Thursaston 1

Thurstaston Country Park: keep away from the cliff edge

The sun was shining, but the forecast was bad. Nevertheless, we decided to take a chance on a walk since it was our dog’s 4th birthday a day or so ago.  We headed off to one of our favourite spots (and, more importantly, the dog’s): to walk along the Dee shore at Thurstaston.

Thursaston 2

It was never so blue…

We set off so quickly I forgot to take my camera.  But I snatched I few shots on my phone: they’re better than nothing, but a little dark and strangely blue.

We parked at the Wirral Country Park centre at the bottom of station road (the car park is actually situated between what once were the platforms of the railway station here).  We walked across the field to the edge of the low clay cliffs where signs warned of the dangerous state of the cliffs.  This place is a favourite, too, of fellow Liverpool blogger Ronnie Hughes who, in a recent post, described the erosion of the soft mudstone clifffs by the December storm surges.

Thursaston 3

We headed down the path to the shore, battered by the pretty fierce wind that was blowing onshore.  Down on the shore, we could see the evidence of the cliff erosion for ourselves.

Thursaston 4

Looking out across the estuary, we marvelled at how we lived in the city, yet in half an hour could be walking in a place like this – wild and quite lonely, but for a few other walkers and their dogs.  Fancy ones, some of them: we met a bouncy 6-month old Cockapoo.  Terrible name for a delightful, and very popular, new ‘designer dog’.

Thursaston 5

The tide was right out, so not the best time to see many of the wading birds that congregate here in great numbers (and we had forgotten the binoculars, too!)  We did see plenty of Oystercatchers and Dunlin, though.  According to the Dee Estuary Birding website there were Whooper Swans and Bewick Swans here in great numbers just yesterday.  We had seen these fine birds in high definition on our telly only this week, thanks to that great BBC institution, Winterwatch.

The shore here is a rich feeding area for Shelduck, Oystercatchers, Knot and Dunlin, but we were here at the wrong time.  According to the Birding website, if you come down to this shore three hours before a big high tide you will be rewarded with the sight of thousands of birds slowly being pushed up river and massing close inshore.

Thursaston 7

After half an hour or so, we could see the cloud thickening and the sky darkening over the Welsh hills opposite.  Inexorably, the clouds advanced and we turned into the wind to walk back the way we had come.

We didn’t make it back before the rain reached us, driven by the wind we were buffeted and soon soaked.  But this was, perhaps, the high point of the walk because, perhaps stirred by the wind and rain, a dense flock of several hundred Oystercatchers rose in unison, to fly up river, tracing a calligraphic line parallel to the shore.  It was a sight worth getting wet for.  Driving back across the Wirral to Liverpool the sky turned as black as night and the rain lashed down, almost defeating the wipers.  Darkness at the break of noon.

Thursaston dog

The dog trots freely

Here’s my favourite dog poem for the birthday dog: ‘Dog’ by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

The dog trots freely in the street
and sees reality
and the things he sees
are bigger than himself
and the things he sees
are his reality
Drunks in doorways
Moons on trees
The dog trots freely thru the street
and the things he sees
are smaller than himself
Fish on newsprint
Ants in holes
Chickens in Chinatown windows
their heads a block away
The dog trots freely in the street
and the things he smells
smell something like himself
The dog trots freely in the street
past puddles and babies
cats and cigars
poolrooms and policemen
He doesn’t hate cops
He merely has no use for them
and he goes past them
and past the dead cows hung up whole
in front of the San Francisco Meat Market
He would rather eat a tender cow
than a tough policeman
though either might do
And he goes past the Romeo Ravioli Factory
and past Coit’s Tower
and past Congressman Doyle of the Unamerican Committee
He’s afraid of Coit’s Tower
but he’s not afraid of Congressman Doyle
although what he hears is very discouraging
very depressing
very absurd
to a sad young dog like himself
to a serious dog like himself
But he has his own free world to live in
His own fleas to eat
He will not be muzzled
Congressman Doyle is just another
fire hydrant
to him
The dog trots freely in the street
and has his own dog’s life to live
and to think about
and to reflect upon
touching and tasting and testing everything
investigating everything
without benefit of perjury
a real realist
with a real tale to tell
and a real tail to tell it with
a real live
                 barking
                                 democratic dog
engaged in real
                             free enterprise
with something to say
                                         about ontology
something to say
                                about reality
                                                          and how to see it
                                                                                           and how to hear it
with his head cocked sideways
                                                        at streetcorners
as if he is just about to have
                                                   his picture taken
                                                                                   for Victor Records
listening for
                        His Master’s Voice
                 and looking
                                        like a living questionmark
                                                        into the
                                                                       great gramophone
                                                                        of puzzling existence
                            with its wondrous hollow horn
                                 which always seems
                              just about to spout forth
                                                                 some Victorious answer
                                                                                    to everything

See also

4 thoughts on “Walking the Dee shore at Thurstaston with birthday dog

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