With a few snow flurries at times, and a “mini-
Apart from the odd Buff-
Equally surprising, was a message a few days later from Joyce Jarvis, including a photo of a small colourful insect she had found on Nootka Cypress at Southport Botanic Gardens. She thought it was a Hawthorn Shieldbug but I recognised it immediately as a Juniper Shieldbug Cyphostethus tristriatus, a species I have been hoping to find for some years. The nearest online records for this shieldbug are for Chester and Manchester but it has been expanding its range and may now be frequent but overlooked in the northwest. Apart from Juniper, it can feed on a number of exotic conifers grown in parks and gardens, including Lawson’s Cypress.
The damp, cool weather proved ideal for mosses and liverworts and I made several visits to record these fascinating lower plants, including distinctive hoary patches of Grey-
I joined Joshua Styles at Birkdale Cemetery to check out one of the last recorded localities in the region for the rare Heath Cudweed, a candidate for reintroduction through Josh’s North West Rare Plant Initiative. Beyond the graveyard we found a potentially suitable area of short grassland supporting acid-
Finally, at the end of the month, Patricia Lockwood and I headed for Southport Marine Lake on an annual pilgrimage to see the Early Sand-