MBAN

Hugh Harris: Global seabird conservation: hoisting the mast for hope on a stormy sea

On Monday 3 September 2018 at the Chadwick Lecture Theatre, University of Liverpool, Cleo Small, Head of the BirdLife International Marine Programme was the opening speaker of the three-day 14th International Seabird Group Conference.

Rob Duffy: Notes from the Drought

Little did anyone expect, on May 2nd, that with the mid afternoon temperature at a bracing 12 degrees  and a healthy dollop of some 7.5 mms of rain, we would be soon regarding the latter with some nostalgia and the former as an uncomfortable memory 

Temperatures rose steeply that week up to the torrid Bank Holiday week end, only to plunge down again, to once again rise to the low 20’s by the 19th and here they remained by and large till the end of the month. A trip to Bodnant Gardens, with the Friends of Calderstones Park, on the 25th, witnessed 7mm of rain( fortunately towards the end of the visit), and a couple of days later we heard thunder: The air was coming from a southerly direction.

Rob Duffy: Sidewalk Botanist Goes Brookside: A short excursion down Court Hey Brook

Pools of the Brook, Court Hey Park (Rob Duffy)

Court Hey Brook is some 680 metres long within its Park and is crossed by two footbridges, one in the “middle” and the other at the southern end. It was never a boundary within the Victorian estate which ran uphill to the present Rimmer Avenue and it barely appears on any maps. It is hard to believe that its hydrology was significantly altered about a decade ago (United Utilities); designed to protect the east bank’s back gardens from being undercut by waters that have subsequently failed, the remnant sandbanks seem now arcane relics.

Hugh Harris: Sudley, a Liverpool Merchant’s House, NML

Quercus petraea (Tournasol7)

 In 1883, it was sold to the Victorian ship owner and merchant George Holt who founded the Lamport and Holt Shipping Line. The house was his residence until his death in 1896 during which time he formed a magnificent collection of contemporary art and sculpture. He decorated and furnished the ground floor rooms and hung his collection of paintings here. The Sudley House Art Gallery is now part of the National Museums of Liverpool with permanent displays in period rooms with many fine examples of 18th and 19th century Pre-Raphaelite paintings. Indeed, Sudley House now accommodates Britain’s only remaining complete art collection of a Victorian merchant and entrepreneur. The artists include John Everett Millais, Landseer, George Romney, Reynolds, Frith, William Holman-Hunt, Edward Burne-Jones, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and JMW Turner.

Rob Duffy: Sidewalk Botanist-June Notes

(Rob Duffy)

The “scrapes” in Court Hey Park are as dry as a bone and can be traversed to inspect the wetland flora-the flora of the pavement cracks too has altered completely under the unrelenting Sun but, with the disappearance of the widespread Thale Cress, many species, particularly Willowherbs, are surviving. Perhaps this is the time to get to grips with this common garden weed? Identification is not too difficult, depending on the shape of the stigma, whether there are ridges on the stem, the length of the petiole, or the length of the leaves and pods, to name but a few features. But, beware of hybridisation!

Twilight Sessions

Hawthorn Shieldbug (Ben Deed)

So far the sessions have looked at everything from Carrion Beetles to Bryophytes! (not to mention the awesome wonder that are the Springtails) with even a few outdoor intros to eDNA (Amanda) and vacuum sampling (Steve). It is this type of mentoring that the group was really founded to try and encourage. You are the enthusiasts and by sharing your knowledge with and supporting each other we can create a strong network of naturalists that can last well beyond the lifetime of any one project or even organisation.

Species Action: Agapanthia villosoviridescens

Agapanthia villosoviridescens

Only recorded a handful of times in St Helens in 2013 and 2014 this beetle is very much to the North of it's range. It may well be moving Northwards in response to climate pressures but also requires sensitive management of grasslands. In particular Hogweeds and Cow Parsely. This is certainly one to look out for with it's flight period given as May to June (though possibly, year round).

Hugh Harris: Asparagus Trail, Formby Point NT. SD280065

Asparagus Beetle (David Gould)

Formby Asparagus (also the name of the variety) is white at the base and green through the stem with a purple tinged tip. New asparagus crowns are grown from seed which is saved from the old plant. After the first year, the crowns are transplanted into a 20cm deep trench and a ridge 8cm high is piled up around them. The first cutting can be taken in the third year. While tractors are now used to manage the land, the crop is cut by hand.

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