Met Office maps show that Formby was one of the driest parts of Britain during the previous “wettest ever” winter; no surprise to those who live here. The regular spring drought showed up this month with significant rainfall on only eight days. It was also one of the three warmest Aprils in the last 100 years. This had expected consequences for our wildlife habitats with a rapid fall in the sand-
An April highlight was Mary Dean’s discovery of Musk Stork’s-
Another botanical find was a particularly large colony of the rare coastal sub-
The mild weather meant that insects were active throughout the month. It was particularly encouraging to see plenty of Peacock and Small Tortoishell butterflies that had successfully emerged from hibernation. I walked down to Devil’s Hole on 18th to look for Northern Dune Tiger Beetles. Finding a family playing ball near one of the major haunts, I showed them several of these charismatic predators, the two children watching them with evident fascination through my binoculars. Another rare insect, the Vernal Mining Bee, featured on my guided walk through the Birkdale Sandhills Local Nature Reserve on 13th. We found lots of colonies of this solitary bee burrowing into the cliffed edges of sandy footpaths, though only on the south-
During a month when summer migrants are flooding in, another bird highlight was a flock of 130 White Wagtails near Hightown on 15th, the largest number I have ever seen, and a singing male Redstart at Ravenmeols woods on 27th. Nearby, I heard a snatch of song from a Wood Warbler. This used to be a regular migrant on the coast but has now become a great rarity.
Following up a report from John Dempsey, Trevor Davenport joined me on a visit to the Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Haskayne Cutting Nature Reserve on 23rd to photograph one of our most attractive spring butterflies, the Orange Tip. We soon found several perching mainly on Cuckoo-