Everton Park, 6th June 2010

It was raining a little when we met in Queen Square at 10.30 and took the 17 bus to the top of St Domingo Road. We stopped to admire the half-timbered Mere Bank pub with its pargeting and its Elizabethan figures above the door. The derelict Everton Library is also worth a look, and both are described in “The Buildings of Liverpool”. Cutting through St George’s churchyard we walked along to Everton Park on National Cycle Network route 18 and stopped to admire the view. It had stopped raining, and although it was still very misty over the city we could see the skyscrapers near the river and just make out New Brighton.
Among the cut grass and paths there were quite a few wild flowers. One bank had patches of Bird’s Foot Trefoil and Hoary Cress, and there was a tiny starry moss in the cracks between the flags. While we were exploring one of the old quarry areas we met a Japanese tourist who was a bit off the normal tourist routes, and despite his limited English he asked us if we were naturalists. Perhaps he was one too. We lunched in the pergola with a splendid view over the city.
Off Dorrington Walk is Everton Park Nature Garden. It is normally locked up and only available to organised school parties, but today it was open to the public. We met Rangers Ronnie and Ritchie at 1pm, and Ritchie gave us the ten cent tour while Ronnie did pond-dipping with the only child who had turned up. The Nature Garden has a shallow lake with reeds, yellow flag iris and fringed water lily, a small woodland, a wildflower meadow and a herb garden. Ritchie swept his insect net through the long grass and tipped out three common blue damsel flies, one fat caterpillar and about fifty ants, bugs and beetles. There is a resident Heron, who normally perches on the bridge over the lake, but we saw it flap off as we arrived. Although the lake is not supposed to have any fish, being officially intended for insects, the Rangers suspect that the local fishermen are secretly stocking it. On a flat-topped wooden rail in the woods we found a scattered collection of feathers of small birds and one sad little beak in the leaf litter. It may be a regular feeding place for a predatory bird, perhaps a magpie.
It started to rain again when we were in the herb garden, so we left about 2.30 and were back in Liverpool before 3pm.

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