Since they began in 2007, these notes have repeatedly described spring droughts but this year’s was a real humdinger! For 40 days, from 18th March to 27th April inclusive, no measureable rain fell in Formby. It was also the sunniest and fifth warmest April on record. Climatologists have shown that these droughts are associated with a warming trend in the Arctic that leads to persistent high-
With Corona Virus lockdown in full swing during the month, my observations were somewhat curtailed, though the Chief Constable’s guidelines permitted a “short drive” for necessary exercise. On this basis, I was able to get out to some dune areas close to home in Formby and Ainsdale.
Thanks to the wet winter and despite the drought, the sand-
I confirmed the identity of two re-
From early in the month, the songs of resident birds in the dunes were augmented by spring migrants, including Willow Warblers, Blackcaps and, a little later, Whitethroats. At Range Lane, Formby, I listened to the glorious sound of a Blackcap and a Mistle Thrush singing against each other in more-
Insects certainly benefited from the summery conditions. Peacocks, Speckled Woods and Orange Tip butterflies were everywhere, though, as usual, the latter hardly ever stopped flying to allow a photograph. Solitary bees were busy pollinating a wide range of flowers; they included the distinctive Ashy Mining Bee which I found nectaring on Creeping Willow. Hyperactive Red Mason Bees were also numerous. Trevor Davenport sent me superb photos of them nesting in old rawl-
Late in the month, my attention was drawn to an interesting piece of habitat on the outskirts of Formby that I hadn’t visited before. It is a long thin area of open woodland, dominated by Alder, with a ground flora characterised by lots of garden-