Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Dragonflies of the Festival Gardens

I visited the newly revamped and very recently opened Festival Gardens on Sunday, and what a brilliant job they have done with it, it is regrettable that in order for this to happen a percentage of the former festival gardens site has been sold off for development, but positives must be gained from negatives. The site consists of formal oriental gardens and open areas; great for families and day trippers, but the site also consists of wilder areas of semi mature woodland and meadowland, plus an impressive string of lakes that flow through the area. Although the park was very busy I still managed to find a Kestrel, Buzzard, plenty of Swifts and House Martins, Whitethroat, and singing Chiff Chaffs and Blackcaps, the tide was high at the time but at low tide the area leads on to the promenade and the shore which at low tide should hold plenty of goodies! Apart from birds; insects where evident with Small Copper, Common Blue, and Speckled Wood but best of all the Dragonfly's and Damselfly's which consisted of Blue Tailed Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Variable Damselfly, Common Darters and best of all 2 male and 1 female Black Tailed Skimmer. I have seen Black Tailed Skimmers in the area now for three summers in Sefton Park and seeing them here suggests that this species which is rapidly moving North is now a breeding species in the South Liverpool area. I later had another Black Tailed Skimmer on Sefton Park main lake. Click on the following link for more information on the Festival Gardens.

Last Thursday night on Penny Lane Pipistrelle Bats where flying at dusk around the North end of the lane, and what looked like a slightly larger Brown Long-Eared Bat flying around the corner of Penny Lane and Dovedale Road. Further down Penny Lane on the edge of the Cricket Pitch and railway a Vixen was accompanied by her three cubs, a brilliant sight as they slowly emerged from cover and walked out onto the pitch; the Vixen foraging as the cubs spent more time fighting and causing havock! At the bottom of Penny Lane more Pipistrelles could be seen hunting moths (of which two Swallowtail Moths could easily be identified) and another adult Fox crossed my path. When passing Greenbank Park another adult Fox was mooching around and another two well grown youngsters nearby........... I have never seen so many in such a short space of time.

In Wavertree Mystery Park yesterday I was very surprised to find what looked like a Hooded Crow, unfortunately I didn't have my camera or binoculars but I did get quite close and the bird looked more like a hybrid Hooded Crow X Carrion Crow a very unusual bird in the area, and possibly the offspring of a Hooded Crow that infamously bred with Carrion Crows in the Anfield Cemetery area, but this was over ten years ago; however the Crow family are long lived so it could be possible, the nearest other breeding or interbreeding Hooded Crows are in Holyhead and the Isle Of Man! Elsewhere in the park Chiff Chaff is still in song, plenty of Swallows and a lone Sand Martin was a rare sighting, numbers of Gulls are now starting to is autumn for them now! Coming out of the park I was startled to see a Fox cub running up Wellington Road under the railway bridge in the middle of the day! After zig-zagging over the main road a few times and narrowly being missed by traffic it was in a frantic state,I followed it down the road and ushered it into the royal mail compound where I watched it head for the railway embankment, I recon it would have been okay from there as the den is not far away....fingers crossed.

In Sefton Park yesterday a Peregrine spooked the local pigeons as it shot through heading South over the South end of the Marine Lake, the Little Grebe nesting attempt appears to have failed again, as the water levels rose following the heavy rains the nest seems to have been washed away.........but I would love to be proved wrong. The family of Mute Swans snoozed on the island and  large Carp could be seen surfacing around the South end of the lake. In the dell a Chiff Chaff was in song along with a Grey Wagtail, and a family of Nuthatch. Two immature Grey Herons were fishing around the bandstand area and allowed every close approach (always when I haven't got my camera), in the lake behind the cafe a family of Canada Geese have three young; which is a very rare sight in the park.


Anonymous said...

there is some rather strange looking ducks or geese at greenbank. There's four of them together, and one is limping but the two adults look OK. They are all black and are pretty big, about twice the size of a normal duck. Just wondering if you knew what they might be?

Robin Brown said...

Hello Danny, I enjoyed spoting the dragonflies and martins at the garden festival site - did an article here:

I co-edit the site - would you be interested in doing an interview with us?



Danny Foy said...

Hi the ducks in question are domesticated breeds of Mallard. They are larger and more upright looking but are in fact the same species, sometimes known as farm ducks, puddle ducks, runner ducks etc. But they are interesting all the same. Sorry for the delay in replying

Danny Foy said...

Hi Robin, Yes I would do an interview with you. look forward to hearing from you.

Andy B said...

I popped along to Sefton and Greenbank Parks this morning. Just as I left my home I saw a Cormorant flying north over Dovedale Road close to Penny Lane.A female Great Spotted Woodpecker was in a tree flanking the sports field on Penny Lane.I saw another in Greenbank and a few more in Sefton Park along with Nutchatches in both.Plenty of singing Greenfinches around.Swallows were feeding over the gaelic football field and Swifts over Sefton Park lake.Black-headed Gulls were in both parks and were rather noisy and boisterous.I was talking to a birder in Sefton Park who confirmed that the Little Grebe nest had indeed failed due to being washed away.

Robin Brown said...

Great! Not sure if I'm being daft but I can't find an email address? You can hit me up at if you want to and we'll take it from there.

Andy B said...

I popped along to Greenbank and Sefton Parks again this morning. There was a female Grey Wagtail in Greenbank. A late Swallow flew high over the park. There was a strange looking Canada Goose with the others this morning.It's body was more grey than brown and it's head had a lot more white than normal.I don't know if this was a colour abnormality or a Canada Goose cross with something else. A family of Long-Tailed Tits were working their way noisily through the trees.

In Sefton Park there were plenty of Long-Tailed Tits too. It's good to see that they seem to be doing well. There were eight Little Grebes on Sefton Park lake including two young constantly seeking attention from the still brightly coloured adults. A pair of Grey Wagtails were by the lakes edge. A coot was still sitting on a nest! At the feeding station behind the palm house Blue,Great and Coal Tits,Chaffinches and Nuthatch were being constantly disturbed by Magpies,Feral Pigeons, Squirrels and a rat which had worked it's way along the branch containing the feeders to try and get at the food!

Anonymous said...

The blue damselflies in the Festival Gardens that were not Common Blue were Azure Damselflies, not Variable Damselflies