It was a cold and still day, overcast but dry. Landican is a lovely cemetery, neat and symmetrical, beautifully kept, and all the trees grow perfectly, with plenty of room to show off their characteristic forms.
There were birds about, but not in any abundance. A Buzzard drifted over the trees and a Mistle Thrush on a tall bare tree was silhouetted against the grey sky. Crows and Magpies went about their business, and we spotted a Robin, a Blackbird, a female Pheasant crossing a path, Great Tits in a Golden Yew and a party of about a dozen Goldfinch busy around a Lawson’s Cypress, picking the seeds from the little cones.
Most of the berries were already gone from the trees. The only ones left were in places that are hard for birds to get to, like these Rowan berries on very thin branches.
On the far eastern side John spotted a Brown Hare, glimpsed between headstones and heading for the brackeny edge. There are open fields beyond the hedge, reaching towards the Asda supermarket on Woodchurch Road. We should come back here in spring, when the hares are most active and all the cherry and crab apple blossom is out. But even at this time of year the planting around the central chapels is lovely, with even the almost-bare deciduous trees having colour to show.
The planting goes on, and many new saplings still bear their nursery labels. This one with yellow leaves, on a corner near the chapels, was marked as “Ulmus Lobel”. Ulmus is the Elm genus, but I don’t know what Lobel is, so I looked it up. It’s a hybrid cultivar from Holland, with no proper species name, developed to have good resistance to Dutch Elm disease. One parent was Field Elm Ulmus minor while the other was itself a hybrid of Exeter Elm and Himalayan Elm. Grow well, little tree!
After lunch we crossed the road to Arrowe Country Park. There is a lawn with several true cedars on it. One was definitely an Atlas Cedar, with blueish foliage and dimples in the top of its cones, and I’m pretty sure this one is a Cedar of Lebanon, now a rare tree on Merseyside. Right opposite was a lovely spreading tree with yellowing leaves – a Turkey Oak. There was a Jay in it, foraging for acorns.
By keeping an eye on the fallen leaves underfoot, I was alerted to a couple of unusual Oaks. This one is a Pin Oak Quercus palustris, with large deeply-indented and “pointy” leaves. (There is a Turkey Oak leaf included on the photo for scale).
And I think this one was a Hungarian Oak Quercus frainetto, also with large deeply-indented leaves, but a far more rounded outline. Sadly, neither tree had any acorns below it, or even any empty acorn cups.
By the side of a wooded path was a long curved row of big grey-and-white fungi, looking like a segment of a huge fairy ring. They had white gills in funnel shape, and after looking it up later, I think it might possibly be Clouded Agaric Clitocybe nebularis.
On the way out to the bus, a man coming in the other direction said we had just missed a Fox.
Public transport details: Bus 472 from Sir Thomas Street at 10.12, arriving Arrowe Park Road / Landican Cemetery at 10.45. Returned on 472 from Woodchurch Road / Church Lane at 2.16, arriving Liverpool 2.40