In the July notes, I mentioned that the heatwave had caused many insects to emerge several weeks earlier than normal. This continued during August. Although some groups, such as grasshoppers and shieldbugs, seemed relatively unaffected, populations of others collapsed. There were much lower numbers of late-
The latest statistics from the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme shows the Wall and Small Heath rank among the most severely declining species. Fortunately, we still have viable duneland populations, good numbers of second-
I often say that I expect to find something new and different every time I go out. This was reinforced during August. It all started on 8th when I was amazed to find a Heather Shieldbug on Freshfield Dune Heath Nature Reserve. Although widespread nationally, this insect is known to be local and elusive. The last record for the heath was in 1997 and it has not been seen anywhere else in the South Lancashire vice-
Another major find came on 8th when I joined Trevor Davenport and Patricia Lockwood for our annual trip to the wonderful Highfield Moss Nature Reserve, near Golborne. This site is outstanding for peatland specialists, such as Black Darter, Common Hawker and Meadow Grasshopper and we soon found them. However, while searching the dense clumps of Purple Moor-
My next exciting discovery was on 24th during a shieldbug hunt with my trusty sweep-
Patricia Lockwood and I conducted another botanical survey of the former Hope School playing fields, Ainsdale, an extremely rich grassland allocated for housing development in the Sefton Local Plan. Twenty-
Two field meetings at Altcar Training Camp during the month enabled conservationists, including representatives from the Fylde Coast, to see the after-
In this driest and hottest summer since 1976, the blessed relief of at least some rain on 12 August days helped to temper the worst effects. However, the damage and costs to the country became increasingly evident, with agriculture reporting production losses of 50% or more. Not to worry, rather than celebrating desperately needed rainfall, the TV weather presenters described the only really wet day during the month (26th) as “Soggy Sunday”!