We at RIMAG where wondering what would be the best structure to replace the Tower at the reserve. But then we thought what do the local people want to see and what would best serve their needs. So we would like your input. Do you have a drawing or suggestion as to what could replace the tower to best utilse and enhance the view?
Risley Moss Action Group are liaising with Warrington Borough Council and their Rangers in order to raise money for the refurbishment of the iconic fire damaged observation tower. If any one wishes to donate to this fund cheques made payable to Risley Moss Action Group can be handed into the rangers at the moss or deposited in the donations box in the visitor centre at the moss. Any donations will be administered solely by Risley Moss Action Group and passed on to the council as and when the plans for the Tower come to fruition. As RIMAG is a registered charity (No: 1041935) and if you are a current tax payer then we can claim monies from the Government under the flag of Gift Aid, to supplement your donation by 25%. Please download (Gift Aid Declaration) and return the signed form with your donations.
We are also working on setting up a donations page on our website through the medium of PayPal when this is established we will post more information.
If anyone has any idea as to what they would like to replace the tower then the Rangers, RIMAG and the Council are open to any suggestions. We are currently working in the framework to produce something that would be iconic but it would have to conform to full disability access as well as being iconic to fit in with current building regulations. If you have any ideas then e-mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org
The foray took place at Risley Moss near Warrington which is an SSSI managed by the ranger service of Warrington Borough Council with voluntary support from the local community Action Group. The main part of the site is the former Lancashire mossland which is being restored to its former glory. However the foray took place within the predominantly Birch woodland which surrounds the moss
Fifteen people attended the foray including the Chair of the Action Group and two young enthusiasts who were invaluable in searching out fungi from the more impenetrable parts.
Fungi were a bit few and far between but thirty five species were identified. These were used to describe aspects of fungi such as their form, what to look for when identifying them, where they grow, mycorrhiza, the importance of mycorrhiza and their role in the ecological cycle.
The highlights included the Earthstars and Stinkhorn eggs and the BMS Pocket Guide was helpful in revealing what it looked like when mature. These along with the Saddles, Jelly Ear, Stagshorn, Woodwarts and various brackets helped to demonstrate the great variety of shapes and sizes.
The most dramatic of the gilled fungi were Sulphur Tuft and Glistening Ink-cap which were seen in prufusion bursting out of several decaying tree stumps.
Although there can be some lingering summery weather in late September, we are definitely into autumn in October. Even so, you may still see the odd butterfly on warmer days; these are likely to be species such as Peacock that over-winter as adults and will be the first to appear in spring. Unfortunately, this is 5-6 months away, so enjoy them while you can. There are also still some late dragonflies around, in fact i saw a few darters there on Sunday.
Most of the summer migrant birds have now left and we can look forward to the arrival of the winter visitor birds. Usually, the first are flocks of Redwing, which often arrive during the night but can be detected by their thin, high whistle. Often they can arrive in large numbers that are very hungry and can strip berry bearing trees such as hawthorn in a few hours.
The Redwing is slightly smaller and darker than the Song Thrush and easily identified by the red mark under its wing. If you see a flock of thrushes feeding in bushes or on fields, they are almost certain to be Redwings.
As the leaves start to fall, you can see fungi around the site, especially after damp weather. Some of the fungi such as the Birch Bracket fungus can be seen all through the year but is far more obvious in winter. You can see them on the branches and trunks of many dead birch trees around the site. If you are lucky, you may also see the classically coloured Fly Agaric on the woodland floor. This species is poisonous, as are several others so if in doubt, don’t pick them!
The larger Hawker dragonfly species become more noticeable as we go into September although there are still many smaller Darter dragonflies around.
One of the rarer species on the site, the Migrant Hawker, starts to appear in September. This species is unusual in that the adults are comparatively tolerant of each other whereas the other species are constantly tussling. So if you see several large dragonflies that are flying together, they could be Migrant Hawkers like this one.
There are still some large butterflies about in September, particularly those that will eventually over-winter as adults or those that are migratory and only arrive in late summer here. One fairly common migratory species to look out for is the Red Admiral and, if you are very lucky, you may see a Painted Lady.
Many of the summer birds are now leaving for warmer over-wintering locations. Although their songs make them very obvious when they arrive, they mostly slip away quietly and un-noticed. The main exception to this is the Swallow. On occasions it will be possible to see hundreds passing through. Risley Moss can also be a ‘drop-in’ for birds on passage from more northerly breeding areas so there is always the chance of unexpectedly seeing rare species.
September is also when fungi start to appear. The large white cone-shaped ones you can see along the paths are likely to be Shaggy Ink-caps. This species is edible but, unless you are an expert, do not take them as some species are very poisonous. Also if you want to learn more about Fungi come to an event in October :
Sunday 9th October 10.00am to 12 noon
Bring all the family along and join our local enthusiast on this introduction to mushrooms and toadstools and learn some funky fungus facts and some foraging skills in the woodland.
Places are limited so please book in advance on 01925 824339
This month is when the main Dragonfly emergence takes place. By far the most common small dragonfly you will see will be the Black Darter, which is a species associated primarily with peaty areas such as Risley Moss. The other species comparatively frequently seen is the Common Darter. One of the best places to see both species is the ‘Wild Flower Patch’ where they regularly perch on the seat and the “Do not pick the Wild Flowers” sign.
The dragonflies are so numerous that they become the main food source for that most elegant small falcon, the Hobby. On a sunny day you can see from the Tower up to 3 or 4 of them flying over the mossland, catching Dragonflies in mid air, in fact last year there were uo to 7 on some occasions. If you are lucky they may fly really close to the observation tower from where you will get a fantastic view.
There are also some small butterflies (less than 3cm wing span) around. One regularly seen is the moth-like Large Skipper which is found around blackberry flowers. There are two small blue butterfly species on the site, but if you see one, it will probably be a Holly Blue. However, the most common butterfly is the medium sized Gatekeeper, which can be seen all around the site.
The winner of the Bird Shout Bingo at this years’ Risley Moss Summer Open Day (26th June) was Roman Smajkiewicz.
Here he is with his Gran enjoying the Tin Can Ally run by the 12th Warrrington East Scout Group. He is said to have really enjoyed the day and is now the proud owner of A Nature Explorer Bug House. Congratulations from all of us at RIMAG and the Warrington Ranger Service.
June is the month of the annual Green Safari Day at Risley Moss now to be known at the Risley Moss Summer Open Day, see our events page for details
The Open Day is a great day out with the opportunity to see a wide range of exhibits and have the opportunity to go on guided walks into areas of the site not usually open to the public.
Although some birds are still singing (especially those that have multiple broods) most are now much quieter as they concentrate on feeding their young and recuperating. They are more difficult to see amongst the tree foliage despite there being more birds on site at this time of year than any other! Even those you can see can sometimes confuse. If you see this little bird that acts like a Robin, it is probably a Robin but a young one (the orange / red breast comes later).
As you go around the site, you may also see some white butterflies. These are generally not the Large or Small White, whose caterpillars eat our cabbages and nasturtiums, but are Green-veined White, which do not feed on garden plants. If you see a brown butterfly, it is most likely to be a Speckled Wood. These are amongst the easiest species to photograph because they readily perch low down and return to the same spot.
The Large Red Damselflies that emerged in May are joined by some blue damselflies in June. There are six ‘blue’ species in the UK which are very difficult to separate. Fortunately, only one species, the Azure Damselfly is common at Risley Moss so that is the one you are likely to see. It breeds prolifically in the pond near the Visitor Centre and can often be seen perched on surrounding vegetation.
Four-spot Chaser dragonflies are now appearing in numbers and can be seen anywhere around the site so look out for them. However, the main dragonfly emergence is not until July and August when up to 12 species can be seen.