Sefton's Nature Calendar

Welcome to our Nature Calendar, which will tell you what's going on around us along Sefton's unique coastline and its many greenspaces.

As well as giving you a month-by-month update on local nature, the calendar will also tell you what our Green Sefton teams are up to. It will also sometimes tell you what they are not doing in order to nurture our protected species.

And the calendar will also tell you what might nature might be doing in your garden or local park and what you can do to give it a helping hand.


     

What’s happening?

Days are already starting to lengthen and the cycle of life is starting again in our countryside and along our coast.

If it is mild snowdrops will start to appear, you will hear Robins and Wrens singing and possibly the unearthly and sometimes alarming calls of the many foxes that live among us as their mating season gets underway.

Stormy weather can bring more food sources for birds on the shoreline and most species of reptiles and amphibians are hibernating as we experience colder temperatures. Some are already active though, so do not disturb ponds and flooded areas.

Similarly, wildlife across our parks will be making the most of shelter at this time of year.

Wet weather is a concern and flood risk at this time of year is high.
Visit our flooding advice page for homeowners and landlords.


What is Green Sefton doing?

Green Sefton use winter to cut back invasive scrub on the coast and further improve habitats with conservation grazing, using Belted Galloway cows and Herdwick Sheep.

We will be mowing in some parks and inland green spaces but will be on the lookout for wildlife like hedgehogs and some areas will be left uncut to provide vital food sources.
Find out more about our parks management to encourage the creation of wildflower & wildlife meadows.

The tree planting season continues ahead of the spring. 
Details of how we manage our trees can be found here. 


What can I do?

January is a quiet time in the garden with mainly maintenance jobs to carry out such as clearing and composting, clearing away damp perennials’ stems and planning for the coming year.

We should all be mindful of wintering birds at this time of year. People should not disturb them, especially at the coast, and make sure that dogs are kept under control to prevent any harm coming to them. They get cold and hungry just like we do, do not disturb.

If we live in an area prone to flooding, it’s a good time to check we have made any preparations that can avoid water damage in and around our properties.
Find out more from the North West Flood Hub.

>February

       

What’s happening?

  • Roosts of wading birds and gulls remain large along the coast.
    They are often weak after cold winter days and need to conserve their energy so please do not disturb them and keep dogs and horses well away from these birds. 

  • Wild spring annual plants begin to sprout in the dune system before flowering in March – Spring Vetch, Rue-Leaved Saxifrage and Whitlow Grass all begin freshening up – their tiny flowers begin to appear at the end of the month or in early March.

  • Away from the coast look out for the bright yellows of Dandelions, Coltsfoot and Lesser Celandine, on verges, rough ground and in our parks.
    These are vital wild flowers for early pollinators like Red-tailed and Buff-tailed Bumblebee.

  • Wintering Pink-Footed Geese begin to get restless – although some remain with us into late spring, and a few even summer here, the majority will soon be heading back to Icelandic breeding rounds.

  • Bats including the Pipistrelle species become active by month’s end. Watch out for new about our Green Sefton-led evening Bat Walks in our parks this year – always popular!

  • Amphibians, including our rare species such as rare species including Natterjack Toads and Great Crested Newts begin to emerge.

    Please keep dogs away from pools on the coast as while they mean no harm, our four-legged friends can disturb vital breeding pools for dragonfly and other insect larvae.

  • The Dawn Chorus grows in strength day by day – how many bird species can you identify by song alone?

What is Green Sefton doing?

  • Scrub removal continues on the coast until the end of the month. If you would like to get involved in removing invasive scrub as a volunteer, you can find out more here or email us at GreenSefton@sefton.gov.uk

  • Conservation grazing cattle are still out on the dunes at Ainsdale and elsewhere along the coast. Please keep dogs under control and away from livestock.

What can I do?

  • If you are out in the garden, try to resist the temptation to do too much tidying up before the temperature reaches a regular 10 degrees celsius.

  • Butterfly eggs, caterpillars and hibernating bees will be hidden in leave litter and old stems until the weather gets warmer.

  • Out in your garden garden or local park you might see blue tits and other birds looking for safe sites to begin building their nests.

  • In our ponds, warmer weather brings frogs hopping out of hibernation, which means there's the . The result is that there’s every chance of spotting some early frogspawn.  

 

         

 

What’s happening?

  • Dandelions and Hawkbits on verges start to flower providing a vital food source for early pollinators including Red-Tailed and Buff-Tailed Bumblebees.

  • Likewise Spring annuals including Common Whitlow Grass, Spring Vetch and Hairy Bittercress provide important food sources for early insects in the dunes.

  • Sand Lizards and Common Lizards emerge in the frontal dunes.

  • Depending on temperatures Natterjack Toads could be spawning in the dunes by the end of the month – keep dogs out of pools on the coast please.

  • Common Frog, Common Toad, Great Crested and Smooth Newts all become active.

  • Rare Vernal Mining Bees emerge on coast and will remain until Creeping Willow stops flowering.

  • Early butterflies including Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Brimstone and Comma appear and rely on early flowering species for food.

  • Climate change has prompted many bird species to begin the breeding cycle earlier than traditionally accepted norms.

  • It is now quite usual for spring migrants including Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps to be back on territory and breeding by the third week of March, when once they did not appear until the first week of April or later.

     

What is Green Sefton doing?

  • The beginning of some birds' breeding cycles has repercussions for scrub clearance and tree felling programmes, meaning they end by the first week in March.

  • Wonderful plant species including Cowslips begin to flower – an care will be taken not to mow them out.

  • Belted Galloway cattle and Herdwick Sheep that have spent winter grazing the dunes leave our sites in spring – thanks for the hard work!”

What can I do?

  • If you have space, you could think about planting a shrub or group of shrubs to attract birds through the year.

  • Planting Nectar-rich flowers will attract many flying insects, including butterflies.
  • If you're thinking about cutting your grass, why not leave an area to grow longer and become a habitat for wildlife, including, grasshoppers, moths and butterflies. 
  • With birds needing daily access to water for drinking and bathing and amphibians like frogs and toads starting to breed this month, why not create a mini pond. You can start with a washing-up bowl, but don’t forget to provide logs, twigs or rocks to create pathways into and out of the pond for small mammals.

 

 

 


Last Updated on Thursday, January 20, 2022

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