Black and Yellow Longhorn Beetle (Rutpela maculata)

Saw this Longhorn beetle in our patch of Ninewells wood today. It was the first time I have seen this species there.

They are not that rare but are only around for  few weeks of the year.They can be up to 4 years as a grub living on rotten wood. Then when they hatch in June they are only around for 2 to 4 weeks.

They are quite big, up to 20 mm, I would say this was about 15 mm long. Also the pattern of the dark brown /black marks on their backs does vary quite a lot. Sometimes more banded other times more spotted. This one is sort of intermediate.

I notice there is a small drop of liquid on the leaf just behind the back end of the beetle. It had not been raining so I wonder if this is beetle juice/wee.


Wood Mouse; (Apodemus sylvaticus)

As I said in my last post we do get Wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus)   in the garden sometimes and today he/she made an appearance. Also know as a Field mouse, because they live in the woods and the fields. 

It might have been better to call them the country mouse as opposed to the town mouse. These little chaps are not the ones you get in the house. These live outside, they have bigger eyes and bigger ears and they are delightful.

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Vole….. Bank?

We get several rodents visiting our garden to pick up food from the bird feeder. Rats occasionally, Squirrels quite often but also mice and voles. The mice are Wood mice, very attractive with big eyes and large ears.

This is a vole, blunt nose, little eyes and little ears. There are two voles you might see in your garden, a Bank vole and Field vole. I think this is a Bank Vole. They tend to be more brown colour and have a neater appearance whereas Field voles are more grey and scruffier.

Any experts out there want to offer an opinion? Here are two more photos, it obviously prefers the sun flower seeds.

Muntjac deer in Forest of Dean.

I saw these two Muntjacs (Muntiacus reevesi) on a slippery walk near Brierley. I think they are two different individuals, although they  were both in roughly the same vicinity. However one was at the beginning of my walk and the other was at the end. I think the second one has slightly bigger antlers and the preorbital scent gland is more pronounced.

When I lived in Norfolk I can’t ever remember photographing these little chaps, they were so common, but here in the Forest of Dean I hardly ever see them so they got the benefit of me snapping away.


You can clearly see the preorbital glands here, they look like two massive tears. They are used to mark the territory and give information about the owner. Studies have shown that the chemical composition of these secretions would permit muntjacs to identify an individual’s age, sex and population of origin. Both males and females have these glands.

Snow Birds 2

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Snow is starting to melt but has a long way to go . Here are a few more birds that have visited for food and water during the recent cold snap (2nd and 3rd March 2018) I have seen loads of Field fares, which is nice but they are very aggressive. They spend most of their time chasing other birds away. Redwings are about but seem much more shy. I did see a Peregrine fly over yesterday but too quick for a photo.

Snow Birds

I have been feeding the birds and more especially putting out water for them… Which needs replacing every few hours.

Here are a few shots I took through the bedroom window, so a bit on the soft side. We do not usually get Pheasants and these two spent some time in the garden even on the shed roof. Standing on one leg so I suppose his feet were cold.

I was surprised to see one brave Blackbird having a bath…. In this weather!!

Enjoy the slide show.

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Butcher broom, and Penduline tit

Butchers broom in Lark Wood near Kineton in Gloucestershire???…

No….. well we did not find any.   OK you may wonder why, but I wanted some photos because at this time of year they are in flower. Tiny flowers but in flower and I wanted to get a photo of some. I had found a SSSI report that said they were in Lark Wood in the Cotswolds so we went there and it was muddy and cold and we walked and walked, there was a little stream and and a ford with a foot bridge and we saw a Little Egret..


We saw quite a lot of Laurel Spurge but no Butchers Broom.

On the way back we stopped of at Plocks Court in Gloucester to see the Penduline Tit. There was a small group of Birdo’s some with huge lenses and the guy with the longest lens and thus the main  man  showed me where the Tit was and it immediately flew  from that point to somewhere else and I saw a flash of small bird and so I said OK I have spotted it and Mr Man said yes and that brings my bird count for the year to 163.    One Hundred and Sixty three!!!!  and I have seen about 30 so far… That is why he was Mr Man and had a huge …… lens.

I hung  about after every one else had left and saw a small bird flitting about….. several times and each time it was not a Penduline Tit. It was a Stonechat.

If you are wondering why I wanted a photo of Butchers Broom in the first place, the reason is another blog about.

   Woodland Wildflowers.

Do click the link and have a look, also if anyone knows where I can see some  Butchers Broom in the Gloucestershire/Monmouthshire area please let me know. I am also looking for some Stinking Hellebore.