Chester, 1st December 2019

It was a brilliant sunny day, but frosty underfoot. From Chester station we walked down City Road and Dee Lane to Grosvenor Park.  A Blackbird and a Wood Pigeon were making short work of a large crop of Holly berries. A party of Long-tailed Tits flitted through the pollarded Limes, and there was a Dunnock on the path. As a celebration of 130 years of the RSPB, some wickerwork bird sculptures have appeared, possibly made by the same artist who made the WWII aeroplanes last year. They represented a Cormorant, an Egret, a Hen Harrier and an Avocet, all birds important to the RSPB.

A Rat was foraging about, skulking under trees and benches and apparently minding its own business, living on wild food. We were struck by the comparison with the Grey Squirrels, which are greeted with delight and offered food from the hands of little children. It clearly helps to have a fluffy tail!  Grosvenor Park has several mature cedar trees, but most are Atlas Cedars and Deodars. There seems to be only one Cedar of Lebanon, across the lawn south of the Rose Garden. It has even-length needles in the usual cedar bunches (the Deodar’s needles are of variable lengths), and the cone has a domed top, not hollowed like an Atlas Cedar.

We lunched by the River Dee, and watched the local short-cruise boat coming in.

Then we went looking for the two ringed Black-headed Gulls, J4U8 from Norway and T4R0 from Poland. They were spotted again a week or two ago, but there was no sign of them today. Plenty of other BHGs, but not them. There were also some Mute Swans, a Moorhen and a few Mallards. On the “Danger – Weir” warning buoy we spotted a Cormorant.

The Christmas Market outside the Town Hall was busy, and I bought some Winter Aconite bulbs, which are probably a bit late to plant, but we’ll see. Then back through the Abbey Close and along the canal, accompanied by the sounds of the Cathedral bells. 

Public transport details: Train from Central at 10.15, arriving Chester at 11.00. Returned on the 2.25 train, arriving Central 3.15.

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