30G LIFE APART FROM BIRDS - 2000

by Brian Martin

 

Although the emphasis of written reports is on 'birds the WECG records other wildlife too, albeit in a less intensive way. Some members are interested in flowers, others in dragonflies, mammels, butterflies or moths. From time to time surveys of these are carried out and the results appear in our Annual Report.

 

During the past year, 2000, the long-staying Grey Seal remained well into the spring, but was not seen after work began on constructing the new bunds on the River Mersey.

 

A real surprise (and cause for concern) were several sightings of terrapins on No.3 Bed and on the river. These aggressive creatures are known to take birds' eggs and young. Fortunately, there have been no reports since the severe December weather and it is hoped that they have died off during the winter.

 

Mink are now well established on the Reserve, and a sure sign of their presence in the summer is a flock of Black-headed Gulls hovering about two metres above the Mink. Although there are differing opinions on the damage mink can inflict, one would prefer to be without them.

 

Foxes, stoats and weasels are fairly common though not (apart from foxes) regularly seen.

 

Summer evenings are a good time to watch the bats as they hawk for insects - the area around the copse below the south-west corner of No.2 Bed is especially favoured.

 

Also, of considerable importance is the population of Water Voles and Great Crested Newts, notably on No.1 Bed. The later is now afforded special European protection.

 

The 'Eyes' has a wide variety of flora, little of which is particularly rare. However the single specimen of Pyramidal Orchid still appears each year and suffers the same fate of being picked before it sets seed. Good numbers of Marsh Orchids grow on the Reserve, a particularly good area being on the land immediately to the north of the Ship Canal track between the two barriers at the latchford entrance.

 

The Group welcomes records of all wildlife at Woolston, so when you visit please include more than just birds in the Log Book in the South Hide.

 

Brian Martin

 

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