for hosting this event.

17th July - The Group has applied for a £2000 grant from the lottery fund, via the Open Air Laboratory Project to buy much needed recording, sampling and identification equipment. This will allow the group to diversify into other recording areas and strengthen those areas where we are already active. The bid also allows us to use the money for some local promotional equipment / display material and we hope to be in a position to put on our own stand displays at local fetes and festivals in the years to come.

16th July - A nice shot of two Blackcap Fledglings from Chris Kemble over at Knighton on Teme. Blackcap's generally seem to have done very well this year. Several have been seen over at Upper Rochford in the Cherry Orchards too.

                             Photo Chris Kemble

                                                                         Blackcap Fledglings

14th July - The Teme Valley Wildlife Group is hosting a small display on Pete Thorp's photography stand at the Tenbury Show on 1st August . Pete is an active member of the Wildlife group and his gesture of allowing us a space on his stand is very much appreciated. If you have the opportunity, take yourself along and say 'hello'. There will be all sorts of wildlife information and photos on display. We will also be taking membership, (£1 per annum) if you fancy joining the Teme Valley Wildlife Group.

12 July - This Juvenile Green Woodpecker has been around with its Mother and another sibling at some of the Orchards in Upper Rochford recently. Its feather are not sufficiently adult yet to determine whether this is a male or a female. Its camouflage against the old apple tree however, is tremendous.

                              

                                                                      Juvenile Green Woodpecker

8 July - This Marbled White Butterfly was seen at Upper Rochford over the weekend in some long unimproved grass land. Apparently common in the South West of England on Chalk land. Not so common in the Teme Valley....unless you know differently?? Has anybody else seen this species in the Teme Valley??

                              

                                                                      Marbled White Butterfly

......................And an Update on the mystery recording from the 30 June below. It is a juvenile Tawny Owl calling.

Thanks to Gavin Peplow for the answer.

7 July - Caroline Roseman sent in this picture of a hedgehog from her garden. One of natures best and most effective slug vacuum cleaners.....and a good reason NOT to put poisonous slug pellets down.

                               Photo Caroline Roseman

                                                                                  Hedgehog

4 July - Nick Benbow came on one of the Moth trapping sessions to Hunhouse wood last night, and then promptly found this specimen in his garden this morning. This is a Willow Beauty, a relatively well seen moth in this area.

                                photo : Nick Benbow

                                                                                 Willow Beauty

3 July - At Upper Rochford this relatively scarce Worcestershire moth came to a light trap. This is a Clouded Magpie, a species dependant somewhat on Elm.

                                  

                                                                                Clouded Magpie

2 July - How close can you get to a Fallow Deer without spooking it? Gerald Roseman proves you don't always need a hide. This shot was taken through his kitchen window at Lower Rochford. To see some more deer shots, click here.

                                  photo : Gerald Roseman

                                                                                        Fallow Deer

1 July - Chris & Jenny Rodgers have had a nest of Long Tailed Tits fledging in some brambles at their Orchard over at Stoke Bliss. They also report regular sightings of brown hares out their way too.

                     

                                                                       Long Tailed Tit Feeding Young                                        Photos: C & J Rodgers

30 June - A Mystery!!....what's this bird (or animal) calling at Dusk at Upper Rochford?? (You will need to turn your computer speakers up full....its a quiet recording) ......Whats your guess??.......Let us know!!....(we'll publish the answer when someone gets it right).

                                                              Please upgrade to IE6 or later or Firefox 2 or later to hear this audio clip                            

                               Please upgrade to IE6 or later or Firefox 2 or later to hear this audio clip

David & Shirley Hambelton sent in a couple of photos. The first is of a rather large Great Crested Newt which had taken up residence in a tank over flow. The next few show the Badger, which was almost certainly responsible for the digging up of a bees nest in Shirley's garden. More pictures of David & Shirley's badgers here.

                           Photo : David Hambelton

                                                                   Great Crested Newt

                            Photos : David Hambelton

  

                                         A Badger feeding on the bird seed and having dug up a wasps nest

29th June - Alan Althorp sent in an email saying that he had seen a leveret (Young Hare) down on the Lower Rochford road, by the Church, yesterday morning. The incidence of Brown Hares in the area does seem to be increasing......have you seen any Hares about in the Teme Valley Area recently .....please email/telephone and let us know.

Two more photos from David & Jo Sothers, this time of birds in the garden.

                            Photo : David & Jo Sothers

                                                                               Great Tit

                             Photo : David & Jo Sothers

                                                                                  Blue Tit

28th June - These two summertime flowers were spotted by David & Jo Sothers on a recent walk in the Teme Valley. Both are very important wildflowers as some insect life are directly dependant on these plants as a food source.

                            Photo : David & Jo Sothers

                                                                                  Mallow

                            Photo : David & Jo Sothers

                                                                                    Toadflax

27th June - This warm weather is brining out a lot of colourful moth species. This Swallow-tailed Moth came to Pete Thorp's outside light last night.

                            Photo : Pete Thorp

                                                                       Swallow-tailed Moth

26th June - Another Elephant Hawk Moth has been spotted, this time by Richard Pill at Knighton. The photo below shows Richard's specimen. The bald patch on the back of the thorax shows that this is an aging specimen.

                             Photo : Richard Pill

                                                                        Elephant Hawk Moth

24th June - There has been a much publicised mass migration of the Painted Lady Butterfly into Britain this year. This is a species which breeds on the north coast of Africa. Winds have been favorable and there have been thousands, if no millions of these migrants working their way up through the UK.

This is one seen at Upper Rochford yesterday.

                             

                                                                          Painted Lady

David & Jo Sothers sent across this picture of a Mullein Moth Caterpillar. The larvae of this moth is about 50mm long (1.75 inches).

The larvae food plant is generally thought to be Figwort, Buddleias and Wild/Cultivate Mullein. It can cocoon itself up underground for up to five years before emerging as an adult.

It is relatively uncommon around here - Or rather, the distribution is very much restricted to the general location of the food plant.

                             Photo : David / Jo Sothers

                                                                        Mullein Moth Caterpillar.

23rd June - Iris Sawfly - Rhadinoceraea micans the larvae of which are capable of stripping Yellow Flag Iris leaves in days.

The adult fly, lays eggs on the Iris in April, which then produce inch long caterpillars in June/July.

They feed voraciously on the leaves of these plants, yet, do not seem to attack the same plants where they grow in relatively drier conditions. Plants growing in, or at the waters edge seems to be the key factor. Pesticides cannot be used, as whilst effective, they will affect other water bourne pond life, having a detrimental effect. The Iris will however, survive this attack. (Thanks to Dave Grundy & Pat Clement for the ID Confirmation).

                             

                                                                              Iris Sawfly larvae Attack

A very Warm night last night with the temperature only dropping as low as 14.5 C. This meant the moth traps were very busy. 40+ macro species on the wing. In the last three days, four of the large and spectacular Hawk Moths that appeared last year, have again appeared. The most common is the Poplar Hawk Moth. This can be seen below under the 25th April's entry. The new ones are shown here..

                             

                                                                         Elephant Hawk Moth

The Elephant Hawk Moth is the second most common Hawk Moth in the Teme Valley area (based on 2008 records at Upper Rochford). It is also relatively common in Worcestershire generally. The adult feeds on nectar from Honeysuckle. The larvae feed on Rosebay Willowherb and Great Willowherb.

                              

                                                                                Lime Hawk Moth

The Lime Hawk Moth larvae feed on, as the name suggests, Lime, as well as Elm, Silver Birch and Alder. It is classified as 'Uncommon' in Worcestershire, referring to low numbers recorded, although relatively widespread.

                            

                            

                                                                                   Eyed Hawk Moth

The Eyed Hawk Moth is so named owing to its 'eye' on its underwing. (See Photo Above), which is flashes off to deter predators if disturbed. The larvae food plants include Willows, Sallow, Apple, Aspen and Poplar.

22nd June - This Badger was seen and photographed by Andrew Mawby at his house recently. The young are now starting to find their way around and are generally very inquisitive.

                              Photo : Andrew Mawby

                                                                           Badger foraging

21st June - A single Moorhen chick of about one week old was seen on one of the local pools at Upper Rochford, along with three newly fledged Long Tailed Tits, in the willows over the pool.

In the Moth traps, this unusual moth came in last night. Quite a large moth of about 1.25 inches in length, the Ghost Moth (the picture below is of a Female) is associated predominantly with grassland or clearings. The larvae feed on grass roots and a wide range of herbaceous plants. Classified as 'Uncommon' in Worcestershire. Flight season June > early August.

                             

                                                                      Female Ghost Moth

20th June - A juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen at Upper Rocford today along with a Green Woodpecker. Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler still singing.

The Jackdaws have stripped the cherries in the Orchard at Upper Rochford. This photo of 116 birds taking off, (yes, I've counted them !) is about half of the 200+ population.

                            

                                                     Jackdaws taking off from the Orchard

At the pools at Upper Rochford, there are a host of Damsel flies at the waters edge. The Common Blue Damsel Fly was by far the most common around the pool, although the Blue Tailed Damsel Fly, which is reported to be the most common type in Worcestershire (according to Mike Averill, Worcestershire's dragonfly specialist), was apparent in far fewer numbers.

                            

                                                                     Blue Tailed Damsel Fly

                            

                                                         Common Blue Damsel Fly on Rush grass stem

Slow Worms can now be seen basking in the sun. This one was found in amongst the bracken on a warm south facing slope. Totally harmless, these creatures have the ability to shed their tail almost instantly if caught by a predator.

                            

                                                          Slow worm in amongst the bracken

19th June - Swallows are now feeding their young fledglings.

                            

                                                          Swallow fledgling being fed by adult

18th June - Swifts have finally appeared in the skies at Upper Rochford.

12th June - A very nice evening was had last night at the June Monthly Meeting, which was an Orchid Walk hosted by David Spillsbury at his farm in Eastham. David arranged for a superb Summer Evening, with light cloud and brilliant evening sunshine.....How does he do it??

The group walked up through David's land to the Orchid field where the botanists amongst us had a great time. Common Spotted Orchid was every where and several other flowering plants were identified by the Group including Yellow Rattle, which hadn't been seen on the site before. Heath Spotted Orchid was also Found.

                            Photo : Wanda Arnold

                                                    Members of the Group in the Orchid Field

                            Photo : Wanda Arnold

                                                                 Common Spotted Orchid

                            Photo : Wanda Arnold

                                                                         Heath Spotted Orchid

6th June - The moth trapping session on the WWT reserve at Hunthouse wood got postponed last night due to the incessant rain. It rained just as we arrived on the site at 8:15pm and just kept going. No traps were lit, but thanks for the effort to those of you who did turn up...and apologies to Julian Mason especially, who attended his first moth trapping session, only to see no moths, and getting absolutely soaked through, in the process.......it isn't always that bad ......honest !!

3rd June - Mallards do tend to have large broods occasionally......but 16 ducklings, must be some sort of record!!!

Here is the mother (extreme right) with 16 off spring, which all look to be doing OK. Obviously, we don't know if they are all hers, but she is certainly doing all the shepherding of them in this pool at Upper Rochford.

                          

                                                       Female Mallard and 16 offspring

This rather unusual looking moth came into the traps at Upper Rochford the other night. Quite a large moth, (One & half inches in length), the Lobster Moth is a widespread, but not too common a moth in these parts. Its larvae feed on Hazel, Oak and Beech and it is associated more with well established woodland. Locally therefore, it can be found in the Wyre Forest. Its nice to find it in the Teme Valley Area.

                          

                                                                               Lobster Moth

2nd June - David & Jo Sothers are on the picture case again with this picture of Blackbird fledglings, courtesy of Jo's potting shed!

                           Photo Jo & David Sothers

                                                                      Blackbird Young

1st June - Keith Oddy organised an afternoon session this last weekend at Bill Whites Nursery - Far Forest. The picture below shows some of the members looking around the poly tunnels. How on earth did you organise such good weather Keith !!??

                           Photo Jo & David Sothers

31st May - A Red Kite was seen passing over Clee Hill this afternoon.

28th May - David & Jo Sothers sent in this picture of a Local Pollarded Oak. They also sent in some pictures of local wild flowers growing in the area. Click here and got to May, to see these wildflower pictures.

                                    Photo Jo & David Sothers

                                                                            Pollarded Oak

27th May - Chris Kemble sent in a series of Dragon Fly pictures. This one is of what appears to be a Four Spotted Chaser, which if correct is an interesting record for the area. We are currently very interested in Dragonflies and Damsel flies in the Teme Valley and would greatly appreciate your sightings or photos of these insects.

There are only about 45 dragonfly species in the UK and only about 24 species are recorded in Worcestershire. Your records could therefore be, very important.

                         Photo Chris Kemble

                                                                     Four Spotted Chaser ??

18th May - Kate Palmer at Highwood spotted a Linnet close by to her house over the weekend. These birds seem to be doing very well locally at the moment with many showing quite well around the area. Keep an eye out for these birds which tend to favor dense thicket type cover, often jumping up and perching themselves on the highest vantage point to survey their surroundings.

This Linnet was photographed on some Gorse on the Clee Hill, which, if you haven't seen this bird yet, is a good place to go looking for them.

                         

                                                                                Linnet

16th May - Gerald Roseman took this picture in his garden of a dew covered flower

                          Photo Gerald Roseman

                                                                       Dew on Flower Head

15h May - Mallard in flight from one of the pools at Upper Rochford. Taken last weekend.

                         

                                                                             Mallard in Flight

14th May - The Teme Valley Wildlife Photographic Competition launches to day....so lets start seeing some pictures coming in...

13th May - Tomorrow 14th May we launch the first Teme Valley Wildlife Photographic Competition.

As its the first one, we thought we would keep the Theme fairly wide ranging, so it is "Nature in the Teme Valley".

The picture needs to be taken between 14th May and 31st August 2009, the last date for entries, may be of ANYTHING to do with nature in the Teme Valley, but MUST be taken within the Teme Valley Area.

There is a junior (U16) category as well.

First prize in both the Adult and junior category is a half day out, with your camera and Pete Thorp, local professional photographer, when hopefully, with Pete's help, you'll pick up loads of tips on how to make the most of your camera and take better pictures.

So what are you waiting for....get snapping !

Full entry details are found at the very bottom of this page. Not open to professional photographers.

Teme Valley Wildlife Group Photo Competition Summer 2009

The Theme is : Nature in the Teme Valley

Photo can be anything to do with Nature in the Teme Valley. From plants Animals, birds insects, landscapes trees flowers, water etc.

Pictures must be taken between 14th May and 31st August 2009 and MUST be taken in the Teme Valley Area.

Two age categories Under 16 and Adult.

The age category must be clearly marked. Under 16 or Adult.

Open to anybody bar professional photographers.

The first prize in each category is a half day out with your camera and Pete Thorpe, local professional photographer .

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

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

.....or

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

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

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

Closing Date 31st August 2009

The judging panel of three will be chaired by Pete Thorpe, Danny Arnold and one other person TBD.

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

 

12th May - This Green Woodpecker was busy foraging for ants in an orchard at Upper Rochford over the Weekend

                          

                                                                     Green Woodpecker

10th May - Sue emailed to say she heard the Cuckoo over in Menith Wood. It that the first bird that's been heard this year on that side of the river?

Dave Clarke was out doing some digging and disturbed this Common Newt from its grassy lair over at Kyre.

                           photo : Dave Clarke

                                                                        Common Newt

7th May - David and Jo Sothers were privileged to this young Kestrel fledging at a site near Upper Rochford. They had been keeping an eye on both the male and female birds bringing food back over the last few days. This little chap (or lass) came out to have a look at the world yesterday.

                           

                                                         Young Kestrel just about to fledge

David & Jo also saw a Holly Blue Butterfly, Red Admiral and Large White Butterfly in the field, whilst watching this Kestrel.

3rd May - The Green veined White Butterfly is relatively common throughout the UK. As its name suggests, it differs from the other white butterfly's in so much as its distinguishing feature is its green veins which are very conspicuous when the wings are folded shut. This one was seen at Upper Rochford today.

                          

                                                              Green-veined White Butterfly

1st May - A national rarity in the Teme Valley. There are approximately 200 types of caddis fly in the UK. They all live their larval stage in an aqueous water environment. All bar one that is. This is the land caddis. The land caddis lives its life out on terra firma, not entering water at any stage of its life cycle.

The aqueous based caddis larvae collect small stones and debris from their watery homes and together with secretions, glue them together to form a hollow external tube in which in hides itself away. This acts as a protective coat and helps minimize predation from water bourne predators.

The land caddis does exactly the same thing. It too, collects tiny pieces of stones and rocks, glues them around itself to produce an impenetrable outer casing. It lives predominantly in leaf litter (often Oak).

                           

                                                                            Land Caddis

                             Showing the protective sheath made out of tiny stones glued together.

                                                           This sheath is about 8mm in length.

The thing about the land caddis is that it is extremely rare in the UK. The national stronghold, for whatever reason is Worcestershire. A few recorded cases have been found in the surrounding counties boarders, but basically, Worcestershire is the only place it is found in the UK.

The above specimen was found at Hunthouse Wood, today, on the edge of the Teme valley. A very important record nationally.

 

25th April - Up onto the Titterstone Clee today. Plenty of Wheatear and Meadow Pipit showing. Also confronted by this Kestrel hovering in the wind overhead.

                        

                                                            Kestrel hovering in the wind

There are plenty of new Moths about over the last few days. Last night saw the first of the large Hawk moths come in to one of the traps at Upper Rochford. This is the Poplar Hawk Moth, one of the most common and widespread of the hawk moths. It measures about 3 - 4 inches across the wing span, so you cant miss it!

                        

                                                   Poplar Hawk Moth 3 - 4 inches across the wings

Also coming in to the moth traps were Silver Cloud, a dull brown little moth, but which is fairly well confined to the Severn Valley area, and Knot Grass, a moth easily confused moth with a similar moth called Poplar Grey. Note the two distinguishing white tear marks on the inside trailing edge of the wing.

                                           

                                               Silver Cloud                                  Knot Grass

This Tawny Owl was seen in a fir tree just before dusk, catching the last few rays on the setting sun. Its presence was given away by two particularly troubled Blackbirds which were squawking away at its intimidating presence.

                         

                                                                                 Tawny Owl

24th April - Congratulations to Shirley Hambelton who's garden at Rochford is being featured on Gardner's World. Shirley and her Garden at Weavers took part in a program which is being broadcast tonight on the BBC. Don't forget to record it!

20th April - This Buzzard came over the canopy of tree cover at Upper Rochford at the weekend. The only photo that came close to not being obscured by the overhead vegetation.

                         

                                                                          Buzzard

19th April - Pete Dening emailed to say that he'd heard a Cuckoo at Stoke Bliss this afternoon. This appears at the moment to be the only area where the bird is being heard/seen.

More migrants are returning and this Blackcap was seen at Upper Rochford signing his heart out. This is the male bird. The female has a chestnut coloured 'black cap'.

                         

                                                                       Blackcap - Male

 

14th April - This Orange Tip Butterfly was seen at Upper Rochford this Easter weekend down in a damp dingle. The male of this species is the one with the distictive Orange tips to the wing. The female has a black tipped wing much like the Small White. Both however have a mottled green and white underside to the wing which easily differentiates them from a Small White which is otherwise unmottled in any way.

                       

                                                            Orange Tip Butterfly - Male

13th April - Another migrant, this Willow Warbler was seen singing high on a perch at Upper Rochford this afternoon. Easily confused with the Chiff Chaff (below) and Wood Warbler, it is best confirmed by its song.

                                                             Please upgrade to IE6 or later or Firefox 2 or later to hear this audio clip

                                       Click the play button to hear this actual Willow Warbler

                       

                                                                         Willow Warbler

12th April - The few warm days has brought the Damson blossom and Cherry Blossom out together. In past years, the Cherry is always about 2 - 3 weeks later than the Damson.....Wonder what that signifies on the weather front??

During the mating season, there are always the inevitable scuffles. These two Cock Pheasants were jousting with each other for about 10 minutes at an Orchard in Upper Rochford.

                                  

                                                            Two Cock Pheasants fighting

Birds are already starting to have young. This fledgling Dunnock is not long out of the nest and still wanting to be fed. Photographed at Upper Rochford.

                       

                                                                   Dunnock Fledgling

The Chiff Chaff is just starting to return from its winter migration. The woodlands will soon echo to this little birds unmistakable call. This bird was seen at Upper Rochford.

                       

                                                                          Chiff Chaff

Andrew Mawby sent in the fantastic picture of a Male Greater Spotted Woodpecker taken in his garden at Abberley today.

                                       Photo Andrew Mawby

                                                       Male Greater Spotted Woodpecker

Several quite spectacularly marked moths are on the wing in the Teme Valley in April. This one is the Water Carpet, appropriately named is so far it is often found in damp areas. This one was trapped at Upper Rochford.

                      

                                                                         Water Carpet

 

11th April - There are now plenty of Meadow Pipit showing on the rough grass land of the Clee Hills.

                       

                                                                              Meadow Pipit

The Linnet is on the RSPB's Red priority list indicating a decline of greater than 50% in the last 25 years. Four birds were seen on the Clee Hill today, although not yet in full colourful plumage.

                       

                                                                      Linnet on Gorse.

10th April - John Hughes gave an excellent presentation at the April Monthly meeting of the Wildlife Group on the Peregrine Falcon. Once again, a high number turn out was recorded for the meeting. Also announced at the meeting was a butterfly survey in the Teme Valley this year. If you would like to get involved monitoring and recording the butterflies in your garden or area, drop us an email and we'll get you started.

9th April - Gerald Roseman sent in this picture of a Peacock Butterfly found in the garden and also a Bee, which was in need of some Honey to help it on its way. Picture here.

                                          Photo Gerald Roseman

                                                                    Peacock Butterfly

7th April - Up on the Titterstone Clee summit in the old quarry, the Wheatear were showing well in amongst the scree. At least one of the male birds was ringed. To see more pictures of the ringed male and one of the not quite so colourful female birds, click here.

Also seen today by Burford Garden Center, possibly the first two Swallows back in the area.....unless you know differently!

                     

                                                                             Wheatear

6th April - Driving home tonight at 10 pm and caught sight of a Barn Owl quartering the hedge line at Upper Rochford.

5th April - Nick Benbow reports a Red Kite over his house at Frith Common and another was seen on the A49 between Ludlow and Ashford Bowdler. Nick also reports seeing Wheatear at the Dhustone Quarry on the Clee Summit.

Wood Anemones at Hunhouse Wood...just above Frith Common. A complete white carpet at the moment and a 'must see'. Look out for the Bluebells in the next few weeks....the carpet is going to change colour!

                       

                       

                                                         Wood Anemones at Hunthouse Wood

4th April - Pete Thorp took this Kestrel over his house at Woodston today. Note the black bar on the underside of the tail, as sure give away. To see a picture of the same bird hovering...click here.

                         Photo Pete Thorp

                                                                                 Kestrel

3rd April - Another couple of pictures from Gerald Roseman at Lower Rocford. A Toad that has emerged for the Spring and a Two spot ladybird. Picture here.

                         photo Gerald Roseman

                                                                              Toad

2nd April - Nick Benbow reports a Red kite seen at Frith Common over the Little Lambswick hop yards last week. He also saw one near Cleobury Golf Club at the weekend.

On the 18th March and 24th March a Cuckoo was heard at Stoke Bliss. (Sorry, I don't know who phoned this through).

I went up to the Titterstone summit with Andrew Mawby this morning to try and locate the Ring Ouzel. No success. They have almost certainly passed through. We did however see in the region of 30 Meadow Pipet and 2 Wheatear, through the gloom of a low cloud.

                         

                                                                                Meadow Pipet

1st April - Four Ring Ouzel reported in the Quarry on the top of the Titterstone Clee below the Radar station. Three males One Female. These birds are almost certainly on winter passage through the area. David & Jo Sothers went to try and get a glimpse, without success. They did however see Wheatears.

Gerald Roseman took this Green Woodpecker on his drive way at Lower Rochford. For another of Gerald's pictures, click here.

                           Photo: Gerald Roseman

                                                                             Green Woodpecker

29th March - Jo Sothers reports an almost albino Greater Spotted Woodpecker at her garden feeder yesterday at Upper Rochford. Has anybody else seen this bird about??....A photo would be good !

26th March - A couple of Great Spotted Woodpecker pictures as shown at the last Wildlife Group meeting have been posted as promised in the bird gallery. Click here to see the new pictures.

Pug Moths are a typically difficult group of Moths to identify. In some cases, the typical flight season can assist in counting or discounting a possible species identification. It is by no means definitive, but it can assist in the ID-ing process.

A table has been added here , under the Moths Project, which has been derived from various sources and gives 'typical' flight periods when various adult Pug Moths are on the wing. To see examples of how alike some of these pug moths are click here for Brindled Pug and here for Oaktree Pug and Double Striped Pug, both relatively common in our Teme Valley Area from the end of March and into April and May.

This Wren popped up on branch at Upper Rochford this afternoon. Get to know their song. It always has a characteristic 'warble' somewhere in the middle of it.

                           

                                                                                   Wren

25th March - A little 'out of season', but Phil Vincent sent across a few fungi pictures taken last year over at Clifton on Teme. This included a 5th Country record for the Hygrocybe calyptriformis, ballerina or pink wax-cap - a red data book and BAP species nationally. To see the rest of Phil's photos. click here or go to the Fungi Gallery.

                               Photo : Phil Vincent

                                                                              Hygrocybe calyptriformis     

 

Chris Kemble at Knighton on Teme continued the interesting trend of spotting another early Small Tortoishell butterfly on her house wall. To see Chris's picture in the butterfly Gallery, click here. Note that the small tortoishell, whilst conspicuously rare last year, is still far more common than the Large Tortoishell. The main distinguishing feature to separate the two is that the Small Tortoishell has two white bars near the end of its wing tip pattern.

23rd March - I spent the morning on a walk with Reserve Manager, Nick Benbow around the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust Reserve at Hunthouse Wood between Menith Wood and Bayton. This little publicised wood really is a jewel in the WWT portfolio, and is, on our doorsteps.

Comprising of three woods which which effectively run into one another, this is considered to be one of the most densely wooded areas in Worcs....and having 'hacked' our way through it, I can see why.

The species list is formidable with many interesting and indeed scarce and notable flora and fauna species present.

If you are not members of the Worcs Wildlife Trust, its very much worth considering, just to get access to this ancient woodland....and as I say....right here on our doorstep.

....And whilst on the walk, along the wood/field boundry, we sent up two Lapwing and a Skylark.....both relatively uncommon in these parts and heard Nuthatch, Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Chiffchaff and Treecreeper in the woods. On the ground, Wood Anemone and Wild Garlic were just starting to carpet the wood floor.

22nd March - Away in the distance, we were just focusing the camera in on a lone Buzzard perched at Upper Rochford, when two Ravens came in and started mobbing him/her. For more pictures of the encounter click here and go to Buzzard.

                            

                                                               Buzzard being Mobbed by a Raven

21st March - Another nice warm Spring Day, Blue sky and sunshine.....and a Comma butterfly was seen again on the bracken at Upper Rochford.

Pete Thorp had a close encounter with a Red Kite at Woodston, as if flew over the top of his car....yet more indication that these birds are in the area.

A close up of the 'business end' of a Great Spotted Woodpecker from Upper Rochford and that jack hammer bill capable of making serious holes in wood.

                             

                                                                Female Great Spotted Woodpecker

Today was also the day a group, from the wildlife Group went on a field walk to see two SSSI sites at Stoke Bliss. 13 people and a dog went on the walk which took in Bannalls Meadow and Frog End. Both were carpeted with tiny Wild Daffodils.

Thanks to Jenny & Chris Rodgers for hosting the event.         

                                    

   

                              

                                                                                 Frog End

                              

                                                                   Wild Daffodills on Bannalls Meadow

20th March - Caroline Roseman at Lower Rochford managed to get her pictures downloaded and sent us this great picture of a Kestrel on her garden wall. What a sight from the Kitchen Window !! Gerald her son has also sent some creepy spider pictures in....Thanks Gerald !...see them here.

                               photo : Caroline Roseman

                                                                                     Kestrel

19th March - Tiny Wild Daffodils just starting to appear in great numbers at a SSSI Site near Stoke Bliss

                              

                                                                                    Wild Daffodils

Andrew Mawby sent in a couple of pictures of both Great Crested and Common (Smooth) Newts from around his garden pond at Abberley. Heres the Great Crested Newt and the Common Newt can be seen here.

                                photo : Andrew Mawby

                                                                               Great Crested Newt

18th March - Several people have asked for a Butterfly Identification Guide...so we've produced one. Just click on the predominant colour of the butterfly you are trying to identify and a page of the butterflies of that general colouration will pop up, together with flight periods and other useful information.

This is not an exhaustive list, there about half the UK butterflies covered as they are the ones MOST LIKELY to be seen. If you do happen on something that isn't in the ID section, then the chances are it is a very important record, for which you should try and photograph or trap the specimen for positive identification.....or, it could be a more common, day flying moth, of which there are several.

Either way, we'd love to see your butterfly pictures.

To get to the butterfly identification pages click the link HERE, or go to the green box at the top of this page Project>Butterflies and then on that page click the butterfly identification link near the bottom of the page.

17th March - Whilst on the warm weather Butterfly theme, Felicity Beaumont in Tenbury had a Peacock Butterfly in her garden this weekend. This is another very early emergence, not really due for another month or so yet.

Caroline Roseman over at Lower Rochford had Small Tortoishell in her garden, also a Blackcap on the bird feeder....and a Kestrel, perched in her garden for some time, which she assures me, she has some pictures of.....and will send through soon.....We are waiting Caroline !!

15th March - Well, I think we can say spring really has sprung! The frogs have been very active in one of the pools at Upper Rochford, leaving a mass of frog spawn in the shallows. Many of the amphibians, Frogs Toads and Newts are now on the move, so keep your eyes open for similar spawning events in your garden pool.

                              

                                                                                   Frog Spawn

The occurrence of four 'warm' nights on the trot has brought about a wealth of Moth species out a little early. The traps at Upper Rochford have recorded Lead Coloured Drab, Blossom Underwing, Pale pinion White Marked and Engrailed all appearing over the last few days. Blossom Underwing and White Marked are both catergorised as 'Scarce' in Worcestershire.

                               

                                                               White Marked - Scarce in Worcs.

                               

                                                              Blossom Underwing - Scarce in Worcs

With the warmer days, much insect life has started to become active including butterflies and bees. This Comma and Small Tortoiseshell are the first seen at Upper Rocford this year. Both of these are very early, The Comma due about the beginning of April, but the Small Tortoiseshell, very early, not due until the end of April. The Comma is doing well nationally, but the Small Tortoiseshell is currently in decline. Both butterfly's use nettle as a primary food plant for their larvae.

                                

                                   Comma - so named because of a comma shaped mark on its hind wing

                                

                         A VERY early Small Tortoiseshell - has two broods. In April - May and in July - August.

The Bombus Lapidarius is a an easily recognised bee at this time of year with its black body and distinctive half Orange body. There are similar looking bees that can cause confusion later in the year. At this time however, this is the only bee of this colouration on the wing. This female is taking pollen from a daffodil. This species is reported as preferring 'yellow' flowers and is widely distributed throughout the UK.

                                 

                                                                           Bombus Lapidarius

Jo Sothers reports the Raven is back around the Upper Rochord area again.

14th March - Once again, the Great Grey Shrike has been showing off on Bircher Common. I went with Richard Pill at 8am this morning for some more photos of this impressive scandinavian migrant. Click here to see some of the other photos taken.

This bird has now been on the site for about 3 weeks, so it is highly likely to be off again soon. If you want to see it, you should go soon. For more info on the most likely locations on the common, please contact by email.

                               

                               

                                                                               Great Grey Shrike

David & Jo Sothers reported a Kestrel and the Green woodpecker back again at their house today Upper Rochford today. This puts their bird list already on 29 species for this month!

11th March - Jo Sothers has heard the Cuckoo this morning with her early morning cup of coffee. Also on the "play list" was a Little Owl and Green Woodpecker......what a great way to start the day!

Richard Pill had Waxwings reported to him over at Neen Sollars today.

And Andrew Mawby is is the news again, with this shot of the Great Grey Shrike which is still hanging around up on Bircher Common. Andrew took this earlier this morning.

                                  Photo : Andrew Mawby

                                                                                 Great Grey Shrike

10th March - Andrew Mawby up at Abberley emailed to say there was a suspected sighting of a Red Kite at Stanford Bridge recently, and a Redwing in full plumage was seen at Upper Rochford this afternoon.

8th March - Ken Willetts emailed today to say he saw two Red Kite above the trees at Highwood yesterday. This is the first record from 'in the river valley' we have ben sent and very interesting information, as coupled with the lone bird that Chris and Jenny saw over Stoke Bliss way a couple of weeks ago, it clearly indicates that over the next few months, Red Kite could soon be a common sight in our area. Please keep sending in your sightings of these birds and if you manage to get any pictures to send us, even better!

And whilst on Chris & Jenny, they sent in this picture of a Brambling which is currently frequenting their garden. Of the finch family, about the size of Chaffinch, this bird is not too common in the Teme Valley....unless you know differently! A couple of more shots of the same bird can be seen here.

                                                                        

                                                                  photo : Chris & Jenny Rodgers

                                                                                 Brambling on the lawn

and finally, Liz from Woodston saw the Barn Owl again....at 5am yesterday morning!

 

4th March - A Stoat was seen in the Cherry Orchard at Upper Rochford today. This quick and voracious animal, with its distinctive black tip to the tail, darted across the path. Once persecuted by Gamekeepers, its numbers declined significantly in the 1960 when myxamatosis decimated the rabbit population, its main source of food. It survived finding other sources of food like small mammals. It is no longer common, but nice to see nature restoring its balance of predator and predated.

1st March - This picture of a Great Spotted Woodpecker is 'as the picture was taken'. Totally unedited. It is however 'set up'. At the March Meeting of the Teme Valley Wildlife Group, we will be showing you How You can take authentic natural looking pictures of birds in your garden....and if Woodpeckers already visit your garden, then this could be the result YOU get !!

                                   

                                                                         Great Spotted Woodpecker

28th February - Caroline Roseman sent in this picture of Fallow Deer on her land, and their destructive nature on the bark of trees in her woods. Caroline also sent in a picture of an early Toad. Click here.

                                  photo: Caroline Roseman

                                                                                      Fallow Deer

                                          photo: Caroline Roseman

                                                                           Damage caused by Deer

25th February - Our "Leominster Correspondent" Steve Tuck informs us of some Waxwings in the area. Today, they are currently in an orchard adjacent to the Luctonians Rugby pitches at Kingsland.

Also today, finally managed to get the Great Grey Shrike in the view finder of the camera. Unfortunately, this bird which has been on Bircher Common for about a week now, is easily spooked, so getting any 'close ups' will be difficult, especially given that there is little natural cover on the Common to hide behind, or against. This shot was taken from about 125 meters away, so the quality of the photo, is somewhat grainy! For a couple more photos of this bird, click here.

                                     

                                                                                        Great Grey Shrike

23rd February - This Oak Beauty moth came to the Upper Rochford moth traps last night, the first specimen of the year. A moth associated with, as the name suggests, mature Oaks, although not uncommon in other mature woodland where Hazel, Aspen, Elms and Sallow abound.

This quite large moth is regarded as 'Common' in Worcestershire, although we have limited information as to how 'Common' it is within our specific Teme Valley Area.

                                      

                                                                                              Oak Beauty

22nd February -Took a walk up over on to Bircher Common this morning and sure enough, within about half an hour found the Great Grey Shrike......Went back later with the camera, to the spot where it had been seen.....and it had disappeared!....so no photo...Yet!

The Great Grey Shrike is a scandinavian migrant that over winters here and is more usually associated with the UK's east coast. Every year though, a few venture over into Wales. This bird is likely to be back en route to Scandinavia. About the size of a small magpie, it is very easy to recognise and distinctive when seen, even from considerable distance. Its white chest and pale grey back shows up easy against a dark back ground, and given that the favourite perch it usually on the highest branch or twig available, it usually stands out easily.

Also know as the 'butcher bird', it collects its food in a grizzly larder. It is so called as it impails it prey, which is usually small birds or mammals or insects, onto suitable spikes for later consumption.

On a lighter note, this warmer weekend has seen a pair of Skylarks rising up over the fields above Hill top, Rochford.

...And finally, the Siskin have found the bird feeders at Upper Rochord. For another couple of closer shots of both male and female birds, click the link here.

                                 

                                                                                         Siskin - Male

21st February - 34 Goosander on Kyre Pool this morning. A Male Sparrowhawk flew for about 200 meters along the lanes in front of the car at Stoke Bliss today, just before the Stoke Bliss road joins the Bromyard Road. Higher up the same road above Stoke Bliss Church, a Yellowhammer was sat on the top of the hedge.

A Great Grey Shrike is reported as being seen on Bircher Common.

Clinging to the moth trap on the lawn at Upper Rochford this morning, this Palmate Newt. Note the distinctive black line through the eye. The Palmate newt is the smallest species of Newt we have in the UK, measuring up to about 3" in maximum length.

                                   

                                                                                   Palmate Newt

20th February - This spider was found in the Orchard, warming itself next to a lit moth trap. The pisaura mirabilis (Sorry, there are not many 'common names' for spiders!) is a hunting spider, found commonly throughout the UK, living typically in amongst vegetation in grass land, heathland and woodland clearings. The female measures 12-15 mm, with the male being slightly smaller.

                                    

                                                                                          pisaura mirabilis

19th February - We seem to have had a few people reporting Goosander in the Teme Valley just recently. David Spillsbury has been seeing them down at Eastham, Alan Althorp has seen a pair near Dinham Bridge and Annabel reports about half a dozen on Kyre pool last weekend.

These diving ducks are members of the sawbill family, so named because of their serrate bill which is designed for catching fish. The RSPB estimates there are about 2,500 breeding pairs in the UK, but the population is boosted at this time of year with migrants, which may well push the UK population in winter to in excess of 16,000. It is likely therefore that most of these seen are migrants. Update - At 3pm today, 30 Goosander were seen on Kyre Pool this afternoon.

Also reported recently, Chris Kemble over at Knighton has already seen the years first wasp, and Shirley Hambelton in Rochford had a Peacock butterfly in her lounge over the weekend.

Along the same theme, the moth traps at Upper Rocford have also seen a Dotted Chestnut come in. This is of especial interest as, not only is it here about two months early, it is also a Nationally Scarce category B Moth and on the Worcs 'C' list - Scarce locally. If you see one turn up at your porch light, take a photo and let us know.

                                                          

                                                        Dotted Chestnut - Locally and Nationally Scarce

16th February - Many of you are now involved in the Local Bird Survey. You have each been sending in your reports for January on the birds you have seen in the local patch you are monitoring. The exciting news is that we are now well down the road to producing some interesting data for the Teme Valley, from the results of all your hard work.

The data will be updated monthly, so PLEASE continue to keep filling in your bird survey reports, as your data is very important and does make a difference.

And if you are not involved in the local bird survey and would like to be, please let us know. Its designed to be easy and non time consuming....and your results will help make the data gained even more comnplete.

To see the results of the initial (January) data throughout the Teme Valley, click the Bird Survey link above, or click here.

15th February - Chris Kemble emailed from Knighton on Teme to say that Lesser Redpoll were a common sight in their garden (see photo below) along with a male and female Blackcap. This is a good record, as to date, not many Blackcap have shown up on the local bird survey. Chris also gets a regular visit from two Kestrels and a Jay. Kestrels are none too common (unless you know differently!), but Jays seem to be doing really well in the Valley at the moment with them regularly being seen and reported.

                                   photo : Chris Kemble

                                              Two Lesser Redpoll and a Greenfinch in Chris Kemble's Garden

Chris and Jenny Rodgers report seeing a Red Kite between Bromyard and Stoke Bliss today. This is the first positive report we've had these raptors in the Teme Valley Area. The reintroduction programs have been so successful in Wales that it is only a matter of time before we start to see these beautiful birds in our area.

They are no threat to live stock and live predominantly in the wild on worms. They will take dead carrion (road kills) as will most raptors, but do not go after farm stock. They are instantly recognisable by their ungainly flight with long over sized wings, and a very distinctive V shaped tail.

Shirley Hambelton has been hard at work preparing and propagating seedlings and cuttings of viburnum, sedum and various budlias for the spring. Shirley's passion is in the garden, and specifically designing gardens. Wearing her 'charitable hat', Shirley also offers many of these plants for sale, with the proceeds going to a charity. This year, it is a charity in Worcester for bereaved children who have lost a parent......

The thing is, Shirley also has a great knowledge of what plants attract what wildlife. So if you would like to attract more wildlife to your garden, why not go and see Shirley and for a few pounds, you can get yourself some new garden plants, gen yourself up on what the plants are likely to pull in on the wildlife front....and do your bit for a charitable cause.

If you know Shirley, give her a call, and if you don't, contact us via this web site and we will put you in touch.

As Promised, some more of the Bullfinch photo's have been posted in the Bird Gallery. Click here.

And on the Moth front....this extremely fresh and very well marked Dotted Border came into the moth traps at Upper Rochford last night.

                                     

                                                                                          Dotted Border

12th February - Steve Tuck emailed to say, although a little outside our Teme Valley Area, he was getting a female Blackcap in his central Leominster garden. We are also aware of Blackcaps in rural gardens over in Droitwich......There seems to be an influx all around us. Are you seeing any in your Teme Valley patch?....Let us know.

9th February - It must be one of our first spring migrants back, as a Cuckoo was heard at Upper Rochford again yesterday morning. Have you heard one yet this year, if so, let us know where and when. We were only aware of 3 - 4 birds around this area last year, and all those were birds you had informed us about. Lets see how many we record this Spring.

7th February - A pair of Bullfinch came into the Orchard at Upper Rochford yesterday............I didn't have a camera......

........today however, ......I was ready!!

To see more of this bird, along with the female, there will be some slides at the next meeting (This Thursday - 12th Feb).

More photos will be posted to the web pages after the meeting.

                                   

                                                                                     Bullfinch (Male)

6th February - Mike Bowdler emailed to say that the nest box complete with bird camera he put up a few months ago has just started to take its first occupant. A Blue Tit has taken up residency, roosting over night from dusk, leaving in the morning and returning at dusk. Looks like Mike might be witness to the beginning of a very interesting spring on his Bird Box Camera. Does anybody else have a bird box camera up?

Heather Hughes emailed to say that she has been getting Lesser Redpoll on her Garden feeders in this bad weather. She also mentioned that she is still seeing the odd dead Greenfinch about. Greenfinch numbers declined significantly during the winter of 2006 when the trichomoniasis virus struck and wiped out large numbers. Are we seeing this virus attacking again locally? Let us know if your are seeing ill or dead Greenfinch.

The virus is thought to be spread through infected water/feeding stations. There is a request therefore that water containers are regularly cleaned out and water changed regularly. Similarly, feeders should be periodically taken down and cleansed. This will help to stem the transfer of the virus from one bird to another.

For more info on the virus, the Times did a short easy to read article back in 2006. The link is here.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article637452.ece

5th February - The snow has been with us a couple of days now, with another load dumped on us last night. Keep an eye open for animal tracks that appear in the snow around the area. there may be more creatures in your garden after dark than you know about!

Please make sure you put some fresh, non iced up water out, for the birds and other wildlife in your area. Even during snow, many birds find it hard to find water.

Arun Marsh has sent in some pictures of Barn Owls taken several months ago now, over towards Knighton on Teme. This is almost certainly the same bird (or descendant of) as seen by Richard & Amanda recently. For more of Arun's Barn Owl pictures, click here.

                                              owl5 by ArunMarsh. Photo : Arun Marsh

                                                                                       Barn Owl

31st January - Alan Althorp reported 24 Waxwing in Ludlow yesterday, in the same areas as previously seen.

29th January - Hayley Madge reported seeing a Barn Owl over the fields above Hill Top yesterday evening.

And Richard and Amanda reported seeing a Barn Owl several mornings this last week out at Knighton on Teme.

27th January - A welcome visitor to the feeders at Upper Rochford this morning, this Great Spotted Woodpecker

                             

                                                                    Great Spotted Woodpecker

26th January - Jo Sothers reports a possible sighting of a Goshawk locally at Upper Rochford.

Plenty of Fieldfares around the Valley, especially in some of the Orchards over towards Knighton on Teme.

This Marsh Tit was captured on Camera at Upper Rochford. Marsh Tits, like Willow Tits, are on the RSPB's Red list, indicating a significant decline in the species population over the past 25 years. For another couple of pictures of the same bird, click here .

                              

                                                                                       Marsh Tit

And on the Moth front....This Spring Usher came in to the traps at Upper Rocford last night. The first moth of the year, despite the temperature dropping to 2C. This moth has appeared just at the beginning of its flight season of Mid January through to Mid March, and so should be around for others to identify over the next few weeks. It will readily come to light, so keep an eye on your windows at night.

                              

                                                                                    Spring Usher

22nd January - Don't forget that this weekend is the RSPB's Garden Birdwatch Survey. This is a National event during which, the RSPB ask you to spend just One Hour during this weekend, either day, 24th or 25th January, and make a count of the most number on any species that comes to your garden during that period.

Sometime in the morning is often recommended as being the best time, as birds tend to be more active then.

You can get more details, including how to send your results off to the RSPB via this link. http://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/index.asp

21st January - Caroline Roseman sent in this picture of Long Tailed Tits on her bird table at Lower Rochford.

20th January - David & Jo Sothers sent in four pictures of birds on their feeders at Upper Rochford. See the links here...Nuthatch, Blue Tit, Coal Tit and Long Tailed Tit.

19th January - Liz Sneath saw the juvenile Cormorant over towards Woodston this weekend, and Caroline Roseman at Lower Rochford reported three Jays in her garden on Saturday.

Arun Marsh at Knighton on Teme sent in this and another photo of a Lesser Redpoll (Click here) at the feeder in his garden recently, together with a pair of Red Legged Partridge on a wall (Click Here).

                               Photo : Arun Marsh

                                                                                         Redpoll

18th January - A flock of about 20 Siskin came to Upper Rochford this afternoon. For more pictures including the female, click this link here.

                               

                                                                                      Male Siskin

One of a pair of Jays seen at Upper Rochford yesterday. See another photo here.

Dunnock, Greenfinch, Wren and Robin photos have also been added to the bird galleries pages.

                                 

                                                                                              Jay

17th January - Waxwings are now in our area. 20 were seen in Ludlow this morning. These birds, come across the North Sea looking for food, typically Rowan and Hawthorn berries. They are usually relatively tame, so getting a photograph of them is quite possible.

This picture and info on the sighting was sent in by Dave Barnes.

                                    Photo : Dave Barnes

                                                                                           Waxwing

15th January - You can always tell when a wildlife photographer is going through a 'bad patch', Robins up show in the picture!!

Have been trying to get some photo shots of the Barn Owl down at Woodston over the last few nights.....the only thing in range tonight, this Robin!!

                                    

                                                                                                    Robin

13th January - A pair of Barn Owls were seen this early morning by Richard and Amanda out at Knighton on Teme.

The Ring Ouzel was seen by yet another member of the Group, Jo Sothers, in the same area as her friend saw it a few days ago....This is a very important record as we have been informed that there have only been Four winter records of this bird in Worcs in the last 15 years.......Please get your cameras out ....we need a picture!!

Another picture of a Treecreeper seen at Upper Rochord over the Weekend here.

Pete Thorp over at Woodston has also come up with another first for the web site...the presence of three Cormorants out towards a pool at Woodston. These are typically coastal birds, but often come inland in winter, where the weather is often better, looking for food. We are not aware of them being seen in the Teme Valley before. There are a couple of more pictures taken by Pete here.

                                  Photo : Pete Thorp

                                                                     Cormorants in tree over the lake

11th January- Following our meeting this week, many more of you have decided to join our local Wild Bird Survey. This is great news as we really are beginning to get a good coverage of people reporting on what birds they are seeing in the Teme Valley Area. This will help to provide data on both what birds are, and are not, common in our area, and provide information which will allow us to put together distribution maps of our birds for the area. If you are not involved, but live, work or spend a lot of time in the area, please send us an email and we will get you included in this years survey.

Jo Sothers reports an exciting possible sighting over the last few days. A local friend of Jo's reports a Ring Ouzel between Upper Rochford and Tenbury. Seen in a garden twice over the past couple of days.

Liz Sneath spotted a Meadow Pipit out on one of her fields at Woodston, and this Buzzard being mobbed by a crow.

                                                     

                                                                                     Buzzard

9th January- A really good turn out of 22 people came to the Wildlife Group meeting last night. Pete Thorp, a local photographer gave his knowledge freely on some of the do's and don'ts in buying and using different cameras, lenses and accessories. Several people asked if he could do another talk later in the year on the same subject, to which he has agreed. Pete will be with us again at the October meeting.

Traveling down along the Lower Rochford > Eastham road today, a small flock of Redwing were noted in an apple Orchard, along with a Jay and a Magpie. A rather strange gathering!

Caroline Roseman happened upon a Treecreeper whilst out in her wooded copse today at Lower Rochford, and Liz Sneath saw nine Long tailed Tits on one of her garden feeders this morning. Liz also saw a Barn Owl on a post, between Eastham & Lindridge, just before dusk.

5 January - Liz Sneath from Woodston has emailed us with some of her bird sightings over the festive period. Typical visitors to Liz's patch are Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Song Thrush, Long tailed Tits, Green Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Chaffinch, Blue Tits and Great Tits. All of these are very important records as they help us plot the various bird species distribution throughout the Teme Valley. 'Common' bird records are just as important as 'rare' species sightings.

2 January 2009 - No sooner the year starts and we get a second record of a Lesser Redpoll. This time at Upper Rochford.

This bird landed briefly, but allowed photos to be taken. See this link here, to see more photos of this bird. Lesser Redpoll are a native species throughout the UK, but have been in decline over the last few years. They are primarily seed feeders.

                              

                                                             Lesser Redpoll on dead stinging nettles

1 January 2009- Happy New Year!... Lets Hope we get some interesting wildlife sightings this year in our area.

To go to the 2008 archive click this link : 2008 archive