These notes have highlighted many examples of crazy weather over the last decade but February 2019 really took the biscuit. Only eight days had measurable rainfall but all-
One result of this winter heat-
Image Courtesy & Copyright Pete Kinsella
The previous day, Freshfield Dune Heath Nature Reserve, produced four Gorse Shieldbugs sunning themselves. These were the green spring form which I had not seen before. There were also several hoverflies and a solitary bee, which expert Ben Hargreaves thought was probably Gwynne’s Mining Bee Andrena bicolour. Although the heathland ponds were very low, due to the drought, one had 40-
Often featured in these notes, the superb dunes at Crosby Coastal Park are threatened by scrub invasion. A joint project between Sefton Council and the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, funded by Veolia and supervised by Ben Hargreaves, tackled the large scrub patches of Sea Buckthorn and Japanese Rose in the southern section of the Park. On 5th, I went to see this mechanized work, which will provide more habitat for the endemic Isle of Man Cabbage and many invertebrates. A Skylark was in full song while a Starling on a nearby rooftop was doing a convincing imitation of piping Oystercatchers.
My own “Buckthorn Bashers” met twice during the month, first to burn piles of cut material and then to cut more buckthorn regrowth on dune ridges north of Sands Lake. Andrew Hampson of Gems in the Dunes kindly supervised the “burn”, while Green Sefton transported us up the beach and back for the second event, both being well supported by 11 and 10 volunteers, respectively.
Passing a spectacular display of Snowdrops on Range Lane, I went down to Cabin Hill National Nature Reserve on 13th for my regular “snipe count”. Although, the extent of flooding in the big slack is much less that the winter norm, I recorded 21 Common Snipe and five Jack Snipe, while a Short-
Some big tides early and late in the month justified trips to the Alt Estuary at Hightown where a large wader-
Several visits to Marshside were rewarded by sightings of male and female Hen Harriers, it being unclear whether these were survivors from the carnage on north England and Scottish grouse-