Dr Phil Smith: Wildlife Notes October 2018

Fly Agaric (Dr Phil Smith)

After the great drought of 1976, the heavens opened in September and October of that year, rapidly replenishing ground-waters, rivers and other wetlands. In complete contrast, following this summer’s comparable drought, September 2018 was dry, while October was even worse, with measurable rain on only five days, a named storm on 13th producing the only really wet day. Average October rainfall for Formby is 84mm (3.3 inches); we probably had half that. This is important because, apart from impacts on farmers, gardeners, water-supply, etc., so much of our special duneland wildlife depends on recharge of the water-table to produce seasonally flooded slacks. Instead of rising in October, the water level dropped by about 3cm at the Devil’s Hole measuring point.

Hugh Harris: Moore Nature Reserve

Ten Liverpool Botanical Society members accompanied by Anne-Marie Belcher, Reserve Warden and Lee Lappin, local naturalist explored the footpaths and bird hides of Moore Nature Reserve and Moss Side. Moore Nature Reserve is situated between the Manchester Ship Canal and the River Mersey. The 186 acres site has been managed as a nature reserve since 1991 after a history of land use for farming and sand quarrying. Today the reserve is surrounded by woodland, meadows and wetlands which provide a rich biodiversity of habitats for birds, mammals, insects, plants, amphibians and fungi. On the day 180 species of wildflowers were recorded.

Anthony Carter: Ainsdale Sand Dunes NNR

Clitopilus hobsonii (Anthony Carter)

Eighteen people attended this popular event held by north West Fungus Group. Starting by the reserve manager’s office, we moved very slowly down to the oak wood which is as far as we got by lunchtime because the fungi were numerous and varied. The paddock produced a couple of new species for the Reserve, Lepiota cortinarius and Psathyrella bipellis. We also found a little brown job, Panaeolus fimicola (Turf Mottlegill), on a little brown job (a rabbit dropping). 

The Harlequin Ladybird

Harlequin Ladybird form spectabilis (Ben Deed)

The story of the Harlequin is one of good intentions but poor delivery. Brought to the UK as a voracious hunter of 'pest species' in greenhouses the Harlequin was introduced as a means of effective #biological control to minimise the use of pesticides. Great! However, apparently poor forethought or containment meant it didn't take long before this species escaped into the wild.

BTO: Garden watchers help to lift the lid on leg disease found in British birds

Chaffinch at feeder (Luke Delve)

Observations collected by citizen scientists have helped vets at the international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London) investigate the occurrence of a condition that affects British finches. The latest study published in Scientific Reports shows that reports of leg lesions peak in winter, from March to November, which may be linked to the annual influx of migratory Chaffinches from mainland Europe.

Pages

Subscribe to Front page feed