Local naturalist discovers rare insect in St Helen's

 Giant Lacewing (Osmylus fulvicephalus)

Local naturalist, Dave Owen, discovered a Giant Lacewing (Osmylus fulvicephalus) at Sankey Valley Country Park. This locally rare species has only been sighted once in St.Helens, back in 1988 at the Goyt woodland, Carr Mill about a mile and a half north of Sankey Valley Country Park. Hopefully more of these very impressive insects can be recorded in our area and we can begin to learn more about their distribution! 

Opinion: Are the terms ‘Nature’ and ‘Biodiversity synonyms and is arguing about their usage simply a matter of semantics?

The Environment Bill, currently at the committee stage in the House of Lords, is intended to replace much of the EU environmental legislation following Brexit. It will allow the government to set out long-term targets for the UK’s natural environment. During the latest debate in the House of Lords, Conservative former minister Lord Blencathra sought to amend the Bill. According to him the term “nature” commands greater understanding than “biodiversity”, and people can more readily relate to it. Such attitudes are not simply ignorant and wrong but, were they to be accepted and incorporated into the legislation then they could pose real risks to biodiversity in the UK.

Local Sites: Critical to Nature Recovery

There are more Local Wildlife Sites in England than any other kind of terrestrial wildlife designation. They exist equally in our most rural and urban areas and unlike Local Nature Reserves they are designated purely on their importance for biodiversity and exist on the basis that they protect what is most important in the local area as such they are vitally important to identifying and protecting our most important areas for biodiversity...

Dr Phil Smith: Wildlife notes June 2021

Wasp Beetle Clytus arietis

Following one of the wettest Mays on record, June turned out to be one of the driest, with sparse rainfall on only four days. Fortunately, the damp weather in May and a legacy of the wet winter meant that the impact of the drought on duneland plants was less than it might have been. Nevertheless, the vegetation of road verges and other dry habitats was soon burnt to a crisp.

A conversation with Amanda Barber: Nature, Wildlife Recording & the City Nature Challenge

Kingfisher Sankey Valley Canal Amanda Barber

Last month the results of this year's City Nature Challenge were released. Our very own local naturalist and keen wildlife photographer, Amanda Barber, came 1st in the UK and 4th in the WORLD for the number of wildlife observations made over the 4 days. Amanda is still fairly new to biological recording and a self-confessed 'generalist'. We thought it would be a good idea to catch-up with Amanda after the event to share her story!

Dr Phil Smith: Wildlife notes May 2021

Narcissus Bulbfly Merodon equestris pair Hawksworth Drive

May 2021 was one of the wettest on record. Some parts of the country had more than twice their normal rainfall. Most insects like it warm, so May’s cool conditions should have meant fewer of them. This was not at all the case. Spring species are well-adapted to the cold and if it’s cool they spend more time basking in the sun to warm up, making them easier to find.

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