By Steve Bloomfield
Following the success of the stag beetle survey in Upton upon Severn in 2000 the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust commissioned a further study covering 1000 homes in the southern part of the county this year. The aim was to find 'new' populations of this rare BAP species, and to define areas that might be targeted as priorities for conservation measures such as the installation of new dead wood 'refuges'.
Villages between the Upton - Welland road and the Gloucestershire border were targeted for the survey as anecdotal evidence and old records suggested that this would be the best area for the beetles outside Upton. Unfortunately the response to the survey has been limited, presumably because there are very few beetles in the wider countryside. It is possible however that there are beetles out there that are going unrecorded, either due to a lack of recorders in the area or because the beetles are in places seldom frequented by members of the public. The good news is that there were records from three new sites, one in Longdon, one in Ripple, and one in Bushley. Between them these sites help to link the population in Upton with ones in Gloucestershire and offer a glimmer of hope for stag beetles outside Upton.
If we are to target conservation measures for stag beetles effectively we need to know where they are found in the county. Therefore we are still looking for records so if you know of stag beetles in your area we would be interested to hear from you. Based on the limited information we now have it would appear that work to conserve them in the wider countryside will need to be targeted at just a very few sites. If you own, or know of, a site for stag beetles please get in touch with the Trust so that we can target the area for work in the future.
Please send your records to Steve Bloomfield at the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust.
A leaflet survey to 250 homes near to Perry, Nunnery, and Tolladine Woods produced three responses, none of which have been verified, but all are believed to be correct. Males seen in 1997 and 1995 near St Nicholas Church, Warndon Villages. Male plus three females (?) in Spetchley Road near to Nunnery Wood 1998 and one male in May 2001. Also a female in Larkhill Road June 2001.
Nearest known population to Worcestershire is at Apperley village (5km south of Forthampton). This seems to spread across the river to Tirley and is of unknown size. There is a good population at Bromsberrow and Bromsberrow Heath close to the Herefordshire border. Next year the GWT will use wood from an old coppice plot to put in refuges for stag beetles, much as we are doing in Upton-on-Severn
HNT did a survey as part of the PTES work in 1999 but they did not find anything near to the Worcestershire border though there looks to be good habitat there.
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