Main subjects of Interest: Orchids and other dune flora, amphibians, reptiles and rare insects, etc.
Items to bring: There are very few natural hazards, but the area is exposed, so light warm clothing and waterproofs are ideal in case of rain. Stout shoes or wellingtons are required. There are no charges, but a packed lunch and a drink is advisable.
Additional Information: Dr. Phil Smith, MBE, has kindly agreed to join us again on this field meeting; Phil is a noted expert on the Sefton Coast and author of ‘The Sands of Time’ and ‘The Sands of Time Revisited’.
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 is timed for Orchids, White Satin moths, and other plants and insects. These are always dependant upon seasonal weather and the weather on the day. 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.
We also hope to supply moths from the previous evening's moth trap, if the weather is suitable.
There is plentiful accommodation in the nearby seaside resort of Southport. This is a popular field trip with a maximum number of fifteen, so early booking is important.
Copyright image: Dark-green Fritillary on Creeping Thistle, by Trevor Davernport ARPS