A gloomy month, January was dominated by thick cloud and poor visibility. Persistent high pressure meant hardly any rain in the first couple of weeks, continuing last year’s dry theme. Overall, measurable rain fell on 11 days, though only 29th produced a reasonable soaking. The water-
As usual, it was a relatively quiet period for wildlife sightings, not helped by the dark conditions that did not encourage me to venture outdoors much. At least I had my garden birds with a regular flock of about a dozen House Sparrows, several Starlings and daily visits from a splendid Song Thrush as well as the usual Blackbirds, Robins, Blue Tits, Great Tits, etc.
I don’t expect to see insects at all in January but my routine trip to the Devil’s Hole on 1st was enlivened by a swarm of winter gnats. Members of the family Trichoceridae, the males of these non-
Several visits to Marshside produced close encounters with various waders and ducks, the latter already in full breeding plumage. Up to 25 elegant Pintails were off the Hesketh Road viewing-
Long cold watches across the endless Crossens saltmarshes were rewarded by occasional views of three magnificent Hen Harriers, a “ring-
Another good birding spot is the 77 ha Lunt Meadows Nature Reserve, recently developed by Lancashire Wildlife Trust, whose staff are currently working on a Management Plan. Acting as flood storage for the adjacent R. Alt, this superb wetland has several large water-
The “Bashers” met twice during the month; first, 12 of us cleared Sea Buckthorn regrowth from slack no. 44 in the frontal dunes north of Sands Lake, Ainsdale. This site is a long walk from the carpark, so Green Sefton kindly provided transport along the beach and back again. Because a high spring tide prevented beach access, our second event was a “Buckthorn Burn” to get rid of material cut in October near Sands Lake. This time we had 14 participants, supervised by Andrew Hampson of Gems in the Dunes. As well as a lot of buckthorn, we burnt a big pile of willow cuttings produced by the Wood Allotments Association. This is a new project developed by The Mersey Forest, enabling woodland owners to engage with local communities and manage their woods to produce logs for wood-