As usual, much of November was taken up with attending meetings, giving talks, writing up and circulating reports on earlier wildlife surveys. After presenting a seminar on Birkdale Green Beach at Edge Hill University, I was delighted to be contacted by a student proposing a project on Green Beach soils, a topic not previously investigated. One of the Green Beach’s unique features is the incredibly rapid change in vegetation over time, especially in the wetlands, where open slack communities develop into fen and Alder woodland within a decade or so. This is likely to have a lot to do with the soil but nobody knows – yet.
The Green Beach is still growing southwards, the latest data from Sefton Council showing that it now covers over 60ha (150 acres), all this representing new land won from the sea since 1986. Apart from its scientific and wildlife interest, the Green Beach has great value for coast protection, helping to counteract sea-
Continuing work started in October, four more volunteer “buckthorn bashes” were organised to clear Sea Buckthorn from the dunes west of Sands Lake, Ainsdale. The warm summer seems to have encouraged the growth of this invasive shrub, older female bushes having even more orange berries than usual. This creates a problem because birds will disperse the seeds far and wide. In a magazine gardening article, Monty Don described Sea Buckthorn as his “plant of the week”, though he acknowledged that it makes “a large thorny shrub … unless kept pruned back”! Regrettably, he made no mention of its ability to create havoc in coastal habitats.
Sefton Council made further progress controlling dense scrub in Birkdale Sandhills Local Nature Reserve. I visited the area twice during the month, enabling me to catch up with our only specimen of Black Bog-
A pleasant stroll through National Trust woodland on 19th produced two Great Spotted Woodpeckers and a foraging flock, of which at least 10 were Long-
The widespread habit of keeping wildfowl in collections has long created problems for bird-