And still the rain came! Another remarkably wet month meant limited time in the field, while rainfall records tumbled. Despite the prolonged spring drought, 2012 was the wettest year in England since recording began. Both the dry and wet periods were attributed to major shifts in the position of the North Atlantic jet stream, this being linked by some experts to warming of the North Atlantic Ocean which began in 1996. The last time this happened was between 1931 and 1960, which also coincided with a run of wet summers.
Comparing present levels in the Sefton dune slacks with photographs taken in early spring after the wet winters of 1976/77, 1980/81, 1994/95 and 1999/2000 suggests we may see record water-
With so much rain, the coast road at Birkdale became flooded and I was asked to help supervise the digging out of three overgrown ditches which take water from pipes under the frontal dunes to discharge onto the shore. Because they run through nationally and internationally protected habitats, there was a need to avoid adverse effects on wildlife. With his long experience of conservations projects on the coast, Martin Emery expertly worked his machine around a patch of the rare Tubular Water-
A rare dry day on 8th allowed me to visit Ainsdale beach where a spectacular “wreck” of shellfish, largely Rayed Trough Shells and Sea Potatoes (a type of sea-
Having long had an interest in the history of our coast, I recently acquired copies of the Southport Scientific Society’s 1898/99 proceedings from the current President. They include an article on botany by Henry Ball. Lamenting the march of bricks and mortar across the sand-
“To the ordinary onlooker this change is viewed with some satisfaction and he sees the wilderness of sand and swamp giving up its natural weirdness, and becoming the select abode of city merchants, but the naturalist cannot view the change without sincere regret, for in his eyes the ‘wilderness’ is not a wilderness but a veritable paradise, whose particular and diversified inhabitants are his particular friends, who greet him in the early spring from their sheltered nooks, who linger around his feet in late autumn, who are the boon companions of his summer walks, and who afford him food for reflection and enjoyment during winter days; and well he knows that one inevitable result of the handiwork of the speculating builder will be the destruction or migration of many of his dear friends”.
Remarkably, over a century later much of this “veritable paradise” still survives. Indeed, we are still finding plants to add to the already impressive inventory for the sand-