Although measurable rain fell on ten days during the month, quantities were very small and temperatures above average. September therefore ended up as another desperately dry month, the duneland ground water-
However, the often sunny weather brought out lots of late-
I was particularly pleased to find two specimens of the Spiked Shieldbug, an active predatory bug that feeds on caterpillars. I had only seen this once before over thirty years ago. The heath also produced 11 kinds of butterfly, including a fresh Painted Lady, and three dragonflies, one being a stunning Southern Hawker. Another perched for photos at Birkdale on 28th, a relatively late date for this dragonfly. Northern Dune Tiger Beetles were also prevalent in suitably open sandy habitat for most of the month, with record numbers of 55 at Devil’s Hole, Ravenmeols, on 5th and 30 at the Newest Green Beach, Ainsdale, on 16th.
Although many dune wildflowers are past their best in September, there were still plenty to see. Patricia Lockwood joined me on 21st for a visit to Crosby Marine Park, where Isle of Man Cabbage was still flowering and the very rare Dune Wormwood, first discovered here in 2004, was looking in great shape. The original plant is now 5m in diameter and has three offspring nearby. The park always produces garden escapes and we recorded a great number, including several new to the Inventory of Vascular Plants for the Sefton Coast. On the way back, Patricia spotted a spectacular 2m-
Its identity puzzled us and also two keen botanist friends from Bradford who came over a few days later. They were also intrigued by the Crosby exotics and showed me the rare Taschereau’s Orache on the strand-
Most of our summer surveys were winding down but Patricia and I continued to monitor the wonderful flora of the Devil’s Hole. We have identified 147 flowering plants here since detailed recording began in 2004. Of particular interest to me is the abundance of willows colonising the slacks in the floor of the blow-
A guided Ravenmeols Trails walk on 13th organised by Formby Civic Society and Sefton Coast & Countryside enabled us to show about 30 local people this spectacular blow-
There wasn’t much time for bird-