Liverpool’s Sefton Park, Swans, Herons And Grebes
Sefton Park is as inner-city as it gets, but it’s large enough to be home to an amazing range of birdlife – swans, herons and grebes amongst them. So are we doing enough to ensure that these treasures are appreciated by the human beings who co-exist with them in this fascinating super-urban environment?
Once again Liverpool’s Sefton Park has come into its own.
This is an inner-city green space, with all the usual problems and challenges, but it’s nonetheless a wonderful place to be [*]. Even we, old hands at taking a stroll in our local oasis of calm, were thrilled by what we saw today.
First, in the early morning light, we again encountered the young heron which we first spotted in the rushes last week and which we think has just returned to its childhood haunts. On the previous occasion this bird had been close to invisible, silent and almost eerily still on the shaded bank of the island in the top lake. Now, just a few yards across the water from our path, it perched loftily, white feathers dramatically eye-catching in the sunlight, on the branch protruding from the middle lake which the terrapins usually claim as their own.
A family of grebes
Later in the day, as afternoon turned to evening, we returned to see a small group of quietly excited people with binoculars and cameras focused on the island at the top of the big lake – giving confirmation, by a nest with three very new babies (two of them actually sitting on their mother’s back) that we had indeed caught a glimpse of a grebe earlier in the week. This time there were two adult birds. One was sitting on the nest with the babies. The other was diving for fish before returning, his captive minnow held high, and trying (with only limited sucess – the babies were oh-so-tiny) to get his new family to feed from his beak.
Swans and cygnets
Adding to this our delight that the pair of nesting swans still have their seven cygnets several weeks after hatching – one mode of feeding in the initial weeks being the parents grasping upwards with their long necks literally to tear leaves from the central island’s bushes, before thrusting the mulched veggie delight (perhaps with attendant gnawed insects?) into their juniors’ open beaks – and it made for a pasturally perfect day.
One swallow does not a summer make; and nor does sighting one heron, two grebes and a family of swans consitute a full visit to countryside and woodland. But I can get to my local park any time, and it never ceases to fascinate, engage and refresh.
I just wish that others (in my more selfish moments, not too many others) would value it as do those of us ‘in the know’. Perhaps we could start by more (there is some) active involvement with local schools. If you don’t know that swans, herons and grebes are special, you can’t be excited by seeing them, can you?
[* For a detailed City of Liverpool colour leaflet click here.]
Sefton Park, Liverpool (collection of web postings)
Sefton Park’s Grebes And Swans
Sefton Park, Liverpool: Winter Solstice 2006
Cherry Blossom For May Day In Sefton Park, Liverpool
Friends Of Sefton Park
What Now For Liverpool’s Sefton Park?
Cherry Picking Liverpool’s Sefton Park Agenda
Liverpool’s Sefton Park Trees Under Threat – Unnecessarily?
Solar Lighting Could Solve The Parks Problem
Friends Of Sefton Park