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biological recording

Summer Fungi

Hericium ericaeum (Lion’s Mane)

Recent weather has not been very good for finding fungi, however recent days have seen a marked improvement and things are starting to move. Tony discovered a local rarity, Hericium ericaeum (Lion’s Mane), in a wood in south Liverpool. This species is usually found in the south and south west of England, with very few records in our region. A great fungi find!

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! 

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.

Dr Phil Smith: Wildlife notes April 2021

Wheatear Ainsdale LNR

According to the Met. Office, April was: “An incredibly notable month in terms of statistics.” It provided the lowest average minimum mean temperatures for the country since 1922 and was one of the sunniest and driest Aprils on record. Here, not a drop of rain fell for 30 days between 28th March and 27th April. As reported last year, these spring droughts are known to be linked to climate change but the general public is not being told this.

Dr Phil Smith: Wildlife notes March 2021

​  Large Bear-hoverfly (Criorhina ranunculi) Ainsdale NNR  ​

March was a relatively dry, settled month with measurable rain on only 10 days. However, wetter conditions from 9th to 16th raised the water-table at the Devil’s Hole to the highest level since I started measuring it in October 2015. The usual spring high pressure became established towards the end of the month, the warmest ever March temperature of 24.5 degrees being recorded in London on 30th. In Formby, it peaked at more reasonable 20 degrees. These spring heat-waves are becoming more frequent, as a predicted consequence of climate change.

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