Continuing the extreme weather theme of 2013, a two-
Duneland insects responded well to the increasing temperatures, especially my favourite group, the warmth-
A few days later, the still boggy borrow-
My annual dragonfly walk at Mere Sands Wood took place on 13th, another hot day. Nine species were seen, including several Black-
I visited Crosby dunes on 15th with botanist Patricia Lockwood to count 23 surviving transplants of Isle of Man Cabbage on the frontal dune ridge. Although this represents only a small proportion of those planted by volunteers in 2011, the plants look healthy and are producing plenty of seed. Vegetation recovery continues on the inner dunes devastated by the coast protection scheme two years ago. It was encouraging to see large amounts of the regionally notable Sea Holly and Sea Spurge colonising the bare sand. Another feature of the Crosby dunes is the abundance of Evening-
On 19th, the Devil’s Hole, Ravenmeols, was still partly flooded, reflecting last winter’s high water-
A visit to Pinfold Meadow on Ainsdale NNR on 24th with Trevor Davenport was rewarded by a count of 21 Forester moths. Later, Trevor spotted a wonderfully camouflaged Swallow Prominent caterpillar on poplar leaves. Returning to Pinfold on 28th with two friends, a 15 minute “Big Butterfly Count” was undertaken for Butterfly Conservation. We recorded 81 individuals of seven butterflies and three moths, the most abundant being Meadow Brown (38).
July ended with a walk through the Cabin Hill frontal dunes that were burnt black by a major fire in March. Recovery has been spectacular, with lots more wildflowers than on the unburned dunes, while the numbers of butterflies, especially Peacocks, Small Tortoishells, Common Blues and Small Coppers, suggest that adverse effects were less than originally feared.
Another guided walk at Ainsdale Sandhills Local Nature Reserve the following day produced a dazzling variety of duneland wildlife, including hundreds of Natterjack toadlets emerging from recently dug scrapes. Enormous numbers of Pyramidal Orchids graced the dunes, while spectacular Dark Green Fritillaries dashed past at high speed. The first Graylings and Six-