Friday, 6 May 2022

Two New Sets of Wings for Butterfly Park

 

The Silver Jubilee gates at New Ferry Butterfly Park
The Silver Jubilee gates at New Ferry Butterfly Park


New Ferry Butterfly Park celebrated the 27th open season to the public with the unveiling of the Silver Jubilee entrance gates. Delayed due to the pandemic, these are to celebrate the first 25 years of the park being open to the public.


A reminder of the old gates at the Butterfly Park. Quite the transformation!
A reminder of the old gates at the Butterfly Park.
Quite the transformation!

The spectacular gates were opened by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside, Mr Mark Blundell, who said “New Ferry faces the many challenges of an inner-city area and this was compounded further by the explosion of March 2017 which destroyed a third of the main precinct. The Butterfly Park is seen as an emblem of hope and re-birth, in fact New Ferry sees itself as a butterfly town, with #Love New Ferry graffiti art by the former Co-op and the “I love New Ferry stickers in the shops” both with a butterfly theme. These spectacular gates will help secure the site and offer the opportunity to provide a welcoming entrance and celebrate the continued success of New Ferry Butterfly Park.”


The gates being opened by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside, Mr Mark Blundell
The gates being opened by
Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside, Mr Mark Blundell

The Lord Lieutenant and his wife Suzanne were given an hour tour of the park and took an interest in the environmental stalls, especially the spider stall. The Lord Lieutenant immersed himself fully in the activities and wanted to make a fruit smoothie drink for his wife and himself using a cycle powered blender to chop up the fruit of her choice. No mean feat when you have a sword to steady as you pedal. Who says chivalry is dead!


The Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside making a bicycle-powered smoothie
The Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside making a bicycle-powered smoothie

Nearly a thousand guests enjoyed the day at the park amongst the stalls, wildlife and refreshments.

Stalls at the Open Day at the Butterfly Park
Stalls at the Open Day at the Butterfly Park

Under the gazebo at the Open Day
Under the gazebo at the Open Day


Visitors at the Open Day
Visitors at the Open Day


These gates have been the Park committee’s most ambitious project to date with support from a broad range of sources: a legacy from the late Frank Cottrell who was instrumental in getting Cheshire Wildlife Trust to take on board New Ferry Butterfly Park, an online Crowdfunder appeal, Wirral Borough Council, Wirral Wildlife, Wirral Farmers’ Market Community Fund, Poulton Hall Walled Garden Trust and the largest part by The Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund i.e. Her Majesty The Queen.

Edd Snell, the designer of the gates, who engaged the various contractors to make this bespoke and functional art work said “It has been a pleasure to be part of this project. I am extremely pleased with the entrance gates, they are vibrant, welcoming, and interpretative and do exactly what we set out to achieve. I hope the gates help create a warm welcome to the park and encourage more people to visit, volunteer and experience the wonderful offer here. It was an ambitious project and only possible with the dedication of volunteers at the Park and the skilled workforce of Flintshire Fabrication and Dunkil Developments.” The gates were carefully painted by Carol and Ian Ramsay who added their own inspired signature of the stripped antennae.


Dingy skipper, photographed at the Butterfly Park by Roy Lowry
Dingy skipper, photographed at the Butterfly Park by Roy Lowry

As well as the fresh comma wings on the gate, another new set of wings seen at the park this week was a Dingy Skipper Butterfly, which has not been seen at the park for over two decades. This is a great endorsement of our habitat management for butterflies at the park. What could be better! Come to the park, have your photograph taken by the Silver Jubilee Gates and see what wildlife you can spot. We are still spotting new creatures 29 years on from starting to manage the site.

The park is now open every Sunday, 12noon to 4pm, until Sunday 11th September. Please come and enjoy the park’s wildlife at a more tranquil pace (and maybe spot a dingy skipper!). The Wirral Wildlife plant sale continues weekly whilst stocks last and new stocks are being propagated.

Monday, 25 April 2022

Wirral's Wild 50: May Worksheets

 

Here are the Wirral's Wild 50 activity sheets for May. This is a month for listening to the dawn chorus, taking part in No Mow May and having a go at pond dipping.


May activities
May activities


Things to do in May

Look for bluebells and swifts

Listen out for bird song and try to identify the bird

Get up early and listen to the Dawn Chorus 

Don’t mow your lawn - it’s No Mow May 

Go pond dipping

Sounds of Spring
Sounds of Spring

Resources


1.  How to go pond dipping

https://www.treetoolsforschools.org.uk/activities/pdfs/pdf_pond_dipping.pdf

https://www.wildlifewatch.org.uk/sites/default/files/2020-07/POND-DIPPING.jpg

... and species to spot

https://www.rspb.org.uk/globalassets/downloads/kids--schools/teaching-resources/spot-it-ponds.pdf


2. Dragonfly & damselfly spotter sheet

https://www.treetoolsforschools.org.uk/activities/pdfs/pdf_dragonfly_and_damselfly_spotter_sheet.pdf


3. Amphibian spotter sheet

https://www.treetoolsforschools.org.uk/activities/pdfs/pdf_amphibian_spotter_sheet.pdf


4. Sounds of Spring

https://www.rspb.org.uk/globalassets/downloads/wildchallenge/activity-sheets-2021/english/327-0546-20-21-wild-challenge_sounds-of-spring.pdf


Monday, 18 April 2022

Take part in the 2022 City Nature Challenge


City Nature Challenge 2022
City Nature Challenge 2022


Friday 29th April to Monday 2nd May

Help put our region on the map in this global nature recording event.

Record your wildlife sightings at any location of your choosing using your phone and the iNaturalist app. Don't worry if you're not sure of the species, other observers will help with ID from your photos.

RECORD are running drop in events, with 2 taking place in Wirral
RECORD are running drop in events, with 2 taking place in Wirral


RECORD are running two events in Wirral to help you get involved. Drop in to find out how you can be part of this amazing international Citizen Science project.


Saturday 30th April
10am - 3pm
Port Sunlight River Park


Sessions all day: Take part in a bug hunt.
11am: Beginners birdwatching walk (meet at the cafe)
2pm: Plant Detectives Walk (meet at the cafe)


Monday 2nd May
10am - 3pm
Wirral Country Park, Thurstaston


Sessions all day: Take part in a bug hunt.
11am: Beginners birdwatching walk (meet outside the visitor centre)


How to take part in the City Nature Challenge and upload your sightings to iNaturalist
How to take part in the City Nature Challenge
and upload your sightings to iNaturalist


Find out more about these events and how to add your sightings to the Liverpool CIty Region iNaturalist results on the RECORD website:

Sunday, 27 March 2022

Wirral's Wild 50: April Worksheets


Here are the Wirral's Wild 50 activity sheets for April. Look for more signs of spring and learn all about bees.

April activities
April activities
 

Things to do in April

Look for swallows returning, young rabbits, wild garlic and bees

Learn about migration

Find out which wild plants can be used for food or as medicine

Learn how to identify 3 different bees

Find out why bees are an important part of the ecosystem


Do a bumblebee survey

Resources


1.  Migratory bird wordsearch

https://www.treetoolsforschools.org.uk/activities/pdfs/pdf_migratory_bird_wordsearch.pdf


2. Bumblebee Conservation Trust lots of resources

https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/learning-zone/curriculum-resources-for-schools/


3. Bumblebee facts

https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/BBCT_Kids_Activity_7-10_General_v2.pdf


4. Spring bees guide

https://www.record-lrc.co.uk/Downloads/Spring%20bees%20(4)[09042020].pdf


5.How do bees see?

https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/assets/documents/BBCT_Kids_Activity_7-10_how_bees_see.pdf


6. Pollination

https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/02-InsectPollination.1_v2.pdf


7. How bees use static electricity to collect pollen

https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/03-StaticElectricity.1_v2.pdf


8. Do a bumblebee survey


Thursday, 24 March 2022

Hoylake Willows Update Spring 2022

Map of Hoylake Willows
Map of Hoylake Willows


In September last year, we shared news from Hoylake Willows, a site near to Manor Road train station. The project continues to grow, with a rewilding focus in the former wooded area and a wildflower garden where the ground is more actively managed and pollen-rich plants are deliberately planted. The aim of both areas is to offer habitat space to promote biodiversity and to increase the chance of green spaces linking up to form corridors.



Sally Scott and Yan Wang have written a new report to give an update on progress, details of work done and objectives in caring for the different areas of the site.

Read the full report here:

https://84f11b82-5efa-434e-b165-1d2e2d3c0316.usrfiles.com/ugd/84f11b_21f50750b0af482ab056e83047f37141.pdf


For more news about Hoylake Willows, please join their Facebook group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/331171945531503


Sunday, 13 March 2022

Public Consultation On Leverhulme Estates Proposals to Build on Green Belt Land


Green belt land in Heswall, one of the sites Leverhulme Estates propose to build housing on
Green belt land in Heswall,
one of the sites Leverhulme Estates propose to build housing on

Leverhulme Estates are running a 'public consultation' on their plans to build on Green Belt. It is online only. 

 

Please make your views known. Leverhulme Estates need to know the strength of local feeling.

 

Gills Lane Central
https://gillscentral.consultationonline.co.uk

Gills Lane East

https://gillseast.consultationonline.co.uk

Gills Lane West

https://gillswest.consultationonline.co.uk

 

Heswall
https://heswall.consultationonline.co.uk

Raby Mere West

https://rabywest.consultationonline.co.uk

Raby Mere East

https://rabyeast.consultationonline.co.uk

Glenwood Drive, Irby

https://glenwooddrive.consultationonline.co.uk

If you support Wirral Wildlife’s concerns about impacts on the climate and wildlife, please submit a comment on at least one of these proposals, to oppose damage to wildlife and loss of green field and Green Belt land.

1. Look up one of the consultation websites as above.

2. Read through - the first 5 boards are identical to each site, the rest are site specific.

3. The last board is a form. Fill in the essential boxes. Ignore questions 1-4 unless you have relevant expertise.

4. Put into the `comments’ box your comments. Suggested points if you support Wirral Wildlife’s concerns about wildlife are:

a) I/We object to release of Green Belt land because of impacts on wildlife.

b) The draft Wirral Local Plan has been published in time for the meeting of full Council on 21st March. This plan will be regeneration-led, with no release of Green Belt land. 

c) Climate change: Currently the fields fix some carbon; housing and associated transport will emit carbon. Housing in the existing urban areas will have lower climate impacts.

d) The consultation does not consider the separate or cumulative effects of these applications on wildlife, such as artificial light at night and wildlife corridors.

Thursday, 10 March 2022

Chairmen’s salute to John Magee


Wirral Countryside Volunteers have made their second contribution to the Queen’s Green Canopy to celebrate the Queen’s platinum jubilee by planting up a hedgerow and a shelter bed at Home Farm Landican, mid-Wirral.  The hedgerow is mainly hawthorn with crab apple, alder buckthorn and guelder rose reflecting the wetter ground conditions in parts.  The shelter bed planting is mainly hazel to form an under storey, a canopy of alder and oak trees.  There was good use made of different recycled coloured bailing twine; it was knotted together in alternate coloured two metre lengths to help with the tree planting spacings.  The whole project involved planting over 500 trees.  Each tree had a mulch matt and hare guard to get them off to a good start.


To celebrate former Wirral Countryside Volunteer Chair John Magee’s 90th birthday, volunteers planted a native black poplar clone M28 and sliced a celebratory homemade 90th birthday cake with one of his billhooks, now owned by Paul Loughnane.  The energy rich fruit cake and hot tea was just what was wanted on such a cold day.  



John watched all this from his warm, dry home via a video call, as he now resides in Ruislip, Middlesex.  John was able to see our hedge laying efforts by seeing last year’s hedge with a very satisfactory regrowth of over four feet.  Although he is slow, John is still laying hedges.  John was able to say hello to many volunteers he had not seen in 18 years.  He was beaming like a Cheshire Cat and was deeply humbled by the gesture.  Thirty years ago, John was propagating native black poplars from Ledsham, so it was an inspired choice to plant a native black poplar.  The native black poplar was from Chester Zoo and the location will be added to their distribution map.  The day was so inclement the volunteers drew an early close to the event, but the volunteers will be back to compete the job.  Luckily a slice of the delicious fruit cake was saved and John was sent a slice.


The native black poplar tree was planted by Alan Williams Chair of Wirral Countryside Volunteers 1995-2012 and Stephen Ross Chair of Wirral Wildlife Group, 2004 to the present. 



John Magee was the Chair of Wirral Countryside Volunteers 1988 to 1995 and Volunteer Reserve Officer for the Cheshire Wildlife Trust reserves of Thornton Wood, Foxes Intake Wood, Patricks Wood, Tom’s Paddock and Cleaver Heath from 1990 to 2004.  He was involved in many more sites such as Brimstage Hall Orchard and Thornton Common.  John initiated the Apple Days that Wirral Wildlife Group held at Eastham Country Park and Brimstage Hall.  Many of his projects continue with success, the woodland ride at Thornton Common and the coppicing at Thornton Wood come to mind.  The ride is full of marsh orchids, and Heavy Oak Coppice has expanding populations of primroses and wood anemones. 

 

Heavy Oak coppice with primroses and wood anemones

Thornton Common Ride with 60+ marsh orchids