Friday, 4 June 2021

Protecting Landican's Hedgerows


It's National Hedgerow Week
It's National Hedgerow Week

 

The Tree Council's National Hedgerow Week is 29th May until 6th June.


Hedgerow in Landican
Hedgerow in Landican


It would be wonderful to get the hedges at Landican protected as a Local Wildlife Site. Protection of valuable species-rich hedges through the planning system is something that gets little attention in many Local Authorities. Hedgerow Regulations 1997 apply to rural hedges, but often there are no data on individual hedges until planning proposals arise, and sometimes they get cleared before the planning application goes in.


However, all areas have Local Wildlife Sites (or equivalent names) as a tier of wildlife sites below the national one of SSSIs, which are protected by Local Plan policies. The criteria for these are set locally and can include hedges, as those for the Cheshire Region do.



Hedgerow at the edge of a field in Landican
Hedgerow at the edge of a field in Landican


In Wirral we have just put our first set of hedges forward for protection as a Local Wildlife Site, located in farmland in Landican. The Wirral Local Wildlife Sites Partnership has agreed this and it now goes forward in the Wirral Local Plan. This ensures the hedges get on the Local Plan maps and the planning department Hazards maps. Since the process involves landowner consultation, it also makes sure the landowner and tenant know the value of the hedges. Hopefully if the future Agricultural Act funding really does give `public money for public goods' then having a LWS on the farm may become valuable in money terms.


Hedgerow in farmland in Landican
Hedgerow in farmland in Landican

Very few areas have comprehensive hedge surveys, but if individual species-rich hedges are known, then LWS designation can be used to highlight and hopefully protect them. The LWS designation can also be used for urban hedges if they are species-rich (perhaps an old rural hedge swallowed up by a housing estate). Hedgerow Regulations do not apply to urban hedges at present.


Wednesday, 2 June 2021

New Gates For New Ferry Butterfly Park


The gate design for the entrance of New Ferry Butterfly Park
The gate design for the entrance of New Ferry Butterfly Park


New gates are being made for New Ferry Butterfly Park to celebrate its 25th anniversary. They will be installed this autumn.

To raise some extra funds we have set up a Crowdfunder page.

Would you be able to make a small donation to help us reach our target? Any contribution would help us tremendously.

For more information please see:
https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/silver-jubilee-gate


Thursday, 27 May 2021

No Mow May



Were you one of the people who ditched your mower in May?

What plants did you find in your lawn? Were you surprised?

I was thrilled to find goldfinches and greenfinches feeding on the seeds from dandelions.


Greenfinch
Greenfinch

Goldfinch
Goldfinch


Wirral Borough Council has been taking part in the No Mow May campaign and stopped mowing in general grass areas in parks. The grass areas in parks will be left from the end of April until the middle of June. Pathways will be cut through the large grass areas to provide walking routes, and borders will be cut surrounding existing pathways. Multiple signs have been erected where possible at each site to explain the benefits of leaving areas to grow to provide opportunities to encourage wildflowers to grow thus attracting bees, butterflies, moths and other insects. Some verges are also designated for not cutting until flowers have set seed.


No Grass Cutting to Protect Those Buzzing
'No Grass Cutting to Protect Those Buzzing' sign


At the end of May, on the Bank Holiday Weekend, join in with Plantlife’s nationwide “Every Flower Counts” survey to discover how many bees the UK’s lawns can feed. Not only will you receive your very own “nectar score” (which will tell you have many bees your lawn can feed), you’ll help them learn more about the health of the nations’ wild flowers.

https://www.plantlife.org.uk/everyflowercounts/


And if you’re really keen and want to rewild all summer, try #LetItBloomJune and #KneeHighJuly


We are always pleased to see photographs of your lawn or your nearby verge.

Please send them to info@wirralwildlife.org.uk


Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Briefing Pages

 

Aerial photo of coast at Red Rocks, Hoylake. Photo: Rachael Webster
Aerial photo of coast at Red Rocks, Hoylake.
Photo: 
Rachael Webster, Flickr

There is a new section on our website called Briefing Pages:

https://www.wirralwildlife.org.uk/briefing-pages


As we are frequently asked for our position on local issues affecting wildlife we have made available some of our recent responses, as well as supporting documents. Currently you can read about Hoylake Beach, Natural England Advice to Wirral Borough Council Regarding Beach Management, Wildflower Verges and Long Grass and Lyme Disease. New articles will be added in response to developing issues.


Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Echo Environment Awards 2021


Echo Environment Awards 2021
Echo Environment Awards 2021


On April 28th the Echo Environment Awards evening was hosted by Roger Johnson from the BBC.



Several Wirral organisations or businesses were shortlisted and many congratulations to The Hoylake Pantry who won ‘New Green Business off the Year’ Award.


Echo Award Finalist Certificate
Echo Award Finalist Certificate


Our own Wirral Wildlife team member Hilary Ash was one of three finalists as Environmental Champion, nominated because of her involvement with New Ferry Butterfly Park and Wirral Wildlife. We were pleased to nominate her because Hilary is one of those superheroic volunteers who covers so many aspects from literally the ‘grass roots’ to the world of really understanding environmental strategies.
Involved in an extensive range of projects and activities, Hilary leads the way by example, enabling people to take action for the environment on their doorstep. She plays a fundamental role in the work of both Wirral Wildlife and New Ferry Butterfly Park.


Hilary Ash
Hilary Ash

We offer many congratulations to the winner, Nick Drew who encouraged the development of a Green Map for the Liverpool City Region, getting the concept adopted in the 2018 Cool Wirral Strategy. The intention of the Mersey Green Map is to connect people to local environmental success stories, natural assets and sustainable businesses that they may not be aware of. Nick recognised the need for an evidence-based and independent look at Liverpool City Region’s environment and was instrumental in the Heseltine Institute Report being produced for LCR Year of Environment. Worried by the pace of progress being made to make Liverpool a zero-carbon city, Nick decided to take action personally. After going on a course to become officially ‘Carbon Literate’ in January 2020, Nick then educated his fellow Wirral Environmental Network trustees on the importance of Carbon Literacy, resulting in the local environmental education charity becoming the first Carbon Literate organisation in the Liverpool City Region and showcasing the path for other local organisations to follow. A worthy winner.


Nick Drew, Environmental Champion Award Winner
Nick Drew, Environmental Champion Award Winner

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

City Nature Challenge 2021


City Nature Challenge 2021


The City Nature Challenge is a global citizen science event, taking place in more than 400 cities from 30th April to 3rd May 2021. Over the four days of the challenge, people across the world come together to share observations of the nature all around us, using the iNaturalist app. It's open to wildlife recorders of all ages and abilities.

The challenge in Liverpool City Region is being co-ordinated by RECORD, Merseyside BioBank and Lancashire Wildlife Trust and this year is the third time that the region has competed. 


How do I take part?

1) Download the iNaturalist app and make an account.

2) Join the Liverpool City Region project:

https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2021-liverpool-city-region

3) Photograph your wildlife observations and upload to the app. Don't worry if you're not sure of the species - other observers will help to ID from your photo where possible. You can also include sound recordings (e.g. birdsong) and photos of evidence like footprints too.


What happens to the data?

Observations uploaded to iNaturalist are available to Local Environmental Records Centres and other conservation organisations. As always, all records really are vital to conservation efforts. Records of both common and rare species help us build a picture of how our local wildlife is doing, which helps us understand how to protect it.


How many observations are we aiming for?

Last year, 5,946 observations of 978 species were recorded by 180 people in the area and we hope to beat these numbers this time round, but we need as many people as possible to join it to help make this happen!


Where can I find out more?

Take a look at these websites:

City Nature Challenge UK

Lancashire Wildlife Trust

Global City Nature Challenge

Merseyside BioBank


Thanks to RECORD for providing the information and asking us to get involved.


Friday, 23 April 2021

A Blooming Success On Road Verges in Eastham


Ladies smock and dandelions in the verge at Lowfields Avenue, Eastham
Ladies smock and dandelions in the verge at Lowfields Avenue, Eastham


These photographs show first results of the changed mowing regime for some road verges that is being done in Wirral. These verges are rich in Ladies smock (also called cuckoo flower) and dandelions. The Ladies smock is a key food plant for the orange tip and green-veined white butterflies. Dandelion are an important nectar source for bees and butterflies coming out of hibernation, when they need to eat straight away. They also make a brilliant yellow display to delight the eye.


Ladies smock and dandelions in the verge at Lowfields Avenue, Eastham
Ladies smock and dandelions in the verge at Lowfields Avenue, Eastham



Listen to Dr Hilary Ash talking about wildflowers and road verges in a Radio Merseyside interview next Wednesday, 28th April, at 3.30pm.

You can listen via BBC Sounds:


Ladies smock and dandelions in the verge at Eastham Rake


Photos from Eastham Rake/Plymyard Avenue corner, and Lowfields Avenue, both in Eastham.