WILDLIFE RECORDING IN WIRRAL
Most wildlife surveys in Wirral are done by volunteers! Many are very expert. Newcomers are always welcome, but be prepared to put effort into learning your chosen subject. Going out with someone knowledgeable is a good way to learn new species. All groups carry insurance; you will need to register with them as a volunteer to be covered by this. The groups listed below do identification and training of one sort or another, usually informally and at low or no cost. The contacts given are public ones. If you get in touch via email@example.com we will probably be able to put you in direct touch with the local organiser.
Wirral Wildlife run a small team of volunteer wildlife recorders (organised under our parent body, Cheshire Wildlife Trust, for insurance. You do not have to be a member of CWT). Mostly we do habitat and botanical surveys of the Local Wildlife Sites (still called Sites of Biological Interest on the Wirral Borough Council website) and the terrestrial SSSIs, trying to cover each one at least once every 10 years. We also survey new sites, often at the request of community groups or landowners. We give management advice where possible. Most of this goes on in small groups of 2-4 people with a lead person for each site. We also have members who do bat, amphibian or invertebrate surveys on the same sites, working with the specialist groups below.
If you are interested in joining the recording team, please email us firstname.lastname@example.org
Record (Local Biological Records Centre, based at Chester Zoo) run regular local training days. Sign up to their newsletter via their website.
Liverpool World Museum has a natural history department including large reference collections. https://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/world-museum
Apart from the survey activity above, Wirral Wildlife do a few formal training courses in May-July: ancient woodland plants; grasses/sedges/rushes; and a basic wildflower course for beginners. See Events on our website.
Thurstaston Common monitoring scheme paper
Some botanical walks are done in Cheshire each year by the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland recorder, Graeme Kay.
Most autumn/winter recording activity is centred on birds of the estuaries. There are also spring/summer surveys especially of nesting activity. Bird recording is led locally by CAWOS - Cheshire and Wirral Ornithological Society, part of BTO - who can also provide training.
The Wetland Bird Surveys (WeBS surveys) are part of a national scheme running since 1947. They are monthly surveys of wading and wetland birds, both on the shores and on inland roosting areas. These are organised locally.
Wirral Bird Club is a forum for local birders.
Dee Estuary Birds has news and lists of latest sightings for the birds of the Dee.
RSPB has a Wirral Group
as well as its large Dee Estuary reserve
Wirral Wildlife have a few people who do various invertebrate groups. We work with World Museum Liverpool via their Tanyptera Trust funding. They do lots of training in invertebrate identification. Few people have skills in invertebrate ID, so doing some of their training could be very useful.
Record LRC host/run some of these training events and some of their own.
Local groups of enthusiasts currently include:
Cheshire Bee Group
Cheshire Moth Group
Lancashire & Cheshire Entomological Society
Butterfly Conservation - Cheshire and Wirral branch
Amphibians and Reptiles
Wirral Amphibian and Reptile Group
A relatively new and active group, with plenty to do.
In Wirral, Merseyside Bat Group is usually first port of call, but there is obviously overlap with Cheshire, so the groups work together.
Merseyside and West Lancashire Bat Group
Cheshire Bat Group
Including watching setts at night.
Wirral and Cheshire Badger Group
North West Fungus Group
National Biodiversity Network - NBN Atlas
The UK’s largest repository of publicly available biodiversity data.
Join iRecord to share your sightings with the recording community, explore maps and graphs of your data and make a contribution to science and conservation.
Use the iNaturalist website or app to record your own nature observations and get help identifying them. The recorded findings are available and usable by researchers, authorities and anyone interested in nature.
The Field Studies Council runs training courses, which are often residential and therefore charged for.
Nationally and Internationally Protected Sites
Map of SSSI (national protection) and internationally protected sites, such as Dee and Mersey estuaries:
Some are on private land so not accessible without permission.
Locally Protected Sites
Boundary maps for Wirral borough Local Wildlife Sites (LWS) / Sites of Biological Importance
Interactive map for Cheshire West and Chester LWS
(click on + sign, select Environment and Planning, select Local Wildlife Sites)
Many of the LWS are on private land, so always check access before going to one.