Wednesday, 29 December 2010

New Natural England officer for Wirral

Natural England have appointed Alice Kimpton as temporary officer for Wirral terrestrial SSSIs. Some of you may remember Alice as a Ranger on North Wirral Coastal park about 10 years ago.

Hilary Ash, Mathilde Baker-Schommer and Lynne Greenstreet at Red Rocks

Hilary Ash, Mathilde Baker-Schommer and Ranger Lynne Greenstreet met up with Alice on a chilly West Kirby beach in December to look at management, especially of the reedbeds and natterjack toads. Alice had not visited the beach for 8 years, and was amazed and delighted at the new "Green Beach" of salt marsh and sand dune which is developing there. The new area already supports a variety of specialist flora and fauna, including one rare moth, the Sandhill Rustic. It is developing pools which will hopefully be suitable for natterjack toad breeding in a few years. Lynne and Alice talked about creating temporary pools for the toads in the meantime. The only problem is the salt marsh taking over some areas of mud used as high tide roosts - the birds tend not to come into the marsh which is more liable to disturbance by dogs and people. Dee Estuary Voluntary Wardens do a good job in educating users about not disturbing the birds, but cannot control everything! We walked round the CWT reserve at Red Rocks marsh, admiring the spread of Mackay's horsetail, a rare fern, which has greatly increased in recent years along the southern part of boardwalk.

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