Joe Botting's picture

Things to look for, no. 1: snails...

In winter and early spring, it can sometimes be difficult finding things to keep a budding naturalist entertained in the West Mids, especially if you're after invertebrates. The hibernating things aren't out yet, and the eggs haven't hatched (can't blame them - there's nothing to eat yet).
One really good bet, and quite an eye-opener for a new convert, is to look for snails. You'll need somewhere with things on the ground: sticks, logs, stones, bricks... anything with a moist environment underneath. The common and very large, familiar garden snails should turn up quite easily, but have a look for the smaller things. There are quite a range of normally overlooked snails, going down to things that are 2 mm or so long.

Here's one that I found in Shropshire a couple of weeks back - a high-spired one nearly a centimetre long.

I'm by no means an expert on these snails, but I do have a couple of good references. If anyone can find some, I'll be delighted to have a go at identifying them. Please also add links here, so we can build up a picture of which ones are turning up in the West Midlands.