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AWEG Trip To The Wirral

20th May 2023 @ 6:06am – by Stuart & Lynne Bruce
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AWEG Trip To The Wirral

Audlem Wildlife and Ecology Group (AWEG) travelled to the Wirral for a three night (four day) 2023 Spring Trip last week. A hardy squad of 17 members of AWEG stayed in comfortable surroundings at the splendid Ship Hotel in Parkgate and subjected themselves to a mildly punishing (but very enjoyable) schedule of visiting at least seven fascinating wildlife sites. Some hardy individuals even going off-piste to discover yet more locations.

The sites visited included:-

  • Wirral Wildlife Park
  • RSPB Burton Mere,
  • New Ferry Butterfly Park,
  • Red Rocks Nature Reserve,
  • Dibbinsdale Nature Reserve
  • and Hatchmere

which are all rich in diversity of flora and fauna (that's plants and animals to non AWEG members!). Some are designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Independently verified and audited Fitbit data shows the group walked 16.09 miles in total, a greater distance allegedly than that covered by ARS members on their annual rambling trips (citation required). editors comment:-no comment!

On the first evening the group were treated to presentations by Dr Hilary Ash, Conservation Officer for Wirral Wildlife, on the subject of Wildlife in Wirral Coast & Countryside with Paul Loughnane, Secretary of Wirral Countryside Volunteers on the history and skills of coppicing and hedge laying.

This was an interesting, informative and educational event which set everyone up ready for the subsequent site visits. This presentation was followed by a splendid meal at The Boathouse, all went very smoothly until we were struck by the curse of Risotto-gate — of which there will be no further mention as the group are sworn to secrecy!

The group were supported by excellent volunteer guides from Cheshire and Wirral Wildlife Trusts, Friends of New Ferry Butterfly Park and Friends of Dibbinsdale Nature Reserve who shared their huge knowledge and experience of the areas to add great value to the visits.

There were also opportunities to meet with volunteers and students who were planting sea holly (grown at Chester Zoo) on the dunes at Red Rocks and assessing impacts of changes resulting from recent beaver colony introductions at Hatchmere by testing for DNA in water samples.

A rich diversity of species were identified and recorded by the Chief Sightings Recorder including

  • Terrapins (yes, really),
  • Shelduck,
  • Marsh Harrier,
  • Avocet,
  • Egrets (Great & Little),
  • Lapwing,
  • Reed Bunting,
  • Brown Hare,
  • Water Vole,
  • Orange Tip Butterfly,
  • Green Veined Butterfly,
  • Brimstone Butterfly,
  • Marram Grass,
  • Sea Holly,
  • Storksbill,
  • Wood Avens,
  • Large Bittercress,
  • Sanicle,
  • Creeping Fumitory name but a few.

Without doubt the highlight, according to all of the ladies (and possibly some of the gentlemen), was a rare sighting of the exotic Homo Sapiens Hunkus Seminakedi found running through the woods in dappled sunlight. Smelling salts were deployed to revive certain female members of the group after seeing this spectacle!

The trip culminated with an Awards ceremony on the last night designed to mark the achievements of several members of the group and possibly underline one or two slightly awkward or embarrassing moments during the stay.

All in all a hugely entertaining and informative visit to a fascinating area with a plethora of well maintained, richly diverse wildlife sites. There was much mirth and jollity, with some very funny stories to tell as not all of the wildlife was at the sites visited, but of course ......... what happens on tour stays on tour.....

Stuart & Lynne Bruce
Mobile 0775 3904716

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