23 March, 2015

Nature along the Severn

A couple of miles to the north of Worcester the River Severn passes through a heavily managed area of alder and birch plantation, and I spent yesterday evening traversing the many public footpaths that criss-cross the area (branching off from the Severn Way) in search of early spring invertebrates.

Much of the woodland is heavily coppiced on rotation, leaving behind large open areas which - on such a warm day - act as fantastic sun traps for any insect emerging in the spring sunshine. The first Bee-fly and Peacock butterfly of the year were flying in the clearing above, doing their best to remind me that it is now actually spring, and nearby a couple of dung beetles were active...

Aphodius prodromus with a tiny mite attached to its leg!

Green Shieldbug

Sheltering within an isolated clump of Daffodils by the Severn was the now famous Norellia spinipes - the so called 'Daffodil fly' that gained popularity early last year thanks to the pan-species listing movement.

Norellia spinipes

Dicranopalpus ramosus on a tree trunk. This formerly rare species was first found in Bournemouth in 1957, but has since spread inland and is now fairly common throughout the country.

A quick search on coppiced hazels revealed the two commonest species of Liverwort that grow on trees...

Dilated Scalewort (Frullania dilatata)

Forked Veilwort (Metzgeria furcata)

Another extremely common bryophyte (and one of the easiest to identify), Silver-moss (Bryum argenteum) growing in a field margin.

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