OK, I own up - this is a bit tongue in cheek. Queen's Park is NOT a wonderful
place for wildlife. Please do not plan your holiday around this site. It is included to show
that you don't have to go as far as Reed's
Moss or Bold
Moss, to see some decent wildlife. If you open you eyes and look, it's all around
Queen's Park is a small park not far from the center of St. Helens. It is
surrounded on all sides by rows of terraced houses, and access is completely open at
all times of day and night. It has tennis courts, bowling greens and rugby / football
"pitches", all in varying states of disrepair. In one corner of the park there is a stream
which mysteriously disappears underground, but does at least provide some variation of
habitat for wildlife.
At the time of writing (November 2002), there have been all kinds of rumours about the park being
bought by private leisure companies, and turned into a leisure complex.
The bird list is not long, but birds are about. Resident species include still good numbers of
House Sparrows, Blackbirds and Song Thrushes, and Mallard are on the stream. The status of Tawny
Owl is less certain, but they are often heard calling in spring.
Flocks of Starlings appear in the winter, and usually at least one Grey Wagtail takes up residence
at the stream end of the park. Up to 100 Common Gulls feed on the playing fields in winter, and
small flocks of Goldfinches are usually present. Redwings and Fieldfares are less frequent visitors
to the park itself, but it's almost impossible to walk through the park in winter and not hear
their calls as they fly high overhead.
Flocks of 100 of more Pink-footed Geese are regular overhead in winter, and a Kingfisher is
often on the stream.
I wouldn't advise anybody to moth trap in the park. Unfortunately, at 2 in the morning you are
likely to attract a lot more than just moths. However, I regularly run a trap adjacent to the park,
close enough in my view for the records to be considered as being from Queen's Park. Over 250
species of moths have been recorded, with three exceptional records in 2002. The first was on 29th
June, when I caught a Blotched Emerald. This was the first record ever in St. Helens, only the 7th
in Lancashire, and the first since 1998. Then on 18th July I caught a Buff Footman, only the second
ever in St. Helens and the second for the Vice County (VC59). Finally, on 4th November, I caught a
Barred Sallow, the first ever in St. Helens, only the third ever in Lancashire, and the first since
Hedgehogs are in the park, but very rarely seen.