June 2018

Become a Dragon Hunter!

Dragon Hunter Challenge

Dragon hunters will have 1 month to explore their local wetlands, rivers and ponds, and try and find as many species as possible. By signing up to the Challenge you'll take part in a journey of discovery, delving into the fascinating world of Dragonflies!  Not only will you master identifying some of the most ferocious and beautiful insects in the UK, you'll learn all about their enchanting life cycle and behavior, and how to help protect them. This is a great summer activity for all ages!

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).

Natural World: A Beginner’s Guide to Wildflower Identification

Trouble with sepals and petals; styles and stigmas? Using identification keys and explanations of plant features, this introductory workshop aims to help you recognise wildflowers. With World Museum’s botany curator Wendy Atkinson.

Get to grips with grass identification. Learn to recognise some common grasses with local botanist Peter Gateley. In association with the Liverpool Botanical Society.

LBS: Eastham fungus foray

Members are advised to contact leaders or Wendy Atkinson for further information, and the possibility of car sharing. Please wear suitable footwear, waterproof clothing and bring a packed lunch.

Leader - Steve Cross

Meet at Eastham Country Park Visitor Centre

Autumn Fungus Foray.

Dr Phil Smith: Wildlife Notes May 2018

Large Red Damselflies (Dr Phil Smith)

The Met. Office reckoned it was the warmest and sunniest May on record; it was also dry with measurable rainfall on only eight days. Forecasts of torrential thunder-storms came day after day during the last week but all we got were a couple of brief showers on 30th and 31st. The duneland water-table therefore fell rapidly, the Newest Green Beach at Ainsdale with 1000+ small Natterjack tadpoles on 2nd having completely dried up by 13th. Fortunately, tadpoles at several other sites, including the Devil’s Hole, survived until at least the end of the month.

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