Nature Group Field Meeting to the Ainsdale Dunes

09 June 2018

10:00 - 16:00

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

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Non RPS MemberFree 
RPS MemberFree 

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

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’.

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 offering 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 we have timed the meeting for early summer orchids and insects. These are always dependent upon seasonal weather; (last year was exceptionally dry but so far we have had a wet winter with plentiful rain).

Unless we have a very dry period from now on we should find Bee Orchids and varieties of Marsh Orchids with hybrids. 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 Tigerbeetle - 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.

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

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.


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