Sefton Coast

Dr Phil Smith: Wildlife Notes August 2016

Portland Moth on Lichen (Phil Smith)

A rather unremarkable month for weather, August had average rainfall and a couple of short warm spells but was largely characterised by cool windy conditions. My frequent visits to the dunes revealed a surprising lack of large insects, especially dragonflies and butterflies. Thus, after a gale the previous day, I called in at our premier dragonfly site in the Birkdale dunes on 8th and was horrified to find not a single dragonfly or damselfly. This seems to have been a widespread phenomenon, local moth trappers also reporting a poor season.

Dr Phil Smith: Wildlife Notes July 2016

Frog (Phil Smith)

Apart from a one-day heatwave on 19th when temperatures reached an oppressive 32oC, the month’s weather was unexceptional. Rainfall seems to have been about average but it was often cooler than expected in the first two and the last weeks. Predictably, the Devil’s Hole slack gradually dried up, though there was still a little surface water in the deepest parts (see below).

Dr Phil Smith: Wildlife Notes June 2016

Dark green fritillary (Phil Smith)

Although June was wetter than normal in most parts of the country, this was not the case here. The first rain did not fall until 10th and we missed most of the thundery downpours that caused flooding further south and east. Nevertheless, a few heavy showers and more unsettled conditions later in the month maintained enough surface-water in sand-dune wetlands for our Natterjack Toads to breed successfully in several places.

Dr Phil Smith: Wildlife Notes May 2016

Dark Tussock (Dr Phil Smith)

 

With small amounts of rain on only nine days during the month, May reinforced a statistically significant trend of lower spring rainfall here since 2000. A recent paper in the International Journal of Climatology confirms this trend for the UK as a whole, linking it to atmospheric pressure changes over Greenland brought about by warming in this part of the Arctic, which then impacts the north Atlantic Jet-stream.

Summary: Sefton Coast Isle of Man Cabbage surveys, 2015

Coincya monensis monensis (Dr Phil Smith)

All the known Sefton sites for the British endemic Isle of Man Cabbage (Coincya monensis ssp. monensis) were visited in late May/early June 2015 and numbers of plants counted. At Crosby Marine Park, where sand was removed from a dune ridge for a 2011 coast protection scheme, 1361 plants were found on the extracted ridge while 211 were counted on the outer shore dunes that had been used as a donor site for a translocation in 2011.

Dr Phil Smith: Wildlife Notes March 2015

Common Frog at Freshfield Dune Heath (Phil Smith)

A pattern of dry spring months has been evident for over a decade, March having only 65% of normal rainfall in England and Wales. An unexpected deluge came on 12th-13th but a small recovery in the height of the dune water-table in mid-month was subsequently lost. The ponds at Freshfield Dune Heath Nature Reserve remained extremely low but still attracted lots of Common Frogs.

Pages

Subscribe to Sefton Coast