Monday 23 March 2015

River Park Easter Trail and Easter Egg Hunt

Monday 6th April

Easter Trail
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Collect the clues from the site office on Mersey View picnic area and follow them on a trail around part of the park. £1 per child. Suitable for children aged 5-12 years and their families. No unaccompanied children. Refreshments also available. This is a joint event with the Friends of Port Sunlight River Park.

Easter Egg Hunt
2 p.m.

At 2 p.m. there will be an Easter Egg Hunt for children aged 2-6 years. Please arrive at the picnic area 10 minutes early as the event will start promptly at 2 p.m.

Friday 13 March 2015

Volunteer Fundraiser Needed

Do you like to meet people and could you help to raise money to support our local wildlife, through the Wirral Group of Cheshire Wildlife Trust?

We are looking for an enthusiastic volunteer to spearhead our fundraising activities. You might sell wildlife-themed goods at our indoor talks, take a sales table at an event or have some original ideas of your own.

We have a team of helpers but need someone to be responsible for co-ordinating activities.

For more information please email us.

Thank you,
The Wirral Wildlife committee

River Park Dog Walk - 20 March

Meet at Dock Road North car park at 9.30 a.m. for a walk around Port Sunlight River Park, followed by hot drinks for the people and treats for the dogs at the ranger office.

All dogs must be on a lead for the walk. Well behaved dogs welcome.

For more information, please contact Anne Litherland by email or telephone 07587 550060.

Sunday 8 March 2015

River Park Spring Task Day

Volunteers are wanted at Port Sunlight River Park to help maintain the magnificent views on an outdoor task day.

Bring lunch if you want to stay all day or come from 10-12 or 1-3. Drinks will be provided.

Booking is essential as numbers are limited. Safety boots will be provided but must be booked in advance. Call 07587 550060 for more information or to book.

Thursday 5 March 2015

Welcome Help from EA Technology

On 11 February a team from EA Technology came to New Ferry Butterfly Park to give us a day's work. They successfully tackled a big job of clearing rubbish and cutting back the hedge on Charlie's field, where we had a rough sleeper last year.

They also planted and potted up wildflowers (and sorted out our stock of donated pots), cleared the site for the composting toilet to be installed in March, cleared some of the siding path and cut back yet more two-flowered honeysuckle. A very productive day!

Many thanks to Alex, Alan, Jake, Ralph, Ste, Nick, Andy and Ramiz.

River Park Weekly Health Walks

There will be new weekly health walks taking place at Port Sunlight River Park, starting on 10th March at 10.30 a.m.

Meet at Dock Road North car park, CH62 4TQ for a choice of a short, flat, easy walk for beginners or a longer walk.

The walks are led by trained health walk leaders. Perfect to help get you active and meet new people. No charge but donations are welcome for drinks. Please arrive 10 minutes before the walk begins to register for the first time.

If you would like to know more, please contact Anne Litherland by email or telephone 07587 550060.

Monday 2 March 2015

Prize Quiz Answers

Corncrake - the answer to clue number 3 in the quiz.
Photo: Sergey Yeliseev, Flickr

Congratulations to everybody who entered the Wirral Wildlife Prize Quiz 2014! There were four entries with all correct answers – Mrs Enid Bradshaw, Robert & Janet Dann, Shirley Miller and Mr & Mrs D Nind. Very well done all of you. The prize goes to Robert & Janet Dann who were selected in the random draw.

The answers to the clues are as follows:

1. Guinea pig; 2. Nutcracker; 3. Corncrake; 4. Hornbill; 5. Orange tip; 6. Scots pine; 7. Bent; 8. Meadowsweet; 9. Redstart; 10. Caterpillar; 11. Wood avens; 12. The destroying angel; 13. Pine marten; 14. Rush; 15. Chinchilla; 16. Wood louse; 17. Butterfly; 18. Manta ray; 19. Silverfish; 20. Meerkat; 21. Goosander; 22. Maidenhair; 23. Razor shell; 24. Bush baby; 25. Alligator; 26. Tortoise; 27. Sea anemone; 28. Goldfish; 29. Little owl; 30. Brome.

Binoculars wanted!

To protect ground-nesting birds at Port Sunlight River Park, a volunteer wardening scheme is to be set up shortly. The wardens' task will be to encourage walkers and their dogs to stay on the paths and not to disturb the birds. They will also make visitors aware of the wealth of wildlife found at the park, including birds and butterflies. For their work, binoculars would be most useful.

If you can spare and could donate an old or not-so-old, ordinary and not too heavy set, please contact me by email or telephone 07587 550060.

Also contact us if you would like to join the wardening scheme or just find out about it! Many thanks!

Anne Litherland, Ranger Port Sunlight River Park

Sunday 1 March 2015

Nature’s Amazing Bounty

Pile of Hazel hedging stakes from Heavy Oak Coppice.
Photo: Paul Loughnane

At the time of writing for the Winter Grebe magazine I had conservatively estimated that 580 hedging stakes would be cut from Heavy Oak Coppice, Thornton Wood and I was very pleased with that prediction. In the end an astounding 1,054 hedging stakes were cut. The ability of the hazel to spring back is thoroughly amazing. The coppice is like the multi-headed hydra of Greek legend - cut a head off and it grows another, except in coppicing another two or three heads grow.

I have been cutting the hazel coppices for 24 years and I am still amazed at their increasing productivity - and the coppices have not reached their full potential yet.

A Hazel coppice stool in Heavy Oak Coppice.
Photo: Paul Loughnane
Why has the hazel stake crop become so prolific? The coppice stools have got bigger, some with an impressive 30cm diameter increase since the first cut in 1990 and the rootstock, the stool, has grown stronger with each cutting. The recovering hazel stools are like wound up springs with the buds shooting up faster and straighter in the first year after the cutting. Competition from bramble has been much reduced under the intensive coppice regime, perhaps, as nitrogen has been reduced in the coppice area. In 2006 a canopy alder tree fell over, opening a window of light to the coppice floor. During the coppice cut in 2008, the crowns of the oak standards were reduced allowing further light to the coppice stools. This oak crown lifting to 6 metres from the coppice floor was repeated on this coppice cut too.

Hedge stake harvest from subsequent coppice cuts
at Heavy Oak Coppice, Thornton Wood

Bluebells and primroses appear to have benefited from the coppice regime and are now able to make the most of the open phase which last two seasons.

If you would like to see the coppice there is a guided walk around Foxes and Thornton Wood at 2 p.m. on Saturday 25th April. Please see the events page on the website for details.

Paul Loughnane

Cutting the lovely straight poles at
Heavy Oak Coppice, October 2014

Photo: Paul Loughnane