The Sands of Time

Ainsdale NNR late March 2013.
Ainsdale late March 2013.
A remarkable and ever changing landscape. Normally the location for a late Spring/Summer visit. On this occasion it was an opportunity to escape the maddening crowds of Formby.  
Red Velvet Mite
Red Velvet Mite
One of the tiny insects normally dismissed as a “money spider” this tiny mite is actually a voracious predator of insects, larvae and eggs. Seems to be fairly widespread across Europe, Asia and North America typically living amongst the leaf litter. Also plenty of Mining Bees around.
Stonechat (male)
One of several male Stonechats calling amongst the sand dunes close to Pontin’s. Normally quite flighty the sand dunes provide a reasonable amount of cover. Encouraging to see plenty of females around as well.
Meadow Pipit
A Meadow Pipit again one of many moving north along the coast.

On this occasion with spring being slow to arrive to the sand dunes the highlight was the display flight and endless song of the Skylarks.  Unfortunately not an easy thing to record with a SLR and a small compact camera.

Dune slack
One of several slacks hidden amongst the dunes – a breeding site for the Natterjack Toad. A shame they hide away in burrows during the daylight hours and only emerge after dark.
P1020191 P1020192
Common Polypody growing at the base of a sand dune. Normally tend to be more common as epiphytes. Underside of a Polypody leaf complete with sori (spore producing bodies).
Black headed Gull
Plenty of Black headed Gull’s enjoying the fresh water of the larger slacks.

Unfortunately no sign of the similar Mediterranean Gulls occasionally seen in the area.  Probably a couple of weeks too early for Sand Lizards

Updated Natural England leaflet (now including footpaths)!

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