Rhinoceros beetle discovery in England

This video says about itself:

Animal Olympics: Rhinoceros beetles are the strongest animals in the world. Here is the proof.

From Wildlife Extra:

Europe’s strongest beetle discovered in Worcestershire

The European rhinoceros beetle is Europe’s strongest beetle, lifting up to 850 times their own body weight and is not considered a pest species in other countries.

Is it a pet, an introduced species or a recent arrival in the UK?

September 2013. Wildlife enthusiasts have been thrilled to discover a rhinoceros beetle in Worcestershire, a giant insect usually only found in mainland Europe.

Budding entomologist, Angie Hill found the huge beetle in her organic garden in Martley, Worcestershire and sent a photograph to Buglife for identification. Experts there were amazed at the exciting discovery and confirmed that it is a European rhinoceros beetle (Oryctes nasicornis), the same species as Dim, the beetle in the Disney film ‘A Bug’s Life‘.

Matt Shardlow, Buglife CEO said “We couldn’t believe it when we saw the photo; this is the first time one has ever been found in the wild in Britain. These gentle giants can grow up to 6 cm long and while the stag beetle can be longer, the European rhinoceros beetle is a robust beastie; this animal is probably the heaviest beetle in Britain.”

Angie said “I am delighted that this beetle has turned up in my garden and would love to know how arrived in a small Worcestershire village?”

Buglife are now asking for members of the public to keep their eyes peeled in the Worcestershire area.

Matt said “We need to find out whether it’s an escaped pet, an accidental introduction, perhaps with wood chips, or whether they are actually breeding in the wild. Worcestershire is an area famous for the Noble chafer (Gnorimus nobilis), and other rare beetles associated with dead wood. The rhino beetle feeds in decaying wood so it is possible they are breeding in an ancient wood in the Teme valley.”

If you find a similar looking beetle please take a photograph and send it in to Buglife. For more information and to help with identification, please visit www.buglife.org.uk.

People are being asked to report sightings of a rare British beetle that emerges from old fruit trees in summer. So little is known about the noble chafer, a green beetle with a metallic sheen, that conservationists are unsure exactly how many are left: here.

Saving English woodland birds

This video from Cornwall is about bullfinches; one of the British woodland birds species.

From Wildlife Extra:

Work to save woodland birds to take place in Worcestershire

Rare birds to benefit from woodland work

February 2013. Work to improve habitat and protect declining woodland birds is about to take place at two Worcestershire nature reserves.

Funded largely by a Woodland Improvement Grant, Worcestershire Wildlife Trust is about to undertake thinning and ride widening works in two woodlands. Trench Wood (near Sale Green) and Monkwood (near Grimley) have both been the focus of previous forestry work and wildlife gains have been recorded.

James Hitchcock, conservation officer for the Trust, explained “The work we’re undertaking is part of the long-term restoration of both these woodlands. Visitors to the woodlands have become used to work of this sort over the last few years. The areas we’re working in and the type of work we’re doing this year, however, are very much focused on trying to halt the decline of woodland birds like spotted flycatcher, marsh tit and lesser spotted woodpecker.”

Marsh tit and spotted flycatcher

As we have lost woodlands and our traditional woodland management methods have faded, numbers of woodland birds have declined. Once common, birds like the marsh tit and spotted flycatcher now have red status – severe decline in numbers and whose population is globally threatened.

While there are a number of factors contributing to this decline, re-instating coppicing in woodlands can help. Coppicing involves cutting down trees almost to their base – the trees spring back to life with strong new growth, which can be cut again on a constant cycle. By managing on rotation, woodland managers can ensure there is always a range of habitat for wildlife.

Thinning trees also ensures there is a broken tree canopy, which means more light reaches the ground and allows a variety of woodland plants and wildflowers, such as bluebells and wood anemones, to thrive.

Woodland rides

The Trust will also be widening some of the rides that run through the two woodlands. As with coppicing, this promotes the growth of wildflowers – from primroses to common vetch. An astonishing 90% of a woodlands’ biodiversity can be found along woodland rides and edges.

James continued “As with the decline in farmland birds, the drastic plummeting of woodland bird numbers is worrying. But it’s not all bad news. We’ve been working on improving both these woodlands for several years and last year we recorded the return of spotted flycatcher in Trench Wood. This shows that what we’re doing is working – we just need to do more of it.


“While we’re hoping the work will help these three birds in particular, there are many more that will benefit from the work – garden warbler, blackcap, willow warbler and woodcock, for example. And it’s not just birds – butterflies and other invertebrates will benefit too. Some of the work may look a bit drastic to the eye but it really is necessary for the long-term benefit of wildlife in these two beautiful woodlands.

“Along with encouraging visitors to keep dogs on leads and not straying from the paths, this work really gives us a great opportunity to give these birds and all our wildlife a real helping hand.”

Both Trench Wood and Monkwood were once owned by the LG Harris Brush Company. They were both purchased by the Trust, with help from Butterfly Conservation, in the 1980s primarily because of their importance for insects.

LG Harris actively managed both woodlands to produce timber for brush handles. In so doing they planted many non-native trees but their management techniques created favourable wildlife habitats and, although the methods of management were markedly different, the woodlands retained much of their ancient character.

James added “Much of the maintenance of the woods is done by our volunteer groups. Volunteers across the county are vital to our work and I’d encourage anyone who’s interested to get in touch – it’s a way of finding out more about managing for wildlife as well as a great opportunity to get outdoors and get healthy.

“Not only will the work directly benefit the woodland and the wildlife but any profits made from the sale of the timber will be ploughed directly back into more conservation work on our nature reserves.”

Work is expected to begin on 25th February and will last for approximately two weeks. The Trust is advising all visitors to Trench Wood and Monkwood to heed any notices on site and follow diversions where necessary.

May 2013. With the imminent release of the draft Environmental Statement for the London to Birmingham phase of HS2, the Woodland Trust sets out its expectations for the document: here.

British Worcestershire wildlife photography competition

This video from Britain is called Avocet & chicks ~ Worcestershire Wildlife Trust ~ RSPB.

From Wildlife Extra:

Worcestershire wildlife photography competition launched – Get your photos into a wildlife calendar

November 2012. Photographers across Worcestershire are being invited to enter an annual photography competition to raise funds for wildlife.

Conservation charity, Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, is looking for photographs that reflect the diversity of our countryside and wildlife – from Hagley to Upton and Tenbury to Broadway. Winning photographs will feature in the Trust’s 2014 calendar.

Wendy Carter, communications manager for the Trust, explained “We’ve been running the competition for four years and we’re always really impressed by the talented photographers that enter.

“We usually get 150-200 photographs entered and, even though it’s already really difficult to choose winners, we’re hoping for many more photographs this year.”

The competition is normally only open for photographs taken on one of the Trust’s 70+ nature reserves. For the first time, however, the Trust is looking for images of wildlife and wild places across the whole county.

Wendy continued “We’re so lucky to live in such a beautiful county with some wonderful species of wildlife. And while our nature reserves are obviously great for wildlife, we realise that most people enjoy watching wildlife in their gardens, villages and local parks.

“Wherever people watch wildlife, we’d encourage them to have a camera handy to make sure they capture the action.

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s a field of flowers dancing in the breeze, the struggle of wildlife trying to survive winter or adapt to a peopled environment, or a child’s first encounter with wildlife; we’re looking for striking and inspiring images of the wonder of Worcestershire’s natural world.”

Winning photos to appear in calendar

12 winning photographs will be featured as A4 images in the 2014 calendar, with one lucky photographer taking the prized front cover. Images are also considered for the Trust’s range of greetings and Christmas cards that are sold to raise money for conservation work across the county.

The calendars provide a much needed source of fundraising for the charity. At this time of year, sales of calendars and Christmas cards alone bring in £5000, all of which helps wildlife across Worcestershire.

The Trust also sell a range of virtual gifts, cards, guide books, identification charts and more – all suitable for Christmas presents and available from the Trust’s website.

Deadline April

“The deadline isn’t until April so there’s plenty of time to take the winning shot!

“We had to order an extra print run of last year’s calendar because it was so popular. We’re expecting another sell out this year so it’s a great opportunity for your photo to be seen throughout the county.”

The closing date is Monday 22nd April 2013 and entry forms can be downloaded here.

The 2013 calendar can be purchased from Lower Smite Farm or the Trust’s website www.worcswildlifetrust.co.uk/shop for £6.50. Winning images can be seen at the Trust’s Flickr Photostream.

Cards can also be purchased at Lower Smite Farm, Just for Pets stores across the county, Upton Snodsbury Village Shop and Post Office, Clive’s Fruit Farm (Upton upon Severn) and Brookside Farm Shop (Droitwich Spa).