Friday, 14 November 2014

Wally Hall Park re -visited

Walton Hall Park Lake

A topic  that came up in last night's RSPB comms meeting implanted an idea - that led to me taking an afternoon stroll to a park of my childhood. 

I don’t recall a lot about the park, and although not far away from where I lived it wasn’t one I frequented; it may have had something to do with it being across 2 major roads, queens drive and Walton hall avenue!

I remember it was a park that I went to with my father to see the  annual fireworks display. And I have a distant memory (well it was over 40 yrs ago) of riding through on my bike passing bowling greens, lakes and  I think  enclosures for a kids zoo/ aviary by the gates. I wish I’d  paid more  attention.
The park has been in the news again recently as plans to build on the park have resurfaced. The idea is for Everton Football Club to be rebuilt, alongside further shops & houses on part of the site. The friends of Walton Hall Park and resident group are objecting to the development  and have approached Liverpool RSPB for help; not sure where this will go but Chris is looking into it.

The park is mainly open parkland some of which is marked out for football pitches alongside the sports centre/play & fitness area.  It has along tree lined avenue that leads to the 2 water bodies a lake  with islands and I think  what was the old boating lake.

Corvids were very notable, magpies, crows and even a rook battled for my discarded butty crust. a large contingent of gulls (mainly herring gulls) paddled the grass. 

Armed with  a large bag of whole wheat I headed for the waters. The only other time I’d been of recent times was in  January 2013 when I visited the park when it was snowing, I recalled mute swans, they were missing today?
Geese feeding on wheat
Hybrid goose family

I was greeted by  a large honking gaggle of Canadian geese, either swimming towards me or waddling across the grass from the other boating lake. Typically (going on other Lpool parks that is ) coots and black headed gulls were the next most numerous, with a few mallards and moorhens.  No surprises there then.

Juvenile Cormorant

I sauntered around the lake and noticed 2 juvenile cormorants on the island, one sunning himself, again not unusual as I know Stanley park  about a mile away gets them as well.  

There were more mallards at his end of the lake and I noticed some ducks that had been there in the snowy winter, I counted at least 8 tufted ducks.
Tufted duck


A surprise was the lonesome male shoveler, extremely busy swimming in circles, head under water practically all the time going through the pond  weed.

Passing a couple of fisherman they asked if i'd seen anything foreign? No, not yet I replied, they then went on to tell me there was a nice pochard round the bend of the lake.  O.k thanks, on I went…They were right about the pochard, but it wasn’t quite what I expected, turned out to be a rather nice red crested pochard, nice little tick for this inner city park!   
Red Crested Pochard
Mixed fowl

Leaving the lakes behind I walked down the avenue, watching and listening.  The avenue is tree/shrub lined but had very few berry bearers so the hoped for winter thrushes were missing, only blackbirds and wood pigeons on the berries. Most of the smaller birds were found further on in the hedges between the allotment and the park, and on the allotments themselves, as I peered through the fence.  Pied wagtail, robin, wren, dunnock, starling ,sparrow, goldfinch, blue and great tits ; but best find was a  tiny goldcrest flitting about a conifer. 
Time for home, and the last bird for the day was a splendid sparrowhawk , swooped over my head, over the pitches  and off towards the allotments.

What will become of the park?


1 comment:

Keefy said...

Thank you Laura, an interesting read,
Photo`s good too,i walked around the Ducky this morning with Benjie (dog) bit
more life than a month ago.Even the resident Heron was watching with a beady eye.I could hear in the trees goldies
blue tits and magies.Nice to take the sun
in the face today.Keith