MBAN

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.

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.

Hugh Harris: Lunt Meadows and Wetlands Nature Reserve, SD3402

Water vole (Peter Trimming)

Lunt Meadows is an entirely new 77 ha wetland nature reserve, located along the River Alt floodplain, owned by the Environment Agency, in North Merseyside. It is sited adjacent to an area of raised bank suspected to be the first point of overtopping in a flood event. In July 2010 the River Alt bank did breach in this location and an area of 80 ha was inundated to a maximum depth of 1m. Developing habitats include wet grassland, reedbed, fen and open water. The site is managed primarily for breeding waders and water vole.

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