Red-veined Darters

Red-veined Darter (Dr Phil Smith)

Information and photo credit Dr Phil Smith,

Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) have been spotted at Ainsdale Sandhills Local Nature Reserve not farm from the Ainsdale Discovery Centre.

This species is found infrequently. Largely considered a migrant but with some breeding populations in the UK, considered unstable by the British Dragonfly Society.

Rob Duffy: Sidewalk Botanist gets close and personal with a saxifrage and illustrates the tribulations of using

I borrowed BioBank’s copy of “Poland” to try and resolve the mystery of its identity from a
fragment I had taken - comprising fully intact leaves- and found myself keying out Saxifraga
umbrosa (Pyrenean saxifrage) , or Saxifrage nivalis (Alpine saxifrage). I was really attracted to the
latter because “Poland” refers to “the long wavy cilia near the base” (of the petiole).

Hugh Harris:WILDFLOWERS WORK – The National Wildflower Centre @The Eden Project

Objectives:

  • Fifteen months after the closure of Landlife and National Wildflower centre in Knowsley, to raise awareness of the opportunity to build upon this charitable legacy, the wildflower fields and harvests and the projects, and a new future with Eden Project.
  • To launch new partnerships which have the potential to build on the grass-roots nature of the work and to make wildflowers more of an integral part of urban planning and peri-urban sites, bridging rural divides, with environmental justice.
  • To engage people in support of the Northern Flowerhouse and the National Wildflower Centre, charting a forward-looking vision for creative conservation in Merseyside and across the North. Linking Northern and Southern energies.
  • To inspire forward-looking thinking in what is meant by green infrastructure.
  • To make clear links between environmental action and social justice.
  • To celebrate wildflower landscapes and to openly thank those who have stood by the ethics and have supported the past work and charitable purpose of Landlife and the National Wildflower Centre.

Dr Phil Smith: Wildlife Notes April 2018

Natterjack Toad (Dr Phil Smith)

April 2018 really broke the mould. Since the millennium, we have got used to prolonged droughts, with April showers a distant memory. This month, measurable rain fell on 12 days and, although it was mainly colder than average, there was a heatwave from 18th to 21st with the highest April temperatures (in London) since 1949. Remarkably, the dune water-table actually rose by 4.5cm during the month. The result was the best Natterjack Toad activity for several years. For the first time, these rare amphibians spawned in the youngest section of the Green Beach at Ainsdale. Although usually nocturnal, some amorous male Natterjacks started calling during the afternoon of 9th and I found three pairs as well as ten Smooth Newts, while Skylarks were singing their hearts out overhead and 18 migratory White Wagtails foraged on the shore.

Sefton Coast: Aegialia arenaria

Aegialia arenaria (Dr Phil Smith)

I saw several of these tiny (4mm) dung beetles recently at the Green Beach and Devil’s Hole. I thought they were an Aphodius sp. but Gary Hedges sent them to the national dung beetle expert and, despite my dreadful photographs, they came back as Aegialia arenaria. This is fairly common and widespread but largely coastal on sand.  I hadn't noticed them before.

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