February’s rainfall was average, falling on only 12 days, while temperatures were about normal as well, no snow being recorded in my garden. The usual spring drought seems to have arrived early, with high pressure and wall-
A wet autumn and winter overall, led to one of the highest water-
As in January, visits to the dunes were restricted by Covid regulations, not helped by my elderly car being off the road for eight days. Nevertheless I did manage to get out for some ‘exercise’. Walking down Range Lane on 1st, I was drawn to luxuriant mosses on the limbs of ancient Black Poplars. On closer inspection, I was amazed to see little piles of Rabbit droppings on branches over 1m from the ground. Do Rabbits climb trees? According to the Internet, they do!
Two days later I went to Ainsdale Local Nature Reserve to check the flooding in slacks south of the Discovery Centre. As expected, it looked a bit like the Lake District. The main attraction, however, was a pair of Common Scoters on the largest slack. They had been reported a few days earlier by John Dempsey. He suggested that the female was injured but it looked OK to me. Occurring in large numbers offshore, these black sea-
For much of the month, two large machines were removing scrub from Ainsdale LNR slacks near the coast road. This was mostly Sea Buckthorn and birch that has proliferated since the last major scrub clearing operation here in the mid/late 1990s. Winter-
Similar work was carried out at Montagu Road Triangle, Freshfield, to get rid of mainly Lodgepole Pine and birch that had invaded the heathland. Ring-
On 21st I visited St Luke’s Church graveyard, recommended by Trevor Davenport for its splendid display of Snowdrops. They were indeed impressive.
Walking down Wicks Path at Formby Point, late in the month, I was serenaded by a Chaffinch going full blast, competing with a Mistle Thrush, Robins and Great Tits, while a Buzzard mewed overhead. A Common Frog croaked briefly in Wicks Lake. Catkins were already on the Alders, while nearby Snowdrops were accompanied by a single Early Crocus. Insects were few and far between but I spotted a Honeybee on Gorse flowers and a Drone Fly Eristalis tenax basking on Honeysuckle leaves. Pete Kinsella reported four species of hoverfly at Alexandra Park, Crosby, together with Green Shieldbugs and a Comma.
The Lancashire & Cheshire Fauna Society published The bees, wasps and ants of Lancashire & North Merseyside during the month. Edited by Ben Hargreaves and Steve White, this superb book describes 132 bee species, 126 wasps and 23 ants, confirming the importance of the Sefton Coast for these iconic insects.
Everywhere I walked in the dunes there were far more people out and about than is usual in winter, the impact on footpaths being evident. Thus, a previously little-