Hilbre Island visit 23/5/10

It was the hottest and sunniest day of the year so far and the sky was blue without a cloud. Bryan, Paul, Jean, Judith, Anne and Susan set off armed with binoculars, sun cream, sun hats, cameras and packed lunches and headed in two cars for The Hilbre Islands Local Nature Reserve which is contained within the Dee Estuary on the north west coast of England.

We arrived in West Kirby about 1.15 mins later at 9.45 am to an already packed promenade and had to look hard to find parking spaces! A huge expanse of beach greeted us and we could see from the distance the "little eye, middle eye and Hilbre Island" (the three islands) from a distance. The water in small pools glistening on the shore, the smell of the sea air, the sight of the sails of yachts in the distance, the call of sea birds, and the brightness and warmth of the sun with very few people around made it a superb sensory experience!

We stopped at various times along the way just taking in the breathtaking scenery and took many wonderful photographs of the surrounding area, the distinctive rocks of deep swirling colours and striations, hundreds of mounds and holes of lugworms which sustain the various types of seagulls, egrits, cormarants, and herons (to name but a few) and the seals, of course the grey seals who lay and basked on the sunny shore before launching in to cool off in the sea!

Interspersed throughout were small and large rock pools and we observed shrimps, crabs, hermit crabs, bladder wrack, bivalves, winkles. As well as the marine life there was of course beautiful seashore flora. Rock Sea-lavender; Sea Spleenwort; Rock Sea-spurry and Sea-pink or Thrift, adorned the grass and edges of the rocks and were of particular interest to our very own herbalist and gardener, Judith, who wandered around sniffing, examining and seeking to identify the flora of the islands.

As we approached the life guards house we could see the wind turbine and solar cells providing energy to the house. Outside were the compost toilets, much to our amusement! A brilliant idea in an area which would be extremely difficult to plumb into the main sewerage system! (A compost toilet is a dry or waterless toilet, i.e. one that doesn't use water to take the waste somewhere else; it also allows natural processes to produce useful compost, after a resting period depending on the type of toilet. I found this out by looking it up AFTER we came back from Hilbre Island so I could share it with you!) Of course, it looks just like an ordinary toilet (contrary to the initial report given from Judith Wood to the group!)

There is so much more I could tell you but space doesn't allow me and you must come next time to experience it first hand yourself!

It was such an all-round extremely interesting and enjoyable day (scores of photographs later) and it was well finished off by some 99 ice-creams before we went back to the car.

We'll be back (more than likely - and that's a promise!)

Hilbre Photos Hilbre Photos Hilbre Photos