At last a return to “normal” British weather saw measurable rainfall on about 12 days, including the first really wet day for over a year on 21st. This freshened up the natural vegetation and was a boon to local growers and gardeners but had little impact on the sand-
July is usually a great month for wildlife along the coast and this one was no exception, though the early season meant things were already looking rather autumnal by the month’s end. The Devil’s Hole blowout at Ravenmeols is a must in high summer, treats on 1st including the first flowering Grass-
On 4th, as many as 25 volunteers turned out for the Biodiverse Society’s Bioblitz on Birkdale Green Beach. Results circulated later showed that over 550 species of plants and animals were recorded, including 113 moths caught at night in light-
An early July trip to the Pinfold area of Ainsdale National Nature Reserve targeted the rare Forester moth at one of its key breeding sites in the region. I counted 17 shimmering green adults mostly on Ragwort flowers, an important nectar source for many insects in mid to late summer. All three of the Sefton Coast’s grasshoppers, eight different butterflies and seven dragonflies added to my enjoyment of this outstanding habitat.
Another July highlight came on 9th when Patricia Lockwood and I led a guided walk to Crosby Coastal Park for the Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland and Lancashire Botany Group. Twenty enthusiasts came from as far away as London to appreciate a wealth of plantlife, over 360 species having been recorded for the park. The main targets included five different Evening-
A couple of days later, Pat showed me a superb population of about 160 Dune Helleborines flowering on the National Trust estate near Blundell Avenue. A little later, the same area produced a smaller number of the rather similar Green-
For our main botanical survey this summer, Patricia and I chose the Common Wintergreen a regionally rare plant found mainly in Scotland. It was last studied here a decade ago when ten colonies were recorded; this time we located 17, two being on the National Trust estate with the rest at Ainsdale Sand Dunes National Nature Reserve. Here it is mostly associated with firebreaks or small clearings in the pinewoods where the soil has been acidified by conifer needles producing extremely low soil pHs, often between 3 and 4. In total, we counted about 10,600 plants, a significant increase on the previous estimate. Nevertheless, some of the 2007 populations were not refound, apparently lost to overshading by dense birch regeneration.
Another fascinating month on the Sefton Coast ended with a massive hatch of red and black Six-