Another very cold day, only just above freezing, with a biting east wind. It had snowed in the week, but it was mostly gone in the Liverpool area, just remaining on the roofs and lawns. It was a day of light cloud and sunny intervals. We took the train from Lime Street to St Helens and then the 352 bus from St Helens bus station. We got off further along than usual, three stops past the Waterside pub, and headed along the quiet and well-gritted stretch of Carr Mill Road towards Otter Swift Farm.
In the hedges there were Goldfinches and Greenfinches, and the fields had Carrion Crows, Dunnocks, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush and Redwing. On the northern section of the lake were Canada Geese and Mallards. Along Carr Mill Old Road there was a Buzzard overhead. A weak sun came out as we went down the snowy path to the lakeside where it was sheltered from the cold wind. Under the trees the Wild Garlic was sprouting, dusted with snow, but had no flowers yet. We had lunch on bridge, where it was almost warm. On the lake were Canada Geese, Mallards, Mute Swans, Coot, Black-headed gulls and of course the Great Crested Grebes, dancing a bit half-heartedly.
After lunch we took the path along the east side of the lake. At the Goyt corner someone had put out a big cake of fat, peanuts and sunflower seeds which was busy with Great Tits, Coal Tits and a party of Long-tailed Tits.
A Song Thrush pecked about on a bit of bare bank and a female Kestrel was sitting in a tree.
On the edges of the overflow there were several dozen molehills.
Near the Waterside pub there were more signs of spring the hawthorn was coming into leaf and the ornamental honeysuckle was budding.
Here is the plan for the next few Sundays. Leaders: J = John, B = Barbara
31st March, Easter, no walk.
7th April, Thornton Hough (may be muddy). Meet 10.15 Sir Thomas Street. (J)
14th April, Seaforth to Old Roan on the canal. Meet 10am Central Station. (B)
21st April, Croxteth Hall (may be muddy). Meet 10am Queen Square. Joint walk with MNA.
28th April, Lydiate. Meet 10 am Sir Thomas Street. (J)
Note that walks may change if there are engineering works on Merseyrail.
Anyone is welcome to come out with the Sunday Group. It is not 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, 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.