Dr Phil Smith: Wildlife Notes March 2018

Juniper Shieldbug (Joyce Jarvis)

With a few snow flurries at times, and a “mini-beast from the east” on 17th, March was certainly colder than average, while measurable rain on 17 days kept the water-table topped up. The Devil’s Hole at Ravenmeols was impressively flooded, though well below levels seen in 2008, 2013 and 2016. Despite the low temperatures, a few Common Frogs and Common Toads were out and about from about 10th but peak activity was much later. On 21st, I counted 70 batches of frog spawn and the first spawning of Common Toads at Birkdale Green Beach. Earlier, Cabin Hill produced a few Common Toads but no Common Frogs or spawn were seen, probably because the water was too deep to explore effectively. Two pairs of Lapwings were displaying over the fields behind the reserve, their characteristic “pee-wit” call bringing back memories of my childhood when these now uncommon breeders were ubiquitous

Rob Duffy: Sidewalk Botany Report January-March 2018

Mistletoe, West Derby (Rob Duffy)

 

The year kicked off with the New Year Survey of flowering plants of the Liverpool Loop Line, which didn’t yield much, but what was quite inspiring on a cold, wet, afternoon, to this relative fern novice, was the abundance of Soft Shield Fern shuttlecocks (Polystichum setiferum), in the Broad Green “dell”.  I posted a photo of these on the “Friends of Liverpool Loopline” facebook page, hoping the cyclists and litter picking team would wax enthusiastic.

The LCR Ecological Network

LCR Nature Improvement Areas

 

Way back at the tail end of 2016 the Liverpool City Region and West Lancashire approved the creation of an Ecological Network. The information behind this Network was in part backed up by the wildlife recording effort of the many individuals regularly sending in their wildlife sightings to us or otherwise sharing them via the National Biodiversity Network.

Dr Phil Smith: Wildlife Notes February 2018

Metzgeria fruticulosa (Dr Phil Smith)

There was measurable rain on 10 days in the first three weeks of the month – about average – after which the “Beast from the East” set in, with exceptionally cold dry easterly winds from Siberia. This unusual weather pattern was due to warm air and high pressure over Canada and Greenland, leading to a blockage of the North Atlantic Jet-stream which should bring us rain-bearing fronts in February. Researchers have linked this to a warming trend in the Arctic, itself a consequence of rapid climate change.

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