I had a good old search around the Birkdale area yesterday, from Birkdale Village, the Green Beach, Birkdale Dunes, and through to Ainsdale Sands Lake area.......... and I have got the sunburn to prove it! What a brilliant area this is; I don't get out enough around this area anymore. I used to be out here fairly regular when I was more involved in the Sand Lizard monitoring on the coast. For a all round naturalist this coast has everything..... rare Reptiles, Amphibians, Invertebrates, Mammals, Plants, and of course birds.
Plenty of highlights which include the pale form of Marsh Helleborine Epipactis Palustris Var. Ochroleuca in a slack near to the outflow pipes at the northern end to the reserve (a first for me), Plenty of 'normal' Marsh Helloborines in flower everywhere (spot the difference below), there where smaller numbers of Dune Helloborine throughout the reserve but the majority had been nibbled or shriveled due to the dry spring; the best place I find for these is the Pine woods in the Ainsdale NNR best looked for during mid July. Other Orchids included plenty of Pyramidal, Bee, Northern Marsh, Southern Marsh, Early Marsh (of both forms), and an array of hybrids. Other plants included a Broomrape Species (any ideas?) and Yellow Birds Nest near to Sands Lake.
2 female Sand Lizards in the Dunes along with plenty of Small Heaths, Meadow Browns, Small Skippers, Small Tortershells, and plenty of Common Toads and Frogs on the Green Beach. Reed Warblers, Sedge Warblers, Grasshopper Warbler, Willow Warblers, Stonechat, and a family of Mute Swans on Sands Lake along with Common and Blue-Tailed Damselflies. No Dragonflies oddly enough though.