Sunday 21 February 2016

National Wildlife Crime Unit Facing Closure

The first Wildlife Crime police officer we had in Merseyside went to work for the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU). The NWCU was set up in 2006 to investigate offences including rare-bird egg theft, deer poaching, the trade in endangered species, hare coursing, illegal taxidermy and cruelty to wild animals.

The NWCU is set to close within six weeks unless the government renews its funding, most of which comes from the Home Office and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Read more in this article in the Guardian.

You may like to sign the petition to demand continued government funding for the vital work of the NWCU:

Wednesday 10 February 2016

Notes From A Wirral Garden

Goldfinch. Photo: Les Roberts

Les Roberts has contributed before to our blog and newsletter. Here he updates us about the wildlife in his garden.

I noticed the first 2016 frogspawn in our small pond on the 29 January. Another mass appeared two days later. It seemed early to me but maybe the relatively mild weather and heavy rainfall have encouraged spawning. I wish I had given more attention to such things over the years or even kept records as do many people.

When it comes to garden birds I don’t need records to signal that changes have occurred - and are still occurring.

Growing up in the suburbs of Liverpool, over 50 years ago, Blackbirds and House Sparrows were numerous. I can remember them nesting in a broken airbrick high up on our house. Blue Tits were plentiful, often pecking through the foil of milk bottle tops for the cream below and Starlings flocked in large numbers. I don’t recall ever seeing the ‘exotics’ such as Goldfinches and Greenfinches, although Chaffinches were common and seem still to be.

Chaffinch. Photo: Les Roberts

In recent years, here on the Wirral, Goldfinches have arrived at my feeding station in groups of up to a dozen at a time and continue to do so. Until about a year ago Greenfinches also came in ‘gangs’. In recent months though I am not sure I have seen any. Have they succumbed to the infection that is proving deadly to them right around the country? Small groups of Starlings visit only very occasionally, House Sparrows now never and Blue Tits have been hard to spot, but two appear now as I look.

However, in consolation, a solitary Nuthatch is starting to be a regular visitor to the sunflower seeds. Wood Pigeon numbers are almost at a nuisance level, I count seven as I write this, perfectly detailed, dusty imprints are left when they fly into our windows after being spooked by a Sparrowhawk.  Blackbirds still chase each other and nest regularly in the Firethorn. Great Tits, Chaffinches, shy Collared Doves and Marsh Tits also attend. Very rarely a Spotted Woodpecker has browsed the Hawthorn trees and a male Bullfinch has, a few times, made a fleeting raid on the feeder, as have some Long Tailed Tits.

Blackcap. Photo: Les Roberts

I wonder how representative of other small gardens this all is, especially for those who feed birds daily. I also wonder whether it is too late to get the House Sparrow back but I do hope Greenfinch numbers recover and the secretive Wrens make themselves more visible once again. Maybe my photos will give some cheer.

Les Roberts

Don't forget you too can send us stories or photos for our blog. Just put them in an email.

Tuesday 9 February 2016

Half Term at the River Park

Port Sunlight River Park are holding two family events over February half term:

Build A Bird Box
Tuesday 16th February
1 - 3 p.m.
At the site office, Mersey View Car Park.
Boxes may be available to take away for a small charge.
The event will be suitable for families with children over 6 years old.
Booking essential.
Contact Anne Litherland, Ranger by email or telephone on 07587 550060.

Help Your Child Learn To Cycle
Saturday 20th February
2 - 3.30 p.m.
Bok your free place with Janet at Sustrans by telephoning 0750 055 9669.

Monday 8 February 2016

Wirral Wildlife Prize Quiz 2015 - The Answers!

Congratulations to everybody who entered the Wirral Wildlife Prize Quiz 2015! There were no fewer than five entries with all correct answers – Mrs Enid Bradshaw, Mr and Mrs Gordon and Helen Hall, Mrs Linda Haylock, Dr B M Patel and Mr Bill Wonderley. Very well done all of you. The prize goes to Linda Haylock who was selected in the random draw.

Limpkin - the answer to question 18. Photo: Pamala, Wikipedia.


1. Insectivorous mammal – a talkative person’s cricketing equipment. (9, 3)

2. Pleasure of a person heading for foreign parts, a climber. (10, 3)

3. War unfinished in Welsh house, be taking in boy next, for orchid. (9)

4. Scottish island with partly digested food catches a fish. (9)

5. Peter, stand up, turn around and see a ruminant. (3)

6. Aromatic plant, possessive and accusative pronouns. (5)

7. Troglodyte goes down with cancer for marine animal. (6, 4)

8. Coloured, not European, union leader has colour for a primate. (5, 4)

9.In quizzing, or searching for answers to these clues, look for a shrub. (5)

10. Fruit of violet, squashed timelessly. (5)

11. Polish boy with love for a ruminant. (7)

12. Marine animal, first person leaving Irish politician, devastated. (6)

13. Tree crustacean, IT company. (4, 5)

14. Grub worn by motorcyclist? (13)

15. Irish coin I placed on a shortened pedestal for a minibeast. (9)

16. Small measure of acidity, silver, and half number of mosses. (8)

17. Tidy tree. (6)

18. Walk of the lame family to see an American wading bird. (7)

19. Chocolate biscuit to secure a helmet for a bird? (9, 7)

20. Shy leader off French coast is a carnivore. (6)

21. The name of a plant? Keep your nose out of my affairs! (4, 4, 3, 8)

22. Piece of music after a short month for a mollusc. (7)

23. Different take on a tree. (4)

24. One who talks about crime to move sinuously is a reptile. (5, 5)

25. Bird I hear dismissing President Clinton. (8)

26. Is Heather included in Alistair Darling’s memoir? (4)

27. In German-occupied Alsace in 1916, troops stationed at Colmar, bled white at the battle of Verdun, discovered a butterfly. (7, 5)

28. Do twitchers lose their head if they see these birds? (10)

29. I enter old Marburg, which is in ruins, for a flower. (3, 8)

30. This tree is sacred, containing the beginning of Lent and crowned at Christmas. (5)


1. Natterer’s bat
2. Traveller’s joy
3. Twayblade
4. Barracuda
5. Yak
6. Thyme
7. Hermit crab
8. Orang utan
9. Gorse
10. Olive
11. Buffalo
12. Shrimp
13. Crab apple
14. Leatherjacket
15. Centipede
16. Sphagnum
17. Spruce
18. Limpkin
19. Chinstrap penguin
20. Coyote
21. Mind your own business
22. Octopus
23. Teak
24. Grass snake
25. Shoebill
26. Ling
27. Marbled White
28. Dowitchers
29. Bur marigold
30. Holly

Friday 5 February 2016

Hoylake Golf Resort - Your Chance To Ask Questions

Many people are concerned about the impact of the proposed Hoylake Golf Resort.

A Wirral West Constituency meeting will be held at Hilbre High School on 11 February 2016 at 7 p.m. David Ball will be giving a presentation that will enable an understanding of the Golf Resort. There will be sufficient time for members of the public to ask plenty of questions.

As there are concerns about possible impacts on wildlife, especially wintering birds but also water voles, hares, bats, breeding birds and plants, anyone with an interest please go along and ask questions.