We roughly followed the dune path north, with diversions into different 'wet slacks' in search of the diverse flora of the area.
|Nats looking for Natterjacks?|
|Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis),|
6 Spot Burnet Moth (Zygaena filipendulae)
|Early Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza incarnata)|
Marsh Helleborine was surprisingly abundant, although it took a while to spot the first one. The much rarer Dune Helleborine was also found but only a few specimens were seen:
|Marsh Helleborine (Epipactis palustris)|
|Dune Helleborine (Epipactis dunensis)|
One of the specialities of the area is the beautiful Grass of Panassus, obviously not a grass:
|Grass of Parnassus (Parnassia palustris)|
and another uncommon plant found was the Autumn Gentian:
|Autumn Gentian (Gentianella amarella)|
More familiar flowers included Eyebright, one of the three Centauries found there and Carline Thistle:
|Carline Thistle (Carlina vulgaris)|
Little fauna was seen, but there were numerous webs of the Labyrinth spider some of which had captured prey for the resident:
|Labyrinth Spider web (Agelena labyrinthica)|
After returning to the car park some of us continued to Sands Lake, into the Birkdale Dunes returning via an area of 'vegetated beach'.
Shasta daisy was an unexpected sight, probably escaped from somewhere nearby. In contrast the Large Flowered Evening Primrose is now so widespread in the area that it would be unexpected not to see it. Sea Holly is another speciality of the area, locally quite common where it does occur:
|Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum × superbum)|
|Sea Holly (Eryngium maritimum), Banded Snail (Cepaea)|
|Large-flowered Evening Primrose (Oenothera glazioviana)|
There were a number of unusual species on the 'vegetated beach', including Sea Rocket,Sea Radish,Sea Arrowgrass, Marram Grass, Lyme Grass, Sea Couch and the primula, Sea Milkwort:
|Sea Milkwort (Glaux maritima)|
Hogweed,Marsh Pennywort,Hemlock Water-dropwort,Wild Parsnip,Garden Asparagus,Yarrow,Lesser Burdock,Mugwort,Creeping Thistle,Spear Thistle,Blue Fleabane,Cat's-ear,Ploughman's-spikenard,Common Fleabane,Ragwort,Goldenrod,Goat's-beard,Scentless Mayweed,Hound's-tongue,Forget-Me-Not,,Harebell,Red Campion,Hedge Bindweed,Biting Stonecrop,Sea-buckthorn,Sea Spurge,Kidney Vetch,Broad-leaved Everlasting-pea,Common Bird's-foot-trefoil,Common Restharrow,Red Clover,White Clover,Yellow-wort,Common Centaury,Seaside Centaury,Common Stork's-bill,Herb-Robert,Iris,Yellow Iris,Gypsywort,Water Mint,Selfheal,Skullcap,Purple-loosestrife,Rosebay Willowherb,Great Willowherb,Yellow-rattle,Greater Plantain,Milkwort,Round-leaved Wintergreen,Lesser Spearwort,Creeping Buttercup,Meadowsweet,Silverweed,Tormentil,Marsh Cinquefoil,Japanese Rose, Dewberry,Cleavers,Marsh-bedstraw,Lady's Bedstraw,Creeping Willow,Bittersweet,Bulrush,Wild Pansy
The Polypody fern was also noted.
Sands Lake added a few birds to the sightings: Mallard,Tufted Duck,Mute Swan,Grey Heron, Common Wood Pigeon,Carrion Crow,Black-billed Magpie,Common Kestrel,Barn Swallow,Black-headed Gull,Meadow Pipit,Pied Wagtail,European Stonechat,Common Coot,Common Whitethroat
Insects were no doubt far more abundant than recorded, but some of the butterflies, particularly the Ringlet, were quite numerous. Those noted were: Emperor Dragonfly, Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Common Blue Butterfly, Ringlet, Dark Green Fritillary, Meadow Brown, Hedge Brown, Cinnabar and Six-spot Burnet Moth.
Overall a very enjoyable day with many attractive and interesting sightings.
|A few Altrincham Naturalists|
(photographed by John Fulton)