New Brighton, 5th February 2023

We walked down from the station to the seafront, where the tide was nearly fully in. The shorebirds can’t access the sand and mudflats then, and they used to gather on the pontoons in the Marine Lake. However, since the opening of the Wild Waves attraction next to their snoozing spot, the birds seem, not unnaturally, to have been scared off by the big blue inflatable platforms and frolicking families. Today we were happy to see that all the inflatables have gone, and the birds are coming back.

There were Redshank (the bigger ones with the long red legs), Turnstone (dark brown backs, shorter red legs) and Dunlin (the smallest ones, light brown, short black legs).

There were also two Cormorants and a juvenile Herring Gull, looking huge in comparison to the diminutive waders. A man passing by said porpoises (presumably Harbour Porpoises) are often seen around the Fort at high tide. We ambled along, watching the bay and the river, but no porpoises. But we did see a flock of about 30 Cormorants heading out to sea past the lighthouse. We haven’t seen so many together before. There wasn’t much more wildlife to see, but we mooched about, watching the life of the river. The New Brighton Lifeboat had gone out on a practice run into the bay and we watched it return to its trailer and being tractored back ashore.

After lunch we walked around the corner of Wirral, going south, and found there was a strong cold wind blowing into our faces. We hurried past the remains of the kid’s pirate ship, the Black Pearl.

Our destination was Vale Park, where we looked at their new Celebration Garden, where the bereaved can arrange to have memorial stone to their loved one set into the paving. This is just for remembrance, not ashes. We inspected the new flower beds, and found two newly-planted shrubs with tags saying they were Viburnum burkwoodii, new ones to us. They bear large pom-poms of white flowers and are said to be very fragrant. We also looked for the park’s Mulberry (on the corner of the path north west of the band pavilion) and also spotted a Camperdown Elm on the other side of the railings. Many that we knew of have died in the last few years, so it’s good to see a survivor. They also have a well-grown Silk Tassel bush Garrya elliptica, looking spectacular at this time of year.

On the other side of the river we spotted Everton Football Club’s new stadium under construction at Bramley-Moore Dock.

There’s a large plant growing in the rocks and sand on the corner opposite the Floral Pavilion theatre. I think it’s a Tree Mallow Lavatera arborea.

It’s close to the finger post showing “New Brightons of the World.”

Public transport details: Train from Central at 10.20, arriving New Brighton 10.45. Returned on bus 432 at 2.24 from King’s Parade / Morrisons, arriving city centre at 2.50.

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