Walton Hall Park, 25th June 2023

And another hot day ! We started our walk along the southern edge of the park, where the shrubberies are fronted by bright red exercise equipment.  Several Buddleias were flowering, but there were no butterflies on them. Some of the ornamental cherry trees seemed to be developing real cherries.

A Wood Pigeon was eating some different red berries from the low shoots of a tree. The berries looked Hawthorn-ish, and about that size,  but they were soft and juicy, and had at least 6 seeds within. The leaves definitely weren’t Hawthorn, either, and there were no thorns in evidence. One of the rarer Thorn trees?

We last came here in September last year, and I noted that the Friends website talked about its wildflower verges. This time they were out, all along the eastern edge. Very nice !


We came around to the fishing lake and ornamental lake on the north side. They were quite littered, and full of algae, but neglect seems to be good for the wildlife. This is a great haunt of Canada Geese, which we have seen breeding here in the past. It’s also good for Coots, and we were amazed to see a pair with EIGHT youngsters. I think the most we have seen before is four. These chicks all looked to be the same size, so they can’t have been two merged broods.

Eight chicks, one adult (and the other adult was out of shot)

It’s also a good place for grebes.  One Great Crested Grebe appeared to be fishing for a juvenile, and a distant pair of Little Grebes were feeding four chicks.

Canada Geese at the back, Great Crested Grebe and chick in foreground
Little Grebes (Dabchicks) with four young

The perimeter of the lake was sprouting with Ragwort, Great Willowherb and low patches of Scarlet Pimpernel, a flower we don’t see very often.

We sat on the lakeside for lunch and noticed a dragonfly zipping past. As we got our eyes in we could see there were lots of them, probably all males holding territories along the lake edge. The one nearest us came to rest on the stone edge, and it appears to be a Broad-bodied Chaser.

Towards the western edge the water must be shallower, as we spotted out first Mallards, one with six ducklings, and a Moorhen with a single chick.

There were spots of rain, and the sky looked like it was about to deliver the promised thunder and lightning. After a pit stop in Sainsbury we got the bus back to town and by the time we got there the rain was pelting down, dancing in the puddles.

Public transport details: Bus 19 from Queen Square at 10.04, arriving Walton Hall Avenue / Walton Hall Park at 10.25.  Returned from Rice Lane / Cavendish Drive on the 310 bus at 1.25, arriving city centre 1.45.

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