August was a rather cool and unsettled month, though rainfall amounts were no more than average, contrasting with record deluges in the south. The rain that did fall soon evaporated making little impact on the depleted water-
The 50th anniversary bash for Ainsdale Sand Dunes National Nature Reserve on 8th fortunately coincided with a sunny day. Large numbers of local people enjoyed a range of events from Landrover safaris to sheep herding. It was good to see plenty of children there, a Sand Lizard and Natterjack Toad being especially popular exhibits. My wildflower guided walk attracted a group of eight, the route via Pinfold Pond enabling me to show them a new plant for the reserve discovered a few days before. This is the rather distinctive, if esoteric, hybrid between the Creeping and Marsh Thistle which rejoices in the name Cirsium ×celakovskianum. We were also distracted by three large and brightly coloured dragonflies: the Emperor, Brown Hawker and Southern Hawker, cruising around the pond.
Several visits during the month to our prime dragonfly locality, slack 47 -
The following day, I was delighted to find dozens of glorious Field Gentians in full flower in the big slacks south of Ainsdale Discovery Centre. The Sefton duneland is one of the British hotspots for this nationally declining plant. Walking back through the frontal dunes, I enjoyed several Graylings and Common Blues nectaring on Sea Holly flowers.
Another guided walk took in the Devil’s Hole, an enormous blow-
Following up a report of possible Common Club-
Another ongoing survey is into vegetation colonising Birkdale Green Beach, one of my favourite places. It is usually quiet, though not necessarily safe, as demonstrated on 20th when I was charged by a pack of six out-