New Brighton and Rake Lane Cemetery, 12th September 2010

I heard the first Pink-footed Geese of the autumn this morning, flying over my garden in Crosby. It was a lovely bright day, but there was a bite of autumn in the air. We met at Sir Thomas Street for the 432 bus at 1015 to New Brighton. On the sandbanks at the edge of the rising tide we saw Herring Gulls, Cormorants and Oystercatchers, but there were probably more interesting waders amongst them that were too far away for us to identify. They are tearing up the seafront to build a Morrison’s supermarket, a Travelodge and a row of shops, but the restored prom has a smooth new surface (great for cycling, said Sheena) and they have planted a row of young trees – birch, alder, some maples and some pines: it will be interesting to see which survive the salty onshore winds. Great views over to Seaforth and Waterloo. We saw a Mute Swan on the boating lake, Black-headed gulls on the jetty in the marine lake and about a dozen small birds in rapid wheeling flight, possibly Turnstones.
After lunch in Marine Park we took the 410 to Rake Lane Cemetery and Chapel for Heritage Open Day tours of the beautifully-restored chapel (now a Russian Orthodox Church) and some of the interesting maritime graves in the Cemetery. There are gravestones there commemorating a stewardess lost on the Empress of Ireland in 1914; the Captain of the Great Britain, and his daughter, a Titanic survivor; eight of the twenty-three men lost in the 1939 Liverpool Pilot Boat disaster; and Raymond Thomas Holmes, one of “The Few”, who rammed a German Dornier bomber over London to stop it bombing Buckingham Palace, bailed out, hopped over a fence and kissed two girls!
We took the 410 on to Birkenhead Park Station and caught the train to Liverpool at just past 3pm.

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