It may have been the hottest day of the year in London, but in Waterloo it was drizzly, overcast and breezy. Our first stop was the small green area known as Potter’s Barn. The buildings, a gate house, coach house and stables, were built in 1841 by a Liverpool merchant called William Potter, intending them to be part of a grand coastal estate. Unfortunately his business ran into financial difficulties and the project advanced no further. Potter was a military history buff and so his buildings are replicas of the farmhouse called La Haye Sainte, a crucial strategic outpost on the battlefield of Waterloo in 1815. They are now Grade II-listed.
There wasn’t much to see in the park, but we noted that several small Laburnum trees had very short hanging flowers. Perhaps some unknown variety? The shrub Japanese Snowbell Styrax japonicus was flowering profusely.
There is a tiny nature reserve next to the Lakeside Adventure Centre, with wooden boardwalks over marshy ground. The trees were Alder, Willow and Elder, with an undergrowth of Nettle, Bramble, Coltsfoot leaves, Red Campion, Ragwort, Buttercups and Hogweed.
A Common Tern was hunting over the Marina and some House Martins zipped around overhead. There are Swifts in the Crosby area (I have had four over my garden for about a week now) but we didn’t see them down by the shore. There was a Collared Dove on a TV aerial and the usual flocks of Starlings on the grass.
Nothing exciting on the Boating Lake, just the usual Mallards, Coots, Canada Geese and dozens of juvenile Herring Gulls. There were more Mute Swans than normal, though, about a dozen of them, equally divided between adults and juveniles. One adult had a green Darvic ring on its right leg, CLL9, which I have reported to the North West Swan Study. They have passed the sighting on to Cheshire, as it’s one of theirs. One of the juveniles had a blue ring, but it wouldn’t co-operate so we didn’t get the number. (Added 4th June: David Cookson of the Cheshire Swan Study advised that CLL9 was ringed as a male cygnet on 19 Dec 2017 at Spike Island, Widnes. Steve Christmas of the NW Swan Study was in Crosby on 3rd and had another look. He said “The blue ringed cygnet is 4DCS which was ringed at Sefton Park, Liverpool on 19 Sep 2018. There was also 4CLP, which was ringed as an adult male at Leasowe Golf Club on 17 Mar 2017 and another green ringed bird CNH3 whose details I have sent to the Cheshire Swan Study”).
The thick hedges in Crescent Gardens were a-twitter with House Sparrows. The Friends of Waterloo Seafront Gardens have been working hard with litter-picking and plantings, and the Poppies around the rockery were splendid, as was the Yellow Bush Lupin Lupinus arboreus.
This unusual yellow-flowered shrub was emitting a powerful perfume. It’s Jerusalem Sage, Phlomis fruticosa.
Then we walked northwards up the beach looking at the Iron Men. Liverpool FC have won something or other, apparently, and there is reputed to be an Iron Man in celebratory clothing, but we couldn’t see it.
This picture is by Steve Rice from a local Facebook group.
Public transport details: Bus 53 from Queen Square at 10.02, arriving Crosby Road South / Marlborough Road at 10.35. Returned on the 53 from Oxford Road / Brooke Road West at 2.02.