Thanks to Phil Smith for showing me this hybrid willow on the Sefton Coast at Hightown recently.
Called "salix x doniana" (I think), there are three plants on the site, and it's one of several hybrid willows that occur along the coast....groovy red stems at this time of year were good, but I must admit the esoteric wonder of the plant, which is a cross with Creeping Willow was a bit lost on me.
Luckily Phil seems happy to persevere and get me into plants that are not orchids or big showy things, but let's face it, it's not a Bee Orchid is it?
Still, one man's bunch of twigs is another man's Siberian Rubythroat, and it'd be a boring life if we were all the same.
The dunes at Hightown are ripe with the promise of a touch of Spring migration at the moment, although I had to make do with Dunnocks, Great Tits and Blackbirds in song, a nice House Sparrow colony and overhead Sprawk and Buzzard - but it only takes one bird, lest we forget the stunningly festive Pallas's Warbler in 2006.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...