Liverpool’s Sefton Park, Swans, Herons And Grebes

Sefton Park 06.7.24 & 25  Grebe splashing (small pic 2) 003.jpg 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.
The heron
Sefton Park Heron (b) 06.6.30 013.jpg 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
Sefton Park Grebes 06.6.30 005.jpg 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
Sefton Park 06.6.26 Swans & Cygnets 002.jpg Sefton Park 06.5.12 003 Cygnet feed(long)jpg.jpg 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.]
See also:
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

Posted on June 27, 2006, in Equality, Diversity And Inclusion, Liverpool And Merseyside, Sustainability As If People Mattered. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

    Opening date: Sunday 29th June 2008
    Two superb private gardens previously unseen by the public, plus ninety city allotments, will open their gates to for the first time as part of the celebration of Liverpool’s Capital of Culture year 2008.
    The garden of the University of Liverpool’s Vice-Chancellor, Drummond Bone, has previously only been seen by the select few at Graduation garden parties. The large garden in the Toxteth area of Liverpool boasts a rare collection of old shrub roses, a grand formal terrace, grape vine and mature shrub borders. Contact Vivian Bone: 0151 728 8375
    Nearby is the new and developing garden of one of Liverpool’s old merchant houses, Park Mount, overlooking Sefton Park. Here gardener Jeremy Nicholls has been creating a glorious garden using vibrant colours and adventurous planting combinations, with some surprises and many rare plants.
    Contact: Jeremy Nicholls 0151 733 8205 / 07802 676242
    The ninety allotments in Sefton Park will show how well a city plots can provide fruit and vegetables of the highest quality, offering inspiration to other city gardeners. The site includes many interesting community facilities and a plot adapted for disabled gardeners. The site has featured in national TV and film productions – see the ‘Bread’ shed where Lilo Lil held her trysts on plot 89. Contact: Giulia Harding 0151 727 4877
    All the above will open their gates for charity on Sunday June 29th 2008, under the auspices of the National Garden Scheme.
    Sefton Park Palm House will be at the centre of the celebrations with rare and unusual plants for sale, musical entertainment and afternoon tea, and demonstrations from the National Association of Flower Arrangers. Contact: Rosemary on 0151 726 9304.
    Admission is £4.00 with tickets available at all four venues on the day.
    Contact Information:
    Christine Ruth, Press Officer, National Garden Scheme, Lancashire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester. 0151 727 4877 / 07740 438994

  2. Sefton Park’s birds are the best lot I’ve ever met. Ever since i was two months old, I used to go around that park every day, but I still do really, even though I am very busy nowadays. I am in year five at my school. Anyway, I have held three enormous birds of prey: eagle owl, buzzard and a beautiful, large adult barn owl. Birds are my most beloved creatures ever!!!!! I love birds a lot, I can train them, feed them out of my hands – it does not hurt me at all. I go to WWT centres, I go in for free with my special card. I have been to Sefton Park recently – it’s a disgrace how much litter people have thrown in. The birds could die from the poison in the chunked up mud. It’s terrible for them. Anyway, the workers explained to us that it will be all back to its original form by the start of next year. I’ll be very glad when I see it when it’s all done!!!!!!
    My two favourite, and only swans of the lake have gone, I think they’ll come back at some point.

  3. For months now I have been feeling the devastation of our once glorious Sefton park. Yesterday I walked there, and a fear crept up my spine, I do not know where this fear is coming from, the plants, the animals, the trees themselves, but it has not left me.
    I want to know who is taking these decisions, so why can I not find out.
    I know others have felt this, a man has even hung himself in the park, the lake appears ruined right now, ok so we all have our faith that it will be restored, but was this necessary?
    Why put the birds out of their homes at breeding season?
    That swan pair come to Sefton park to breed every single year, and I have watched them grieve this year, now they have left. A couple of weeks ago I was not alone in watching a swan surrounded by a council of ducks and a turtle – this was real, wish I’d had my camera that day.
    In my eyes these Liberal Democrats JOKE!!!! councillors ought to be put out of their homes, coz you know I want to put a bird sanctuary where they live.
    If only Roald Dahl’s story would come true.

  4. i would be interested to know if you found out what was has happened to the cygnet, i remember walking through the park may weeks ago and the park ranger was assisting the RSPCA collecting two of the cygets. one had a sore eye the other had a fishing hook in its mouth. I had presumed all was well and they were getting looked after until i did a head count today. any news would be appreciated.
    [I don’t know, there have been six cygnets for quite a while, so the seventh obviously didn’t make it….
    If anyone does know, perhaps they could tell us?
    Last year I gather that only two of the four cygnets survived; apparently one met its end because of a fishing hook and the other because of a car.
    I do wonder if fishing is the right sort of activity for this park; we saw a duck in a very bad way the other day because of this, too. Not nice.
    Is there a case for asking people not to fish, and also perhaps for suggesting that dogs at least be kept on a leash, as so many potential visitors say it puts them off (and there is a public health risk for children anyway)?
    What do other people think?
    Best wishes,

  5. The Clarke family

    Does anyone know what happened to the seventh cygnet on Sefton Park lake? Now there are only six.

  6. Ted Clement-Evans

    You reminded me, Hilary, of Spring last year, at the start of the mating season. Ginni and I saw two coots fighting; their viciousness was quite startling. Over quite a few minutes they fought with everything they had, claws and beaks and wings – it was harder fought than any rutting deer we had seen. A day or two later all was serene on the upper lake – the wildness of Sefton Park had vanished.

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