Thursday 27 September 2012

Seed Gathering Season

Nights are drawing in and the view from the window is changing as the leaves turn golden and the berries and seeds ripen. Are you one of those people lucky enough to look out of your window and see a tree? That tree is telling you the season is shifting; its stark, leafless form will re-enforce the arrival of winter and herald the arrival of spring as its leaves begin to open. Even in the centres of our largest cities, trees provide this link to the natural world, making them vital parts of our urban landscape. However, we can often take our trees for granted, only realising how important they were in their local landscape when the tree has gone.

The Tree Council is calling on everyone to change their view. On 23rd September, they launch the start of the tree year with Seed Gathering Season. Over the next month most of our trees will produce seeds and fruit and using this seed to grow yourself a free tree is the easiest way to literally ‘Change Your View’. Coordinated events and informal activities are taking place all over the country, but you can just as easily do it on your own. Just take a walk in town or country to collect seed to pot up and grow into small trees that can then be planted out next year.

Of course, seeds are food as well as potential trees – for humans and for wildlife. Make the most of the autumn harvest by gathering berries, nuts and fruit to eat and make into delicious autumn treats – just make sure that there is plenty left over for the creatures that depend on them to get through the winter.

If you want to be sure that you are picking the right things in the right places, there are planned events, run by The Tree Council's member organisations, its volunteer Tree Wardens and other supporters, currently taking place throughout the country. Further information, and a free poster to download, can be found on the Tree Council's website.

Monday 24 September 2012

A Busy Day

On Sunday 7th October you'll be spoilt for choice. We have something for everyone.

Small Mammal Survey
9.30 a.m.
Find out more about small mammals at New Ferry Butterfly Park by learning how to identify and survey them. The event will cover small mammal identification, such as how to tell the difference between mice and voles, and there will also be a practical demonstration of small mammal trapping and how to record your findings.
Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.

Cleaver Heath Workday
Meet at the reserve on Oldfield Road, Heswall at 10 a.m.
Stout footwear and waterproofs recommended, and volunteers should bring a packed lunch if staying for the whole session, which ends between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Further details and directions from Mike Maher, email or telephone 0151 342 4249.

Apple Day
Eastham Country Park
2 - 4 p.m.
Apple tasting, juice making and other fun.

Hope to see you at one or more of these events.

Friday 21 September 2012

Rocks and Birds

We were taken back in time - geological time - on our recent guided walk on Thurstaston beach.

The sandstone that is exposed in higher areas further inland on the Wirral is here 70 feet below the sand. The rock was formed over 200 million years ago at a latitude of 30 degrees in a desert-like climate. It gradually moved to its present location through the process of continental drift.

More recently, 13,000 years ago, the Irish Sea glacier travelled down from Scotland and through the Lake District until it encountered the Snowdonia glacier. The glaciers acted like bulldozers, scraping up a mixture of sand, clay and stones and when the ice melted these were left as the till (or boulder clay) cliffs on what is now the beach.

Hilary Davies, our geologist guide, identified stones from Scotland and the Lake District that had been washed out of the unstable cliffs. Ranger Lynne Greenstreet helped us identify the shelduck and other birds on the estuary mud as we completed a fascinating circular walk.

Thursday 20 September 2012

Landscape Wardens

Cheshire Landscape Trust has been successful in being awarded a grant from the Big Lottery Fund’s Awards For All scheme to run a new project called Landscape Wardens. This is building on the success of the Tree Warden scheme that the Trust has run across Cheshire for over 20 years and hopes to build on this work by encouraging people to take a greater interest in the landscape around them.

Cheshire Landscape Trust are inviting people to get involved with the new project and learn more about the local landscape – how to read it, record it and look after it. The Landscape Wardens project will initially be centred on 2 very different parts of Cheshire, urban Ellesmere Port and the largely rural area of Broxton in south Cheshire, to give a good overview of the wide range of landscapes in the county.

The first events will be an introduction to the project and a chance for people to get involved with future events. These two initial events will take place in Ellesmere Port on Saturday 29th September and at Bickerton Village Hall on Saturday 6th October. Both events will be from 2 to 4 p.m.

Following events will include the chance to learn about Landscape Character and how this helps you to read your landscape and everything in it. There will also be a workshop on wildlife habitats and practical things that can be done to look after them. All the events are free with refreshments provided.

If you would like to get involved then why not go along to the event on Saturday 29th September at West Cheshire College Campus or on Saturday 6th October at Bickerton Village Hall and become a Landscape Warden.

Tuesday 18 September 2012

Bidston Wildflower Planting

Our fourth wildflower planting, to celebrate the 50th birthday of Cheshire Wildlife Trust, took place on 15th September at Bidston Moss former landfill site. The Forestry Commission now manage this site under their Newlands scheme, and it is a mix of young woodland and wildflower grasslands.

Most of our plantings have been of 50 wild flower plants, but this one, thanks to the generosity of Forestry Commission, the Friends of Bidston Moss, local resident Norman Marsh, and Wirral Borough Council's Year of Coast & Countryside fund, was of 110 plants.

Seven people had a busy afternoon planting Meadowsweet, Cowslip, Hedge Bedstraw, Fleabane, Betony and Ragged Robin alongside one of the main paths near the top of the hill, where there were few existing wild flowers. They will brighten up that area for people and provide food for wildlife, including bumble bees and butterflies. Do go and take  a look next spring and summer.

Sunday 16 September 2012

50th Anniversary Prize Quiz

Wirral Wildlife is celebrating the fiftieth birthday of the Cheshire Wildlife Trust. As part of the celebration, the annual Wirral Wildlife Prize Quiz has fifty questions this year. All money raised by selling quiz sheets will go to Wirral Wildlife.

The quiz questions and instructions are available to download via our website.

Beach Walk

The high winds may have caused the cancellation of play at the Women's Golf Tournament in Hoylake on Friday afternoon but they didn't deter hardy members of Wirral Wildlife who joined a guided beach walk. 

In the evening we were pleased to welcome Lindsay Sullivan, Marine Conservation Officer with the North West Wildlife Trusts, to start our autumn programme of talks. She explained the rationale behind the 'Living Seas' project, the slow progress being made in establishing Marine Conservation Zones and how we can help to maintain the momentum of the campaign.

If you missed the talk or want to learn more about the project and the importance of the Irish Sea visit

We signed fish scales to add to a petition to be presented to Downing Street in order to put pressure on the government to create Marine Protected Areas. If you want to add your voice go to

Thursday 13 September 2012

Dawpool Wildflower Planting

50 more wildflowers were planted on Sunday 9th September to continue celebrating 50 years of Cheshire Wildlife Trust. The plants went in at Dawpool Nature Reserve, Wirral Country Park, near Thurstaston.

Dawpool is a former waste tip, which Rangers are managing for wildlife and people. The wild flowers will help brighten up the more grassy areas for invertebrates and visitors. The plants were funded by Wirral MBC Tourism Dept as part of the Year of Coast and Countryside.

Your next chance to join in and help to plant more wild flowers is at Bidston Moss on Saturday 15 September at 2 p.m. Meet in the car park in front of the Materials Recycling Facility, Wallasey Bridge Road (entrance between the entrance and exit to the Household Waste disposal site. Grid ref: SJ 297907). If coming by train, bus or cycle, meet at end of signed footpath access to Bidston Moss, on Wallasey Bridge Road next to exit from Household Waste site. BOOKING ESSENTIAL: telephone 0151 327 5923. Ideal for families.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Gardeners' Question Time at Ness Gardens

Glad to meet several supporters at Gardeners' Question Time at Ness Gardens last Saturday.

We were handing out information about wildlife friendly gardening. If you would like some advice, see the Cheshire Wildlife Trust website.

Parkgate BioBlitz Results

The results are in from the Parkgate Bioblitz that took place on September 1st.

As of 12th September, there are a total of 831 records, made up of 340 individual species.

A full and up to date list of results can be found on the rECOrd website.

Photosynthesis - Comma Project Open Evening

The final Private View of the Comma Project takes place this Saturday, 15th September, from 6 p.m.

Artists in Residence Anna Ketskemety and Sarah Jane Richards will be presenting their work. Do come along and take a look.

Monday 10 September 2012

Thurstaston Common: Lowland Heathland

We had an enthusiastic group, two of whom had come all the way from Lymm - so we spent nearly 3 hours on the walk. We had fine weather, and a good walk all round Thurstaston Common with expert leading from Jon Twigg, the National Trust ranger. The heather, heaths and Western gorse were in full flower, and being enjoyed by a few late bees (and the small tortoiseshell butterfly).

Small tortoiseshell on heather

Views from the top of the Hill were well worth the climb. On the way back we visited the other managers - 6 Galloway cattle, who regarded us sleepily and continued chewing the cud. We learnt a lot about heathland and why it is so important, but takes so much management. Anyone who likes cutting down birch scrub, contact Jon Twigg!

Friday 7 September 2012

Waste Recycling Open Day

Veolia are holding an open day at Bidston Recycling Centre. Find out what happens to your waste after it has been collected for recycling.

Click on images to view them at a larger size.

Monday 3 September 2012

Nature Craft at Pensby Library

In August we helped children at Pensby library to make paper trees, giant flowers and mobiles with bees and butterflies to help them learn about the importance of pollination.

The desk was decorated with examples of what they made.

Year of Coast and Countryside - September events

2012 is the 50th Birthday of Cheshire Wildlife Trust. It is also Wirral Borough's "Year of Coast and Countryside". To celebrate both we have organised a programme of guided walks exploring Wirral's wildlife and its local history. We have also set up 5 wildflower plantings to make a lasting contribution to our local area. More details on:

Tuesday 4th September
Thurstaston Common - Lowland Heathland
Enjoy lowland heathland at its peak flowering time, with heaths, heathers and gorse in flower. Discover how this landscape was formed, how it is conserved, and meet the current managers, both human and animal. We are fortunate to have one of the rarest habitats in Western Europe on our doorstep.
Leader: Jon Twigg, National Trust warden.
Meet: 2 p.m. Royden Park, outside the coach house and toilets. Grid ref: SJ246858.
Free, no need to book. Rough ground so wear stout footwear.

Sunday 9th September
Wild Flower Planting for Cheshire Wildlife Trust's 50th Birthday
Plant 50 wild flowers at Dawpool Nature Reserve, on the Wirral Way at Thurstaston. Betony, bird's-foot trefoil, viper's bugloss, ragged robin and ox-eye daisy, to help future years' butterflies and bees with nectar, pollen and caterpillar food-plant. Attractive flowers for people to enjoy as well.
All ages welcome! Plants funded by Wirral Borough Council as part of the Year of Coast and Countryside.
Leaders: Wirral Ranger and members of Wirral Wildlife
Meet: 2 p.m. Wirral Country Park visitor centre, Station Road, Thurstaston. Grid ref: SJ 239834.
Wear stout footwear. Tools provided, but bringing a trowel may be helpful.
Booking recommended: telephone 0151 327 5923 or email

Saturday 15th September
Wildflower Planting - Bidston Moss
Plant wild flowers at Bidston Moss, to add to the wildlife on the former landfill. Thanks to the Forestry Commission, Wirral BC and the Friends of Bidston Moss we have 120 plants to put in! Cowslip, ragged robin, sweet cicely, fleabane, meadowsweet, betony and bedstraw, to help future years' butterflies and bees with nectar and pollen.  Attractive flowers for people to enjoy as well. All ages welcome!
Leaders: Forestry Commission and members of Wirral Wildlife.
Meet: 2 p.m. on Wallasey Bridge Road, by the signed footpath onto Bidston Moss (adjacent to the Household Waste Recycling Facility exit) Grid reference: SJ 297907.
Very limited parking in front of the Materials Recycling Facility thanks to Veolia (gate between the entrance and exit to the Household Waste Recycling Facility), but parking available in local streets, and Bidston North station is 10 minutes walk away.
Wear stout footwear, fairly steep slope to climb. Tools provided, but bringing a trowel may be helpful.
Booking not essential as we have so many plants.

Thursday 20th September
Stones and Birds
Discover some really ancient history, and modern wildlife. Join local geologist Hilary Davies and a Wirral Ranger to find out about the nationally-important geology of the clay cliffs at Thurstaston, and where their variety of pebbles have come from. Watch out for birds as the migrants come back from their breeding grounds; leaders will help distinguish the redshanks from the dunlin from the curlew.
Meet: 10 a.m. Thurstaston Visitor Centre, Wirral Country Park. Grid reference: SJ239834.
We will walk down the Station Road steps and along the beach: stout footwear required.
Free, no need to book.

Wirral Countryside Volunteers - Autumn Events

Wirral Countryside Volunteers have announced their autumn programme of events. Everyone is welcome, no experience is necessary. Just bring your enthusiasm, stout footwear, gloves, waterproofs and some lunch. For more information, visit their website or Facebook page.


Sunday 16th
West Kirby RAF camp
Scrub removal from wildflower grassland.
Meet: Lay by on Saughall Massie Road, almost opposite Oldfield Lane (Grid Ref: SJ 241878).
Time: 9.30 a.m.

Saturday 29th
Thornton Common
Cutting woodland ride and glade, plus bonfire.
Meet: Wirral Rugby Club Car Park (Grid Ref: SJ 323813).
Time: 9.30 a.m.


Sunday 7th
Willaston Meadow
Scything a wildflower grassland.
Meet: Public car park nr Pollard Inn (Grid Ref: SJ 279778).
Time: 9.30 a.m.

Sunday 14th
New Ferry Butterfly Park
Scything a wildflower grassland.
Meet: Butterfly Park, beside Bebington Station Car Park (Grid Ref: SJ 333852).
Time: 9.30 a.m.

Tuesday 23rd, Saturday 27th, Sunday 28th and Monday 29th
Thornton Wood, Lamperloons Coppice
Hazel coppice. Including bonfire on 27th, 28th and 29th.
Meet: Bridge over M53 on Thornton Common Rd (Grid ref: SJ 328813).
Time: 9.30 a.m.


Sunday 11th
New Ferry Butterfly Park
Establish bluebells under hazel coppice. Celebrate 50 years of the Cheshire Wildlife Trust.
Meet: Butterfly Park, beside Bebington Station Car Park (Grid Ref: SJ 333852).
Time: 9.30 a.m.

Thursday 22nd
John Masefield
Meal (6.30 p.m.), group meeting (7.30 p.m.) and social (9 p.m.)
Meet: John Masefield, New Ferry.
Time: from 6.30 p.m.

Sunday 25th
Claremont Farm, Clatterbridge
Hedge laying training day.
Meet: Old Clatterbridge Road, CH63 4JB.
Time: 9.30 a.m.


Sunday 2nd
Gilroy Nature Park, West Kirby
Hedge laying & hedge trimming.
Meet: Reserve entrance, Gilroy Road (Grid Ref: SJ 225875).
Time: 9.30 a.m.

Sunday 9th
New Ferry Butterfly Park
Hedgerow management.
Meet: Butterfly Park, beside Bebington Station Car Park (Grid Ref: SJ 333852).
Time: 9.30 a.m.