Nature Group Field Meeting to the Ainsdale Dunes

25 June 2016

10:00 - 00:00

The Ainsdale Discovery Centre
The Promenade
Shore Road
Nr Southport
United Kingdom

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Main subjects of Interest: Orchids and other dune flora, amphibians, reptiles and rare insects, etc.

Leader: Trevor Davenport ARPS

Dr Phil Smith, MBE, has kindly agreed to join us again on this field trip; Phil is a noted expert on the Sefton Coast and author of ‘The Sands of Time’ and ‘The Sands of Time Revisited’ (Amberley Press 2009).

This is a popular field trip with a maximum number of fifteen, so early booking is important.

Additional information: The sand-dunes of the Sefton Coast provide the largest sand-dune complex in England, covering an area of approximately 2100 ha. It is a fascinating and ever-changing habitat, with many photographic opportunities throughout the seasons; however, early summer is usually a period when the dunes are richly rewarding for both botanic and entomological subjects. This year our field meeting will be two weeks later than previous trips in order to look for later emerging plants and insects. These are always dependant upon seasonal weather, but we should find Pyramidal Orchids, early Marsh Helleborines and the endemic Dune Helleborine together with early specimens of Grass of Parnassus. There are many other botanic specialties to
be found in the dunes and on the “Green Beach” at this time of the year. If the day is warm we should find the Northern Dune Tiger-beetle - a superbly photogenic insect; and there should be a plentiful supply of early butterflies and dragonflies. The frontal dunes and the “Green Beach” are also well known for sightings of migratory birds and there may be some latecomers passing through. The area is also noted for having two increasingly rare species: The Sand Lizard and The Natterjack Toad. These are not easy to locate, especially the Sand Lizard, but we will do some prior research into suitable locations. In addition to the flora and fauna the Sefton Coast is itself very photogenic with sand, sea and dune landscape opportunities. The dunes are always changing, physically and with both subtle and dramatic lighting, and there are locations where ʻsand blowʼ has scoured large “Devil Holes” further down the coast.

There is plentiful accommodation in the nearby seaside resort of Southport.

Items to bring:  There are very few natural hazards but the area is exposed so light warm clothing and waterproofs in case of rain. Stout shoes or wellingtons may also be required. There are no costs involved but attendees are advised to bring a packed lunch and something to drink.

Copyright image: Dark-green Fritillary on Creeping Thistle, by Trevor Davernport ARPS

Trevor Davenport ARPS
Email the event organiser
Tel: 01704 870284 Mobile: 07831 643844

Group(s): Nature