Wednesday 30 May 2012

New Ferry Butterfly Park Open Day

The visitor season at New Ferry Butterfly Park got off to a good start with this year’s open day attracting 350 guests. There were the usual favourites; trying your luck at the tombola, wildlife related sales, face painting, delicious homemade cakes and the smell of a summer BBQ! Additional attractions this year included an extensive plant sale, an eye spy game by Eric from Record and 'make a dragonfly on a stick' activity by Jan Shone from Cheshire Wildlife Trust. All went down a treat with visitors.

Friends of Dibbinsdale had a display on mammal trapping and surveys. A host of 500 yellow flowering cowslips heralded the open season and several species of butterfly  were in flight including our first small copper butterfly of the season who landed on the wildlife sales store. This year we centred some stalls on the caravan based visitor centre, which was great as it attracted visitors up the road and left some space in the event field for visitors to sit and relax, thereby alleviating trampling pressure from pond side grassland. The pond side grassland is used by orange tip and green veined white butterflies. These species prefer these damper areas; most of the site being former railway land is free draining and dry.

Photo by Ian Ramsey

The open day raised the profile of the park and increased awareness of the Comma Project shop. Approximately £650 was raised to run the park and its many projects.  Thanks to the thirty or so volunteers who took part in making this event happen. 

Do come and visit the park. We are open every Sunday afternoon from 12 until 4 p.m. between now and September. Speak to the voluntary warden and they will point out what exciting wildlife to look out for on your visit.

Monday 28 May 2012

Rock Pooling at New Brighton

The rock pooling walk at New Brighton on 15th May suffered from the weather - sunny, but a strong cold wind that was blowing the sand across the shore and into the pools. The small brave group that ventured out (all 8 of them) was rewarded with sea anemonies, shrimps, prawns, whelks and a blenny, as well as Sabellaria reefs on the artificial groins.

Margaret Coles, who led the walk, invites anyone who sees her rock pooling on New Brighton beach over the summer to come and join in! The rock pools are on the beach in front of the Floral Pavilion, with the circular holes where the pier supports rested forming some of the best pools.

Wednesday 23 May 2012

Monday 21 May 2012

Carnivore Conservation with Knowsley Safari Park

Carnivore Conservation in South Africa: A Keeper's Diary

Thursday 24th May

Doors open 6.30 for a 7pm start at Knowsley Safari Park Education Centre

In November 2011 Knowsley Safari Park sent two keepers to visit the Endangered Wildlife Trust to observe first hand the work they do and the conservation issues they face trying to protect the large carnivores of South Africa. Visit Knowsley Safari Park for an informal evening with some of the keepers to hear all about the conservation work Knowsley supports in South Africa, the people who make it happen and the conservation issues currently at large.

Tickets £4 including tea, coffee and biscuits with the proceeds going to the Endangered Wildlife Trust. Places are limited so please book in advance, send an email to reserve your place.

Monday 14 May 2012

Comma Project Events

There are workshops and open evenings arranged at the Comma Shop between now and September. Please see the list below for details.

To book a place send an email or visit the shop at 66 Bebington Road, New Ferry.

Click on the image to view it at a larger size.

Thursday 10 May 2012

New Ferry Forest

New Artist In Residence Julie Dodd is turning the Comma Shop into a mini forest with the help of the community. Do pop in and give her a hand. There are two drop in tree making sessions - one this Saturday (12th May) and one next Saturday (19th). They run from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.

The Comma Shop is located at 66 Bebington Road, New Ferry, CH62 5BH.

Julie's blog about her residency can be found here:

Conservation Dogs

Click on the image to view it at a larger size.

Monday 7 May 2012

Seashore Safari

Tuesday 15th May

Come and join in delving into the rock pools on New Brighton shore to see what is hiding under water - maybe starfish, sea anemones, shrimps, worms, seaweeds. Also find out about Fort Perch Rock and its history, why it is there and what is now inside. 

All ages welcome. Stout footwear advised.

Meet 4pm, in front of Fort Perch Rock, Marine Promenade, New Brighton.

Friday 4 May 2012

New Ferry Butterfly Park Open Day

Click on 
the image to view it at a larger size.

Dibbinsdale walk

The weather obliged (for once) for our bluebell walk through Dibbinsdale Local Nature Reserve (part of Dibbinsdale SSSI). Pete Miller, recently retired Ranger for the area led 15 visitors through the woods from Bromborough Rake station - a little-known end of the LNR, but some of the best woodland flora. We were able to see the last of the celandines and wood anemones, and the start of the massed native bluebells, with many other woodland specialities including sanicle, wood sorrel, golden saxifrage, ramsons, barren strawberry, violets and, on the flood plain, bright yellow kingcups. We also met some of the invaders - the relatively innocuous pink purslane, and the real problems of Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam.

Pete had many tales to tell, including the problems of creating new pools in the flood plain, when one large machine had to be rescued from the mud by an even larger one! Age range went from 2-year-old Lucy, who much enjoyed the puddles, to nearly 90 years young. We were very pleased that Caroline Lancelyn Green was able to come along and add to Pete's tales of the history from her own knowledge of the Lancelyn family archives. Did you know that one William de Launcelyn was fined for cutting down trees on his own land, but in contravention of the medieval Forest Laws? The family had to all chip in to pay the fine - plus ca change!

Woodland Management The Traditional Way

Paul Loughnane led a fascinating walk around Thornton Common, explaining its history as common land and why it survived enclosure, and the current management. Wirral Countryside Volunteers have managed the Common on behalf of Wirral Borough Council for over 20 years. They have opened up the ponds, at least one of which now supports Great Crested Newts and several dragonfly species. They have also pollarded trees, laid hedges and made a woodland ride, attracting orange tip butterflies to breed. Management of this site and Thornton Wood has won several awards, including the Dragonfly Award from Mersey Basin Campaign. From there we went down the road to Tom's Paddock (a grassland Local Wildlife Site, just showing cuckoo flower and orchids), into Foxes Wood (CWT reserve and part of Dibbinsdale SSSI). Bitter-vetch was just in flower - an uncommon species in Wirral and western Cheshire. Bluebells, moschatel and golden saxifrage were flowering. Across the road and back via Little Thornton Common into Thornton Wood, another CWT reserve, also managed by Wirral Countryside Volunteers. Here we were treated to excellent displays of native bluebells, wood anemones, wood sorrel, ferns, kingcups and other woodland plants. We visited the coppice coups, which are cut on rotation every 6 years to provide stakes for hedge laying and sticks for beans. Paul explained the process, and the increased yield each time they have been coppiced, following  a long period of neglect.