Six Swifts were screaming overhead in blue skies as I wandered down The Rake towards the Reserve On the now infamous fallen tree trunk on the slope running down from Bromborough Rake Station were a large number of impressive plates of Dryad’s Saddle Polyporus squamosus and the inevitable King Alfred’s Cakes Daldinia concentrica, elsewhere in the Beechwood was a group of Sheathed Woodtuft Kuehneromyces mutabilis. Crossing the small bridge at the bottom on the slope there was a nice clump of Pink Purslane Claytonia sibirica on the edge of Dibbin Brook. On the edge of the pools were plenty of Yellow Flag Iris pseudacorus further along Cuckooflower Cardamine pratensis and a mother Coot was feeding her red bald headed youngster.
Grasses: l-r Crested Dog’s-tail, Timothy, Sweet Vernal-grass
Bodens Hay Meadow came up trumps with a fabulous selection of Grasses and Sedges including Crested Dog’s-tail Cynosurus cristatus, Sweet Vernal-grass Anthoxanthum odoratum, Timothy Phleum pratense and a good selection of Wild Flowers with Meadow Buttercup Ranunculus aeris, Lesser Stitchwort Stellaria graminea, Ragged-Robin Lychnis flos-cuculi, Red Campion Silene dioica, Sheep’s Sorrel Rumex acetosella, Common Vetch Vicia sativa, Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata and Yellow-rattle Rhinanthus minor. These in turn had attracted plenty of Insects with Thick-legged Flower Beetles Oedemera nobilis being the most numerous favouring the Buttercups, also Soldier Beetle Cantharis nigricans 20+ I found a mating pair – the male having damaged elytra.
Mating Soldier Beetles
Black and Red Froghopper Cercopis vulnerata 12+, 22-spot Ladybird Psyllobora vigintiduopunctata 1, Scorpion Fly Panorpa communis 1m, 2f, Snipe Fly Rhagio sp. 3, Dance Fly Empis tessellata, Green Lacewing Chrysoperla sp. 5+, Green Dock Beetle Gastrophysa viridula 30+ larvae on Broad-leaved Dock Rumex obtusifolius, Common Malachite Beetle (a.k.a. Red-tipped Flower Beetle) Malachius bipustulatus 1, Click Beetle 1, Green Nettle Weevil Phyllobius pomaceus 6+ and Common Carder Bee Bombus pascuorum 2, Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans adult and teneral and a lone Nettle-tap Anthophila fabriciana. Best find was a Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn Beetle Agapanthia villoviridescens.
Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn Beetle
A Buzzard was mewing overhead as I entered the woodland. Although bird song was quieter than recent weeks Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Blackbird and Robin were still singing along with calling Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Bullfinch. More plants with Welsh Poppy Meconopsis cambrica, Herb Bennet a.k.a Wood Avens Geum urbanum, Germander Speedwell Veronica chamaedrys and still the lingering smell of Ramsons Allium ursium that had now gone to seed. Butterflies included a Large White Pieris brassicae, Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria and in a small patch of recently planted wildflower meadow close to the Rangers Office a Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas.
If you are interested in the wildlife of the north-west of England and would like to join the walks and coach trips run by the Merseyside Naturalists’ Association, see the main MNA website for details of our programme and how to join us.