September was another relatively dry month. Although measurable rain fell on 12 days, there were significant amounts on only three dates. As a result, the sand-
My wildlife observations this summer have been dominated by new sightings, especially of insects moving north in response to climate change. This month it was the Ivy Bee, a delightful solitary bee that was described new to science in 1993 and first arrived in southern England in 2001. Since then, it has spread rapidly, collecting pollen and nectar in autumn from flowering Ivy. Pete Kinsella contacted me on 14th to say he had found several at Blundellsands Key Park, so I joined him the following day and was delighted to spot a couple of these distinctive bees on a sunny patch of Ivy.
Also there were two spectacular Hornet Hoverflies – our largest species. The park fence produced eight Red-
Joshua Styles’ Northwest Rare Plants Initiative to return extinct species grown from native seed to their former haunts led to Josh, Patricia and I planting 40 Heath Cudweeds at Birkdale Cemetery. This great rarity was last recorded there in 1928 by Fred Holder. More were introduced to another former site, the Montagu Road triangle, Freshfield. By the end of the month, the plants were well-
The nationally Vulnerable Field Gentian was also in short supply on Ainsdale Sandhills Local Nature Reserve when I visited on 12th with Patricia Lockwood. However, there were other pleasing finds included Western Eyebright, Marsh Cinquefoil and Guernsey Fleabane. Most surprising were two large flowering spikes of Yucca on a high dune ridge. This can be invasive on dunes in southern Europe but is rare here. Loud calls alerted us to a worried Pheasant being chased by a Buzzard, which in turn was being mobbed by a Kestrel.
Trevor Davenport joined me on one of several visits to the Devil’s Hole, Ravenmeols. Sweep-
Flies also featured on 17th, when I met Dipterist Phil Brighton on Birkdale Green Beach. While he netted flies for later identification, I found four species of shieldbugs: Hairy, Green, Gorse and Birch, together with two smart red-