It was raining gently this morning, with thunderstorms forecast for later. We headed for Croxteth Park with some trepidation, imagining ourselves getting soaked on the way back. But it cleared up by lunchtime and the sun even came out occasionally.
In the damp fields on either side of the long walk to the Hall were a few scattered Magpies, Crows, Common Gulls and Lesser Black-backed gulls. The herd of Highland cattle were sheltering on the edge of their woods and clustering around a great mound of hay.
One of the old Park lodges, Croxteth Lodge, was nestling prettily into the side of the path, enhanced by the shrubs trimmed into a cluster of low mounds.
We wandered through the woodland path, where we had found lots of small birds feeding on Larch seeds during previous visits, but it was all quiet today. A passer-by said he often sees a flock of about two dozen Ring-necked Parakeets on the far side of the Hall, but we didn’t see any ourselves. An occasional Robin called from a hedge, and our best bird was a Mistle Thrush churring quietly in the shrubbery. On the bank of the algae-covered lake called the Statue Pond (no statue now!) was a Norway Maple in bright yellow leaf, showing beautifully against a dark conifer behind it.
A magnificent Beech tree graces the lawn west of the Hall.
Also on this lawn is a rare hybrid Oak, a Lucombe Oak Quercus x hispanica ‘Lucombeana’. It is a cross between a Turkey Oak and a Cork Oak. The acorn cups were “hairy” like Turkey Oak, but were a bright pale green. The acorns had white bases and greenish tips.
A Turkey Oak nearby had no acorns at all but an English or Pedunculate Oak had so many fallen acorns that it was impossible to walk beneath the tree without standing on several at each step.
A Pin Oak had just some undeveloped squibs, but their leaves are very pretty.
On the other side of a hedge there was a Narrow leaved Ash Fraxinus angustifolia ‘Raywood’ with its spectacular gold and purple autumn foliage.
We returned on the other side of the Highland cattle’s pasture. The bull was attended by lots of Magpies, and he was standing quite still for them with his head lowered. The Magpies must be getting something, so do the cattle have ticks or fleas? Is this a husbandry or animal welfare issue?
Public transport details: Bus 12 from Queen Square at 9.55 arriving Mill Lane / West Derby Village at 10.17. Returned on bus 13 from Mill Lane / Town Row at 1.59, arriving Liverpool 2.28.