Monday 15 February 2010

Seashore search

Sixteen people joined Kathryn Turner on the beach at Thurstaston. Half an hour of searching revealed 23 species, ranging from hydroids to seaweeds. These will all be entered into a database of species found on the coasts around the Irish Sea.

Here are some photos of the afternoon...

If you want to get involved in recording beach finds, you can contact Kathryn by email.

Tuesday 9 February 2010

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside...

Kathryn Turner will be giving a talk about the Irish Sea this Friday (the 12th) at Heswall Hall. There are more details on our website. If you would like to meet Kathryn before the talk, she will be at Thurstaston Visitor Centre at 2pm and will then lead a walk along the beach. This is an opportunity to spend some time exploring a local beach with an expert on hand.

Wednesday 3 February 2010

Butterfly Park case in court

Last month Wirral Council agreed to issue a Compulsory Purchase Order on New Ferry Butterfly Park so that it can continue to be run as a nature reserve. After this the current owners threatened to damage the site. So, on Monday, Cheshire Wildlife Trust took the case to court and were granted a legal injunction to prevent any damage. The land owners have now agreed not to enter the park without the permission of the Wildlife Trust.

After the hearing at Birkenhead County Court, Janel Fone, chief executive of CWT, said: “What is important is to secure the long term future of the Butterfly Park, and I think today has helped us ensure the short term future – which gives us space to work towards the longer term.

“We really did not want it to come to this. We have been trying to have discussions with Brock and get an undertaking from them and to work with them on the future of the park. It’s a shame it has come to this.”

New Ferry councillor Steve Niblock, who has been supporting the campaign to save the park, said he was pleased with the outcome of the court hearing. He said: “This is a short term step towards a fuller court hearing in some weeks time.” He added CWT had offered to buy the park site from Brock and had they accepted “their generous offer” the court action could have been avoided.

Brock again refused to comment. Although any activity by the company (or associate companies, D. Morgan plc and Frithmere Ltd) on the reserve would now be a criminal offence we ask anyone who spots anything suspicious to report it to one of the following groups:
  • New Ferry Butterfly Park Committee: Paul Loughnane 645 8937 or Hilary Ash 327 5923
  • Cheshire Wildlife Trust: 01948 820728
  • Police Wildlife Crime officer, DC Kenneth Dummigan: 777 5447 or police HQ 709 6010.
  • British Transport Police (for trouble at the height barrier on the access road): 0800 405040.
  • In emergency, if there is evidence a crime is in progress: ring 999.
Thank you for your support.

Tuesday 2 February 2010

Black Poplar Planting

Irby Primary School pupils are doing their bit to help Britain's rarest tree, the native black poplar. Last week they planted 13 young trees in their school grounds, with help from Wirral Tree Wardens. The young trees have been raised from Wirral and Cheshire stock by members of the Cheshire Black Poplar Biodiversity Action Group.

Mrs Joan Sheery, from Irby Primary School, said: "We are pleased to plant these trees in our grounds, where they have room to grow to maturity. As well as helping local wildlife, they will in future provide much-needed shade for pupils and staff when out of doors."

Native Black Poplar has become rare because its natural habitat, unaltered river flood plains, is now in short supply in Britain. Wirral has about 70 trees, but most are elderly, so it is important to plant new stock to replace them. All those found so far in Wirral Borough are male, though female hybrids do occur.

Wirral's Black Poplars grow mostly in gardens, but one is very visible along the Upton Bypass, on the Cricket Club fence just behind their nets. This is quite a short tree compared to many Cheshire specimens, but shows the gnarled bark, red catkins in April, and habit of growing slanting.

More information on black poplar in Cheshire can be found on the Cheshire Biodiversity Partnership website.