Friday 15 March 2013

Photographic exhibition

A photographic exhibition 'Wirral Events' is on display at the Birkenhead Park Visitor Centre until Sunday 24th March.  Look out for the photograph of the Wirral Wildlife Apple Day event at Eastham Country Park, which was taken by John Gill, our Treasurer.

A list of other events taking place at the park can be found on the Friends of Birkenhead Park website.

Saturday 9 March 2013

Dibbinsdale walks

Hello everyone,

Thought you might be interested in a couple of the Dibbinsdale walks that are part of a whole calendar of Wirral Walks taking place in May.

Ancient Woodland Walk
Saturday 11th May 2013, 10 a.m.
Cost: FREE

Enjoy a walk through Dibbinsdale Local Nature Reserve looking for Bluebells, Wood Anemones and other plants associated with our ancient woodlands, as well as discovering more about the local history of the area.

Meet at Bromborough Rake Station, Bromborough Rake. Grid ref: SJ342819.
Come by train - or park considerately by the nearby housing (no parking at station).

For more information contact: 0151 648 437

A Walk around Dibbinsdale
Saturday 25th May 2013, 10 a.m. - noon
Cost: FREE

Trace the local history of the nature reserve and go back in time from Victorian Estate, Medieval Hospital, Viking Battle, and Triassic dinosaurs.

Meet at The Rangers Office, Woodslee Cottages, Brotherton Park and Dibbinsdale Local Nature Reserve, off Spital Road, Bromborough.

For more information contact: 0151 334 9851

You don’t need to book, although if you expressed interest it might give an indication of how many people might come!

All totally free. Sunshine not assured but lively presentation as standard.

Peter Miller
Secretary Friends of Dibbinsdale

Wednesday 6 March 2013

Spring Workday at Butterfly Park

Sunday 10th March
Volunteers' Spring Workday at New Ferry Butterfly Park

New projects are breaking ground as we begin to set up an apothecary garden (nectar-rich medicinal plants for people & pollinators!), thanks to funding from Your Wirral.

Other work will include stripping back turf & birch from the ballast area to benefit common blue butterflies.

Meet 9.30 a.m. at the Butterfly Park, beside Bebington Station Car Park. Grid Ref SJ 333852, map of location 

New volunteers as always are very welcome to join in!

More news from the Butterfly Park can be found on their Facebook page.

Sunday 3 March 2013

May Walking Festival

There is a walking festival for the month of May in Wirral. Please follow the link below for details. There is something to suit all, from health walks and guided walks to evening rambles and food and drink walks.

Wirral Wildlife have organised a walk in Dibbinsdale on May 11th.

There is a full colour brochure and a black and white summary document available to download. A copy can be purchased at the Birkenhead Park Visitor Centre.

I hope to see you on some of the walks.

Kind regards,
Anne Litherland
Senior Ranger, Birkenhead Park Visitor Centre

Friday 1 March 2013

Of course you can use our toilets…

Liverpool John Moores University Conservation Society has been resurrected after a gap of several years. I remember the first time they came to the park in October 1995 with thirty students. We were overwhelmed by them all. That was before the park possessed a tool container and we were reliant on Vicky Hose, Eastham Country Park Ranger, to deliver the extra tools required. It was almost one digging and four watching, as they dug out the front ditch by hand.

In autumn 2002, they helped with cutting the lime meadow and the top area of the park and clearing out the Reedmace from the brick pit followed by a BBQ, which really helped to break the back of the annual mowing regime. This was especially important that year as the energetic Mel Roberts, the park’s founder, was terminally ill.

Members of Liverpool John Moores Conservation Society
taking shelter at the Butterfly Park

The resurrected Conservation Society has come three times so far this winter with turnouts of 10 to 15 each time, doubling the volunteer numbers on the Butterfly Park’s workdays.

They have been involved in hedgerow trimming by hand, which is labour intensive. Approximately a third of the park’s hedgerows are trimmed each year. The other two thirds of the hedgerows were left uncut to flower and fruit for wildlife. After three years of growth there is a large volume of material to remove and a thickness of stems to cut. Many hedging stakes and pea stick were cut from the hedge; recompense from longer cutting cycle. A neighbour came out and gave the thumbs up for trimming the hedge, which is always encouraging.

The students have scythed acidic grassland revealing the hidden sheep’s sorrel growing under the thatch of grass. It will now, with the grass thatch removed, grow more strongly in the spring season and become more suitable for egg laying by Small Copper butterflies in late May early June.

“It’s been a great opportunity and we’ve loved every part of the volunteering. The skills we gain are invaluable and the people we meet are lovely, not to mention their tea making abilities! It’s a great way for all the community to give back to their local area and I’d encourage everyone to come along to help protect this ecosystem for future generations to enjoy”, said Charis Russell-Smith, President of the Liverpool John Moores Conservation Society. 

Brambles have been cut out and embankment dug back to reduce bramble encroachment on the ballast path, uncovering the nutrient poor railway track bed beneath, a great space for the colourful Oxeye Daisy to colonise and flourish.

Planting Purging Buckthorn shrubs

We have been glad of their extra help especially with the Imago Project which aims to increase participation at the park. At the northern end of the calcareous meadow they have planted 25 Purging Buckthorn shrubs to benefit Brimstone butterflies. Brimstone butterflies were first recorded as singletons at the park in 2000, 2005 and 2007, and then in 2011, 17 were recorded. This dropped to 4 sightings in one of the wettest summers ever in 2012. Purging Buckthorns shrubs are rare in Cheshire; however Brimstones have been recorded egg laying on them in a garden in Alderley Edge.

The conservation society go down to the local hostelry in the middle of the work day and say “we're from the butterfly park” and the reply comes from over the bar “of course you can use our toilets”. At the end of the working day we retire there for some rest and recuperation and by way of a thank you to our supportive local hostelry.

Let us hope the Conservation Society, like our Brimstone butterfly populations, although fluctuating in their fortunes go from strength to strength.

Paul Loughnane