Your wildlife sightings needed

If you’ve spotted a small tortoiseshell butterfly or been captivated by a common carder bumblebee, the county’s largest nature conservation charity would like to hear from you.

Worcestershire Wildlife Trust is asking people across the county to help them understand more about where our wildlife is and how abundant it is.  Residents are invited to submit photos of one of six species of insect.

Nick Packham, the Trust’s Senior Engagement Officer, explained “41% of our insect species face extinction so we’d like to capture where they’re currently found across Worcestershire.

“By sending in a photo and letting us know where six of our easily recognised species are, we can start to build a picture of how insects are faring in our county.

“You don’t have to be an expert in order to make a valuable contribution to knowledge of Worcestershire’s wildlife; filling in our quick and easy form lets us know where and when you’ve see one of these six species.

Marmalade hoverfly flying into a white bindweed flower by Ruaridh Macdonald

Marmalade hoverfly by Ruaridh Macdonald

“Helping us to record wildlife is an easy way to get involved in wildlife conservation – it helps us to understand why wildlife is found where and in what numbers. In turn, this helps us to identify any areas that are particularly important or that lack these species.

“We’ve had more than 140 sightings submitted since we launched the scheme in May, which is a great start. September is a peak month for seeing hummingbird hawk-moths and insects like common carder bee whilst small tortoiseshell butterfly might be on the wing until October and seven spot ladybirds can be found tucked into nooks and crannies during winter.

“We’re encouraging to get outside and have a look or, when the weather’s bad, take a look through some of your photos taken earlier in the year to see what you snapped.  There’s plenty of time to let us know what you’re seeing.”

Insects face two major problems – loss of habitats and overuse of pesticides.  They’re dying out eight times faster than larger animals.

7 spot ladybird by Rosemary Eustace

Seven spot ladybird by Rosemary Eustace

The loss impacts us all.  Insects pollinate more than a third of our food crops, not to mention many of our garden flowers, and are the main source of food for birds, small mammals and fish.

Since lockdown earlier in the year, the Trust has received many more sightings of wildlife as well as stories of people across the county helping wildlife where they live.  

The Trust is asking people to let them know about sightings of seven spot ladybirds, common carder bees, small tortoiseshell butterflies, marmalade hoverflies, hummingbird hawk-moths and large red damselflies.  Photographs and information about each species can be found  on the recording your wildlife sightings webpage. 

Nick added “We know that many people are creating space for wildlife in their gardens and many of the sightings of insects that we’ve so far received have been in gardens.

“The green spaces on our doorsteps are vital to help insects and other wildlife recover – from gardens and urban balconies to village greens and community green spaces.  We all need to play a part in helping wildlife where we live.”

The Trust is working with members of Worcestershire Recorders, experts in identifying and recording the county’s wildlife, and Worcestershire Biological Records Centre, the organisation responsibly for holding all records of flora and fauna.