Wildlife Conservation Group in the

Forest of Dean


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Wildlife Photographs from Tidenham Chase

A Typical Day with the Dean Green Team!

Clearwell Meend Autumn Gentian and Autumn Ladies Tresses

Butterfly Surveying

White-barred Clearwing Moth

Cannop Ponds

November 2013

Wildlife Photographs from Tidenham Chase

On the 12th November we had a professional photographer with us at The Park, Tidenham Chase FC/GWT/RSPB Reserve. His name is Adam Hollier and his website is

. He took some amazing pictures and here are a few of them:




Southern Hawker Dragonfly (Aeshna cyanea)



The southern hawker is a large hawker dragonfly which is on the wing from the end of June through to September. (but this was November - a bright sunny day!) A common dragonfly of ponds, lakes and canals in the lowlands, particularly near to woodland, it can be seen patrolling a regular patch of water when hunting or 'hawking' through woodland rides. Hawkers are the largest and fastest flying dragonflies; they catch their insect-prey mid-air and can hover or fly backwards



Speckled Bush-cricket (Leptophyes punctatissima)




The Speckled Bush-cricket prefers rough vegetation, scrub and hedgerows, and is also found in gardens. It can be seen perching on bushes, window ledges, flowers and leaves, particularly Bramble. Speckled Bush-crickets emerge as nymphs in May and moult into their adult form during later summer. Most active at dusk and during the night, males call to attract females by rubbing their wings together, but their 'song' (a high-pitched 'chirp') is barely audible to human ears. Females lay their eggs in late summer in the bark of a tree or a plant stem; here, they overwinter, ready to emerge next spring.



Great Crested Newt (Tritusus cristatus )


The Great Crested Newt is the largest of the British newts and, in the breeding season adult males are recognisable by their jagged crest and silvery-blue and almost fluorescent stripe down the centre of the tail. Both sexes have a dark brown warty body and yellowish-orange belly with black blotches. Britain has probably Europe's largest population and is, therefore, very important to the continuing survival of the Great Crested Newt.These Newts need water-bodies such as ponds for breeding but, for most of the year, they live on dry land. Typical breeding sites contain a number of medium to large ponds that have some areas of clear, base-rich water, deeper than 30 cm and with few fish predators. Such ponds are usually surrounded by terrestrial habitat with plentiful ground cover (e.g. scrub, trees, long grass) with moist refuges in which newts spend the daytime (e.g. log piles, rocks or other debris). The species has been in decline for a number of years with Great Crested Newts becoming increasingly rare or absent in some areas.





Moth (Agonopterix ocellana)




Relatively common throughout the British Isles, this fairly distinctive Agonopterix overwinters as an adult, often being found in early spring as it awakes from hibernation.
The larva feeds on various willows (Salix spp.), feeding between leaves spun together with silk. The species is easily identified by the combination of rufous, black and white in the centre of the forewing.


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A Typical Day with the Dean Green Team!

Have you ever wondered how much exercise we do on a typical day out with the Dean Green Team and how far we walk? All our sites vary - sometimes we have to walk from where the cars are parked - sometimes the cars are quite near - sometimes we walk backwards and forwards collecting fallen trees and brush - and sometimes we stop for a break!

One of our team switched on a GPS recorder whilst we were out at Great Doward on the 19th November and here are the results:See the diary page here

The total distance walked in the day was 3.53 miles over a period of nearly 4.30 hours. However, the calories of 336 do not reflect the amount of work we did doing the actual cutting and piling up the conifers and trees as they only count calories whilst the user is actually walking so it is more than likely that the calorie count could be trebled. The moving time of 1.27 hours is also the time recorded whilst the user was walking along in strides and does not count the sawing and lopping whilst standing. The user was NOT having a 3 hour break!



On the following week, the 26th November at Edgehills Bog GWT Reserve, the map below shows a typical day out going backwards and forwards  cutting and burning the birch on the site. The actual miles walked over a four hour period was about 2 miles. The elevation of the site is 900 feet. There are no other indications on the map to show where the site is as we were deep in the forest away from the roads. The temperature was 2 degrees Celsius . See the diary page here


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September 2013

Clearwell Meend Autumn Gentian and Autumn Ladies Tresses

We have received a positive result from the clearing we did at Clearwell Meend last year - see here .

 The Autumn Ladies Tresses had almost disappeared from the site before DGT started working there, so its brilliant that there were 5 plants found this year.





And good numbers of Autumn Gentian were also found.








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May - June 2013

Butterfly Surveying


Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary





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White-barred Clearwing Moth (Synanthedon spheciformis)

27 June 2013

A brief survey for the White-barred Clearwing, a day-flying moth with Notable B status, in the Woorgreen and surrounding area today.
6 males were attracted to pheromone at the site where they were originally discovered SO631132 and larval feeding signs could be seen in cut Alder stumps.
A further 4 males were attracted on the Crabtree heathland restoration site SO 634134 where they are almost certainly feeding on the young birch left in the shallow valley.
It seem likely that they are spreading now as suitable habitat becomes available.
As the Dean is the only known site in Gloucestershire and in view of its Notable B status, we must ensure that the Management plans for these sites take into account the fairly specific requirements for this moth.
The larvae mine the stems of young Birch or Alder. The tree must be between 2 - 8/10 years in age. After this age the tree becomes unsuitable (possibly because the bark becomes too thick for the emerging larva to mine through into the stem). To maintain the colonies it is essential that  a constant rotation of young Birch and Alder up to 8-10 years in age is undertaken and that there are no large scale clearance of these young plants.
If during coppicing work larval holes are found and it is suspected that a larva may be present in the cut stem (usual sign is fresh frass), the last 18in containing the larval hole can be cut off the main stem and this piece pushed into some wet ground.  This has shown to allow the larva to complete the 2 year cycle. If there is a small hole in the bark about 12 in above ground level, the moth has emerged.

Also 3 were found at Foxes Bridge colliery tip,today 27/6/13.

Good news is this moth was found in its original place and 2 new locations.



This is a report from 15th June which shows the lengths our butterfly surveying can go to!

For once I can report a better than expected outcome from my butterfly surveying. Having seen the possibility of some marginally suitable weather in the middle of the day, I travelled down to the Dean today, more in hope than expectation. I arrived at Little Moseley about 10am (13 degrees C), got to the south end of the ditch about 10.30 (14') and worked my way slowly northward, checking out all the MV patches and nearby stands of rushes or grasses for roosting butterflies. All to no avail. Continued across the open area towards the road, but thought I ought to check out the flowery area towards the road - and there suddenly basking with wings wide on a grass stem just south of the blackthorn bushes was a Fritillary.
After taking a couple of photos (it wasn't going anywhere fast in those temperatures), I moved on to the RSPB reserve and again found a basking Frit, this time in one of the ditches which were scraped by the RSPB at my request a few years ago. A probable Grizzled Skipper here too.
 Then on to the Linear park, arriving by the scrapyard just after 1pm. It was drizzling steadily, but there were occasional brighter intervals. First Frit at about 1.15, again by the big Larch stump. The triangle had a Common Blue and a Grizzled Skipper as I continued southwards parallel to the stream. Two Frits at the foot of the slope which leads up from the streamside flat to the bracken and nettles of Oaks East, another one with a 'bite out' of its right forewing where the 3 sets of wires meet, and another one, definitely not the same individual, close to a small dead hawthorn under the wires further on. Found a patch of Adder's Tongue Fern close to here too, which may be a worthwhile record too. Finally, on my way back to the car, another Frit basking on a Plantain flowerhead about 50 meters south of the CLP sign near the scrapyard, at least 200 meters from the next nearest sighting.
So I reckon I saw at least four individuals, more likely 5 or 6 just in the Linear Park in unpromising conditions.

So... please keep looking whenever you can!




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April 2013

Cannop Ponds


A pair of Gargeney ducks were spotted at Cannop Ponds on 21st April. The garganey (Anas querquedula) is a scarce and very secretive breeding duck in the UK. It is smaller than a mallard and slightly bigger than a teal. The male is most easily recognised with a broad white stripe over the eye. In flight it shows a pale blue forewing. It feeds by 'dabbling'. Breeding birds arrive from March and return from July. Small numbers of non-breeding birds visit on passage migration in spring and autumn.

The male Garganey has a brown head and breast, a distinctive broad white stripe or crescent over the eye, upperparts are dark brown with pale feather edges, loose black and white scapulars covering the green speculum, light greyish flanks and belly, and grey beak and legs. The female is brownish with a dark crown and dark eye-stripe. The female Garganey is similar to the female Teal but has a white throat and is paler.



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