I went to Freshfield Dune Heath on 10th to see the scrub-clearance work which is ongoing to improve conditions for Heather and its associated wildlife. An energetic visiting group of seven workers from a national body, Amphibian & Reptile Conservation, joined six of the regular local volunteers and two members of the North Merseyside Amphibian & Reptile Group to make inroads into some large Gorse clumps, the cut material being chipped by a machine provided by Sefton Council. It was disturbing to see several used shot-gun cartridges on the reserve. Fiona Whitfield tells me this is a weekly finding which has been reported to the police. I must say you have to be pretty bare-faced to take firearms onto a well-signed nature reserve!
At last, there is some better news about our local Red Squirrels, whose population crashed by 85-90% in the last few years due to squirrel-pox disease carried by Grey Squirrels. This year, numbers are thought to have roughly doubled following a good breeding season. Monitoring the recovery will depend on the efforts of dozens of enthusiastic volunteers who go out in all weathers.
To report sightings and for other information, visit the excellent Save Our Squirrels web-site: www.saveoursquirrels.org or phone 0151 920 3769.