Wirral Way, Hooton to Hadlow Road, 24th March 2024

We were at the West Kirby (northern) end of the Wirral Way a couple of weeks ago, but the southern end starts next to Hooton station. We have never walked the whole length in one go, it’s 12 miles, but we dip in and out at various places. It was dry today, with occasional sunshine and a cold wind. There was a notice on the access path, saying rangers will be doing work on the trees during the year. We saw cut scrub and piles of wood chippings, but work has now stopped until the birds have finished nesting. Later in the year they will be renovating and widening the path surface. Several tree species are already bursting into bud and flower, including this lovely Blackthorn.

The Hawthorn is greening and in a sheltered spot one tree had produced very early buds. Those shallowly-lobed leaves suggest it’s a Midland Hawthorn, but that isn’t supposed to be flowering this early either.

There was gentle birdsong all along. We stopped to listen to one and couldn’t decide if it was a Great Tit (tea-cher, tea-cher) or a Chiffchaff. We know both, but it could have been either. I had just loaded the Merlin birdsong app onto my phone, and it said Chiffchaff. There were some other unmistakeable Chiffchaffs during the day, so no idea why this one was singing with an accent!  Merlin also correctly ID’d Great Tits, Blue Tits, Robin, Long-tailed Tits, Greenfinch and Goldfinch, and it also detected the song of a Blackcap that we were completely unaware of.

Wildflowers included Lesser Celandine and Coltsfoot, and a single patch of Wild Garlic, not yet in flower. A shy little Violet was nodding on a bank, which I think was Early Dog-Violet, but everything is early nowadays!

There were occasional groggy bumble bees, zig-zagging erratically. More tree flowers – I think these three are Wild Cherry, Cherry Laurel and Bird Cherry.

Wild Cherry Prunus avium
Cherry Laurel Prunus laurocerasus
Bird Cherry Prunus padus

Hadlow Road station, now preserved as a relic of the past, was packed with people having coffee and cake. On the other side were some lovely Flowering Currant bushes.

On the way back we spotted a Brown Hare running through a field on the southern side. There were Buzzards over Hooton Station and the Horse Chestnuts were just breaking their sticky buds.

Public transport details: Train from Central towards Chester at 10.15,  arriving Hooton at 10.40. Returned from Hooton at 3.00, arriving Liverpool 3.35.

This entry was posted in Sunday Group. Bookmark the permalink.