Autumn rains usually start to recharge our wetlands in September. Not so this month which produced only 8% of average rainfall for the region, being the driest September in the UK since records began in 1910. Many sand-
Other insects here included brightly coloured Buff-
Shieldbugs are an interesting group, relatively easy to identify and attractive subjects for photography. Checking their distribution on the internet showed that these insects are relatively poorly recorded in our area, so I quickly put together a list of all my observations. It turned out I had seen (and photographed) nine species on the Sefton Coast, both Bronze and Blue Shieldbugs being new to the district.
On 3rd, I joined Trevor Davenport for a trip to Highfield Moss, a peat-
We were also intrigued by several black-
The tenth anniversary of Freshfield Dune Heath Nature Reserve was combined with the Sefton Coast Festival on 7th in a major event attracting over new 70 visitors. I led a guided walk with 25 participants. Not many flowers were to be seen but the insects were good with Ruddy and Common Darters in the hand for comparison, while Gorse and Birch Shieldbugs also entertained. Open areas of heathland produced Mottled Grasshoppers and the Heath Assassin Bug. A “Bioblitz” recorded 295 species, including over 60 new ones for the reserve.
Readers of these notes will know of my enthusiasm for rare hybrid willows, the Sefton dunes being renowned for them. Patricia Lockwood helped me record, measure and label no less than 78 bushes of Salix × friesiana at a particular hotspot, the Devil’s Hole, Ravenmeols. This plant is known from only nine other places in Britain. Salix × doniana is even rarer, so I was ecstatic to find a sapling of this distinctive hybrid, adding to one spotted two years ago. Last February, nine large bushes of Salix × friesiana were cut down by mistake during a scrub clearance exercise in a Birkdale slack, several being stump-
Late in the month, Patricia Lockwood joined me at Marshside to check the Glassworts (Salicornia) on the saltmarsh, this being the best time of year to see them. Purple, Common and Long-