A “normal” weather pattern prevailed during May, which was a little warmer and wetter than average in our region. The continuing mild theme meant that the local flora and fauna were much more advanced than in recent years. Having seen no dragonflies at all in May last year, I found my first Four-
This month was also exceptional for the Northern Dune Tiger Beetle, arguably our most charismatic insect. On suitably sunny days, I ventured out to record the numbers and locations of these fierce little predators, concentrating on areas visited less often. This included searches of the Ravenmeols and Formby Point frontal dunes as far north as Victoria Road on the National Trust estate. Beetle numbers were low on the heavily disturbed dunes between Victoria Road and the nicotine waste tip and around Lifeboat Road but increased away from these recreational hot-
An insect featured regularly in these notes is the White Satin moth. Trevor Davenport and I visited Ainsdale Sandhills, south of the Discovery Centre twice during the month and were amazed by the abundance of its strikingly colourful caterpillars and their defoliation of Creeping and Grey Willow in the slacks. We concluded that many must have starved, yet there were still thousands of mature caterpillars and pupae, soon to hatch into white adults. This is one of the great wildlife spectacles of the Sefton Coast – not to be missed.
Another May highlight was the display of Green-
I reckon to see something new almost every time I go out, one such trip providing brief views of a mating pair of Sand Lizards north of Ainsdale-
Continuing our studies of roadside verges, Patricia and I identified 82 plants on Westminster Drive at Ainsdale. This has a fine selection of tiny dune annuals, including the nationally rare Smooth Rupture-
Soon, one of my favourite months was over yet again; so much to see on our wonderful Sefton Coast but never enough time!
Detailed botanical surveys with Patricia Lockwood included an attempt to estimate the size of the Shepherd’s-