Kemerton Cuttings - March 2002

By John Clarke (Kemerton Conservation Trust)


Kinsham Lake produced some interesting sightings - a juvenile Black Tern 1/10/01, 5 Greenshank 4/10/01, a Merlin 6/10/01, a first winter Grey Phalarope 9/10/01. 4 Whooper Swans were present 3/12/01 and a Yellow-legged Gull was seen 13/12/01. In nearby fields the size of the Golden Plover flock increased steadily from about 350 on 30/11/01 to 800+ 9/12/01 before dispersing. During February, significant numbers of Gadwall (12 5/2/02), Pochard (129+ 14/2/02) and Shoveller (20+ 5/2/02) were seen at the Lake. After an absence of about ten years a minimum of three Nuthatches were heard and seen in Kemerton from early September. They have been present at garden feeding stations throughout the winter. During the winter parties of Siskin and Redpoll have been seen in the young plantations and two Reed Bunting roosts were found at Kinsham Lake. On 29/9/01 six Barn Owls were seen in a barn on nearby farmland.

Nestboxes. During cleaning work it was discovered that record numbers of tit boxes had been occupied. However, in some sites, there was evidence of an unusually high rate of failure at the half-feathered stage.


Harvest Mouse nests were found during clearing work in a wetland site. In another area, during the past six months Otter spraints has been reported by three separate observers. In Kemerton village a Polecat was trapped and released unharmed.


John Day visited and discussed queries on botanical records collected by Kemerton staff and visitors since 1983. He also advised on other species to look out for and on name changes etc. Kemerton will check records and draw up a list of comments for circulation.

The only 'new' plant recorded for 2001 turned out to be cannabis growing on a stream side!!

Other Records

40-50 Common Newts were found hibernating under a small log at a wetland site.

Mining Bees

During an inspection of the large mining bee breeding site at Kinsham Lake it was discovered that a Mole had been intensively working just beneath the soil surface. As the soil used to build the bank was 'subsoil' and contains few invertebrates it seems most likely that the Mole is feeding on the mining bee larvae and their cells.

Further investigations of this mining bee colony in April and May 2002 are mentioned by Geoff Trevis in his article on invertebrate recording elsewhere in this issue of Worcestershire Record. This enormous colony of Andrena flavipes probably contains about 40,000 nests! A. flavipes has only relatively recently been recorded in Warwickshire in fairly low numbers (Steven Falk, personal communication) and its arrival at Kemerton is also fairly recent: the site must be ideal to support such a large and important colony of a scarce species. The high density of nests suggests that the site must also be important for other mining bee species and their parasites. Steven Falk suggested, we looked for the Red Data Book bee fly, Bombylius discolor that should, almost certainly, be present along with the more common cleptoparasites such as the Nomada species. Our first efforts to find the bee-fly were defeated by bad weather at the crucial time! The common large bee-fly Bombylius major was seen ovipositing amongst the Andrena burrows. Closer examination of the ground suggests there may be between 300-400 larvae per square metre of colony! All are provisioned with pollen and many are parasitized.

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