Friday, 5 March 2010

Water Shrew and Cowberry.

Last night my cat, Ziggy, brought home a Water Shrew Neomys fodiens which was a surprise as my garden "pond" really amounts to no more than a puddle!

I am not sure of the status of this small mammal in West Yorkshire. Ziggy normally specialises in House Mice.

The Water Shrew is larger than other shrews, this one being more than 10cm in length. The ears on this species are entirely concealed but bear a tuft of white hairs as can be discerned on this photograph.
I have spent the winter preparing a list of leafmines to look for in 2010 and I took advantage of today's fine weather to ascend Barden Moor (VC64) in search of Cowberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea). I managed to locate some hosting the under-recorded mine Ectoedemia weaveri.
Now is a good time to look for the evergreen Cowberry, before the much more frequently found, Bilberry comes into leaf.


  1. Hi Derek,that's an interesting find on Cowberry.I've been searching for this mine since last autumn and have mounted three attempts in all including a good hours search yesterday but all to no avail.There's loads of Cowberry present at the site (Norland moor above Sowerby Bridge) but I suspect at around 250m it's not at a high enough altitude.

  2. Hi Charlie,

    I think the mines will become more obvious in the next few weeks as they turn from gallery to blotch.

    The mined plants were mostly at the edge of the Cowberry patches where it was starting to mingle with (and ? be sheltered) by adjoining heather.

  3. Hi Derek,Good to meet up and see the cowberry mine in 'real life'.I am going to have a go with pherome lures this year and Bri tells me you have had great sucsess in baildaon.Did you get 381 Large Red-belted Clearwing ?and any info would be gratfully recieved.

  4. Hi Andy, I have never seen the adult LRB Clearwing but I did find some pupal cases on birch stumps a couple of years ago. I have added a link to "My Favourite Wildlife Sites".
    I had seen a forester felling some birches on Otley Chevin in the Spring of 2006 and made a note to go back and inspect the stumps the following year. The moral of the story being: If you ever have to cut down a birch tree, do it in March/April i.e. just before the female Large Red-belted Clearwings are looking for somewhere to oviposit.