Chester, 5th March 2023

Grosvenor Park was full of early spring blossom, and would have looked magnificent in sunshine, but the day was dull and overcast. The best display was this Cherry-Plum in spectacular flower at the north east corner.

There was a Moorhen and a pair of Mallards on the pond, and elsewhere the usual Black-headed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Wood Pigeons, the odd Blue Tit, and several confiding Blackbirds hoping for a hand-out.

The Magnolias were about to break their buds and there was a lovely Azalea out near the Rose Garden. Two Ravens followed each other overhead, heading northwards. Twice in the past we have seen sculptures made of willow in the park, of WWII planes for the RAF centenary and birds for the RSPB. They are the work of Sarah Gallagher Hayes, a local sculptor. Today we saw another work which must be hers, although there was no sign, a head of the late Queen, put up for the Platinum Jubilee. More pictures of her work are at her Twigtwisters website.

We headed down Little St John’s Lane to The Groves next to the River Dee. A Dylan sound-alike was singing Mr Tambourine Man.

There were several young Herring Gulls there, and dozens of Black-headed Gulls. We were looking for legrings. One ringed bird flew off before we could make out its code, but this one sat still for us, number 297A.

Later in the day I reported it on the new Waterbird Colour-marking Group website.  Their report said it was ringed at Chester in November 2021 as an adult and re-sighted there about 20 times since then, two or three times a month. However, there was an interesting gap last spring, between 12 Mar 2022 and 27 July 2022. For four months last year it was absent from Chester, and had probably gone back to its breeding grounds, wherever they are. I imagine it’s about to go off to breed again. We have already seen BHGs at Chester that breed in Norway and Poland, and the website has an interesting map of all the places that BHGs ringed in north west England go to breed – all over Europe.

We strolled back through the re-created Roman garden and past the remains of the Roman Amphitheatre.

Roman Garden
Roman amphitheatre

Rooks were nesting above the Cathedral and, along the canal, the Weeping Willow was just breaking into leaf.

Public transport details: Chester train from Central Station at 10.15, arriving 10.55.  Returned on 2.30 train, arriving Liverpool Central at 3.15.

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