Yesterday we were subjected to Storm Deirdre, which lashed Liverpool with wind and rain, but it was comparatively mild today. After getting off the bus at Parkgate Mostyn Square we walked along the quayside to the so-called Donkey Stand, where there was the usual civic Christmas tree.
The tide was out, but we scanned the marsh for birds. There were some Oystercatchers on a grassy bit and a distant bird of prey sitting up above the reeds on a higher twig: perhaps it was a Buzzard but it was too far out to identify. Two or three Little Egrets were poking about. One flew up and came down in a different place and disturbed a dozen Lapwings, which we wouldn’t otherwise have seen. A smart-looking Heron was close in.
In the pools were the usual Mallard, Teal, and various gulls. Then northwards from Burton came a male Hen Harrier, being mobbed by gulls and Crows. Eventually he dropped whatever it was he had caught, and he flew off. One Carrion Crow went down into the reeds to find the prize the Harrier had dropped. After all that excitement,we strolled along to the Old Quay restaurant for our Christmas lunch.
Afterwards we walked back up to Neston for the bus. In the churchyard of the Parkgate and Neston United Reformed Church we stopped to look at two handsome trees, a Monkey Puzzle and a bare Weeping Ash.
The Sunday Group’s tally for 2018 is 84 species of birds, 163 species or varieties of trees and 5 species of mammal (if we are allowed to count molehills!), all seen within the range of our Merseytravel pensioners’ bus passes. Not bad for parks, cemeteries and odd woody corners in an urban area.
Public transport details: Bus 487 from Sir Thomas Street at 10.30, arriving Mostyn Square Parkgate at 11.25. Returned from Brook Street, Neston, on the 487 at 14.36, arriving Liverpool 15.30.
Next few weeks:
The next Sunday walk will be on 20th January 2019, when we will meet at Queen Square at 10am. We will decide on the day where we should go, depending on the weather and if there have been any rare birds reported nearby.
Anyone is welcome to come out with the Sunday Group. It is not strictly part of the MNA, although it has several overlapping members. We go out by public transport to local parks, woods and nature reserves all over Merseyside, and occasionally further afield. We are mostly pensioners, so the day is free on our bus passes, and we enjoy fresh air, a laugh and a joke, a slow amble in pleasant surroundings and sometimes we even look at the wildlife!
If you want to join a Sunday Group walk, pack lunch, a flask, waterproofs,binoculars if you have them, a waterproof pad to sit on if we have to have lunch on the grass or a wet bench (A garden kneeler? A newspaper in a plastic bag?), and wear stout shoes or walking boots. We are usually back in Liverpool City Centre by 4pm at the latest.
If you are interested in the wildlife of the north-west of England and would like to join the walks and coach trips run by the Merseyside Naturalists’Association, see the main MNA website for details of our programme and how to join us.