Monday 30 May 2011

Tree Bumblebee

Steve McWilliam of rECOrd has emailed with news of a Tree Bumblebee.

Have you seen the 'new' Tree Bumblebee yet? The information sheet below describes the bee and shows some good photographs to simplify recognition and identification. I hope it helps you to record this species whilst you are in your garden or out and about in the countryside.

It seems to favour nectaring on Cotoneaster flowers but I have also found it at Columbine (Aquilegia), Rhododendron and Raspberry flowers.

You can help plot its increasing distribution by submitting your sightings to the rECOrd website We look forward greatly to receiving your records of this bee.

Monday 9 May 2011

Butterfly Park Open Day

Despite a wet start people turned up for New Ferry Butterfly Park Open Day on Sunday. Local MP Alison McGovern formally opened the new Caravan Visitor Centre and planted some common sorrel in the Mobile Allotment. The sun shone in the afternoon and photographs from the day can be seen in a slide show on our website There are also three new artworks to be seen in the park.

Burbo Bank extension consultation

The Burbo Bank Offshore Wind Farm Extension programme of community consultation has begun. The first series of public consultation events are happening in the area later this month as follows:

Tuesday 17th May 2011 – 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Wellington Community Centre, Wellington Road, Rhyl, Denbighshire, LL18 1LE

Thursday 19th May 2011 – 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
St Stephen’s Church Hall, St Stephen’s Road, Hightown, Merseyside, L38 0BL

Friday 20th May 2011 – 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Floral Pavilion, Marine Promenade, New Brighton, Wirral, CH45 2JS

Saturday 21st May 2011 – 12pm to 6pm
Hoylake Community Centre, Hoyle Road, Hoylake, Wirral, CH47 3AG

These events are to present details of the proposed project, to listen to your views and obtain community feedback.

Wednesday 4 May 2011

Wirral orchid theft

A number of native marsh orchids have been illegally dug up from a field managed for nature conservation in south Wirral.

Wild flowers are protected from destruction in the UK through the Wildlife & Countryside Act (1981) making their removal a criminal offence, with penalties ranging from a £5,000 fine or up to six months imprisonment.

A number of wildflower species such as bluebells, snowdrops and orchids receive additional protection under the Act, in some cases against sale. It is not known why the orchids were removed in this case.

The theft was discovered by the owners of the field where the orchid colony was thriving. Dr. Hilary Ash, Hon. Conservation Officer for Wirral Wildlife said: “We’re deeply concerned to have heard about this destruction of protected wild flowers, especially given the stiff penalties that are in place and several years since similar offences took place on the Wirral.

“Digging up wild orchids is particularly senseless, as due to their complex relationship with a fungal species in the soil, they are unlikely to survive once transplanted. Our wildlife is already under immense strain from the threat of climate change and other pressures without the added problem of people digging up our native flora.”

The news comes as the Government asks the public to review all of the 278 pieces of environmental legislation in the UK as part of its ‘Red Tape Challenge’ – including the Wildlife & Countryside Act that currently protects much of the UK’s wildlife against disturbance or removal.

Charlotte Harris, director of conservation at Cheshire Wildlife Trust added: “This worrying case of the removal of one of our most striking native flowers only seeks to highlight the crucial role that our 30 year old wildlife legislation plays in the UK.

“Should those responsible have been caught in the act of destroying these marsh orchids, the full force of the Wildlife & Countryside Act may have been brought to bear, as we increasingly see with high-profile species such as wild birds - with imprisonment now a real possibility in the most disturbing cases.”

Ms Harris added: “With the loss of police Wildlife Crime Officers in the region last year, to also find our wildlife legislation - the last line of defence, under threat makes for challenging times for our wildlife.”

People being offered ‘wild’ plant species should make sure they have been grown in cultivation and not removed from nature conservation sites. Native British orchids are particularly difficult to cultivate and only a specialist supplier will be able to offer them.

Anyone who believes they have seen the removal or destruction of protected wild flowers should report the matter to their local police station.