Worcestershire Record No. 27 November 2009 pp. 7-12
Mill Meadow, Drakes Broughton, at Grid Ref SO919483, is a small nature reserve managed but not owned by Worcestershire Wildlife Trust. The meadow is a little less than the size of a football pitch and is surrounded on three sides by a large block of mixed Oak, Ash and Aspen woodland known as Mill Rough; this is not owned by the Trust nor is it managed or protected for wildlife. The meadow is cut annually to maintain the rich and diverse flora, it has not been ploughed for at least 75 years and is a tiny remnant of original Worcestershire ‘pasture woodland’.
I have been collecting species records from this site since about 1996. As my own personal interest in the various entomological groups has developed, and my knowledge has increased, it has become apparent that Mill Meadow and the surrounding Mill Rough is home for many localised and rare insect species. Many only exist because of the continued presence and maintenance regime of the meadow itself, but so too do many occur due to the proximity of the woodland. This is why I have included rare species recorded from both the meadow and the surrounding woods in this article as there is a clear relationship between the two habitats.
A full list of all the species I have recorded is with Mr.G.H.Green. Most are common and widespread, a fair number are less common but would still be expected at such a rich site so I have only included those species I feel should be given a special mention in this article, otherwise it would be too long!
In most instances I have given the national conservation status accorded to each species, please note that in the case of the Aculeates I have supplied the national status as advised by M.E.Archer. Any other notes or comments on abundance are entirely my own observations.
A total of 28 species recorded.
Common Blue. Polyommatus icarus. A small but stable population at Mill Meadow and around field boundaries of Mill Rough of this locally declining species.
Brown Argus. Aricia agestis. An increasing population, following the local trend.
White-letter Hairstreak. Satyrium w-album. Very elusive, but does occur in hedgerow Elms.
Silver-washed Fritillary. Argynnis paphia. Very rare, but I do have two records from the brookside at the Mill Rough/Deerfold Wood boundary.
White Admiral. Limenitis Camilla. A very small population seems to be fairly stable, never more than one or two seen on the same day. Occasionally seen within Mill Meadow itself.
LEPIDOPTERA; MACRO MOTHS
A total of 93 species recorded. All are from casual daytime encounters of moths found or disturbed from foliage, and from larval records. Therefore I have only scratched the surface; running a light-trap at regular intervals would obviously be the only way to gain an accurate picture. This comment also applies to my Pyralidae & Micro Moth records.
Rosy Footman. Miltochrista miniata. Local. A few records of adults disturbed during the day.
The Mocha. Cyclophora annularia. Notable B. One disturbed from foliage at Mill Rough on 14.5.2006.
Drab Looper. Minoa murinata. Notable B. A very small population. One or two seen annually alongside Mill Rough.
|Drab Looper © K.McGee|
Alder Moth. Acronicta alni. Local. One record of an adult on an Oak trunk, Mill Meadow, 3.5.1999.
Waved Black. Parascotia fuliginaria. Notable B. One record of 3 larvae on an Oak log at Mill Meadow on 23.4.2000. Confirmed from photo by ANB Simpson.
Hornet Moth. Sesia apiformis. Notable B. A pair in-cop on low vegetation at Mill Meadow on 1.7.2001.
Yellow-legged Clearwing. Synanthedon vespiformis. Notable B. A female was photographed ovipositing in the outer bark of an Oak stump near Mill Rough on 21.6.2003. This was the remaining stump of a large Oak that had been blown over during gales in the previous winter.
A total of 20 species recorded.
Antigastra catalaunalis. Rare Migrant. One disturbed from a field boundary at Mill Rough on 23.9.2006.
Sitochroa palealis. Notable B. One record of a worn adult photographed at Mill Meadow on 21.8.2005. This specimen may have wandered in from elsewhere as it is known to have migratory instincts.
LEPIDOPTERA; MICRO MOTHS
A total of 99 species recorded.
Parachronistis albiceps. Local. One collected from an Oak trunk at Mill Meadow on 2.7.2001 was identified by ANB Simpson.
Adela fibulella. Local. Very elusive on flowers of Speedwell, but I do have records from Mill Meadow and around the boundaries of Mill Rough.
|Adela fibulella © K.McGee|
Nemophora minimella. Local. Very rarely seen, this is a late summer species unlike others within the family. Can be found on Angelica flowers in Mill Meadow.
Ancyllis laetana. Local. One record of an adult photographed on an Aspen trunk at Mill Meadow on 12.5.2007. Aspen is the larval foodplant.
Pammene germmana. Notable B. One photographed on Oak foliage at Mill Meadow on 28.5.2000. Identified by ANB Simpson. Known to be associated with mature Oak woodland.
Pammene trauniana. pRDB3. One photographed on Field Maple foliage alongside Mill Rough on 20.5.2007. Identified by ANB Simpson. The larva feeds in the developing seeds of Field Maple.
Spatalistis bifasciana. Notable B. One photographed on an Aspen trunk at Mill Meadow on 29.5.2007. Confirmed by ANB Simpson.
A total of 75 species recorded.
Megalonotus antennatus. Notable B. One collected from grass/leaf-litter at Mill Meadow on 2.1.2005. Confirmed by PF Whitehead.
Peritrechus nubilus. Local. Three records of specimens collected from grass/leaf litter at Mill Meadow during winter months.
Heterocoridylus genistae. Local. This species is confined to one foodplant; Dyer’s Greenweed. A healthy population of this locally scarce plant occurs at Mill Meadow.
Megacoelum infusum. Local. I only have two records of this species, both from Oak trunks at Mill Meadow, late summer 2002.
Stictopleurus abutilon. Rare Vagrant. A small population was discovered amongst arable weeds on set-aside at Mill Rough during the early autumn of 2006. Groundsel seemed to be the most popular foodplant. I’ve seen none since.
|Stictopleurus abutilon © K.McGee.|
A total of 15 species recorded.
Beautiful Demoiselle. Agrion virgo. Local. A healthy breeding population in the brook between Mill Rough and Deerfold Wood. Males occasionally wander into Mill Meadow itself.
Club-tailed Dragonfly. Gomphus vulgatissimus. Notable B. Wandering males are seen rarely in Mill Meadow.
A total of 276 species recorded. I must emphasise that the vast majority of these were identified or confirmed by Mr.P.F.Whitehead, particularly so with small and obscure Staphylinids etc…
Platyrhinus resinosus. Notable B. Adults are found frequently on or around log-piles, especially of Oak and Ash.
Platystomos albinus. Notable B. Very rare, only one record; adult on dead Hazel logs at Mill Meadow on 24.4.2009.
Attelabus nitens. Local. Very rarely found on Oak foliage.
Rhynchites cavifrons. Notable B. Seems to be quite frequent here, several records from the period covering late May to early June.
Agrilus pannonicus. Notable A. First recorded on 30.5.2003 when several were found ovipositing in bark of an Oak stump near Mill Rough. This stump was created when a large Oak out in an open field was blown down during a storm at some time in the previous winter. Since that initial discovery A.pannonicus has established itself successfully in this area. Adults have also been seen on the Oak stumps in Mill Meadow.
|Agrilus pannonicus © K.McGee|
Acupalpus meridianus. Local. Just two records from Mill Rough, including one from under a stone on 29.3.2003.
Agonum marginatum. Local. A single record of one collected from under an Oak log at Mill Rough on 26.1.2008.
Anisodactylus binotatus. Local. Just a couple of records from Mill Rough including one collected in-flight on 5.4.2003.
Carabus violaceus. Common. Although classified as nationally common this is a distinctly scarce species in this area in my experience. Adults can occasionally be found deep inside large logs during late winter in Mill Rough.
Nebria salina. Local. One collected from dry ground at Mill Meadow on 24.9.2005.
I have a particular interest in this family; the ‘Longhorn Beetles’. I’ve recorded a total of 21 species at these two sites.
Grammoptera ustulata. RDB3. One photographed alongside Mill Rough on 5.5.2007. This is one of my most significant records. Mill Rough may well be the only site in the midlands following my discovery of this rare longhorn beetle. The photograph I took isn’t particularly good due to surrounding foliage blocking out light from my flash gun, however, Paul Whitehead was able to confirm from the image the identity of G.ustulata. It took flight after just one photo and I have not seen one since.
|Grammoptera ustulata © K.McGee|
Judolia cerambyciformis. Local. This is well established and common in the vicinity of Mill Rough and Deerfold Woods which is actually a bit of a mystery as it certainly isn’t present at nearby Tiddesley. This longhorn beetle would not go unnoticed.
Molorchus umbellatarum. Notable A. I have several records of this nationally scarce species. Its associated with fruit trees and so has a direct link with the history of fruit production in our part of the country; which as we are aware is diminishing, with the resulting loss of old orchards. Look on umbellifers in June.
Phymatodes alni. Notable B. I collected one of these from low vegetation alongside Mill Rough on 29.5.2007. Then suddenly a concentration of them became established on a pile of recently cut Oak logs/branches at Mill Meadow during 2008. On 1.6.2008 I estimated over 20 on this log-pile. This is a scarce beetle with very few Worcestershire records.
Pyrrhidium sanguineum. RDB2. The sudden appearance of this spectacular longhorn beetle in Worcestershire is now well documented (summaried by Umpelby 2009). I first found one on storm-blown Oak branches in an open field on farmland not far from the Mill Rough complex in Drakes Broughton on 29.4.2007. It subsequently appeared on Oak logs in Mill Meadow the following year; there were 3 on 10.5.2008. I then saw one in flight land briefly on an Oak log alongside Mill Rough on 23.5.2009 before taking flight again.
Stenostola dubia. Notable B. I have several records from Mill Meadow, all of singletons during May.
Ampedus elongantulus. Notable A. Three records from Oak stumps at Mill Rough and Mill Meadow, all from late May, early June. Confirmed by P.F.Whitehead.
Ampedus rufipennis. RDB2. One collected from the stump of a fallen Oak, Mill Rough, on 6.6.2004. Confirmed by P.F.Whitehead. This species is also established in the large logs of storm damaged Ash trees on nearby farmland in Drakes Broughton.
Phloiotrya vaudoueri. Notable B. One photographed on an Oak log at Mill Meadow on 19.8.2000. My only record of one anywhere.
Ischnomera sanguinicollis. Notable B. Well established here and relatively common, especially so on Field Maple blossom alongside Mill Rough.
Pyrochroa coccinea. Notable B. Although fairly frequent in the north and west of the county this species is rare in this area. I’m pretty certain it is not present at Tiddesley, I have recorded it twice from Mill Rough.
Gnorimus nobilis. RDB2. One of our local ‘celebrities’ for which this part of the county is well known. I have four records of singletons from Mill Meadow/Mill Rough going back to 2000. My most recent is of one photographed on Hogweed flowers near Mill Rough on 23.6.2009.
|Gnorimus nobilis © K.McGee|
Atheta boletophila. RDB2. One collected from under bark of a dead fallen Oak near Mill Rough on 9.1.2005. This was identified by P.F.Whitehead who has retained the specimen.
Platydracus latebricola. Notable B. Recorded from Mill Meadow, confirmed by P.F.Whitehead.
Platydracus stercorarius. Local. Recorded from Mill Meadow, confirmed by P.F.Whitehead.
Prionychus melanarius. RDB2. One collected from an Oak trunk in Mill Meadow on 8.7.2006. Confirmed by P.F.Whitehead.
A total of 142 species recorded. I’m only able to identify a limited number of families so the true picture would only become clear from the work of a dedicated dipterist. However, even my findings indicate that this is a rich site.
Choerades marginatus. Notable. I have many records of singletons so it is clearly well established. Easily seen sitting out in the open such as on top of Oak stumps at Mill Meadow.
Leopoldius signatus. Notable B. Very rare and elusive. I have just two records of specimens netted from Ivy flowers, late September, early October.
Myopa extricata. RDB3. Seems to be frequent alongside Mill Rough.
Thecophora atra. Local. I have one record, a male from Devil’s-bit Scabious flowers in Mill Meadow on 30.8.2003.
Brachyopa bicolor. RDB3. Two records; a female from Hogweed flowers at Mill Rough on 6.6.2004 and a male from an Oak trunk in Mill Meadow on 5.5.2009.
Brachyopa pilosa. Scarce. Six males were congregated on a large branch of Oak that had fallen on to the ground near Mill Rough on 2.5.2009. I collected one of them. There were still a couple there on 23.5.09 but by now encroaching nettles and brambles had almost engulfed the log.
|Brachyopa pilosa, (male) © K.McGee|
Brachypalpoides lentus. Local. Very scarce, I have a few records and still not obtained the ‘perfect’ photo of one!
Brachypalpus laphriformis. Scarce. 2009 would seem to have been a good year for this national rarity alongside Mill Rough. The fine spring weather resulted in several records of individuals on large logs of dead Oak.
Cheilosia grossa. Local. Always very rare and difficult to find, seems to have a very short flight period according to my records; the last week of March to the first week of April.
Criorhina floccosa. Scarce. Very rare here, unlike the similar C.berberina which I see regularly. Again, 2009 appears to have been a good year for it due to fine weather in late April and early May when I saw and photographed several.
Didea fasciata. Notable B. A male collected from Bramble foliage at Mill Meadow on 25.4.2009.
Volucella inanis. Notable B. Now frequent and common following the nationwide expansion of its range, especially on Devil’s-bit Scabious flowers in Mill Meadow.
Volucella inflata. Notable B. Rather scarce, 2009 was a good year due to fine spring weather. This species is particularly fond of Dogwood flowers according to my records.
Xanthogramma citrofasciatum. Local. I had always suspected the presence of this species in Mill Meadow due to past possible sightings and situations when I had failed to photograph/capture one. So I was pleased to confirm a female X.citrofasciatum on 1.5.2009. Another female was photographed ovipositing in leaf litter alongside an Ant-hill on 3.5.2009.
Hybomitra bimaculata. Local. Very scarce, the streamside area between Mill Rough and Deerfold Wood is the only site I know of for this horse-fly. Four records, all from hot days in June, early July.
Tabanus autumnalis. Local. Just one record; a female photographed at rest on one of the Oak stumps in Mill Meadow on 28.6.2009.
Tachina lurida. Local. A single record of one collected from low Brambles at Mill Meadow on 1.5.2009.
Pandivirilia melaleuca. RDB2. This is my most important record, not only for the Mill Meadow/Mill Rough complex but anywhere! On 25.6.2009 during hot humid weather at 3.00pm I netted an unfamiliar yet striking fly as it flew in a manner not unlike a Pompilid Wasp amongst rank grasses near the base of an Oak stump in Mill Meadow. I didn’t even attempt to photograph it as it was clearly moving rapidly amongst the thick vegetation. I was amazed when I keyed it out later as a female P.melaleuca. This is an extremely rare Stiletto-Fly which according to Stubbs & Drake (2001) is only certain from Windsor Forest and the immediate locality. There is also a possible larval record from Cirencester Park, Gloucestershire (Alexander, 1994). Steven Falk has agreed with my identification from a photograph of the dead specimen I e-mailed to him. Unfortunately two of the legs were dislodged during the difficulty of capturing this individual.
Pandivirilia melaleuca, (female)
A total of 43 species recorded.
Abia sericea. Local. This rather uncommon Sawfly is entirely associated with Devil’s-bit Scabious; the larval food plant. A healthy population of both plant and sawfly exists at Mill Meadow.
Zaraea fasciata. Local. I recorded adults on three dates in 2001 from Mill Meadow but I’ve seen none since.
Pamphilius histrio. Local. One female collected from Birch foliage in Mill Meadow on 2.5.2009.
Pamphilius varius. Local. One female collected from Honeysuckle foliage in Mill Meadow on 19.5.2007.
Rhogogaster picta. Local. Frequent amongst Dyer’s Greenweed in Mill Meadow; the larval food plant. This is a scarce plant in this part of the county.
Tenthredo maculata. Local. Very rare, I photographed one at Mill Meadow on 23.5.2009.
A total of 106 species recorded. This does not include the Ants but is otherwise an accurate reflection as I have concentrated much more on this group during recent years.
Andrena bucephala. Scarce. Two females collected from Dandelions at Mill Rough on 1.4.2008 and 12.4.2008. Confirmed by G.Trevis.
Andrena congruens. Rare. One male collected in-flight at Mill Rough on 30.5.2009.
Andrena labiata. Restricted. A female on Speedwells alongside Mill Rough on 20.5.2009, another at the same spot on 23.5. Despite an intensive search I couldn’t find one in Mill Meadow during the same period.
|Andrena labiata, (female) © K.McGee|
Nomada ferruginata. Rare. One male collected on 22.4.2006 from Mill Rough, confirmed by G.Trevis. Another male photographed at the same spot on 26.4.2008. The host Andrena for this cleptoparasite is A.praecox, which is fairly common here.
Nomada striata. Widespread. This is present at Mill Meadow, but only in very small numbers. It tends to emerge a little later than other Nomadas, and can sometimes be found on flowers of Lesser Stitchwort. I have very few records of this species away from Mill Meadow.
Bombus rupestris. Scarce. Very rare here, one was photographed at rest on Bluebells in Mill Meadow on 12.5.2007.
Anthidium manicatum. Widespread. A healthy population exists in Mill Meadow. Males can be seen defending territories amongst Betony flowers during late summer. This is the only site I know of.
Coelioxys rufescens. Widespread. One female from Mill Meadow, 14.6.2009.
Osmia caerulescens. Widespread. Breeds in the Oak stumps at Mill Meadow. Males can be seen sunning themselves in late afternoon sunshine on and around the stumps.
Osmia caerulescens, (male)
Chrysis ruddii. Scarce. A male collected from an Oak stump at Mill Meadow, 23.6.2009.
Omalus aeneus. Scarce. A male collected from Angelica flowers at Mill Meadow, 2.8.2003.
Auplopus carbonarius. Scarce. I have three females from Mill Meadow.
Anoplius caviventris. Very rare. A female collected from Mill Meadow on 8.6.2003 was subsequently confirmed by P.F.Whitehead.
Argogorytes fargeii. Rare. A female collected from Hogweed flowers at Mill Meadow, 14.6.2003.
Didineis lunicornis. Scarce. A female collected from dry ground in Mill Meadow on 8.8.2004.
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