Tuesday 22 December 2015

Wirral Wildlife Winter Newsletter

Rock Pipit, Hilbre Island
Read about their breeding success in our newsletter.

The Wirral Wildlife Winter 2015/16 newsletter is now online:

Find out about some of our extraordinary volunteers, books to put on your reading list and a species newly recorded on the Wirral.

You can also download a pdf version and save it to your computer:

For details of our events taking place next year, don't forget to look at our programme:

Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2016.

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Hoylake Golf Resort: Have Your Say

Many of you may be aware of the Council proposals for a Golf Resort at Hoylake. There is information at www.wirral.gov.uk/golfresort

We feel that before any decision is made it is imperative to evaluate the impact of the proposals on the wintering birds that use the area and the birds that breed there in the spring. Barn owls hunt over the area and mammals such as water voles, hares and bats are present. Botanical surveys will be needed as well as monitoring of the current populations of butterflies, dragonflies, molluscs and beetles. Large scale development could harm all of them unless proper provision is made for the wildlife.

There is a survey form at www.wirral.gov.uk/golfresort with are a few simple questions and a Comments box where you can enter what you see fit. If you want to form a response elsewhere on your computer, it can be copy-and-pasted into the comments box. The more people who express concern about the wildlife, even if only briefly, the better!

Monday 23 November 2015

Christmas Crafts and Carols

Port Sunlight River Park
Saturday 5th December
12 - 3 p.m.

Christmas craft activities for all ages, festive dog walk and carol singing.
Refreshments available.

Wednesday 18 November 2015

Cleaver Heath Mystery

On the first Sunday of every month there is a workday at Cleaver Heath, Heswall. Volunteers remove birch and bracken to optimise conditions for heather growth. This month, they were puzzled by the sight of small red spheres on a heather plant. Has anybody got any idea what they could be?

The next task day is on Sunday 6th December. If you want to help, see the details on the events page of our website.

Also spotted... a grasshopper taking a rest on one of the volunteers' rucksacks!

Tuesday 17 November 2015

News From The Hedgerow

Paul Loughnane and Colin Spencer

Wirral Countryside Volunteers held their ninth free hedge laying training day, opposite Barnstondale Camp, attracting 25 participants. They laid 60 metres of hedge.

The principle is easy... but the practice is more complicated than it first seems. Skill is required to create a well-constructed and flowing hedge, cutting the stems thin enough so the hedge regrows from the base but not so thinly cut that the stem dies. This event was supported by the Wirral Society, which is also the local branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Paul Loughnane

Tuesday 10 November 2015

Snug Bug Hotel

If you are looking for something to do with the kids or grandkids this autumn, take a look at this...

We helped St John's Junior School in Bebington build a Bug Hotel last week. The children of year 4 created a very desirable residence.

For more information to help you make your own version, see this website:

Proposed Hoylake Golf Resort

Wirral Council is holding two drop-in events to give local people an opportunity to see the latest proposals for Hoylake Golf Resort.

Melrose Hall, Hoylake
11 - 13 November 2015
Between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Westbourne Hall, West Kirby
18 - 20 November 2015
Between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.

You can view the proposals on the Council website. Although the sessions are not part of the formal planning consultation process, which will take place next year, they will provide an opportunity to tell the Council what you think and to feed your comments and suggestions into the project design team.

There are various wildlife issues to consider including the use of the land by waders as a high tide roost, the presence of water voles in some ditches and foraging over the fields by bats and barn owls. Do go and make yourself aware of the proposals.

Saturday 7 November 2015

Wirral Wader Festival - 14 & 15 November

The Wirral Wader festival will be the UK's first dedicated wader festival and will celebrate the large numbers of wading birds that spend the winter around the Wirral coast.

Click on the images above to see a full list of events.

Wednesday 4 November 2015

River Park Autumn Task Day - 14 November

Port Sunlight River Park
Autumn Task Day for new adult volunteers

Saturday 14th November
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Meet at the site office, Mersey View picnic area, CH62 4LN.

Contact the Ranger by email or phone 07587 550050 to book a place.

Safety boots must be worn but will be provided if booked.

Bring lunch if you wish to stay all day.

Tuesday 27 October 2015

UN Climate Meeting

A vital United Nations climate meeting starts in Paris on 30 November, lasting 2 weeks. Climate change is already happening, at present affecting mostly the poorer parts of the world, but even we can see that our weather has changed compared to 50 years ago: milder winters, even more changeable weather, rising sea levels measured at Liverpool Docks.
Many scientists and analysts agree that unless that warming is kept below 2C, there will be grave consequences for people and all other life. To do that we have to change the way we live, to generate less climate-warming gases. For instance, we need to leave at least three-quarters of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground, and generate our energy other ways. We probably have only a window of 10-20 years to take appropriate action, before it will be too late to stop major climate change over 2C. All countries need to take action, but the richer countries (including the UK) have made most of the pollution and should take the lead in cleaning up.
Our current government should show the way in promising deep cuts to carbon emissions. However, in the last few months since the election they have weakened or abandoned several policies that would help reduce UK carbon emissions. 10 organisations, ranging from The Wildlife Trusts national office through RSPB, National Trust, CPRE to Friends of the Earth, recently wrote to the Prime Minister to express their concern. Most of the changes were not in the Conservative manifesto, and include:
* withdrawing support for solar PV and wind energy generation,
* cancellation of the requirement for new homes to be built to zero-carbon standards, a mere 6 months before it was due to start, and after a decade of careful planning by responsible builders.
* changes to car tax so that high-polluting vehicles will pay the same as the most efficient ones after the first year.
* drilling for shale gas to be allowed in areas used for drinking water and the most wildlife-rich areas of the country, like the Dee Estuary.
* partially lifting the ban on neonicotinoid pesticides, despite mounting evidence of their harm to pollinating insects especially bees.
* stopping the "Green Deal" programme to help people insulate their homes. This had problems and was not being effective, but nothing has been put in its place.
Please write to the Prime Minister (10 Downing Street, London, SW1A 2AA) and contact your MP to urge the government to go to the UN climate meeting prepared to commit to large and urgent cuts in UK greenhouse gas emissions. Also to take action to help our environment in general, rather than harm it.
Hilary Ash

Monday 19 October 2015

Award Winning Volunteers

At the Cheshire Wildlife Trust AGM, held at Ness Gardens on October 17th, three Wirral Wildlife volunteers were presented with the Eric Thurston Award in recognition of their contributions to the group’s activities.

John Gill being presented with his award.

John Gill has been Honorary Treasurer of Wirral group for fifteen years as well as representing us on Wirral Environmental Network. He has obtained grants to support our newsletters and for equipment such as the laptop and contributed to newsletter production and distribution. On twelve occasions he has completed the fifteen mile Wirral coastal walk, raising about £2000 for Cheshire Wildlife Trust. His annual Christmas Quiz has raised funds and left our brains aching.

Howard Gibson became involved with New Ferry Butterfly Park in 1998. He carries out mid-week mowing of the path edges giving the park a cared for and inviting look and has designed compost bins, located water butts and maintains the posts for the nature, history and sculpture trails. He became treasurer in 1998 and has had to deal with some large (£17K) and complicated grants such as the Comma Project. In 2011 Howard was giving 140 mid-week hours per year plus seven Sundays amounting to 20% of the total volunteer input at the Park that year.

Tom McCullough (left) and Howard Gibson (right) with their awards

Tom McCullough has worked on Cleaver Heath, Red Rocks, Thornton and Foxes woods since 2000. He now manages Foxes Wood and the adjacent Tom’s Paddock.  At Foxes Wood Tom completely removed the non-native variegated yellow archangel by hand and works on Himalayan balsam removal keeping it at a consistently low level. Foxes Wood is the only Dibbinsdale SSSI which is in favourable condition as assessed by Natural England. At Tom’s Paddock (named after Sir Thomas Mostyn a former owner) he mows a third of the area annually using a scythe, creating a grassland full of wildflowers with a good display of orchids. Tom has tremendous energy and determination, a Trojan of a worker who does not want to stop.

Monday 12 October 2015

Timelapse Butterflies

Ron Thomas, local photographer, has placed some timelapse videos of emerging butterflies on You Tube. Here is one of them, showing a Large White emerging from its chrysalis.

Other videos can also be viewed on his You Tube channel.

More Large Whites:

and a Painted Lady:

Well worth viewing!

Sunday 27 September 2015

River Park Tuesday Health Walks

Health Walks every Tuesday
Port Sunlight River Park
10.30 a.m.

Meet at Dock Road North car park for a short walk or a longer one of up to 2 miles.

Finish with a drink at the site office at 11.30 a.m. The walks are fun, free and friendly - a perfect way to help you get active and meet new people.

Please arrive 10 minutes early for your first walk so that one of our trained leaders can take your details.

Contact the ranger Anne on 07587550060 if you would like more information.

On 29th September there will be a collection for Macmillan coffee morning.

Tuesday 22 September 2015

Apple Day at Eastham - 27th September

The apple press and Mersey Morris Men
at last year's Apple Day

Sunday 27th September
Apple Day

Eastham Country Park
1.30 to 4 p.m.

A display of locally grown apples to taste. See our wooden apple press in action. The Mersey Morris Men and Wirral Tree Wardens will join us.

Bat Walk and Talk at Burton - 27th September

Daubenton's bat. Photo: Gilles San Marton, Wikipedia

Sunday 27th September 

Chester Bat Group
An informal Walk and Talk led by Jed Ryan

Burton Manor Gardens
Meeting at 7.45 p.m. outside the cafe

Bat take-off approximately 8.15 p.m.

A chance to see Bats in their natural habitat and try out some bat detection equipment.

Suitable for families.
Please bring a torch with you.

No charge though a donation to help with the up keep of Burton Manor Gardens would be appreciated.

Thursday 10 September 2015

From Sloths to Slaidburn

Hoffmann's Two-toed Sloth. Photo: Leyo, Wikimedia

Friday 11th September
‘From Sloths to Slaidburn: Rainforests Around The World’

Room B, Heswall Hall, Heswall
7.30 p.m.

Botanists Barbara and Eric Greenwood will talk about their fascination with rainforests.

Admission £3. All welcome.

Friday 4 September 2015

Vote for New Ferry Butterfly Park

Vote for your favourite park and help to pick the UK’s People’s Choice award.

This year a record breaking 1,582 parks and green spaces, including New Ferry Butterfly Park, were awarded the prestigious, international Green Flag Award.

The annual People’s Choice award is now open – giving the public a chance to vote for their favourite.

The vote will open on 1st September and close at noon on 30th September. The winner of the People’s Choice will be announced in October.

To vote for New Ferry Butterfly Park, simply go to www.greenflagaward.org/park-summary/?ParkID=2066 and click 'vote for this site'.

Thank you!

Thursday 3 September 2015

River Park Guided Walk - 9th September

Wednesday 9th September
1.30 to 3.30 p.m.
Refuse to Recreation: Guided Walk

Meet at the car park on Dock Road North, Bromborough

The River Park is a former landfill site overlooking the River Dibbin, Price's Candle Works and Bromborough Dock and has stunning views over Wirral, North Wales and Liverpool.

This event is part of Wirral Heritage Open Days. The two mile guided walk will look at the history of the site, the links with Unilever, Biffa and the Land Trust, and the present day management.

Refreshments available.

Wednesday 26 August 2015

Fun In The Park - 29th August

Dawstone Park, Heswall. Photo: The Heswall Society

The newly formed Friends of Dawstone Park in Heswall invite you to Fun In The Park on Saturday August 29th, from 1.30 to 4.30 p.m.

Arrive early and bring a picnic.

Attractions will include a plant stall, cakes, bouncy castle, face painting and live music.

Tuesday 25 August 2015

River Park Bat Walk - 27th August

Pipistrelle bat. Photo: Barracuda1983, Wikimedia Commons.

Bat Walk at Port Sunlight River Park
Thursday 27th August
8.30 - 10 p.m.

Come for a gentle walk and see which bats are flying.

Suitable for adults and children aged 8 and over. Wear suitable clothing for the weather. Bring a torch. Sorry no dogs.

£2 fee per person.
Places are limited and must be booked and paid for in advance, either at Bromborough Pool Garden Centre or at the site office.