West Kirby, 3rd October 2010

What a horrible wet day it was! We were supposed to be going to Hilbre Island for the Open Day, but it was just too wet. We stood at the Dee Lane slipway at West Kirby and looked glumly over the sands to the rain-sodden islands, and our resolve failed.
The day went wrong right from the start. Not only was it raining heavily when we met at Central Station (all kitted out in our best wellies) for the West Kirby train at 10.05, but we had to change to a Rail Replacement bus at Birkenhead North. We didn’t get to the Dee Lane slipway until 11.20, and found that even the Friends of Hilbre had decided not risk the hour-long trek over the sands.  So we walked along the Marine Lake, which has been drained for repairs to the embankment, and looked at the Black-headed gulls and Herring gulls in the mud and shallow pools. Six Herons were hunched out in the middle.
We had our lunch in the shelters, then walked in lighter rain through Coronation Gardens to Ashton Park. The gullys around the bowling greens were overflowing like mini-moats onto the sacred turf. We spotted a poster about Hoylake local food fair on Sunday 31st October and decided to go there at the end of the month instead of to Waterloo. We are always alert to the possibilities of the odd free sample!
Ashton Park lake had the usual Mallards, Coots, Moorhens, Canada Geese, Greylag Geese, two juvenile Herring Gulls and the resident Muscovy Duck. No Tufted Ducks today. On the island were three very black ducks with green glossy highlights on their sides. They were probably “deviant” Mallards, but in the other colour direction to the pale ones who have interbred with domestic ducks. There was one Grey Squirrel in the trees. As we crossed the bridge over the Wirral Way into the higher park the rain stopped and the sun made a valiant attempt to shine through the clouds.  We were greeted by a Robin in the hedge, some Collared Doves and Wood Pigeons, and a Crow with white flecks in his tail and back. Three Shaggy Ink-caps were coming up in the rose beds.  We were back at the station for the bus at 2.15, and at Central Station by 3pm.

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