As au­tumn moves on there’s lots to ex­plore

Midweek Visiter - - The Sefton Coast -

NOW we’re in the busi­ness end of au­tumn there’s plenty to see on the Sefton coast, whether it be Mi­grant Hawker dragon­flies, late flow­er­ing wild flow­ers or the majesty of bird mi­gra­tion.

Days may be get­ting shorter, but the list of things to en­joy is as long as ever.

The team at Green Sefton have a few events lined up over the com­ing weeks, which I’ll be lead­ing, to share the won­ders of the Sefton coast.

On Thurs­day, Oc­to­ber 25, we’ll be tak­ing a walk along the Coast Road at Marsh­side to see what the high tide pushes out of the vast Ribble es­tu­ary.

If the wind is in the north west, it can force the wa­ters of the Ir­ish Sea right over the salt­marsh.

As the tide flows in, it dis­turbs many species that are usu­ally hid­den in the veg­e­ta­tion – and the preda­tors that feed on them, so Kestrels, Mer­lins, Pere­grines, Spar­rowhawks, Hen Har­ri­ers (sadly scarce vis­i­tors nowa­days), Marsh Har­ri­ers and Short Eared Owls can all turn up to have a field day.

Win­ter wild­fowl num­bers will be grow­ing, with thou­sands of Pink Footed Geese, and ducks in­clud­ing Teal, Pin­tail, Shov­eler and Wi­geon seek­ing shel­ter on the Ribble.

Clouds of waders too can whizz by, pushed off feed­ing grounds by the tide.

Walk­ing the Coast Road is a great way to ob­serve this spec­ta­cle, so why not wrap up warm and join us?

We’ll be set­ting off by the RSPB car park be­side the old Sand­plant at Marsh­side at 11.30am – weather-ap­pro­pri­ate cloth­ing and stout footwear is es­sen­tial, and don’t for­get your binoculars!

The walk should last for two hours and con­clude back be­side the old Sand­plant.

On Sun­day, Novem­ber 4, we’ll be tak­ing a walk out to the ship­wreck of the Star of Hope on Ains­dale beach, to see how the old cot­ton trader has fared after au­tumn gales and high tides.

This three-masted bar­que ran aground in 1883 in a ter­ri­ble storm.

The crew safely found refuge on the Crosby light­ship, but the wreck of the Star of Hope lies in the sands south of Ains­dale, held fast in chang­ing chan­nels.

We will be set­ting out for this walk from Ains­dale Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre (PR8 2QB) at 1.45pm.

Warm, wa­ter­proof cloth­ing and welling­tons are ab­so­lutely es­sen­tial as we will have to tra­verse chan­nels to get to the wreck.

The walk will con­clude back at the dis­cov­ery cen­tre at 4pm.

Fi­nally vol­un­teers have been count­ing the Sand­wich Tern roost at the north end of Ains­dale beach dur­ing Au­gust and Septem­ber, mon­i­tor­ing roost sizes and log­ging dis­tur­bance.

I’ll give a pre­sen­ta­tion of their find­ings and com­pare data with our tern sur­veys in pre­vi­ous years at Ains­dale Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre on Tues­day, Novem­ber 20, at 7pm.

Book­ing is es­sen­tial for th­ese our events, as they tend to fill up quickly.

To book a place on any of th­ese events, please call Green Sefton on 0151 934 2961 or email GreenSefton@sefton.gov.uk

The wreck of the Star of Hope, south of Ains­dale

We’ll be re­view­ing the find­ings of the 2018 Green Sefton Sand­wich Tern Sur­vey in Novem­ber

Pic­tures: JOHN DEMPSEY

High tide on the Ribble can pro­duce a remarkable bird­watch­ing spec­ta­cle

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