Sefton Coast

Dr Phil Smith: Wildlife Notes February 2017

Phil Smith

The driest autumn and winter in living memory continued for the first part of the month with measurable rainfall on only three days up to the 17th. Finally, more normal Atlantic conditions reasserted themselves, with high winds of storm “Doris” rattling in on 23rd. At last, some proper rain fell on each day from 21st to 28th. Nevertheless, this had minimal impact on the depleted water-table. At the Devil’s Hole, I found the level had risen by only 4cm by the end of the month, being still 12cm below the ground surface. A Common Frog was hiding in my measuring hole!

April Big Beach Clean

There will be a Big Beach Clean event on Monday 3rd of April 2017 from 10.30 am. It will be at Freshfield beach again (on the National Trust property).

The previous event in January 2017, 126 kg of waste was collected by 8 volunteers in 90 minutes. This total included 461 separate items of plastic.

Dr Phil Smith: Wildlife Notes January 2017

Mediterranean Gull, Southport Marine Lake (Phil Smith)

The driest autumn and winter in living memory continued throughout January with only six rain-days. Total precipitation for the Northwest was said to be 50% of normal but I suspect it was much less than that here. At the end of the month, the Devil’s Hole water-table was 16cm (6 inches) below the ground surface, a full 54cm (21 inches) lower than last year. Of course, this has major implications for our wildlife, especially the Natterjack Toad which will have very few places to breed unless there is a deluge in February and March.

Dr Phil Smith: Wildlife Notes December 2016

Tulostoma brumale (Dr Phil Smith)

In complete contrast to last year, this desperately dry autumn and winter continued throughout December, with only nine days producing measurable rainfall. Much heralded in the media, two named storms were little more than damp squibs, producing an hour or two of light rain and a fresh breeze.

Dr Phil Smith: Wildlife Notes November 2016

Waxwings at Range Lane (Phil Smith)

 

After an exceptionally dry early autumn, it was expected, even hoped, that the heavens would open during November. In the event, there was significant rainfall on 12 days during the first three weeks, though in no great quantity, high pressure then returning, with dry conditions and frosty mornings.

Dr Phil Smith: Wildlife Notes October 2016

Smooth Newt (Dr Phil Smith)

 

October is traditionally the wettest month of the year but this one was the driest in living memory with measurable rainfall on only three days. It was also milder than usual with no frost. This was caused by persistent high pressure over Scandinavia, a pattern that in the recent past has often switched in winter to low pressure with westerly winds and high rainfall, as in 2015/16. We shall see.

The re-discovery of Thanasimus formicarius at National Trust, Formby.

Thanasimus formicarius (Louise Mills)

 

Thanasimus formicarius, also known as the ‘Ant Beetle’ or ‘European red-bellied clerid’ (fancy!), is a small but striking species of Beetle native to the UK. It is not un-common but being small and selective in its choice of habitat it is rarely seen in even more rarely reported!

The Beetle is typically found in coniferous woodland where it is a predator of Bark Beetles and is considered to be a natural control against infestation and damage caused by those species.

New taxon for Crosby Coastal Park

Notes on Oenothera hybrid (Phil Smith)

A small-flowered Evenint-primrose from a population found at Crosby Coastal Park was collected and sent to Rosemary Murphy, the national referee for Oenothera, earlier this year. Rosemary has now carried out a detailed examination of the plant material and has concluded that it is most likely the 'triple hybrid' Oenothera glazioviana x O. biennis x O.cambrica an identification which had previously been suspected.

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