Saturday, 26 December 2015

26/12/15

Managed to walk a complete circuit of the Docks today within 4hrs, which through up a number of surprises!

Today the Juv Peregrine replaced the male and took its place at Hamilton Square, whilst on the Inlet up to 55c Black-headed Gulls could be found feeding on sewage. Might be good for Med Gulls during passage ?

Morpeth had a bit of activity going on with 2 Cormorant (1 sinensis) and 9 Herring Gulls, were a brief stop of Egerton produced the wintering female Kingfisher. Lighting was rubbish so apologies for the image.

Kingfisher (EM)
The East Float as usual was a hive of activity; 34 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Coot and 13 Cormorant ( 3 sinensis) were on the water, 2 Curlew and 1 Oystercatcher were roosting out near the Tern Raft along with a mixed group of 40c Gulls, and on the brown land south of the Flats there was 2 Pied Wagtail3 Mistle Thrush and 7 Canada Geese.

Curlew (EM)
When I arrived at the West Float Gull Roost I was in for a real treat. As I was walking up to the 1st set of viewing points all the Feral Pigeons shot up as 1 Sparrowhawk flew over heading East. Been a few months since my last for the docks. As I came up to the 2nd viewing point I flushed 12 SNIPE !!! By far the highest count for the docks. I keep on wondering why Snipe occur at the Gull roost as the ground only has a very thin layer of moss of which for them to feed from, but if you wear to look at the Gull roost from a birds eye view you'd see that it appears to resemble an area of wetlands; Scrapes, shallow birds, greenery. Other birds present on the West Float included 30c Carrion Crow, 3 Pied Wagtail, 3 Linnet, 200c Gulls (90% Herring) and 100c Starling.

Snipe (EM)
Afterwards I walked over to Bidston Moss were in a single tree there was murder of 29 Magpie! And 1 Kestrel flew over the recycling plant! Another bird of prey which I haven't seen for months at the Docks. Apart from that all life was concentrated on the lake where 24 Tufted Duck, 2 Cormorant (1 sinensis 1 carbo), 14 Coot, 1 Great crested Grebe, 1 Moorhen and 3 Mallard were present.

Tufted Ducks with Mallards (EM)
Observer: Elliot Montieth

Thursday, 24 December 2015

24/12/15

After I'd recovered from my recent trip to Spain, I headed back down to my beloved Docks to see if there was an early Christmas present hiding about. 

Whilst walking down to check the inlet via Pacific Road I looked up and to see 1 Peregrine (F) perched on top of the Mersey Air vent and another Peregrine (M) on top of Hamilton Square! 2 Peregrines is the single highest count at the docks which isn't surprising as there are 3 wintering in the area; 1F, 1M and 1 Juv.

Peregrine (EM)
On the inlet gull numbers were down to 15c Black-headed Gulls and 10c Herring Gull and there were no waders on the freshly exposed mud. Most of the gulls were flying over to the East and West Float,but a few Black-headed Gulls around were circling around the Ferry Terminal at Woodside.

Moorhen (EM)
A walk round to the Morpeth Dock produced 2 Cormorant (1 sinensis 1 carbo) and 7 Herring Gull. Where as on Egerton there was still 1 Moorhen, 1 Little Grebe and 1 Kingfisher! Small but mighty. All of these birds spend prolong periods of time underneath the arch ways at Egerton so patience is needed in viewing these birds. I spent 2hrs in total at the Egerton Dock today and I've finally managed to map our wintering  Kingfishers (F) routes around the dock, which is very useful for photography purposes. Other birds noted while I was at Egerton included 40c Goldfinch, 1 Redwing, 2 Mistle Thrush, 1 Pied Wagtail, 2 Black-headed Gull, 1 Curlew, 10+ Herring Gull, 1 Blue Tit (poss 2), 1 Robin, 4 Magpie and to finish off a very cold and bitter day at the Docks 1 *BRAMBLING* (1st record) was heard in amongst a flock 20c Goldfinch flying over Egerton which landed in the trees between the Morpeth and Egerton Dock west of the bridge. I wasn't able to relocate the bird when I walked over but I'll be back down tomorrow.

Kingfisher (EM)

Kingfisher (EM)

Kingfisher (EM)
Me and a few others are a bit surprised about why a Brambling would associate its self with Goldfinch's considering there contrasting diets. If you have any clues to why this might be please get in touch.

There also appeared to be a good number of Great crested Grebe on the East Float but due to the horrific lighting I was only able to make out faint silhouettes so accurate counting will have to wait.

Observer: Elliot Montieth  

Sunday, 13 December 2015

WeBS 13/12/15

So today came my first WeBS count for the Docks, what surprises will there be?

First stop off was at Bidston Moss, which is part of the Docks but I rarely find time to visit it. Bidston Moss was once called Bidston Dock before being turned into a landfill site, before turning into the current day Bidston Moss. So Bidston Moss produced a nice selection of water birds with 1 Great crested Grebe, 1 Little Grebe, 11 Coot and 36 Tufted Duck.

Great crested Grebe (EM)

The next stop off was the West Float were the only activity was at the Gull roost which had one very big surprise in stall...............1 SNIPE!!! I accidently flushed the bird as I was approaching the fence to count the gulls which consisted of 110c Black-headed Gull, 150c Herring Gull, 70 Lesser Black-backed Gull and 25c Common Gull, rather surprisingly there was not a single Great black-backed Gull! Going back to the SNIPE this is the 2nd record for the docks and it even blew me away! I would of thought that Snipe would of only been a fly over due to the habitat, but this bird was just sat next to small pool, before I came along.
Great crested Grebes (EM)
So after this magical moment we moved on to the East Float which was just shocking! Only 2 Cormorant, 33 Great crested Grebe30c Black-headed Gull and 30c Herring Gull, saying that there was 3 Curlew which were roosting by Abandoned Tower which then later flew off heading west.

Curlews (EM)
After visiting Morpeth and Egerton the days totals came to:
150c Black-headed Gull
200c Herring Gull
70c Lesser black-backed Gull
25c Common Gull
3 Cormorant
34 Great crested Grebe
11 Coot
1 Moorhen
36 Tufted Duck
1 Little Grebe
1 Snipe
3 Curlew

Over all a rather interesting day with some good and bad surprises.

Observers: Elliot and Adele Montieth

Saturday, 12 December 2015

12/12/15

Despite the dreadful weather today I still walked down to the docks to see what surprises the weather would bring.

First stop off was the inlet which was totally engulfed by gulls; 95c Black-headed Gull15c Herring Gull, 2 Great black-backed Gulls, 1 Juv Lesser black-backed Gull and 1 Common Gull, all feeding on the fresh supply of "waste".


Redshank (EM)

Morpeth was dead as usual with just 1 Cormorant. In contrast on Egerton there was 1 Redshank, 1 Little Grebe and 1 Juv Moorhen which has decided to relocate back on Egerton after spending some time on Morpeth.

COOTS (EM)

Mute Swans (EM)

Over on the East Float there was still 42 Great crested Grebe, along with record counts for both Coot and Mute Swan, were there wasn't just 1 but 2 COOT along with a flock of 8 Mute Swans, which flew over heading SE. This is the 2nd record of Mute Swans for the site as the first were the young from Bidston Moss which occurred on 2 dates. There was also a total of 19 Cormorant (3 sinensis) on the float today.

sinensis Cormorant (EM)

sinensis Cormorant (EM)

sinensis Cormorant (EM)


Whilst I was walking back 1 Curlew flew over the East Float heading NE and on the inlet there was 4 Mallard, consisting off 3 drakes and 1 female.

Observer: Elliot Montieth

Friday, 11 December 2015

11/12/15

Apologise for the lack of posts, there's been some technical issues with my laptop.

Popped down to the docks today before heading down to West Kirby Marine Lake to see the super showy Great Northern Diver. I first checked the West Float where there was just 1 Cormorant which flew over heading west........that was it apart from 1 Robin.

In contrast on the East Float there was 100c Herring Gulls, 4 Canada Geese, 6 Cormorant (2 sinensis) and an astonishing count of 42 Great crested Grebes! This is the 2nd highest count for the docks following a count of 60 Great crested Grebes back in January on the East Float. Seems a likely place for either Red-necked or Slavonian Grebe.

Juv sinensis Cormorant (EM)

Meanwhile on the Egerton Dock in the bushes there was 1 Blackbird, 1 Wren and 2 Magpie, while on the water there was 1 juv sinensis Cormorant and both the Little Grebe and Kingfisher were continuing to winter. The Kingfisher, female, has serval perches along the arches in the Dock and is best viewed on the first chain in the south west corner. The Little Grebe however is virtually impossible to see as it spends almost all of its time under the arches and doesn't appear to have a "favourite" arch way. 

Kingfisher (EM)

Sorry but I just need to include a few images of the Great Northern Diver from West Kirby Marine Lake today, what a beast it is! I've now also been informed of 2 pervious records of Great Northern Diver for the docks, that makes 3 including the one from 2 weeks ago which stayed for 4 days.

Great Northern Diver (EM)


Great Northern Diver (EM)
Observers: Elliot and Adele Montieth

Monday, 30 November 2015

30/11/15

Great Northern Diver still showing well in East Float at 1300hrs
 
Observer: Colin Schofield

Sunday, 29 November 2015

29/11/15

With todays wild weather I though that the bottom of Pacific Road would be a good place to start off  as I thought that maybe a Skua or Diver might do a flyby due to the winds. New Brighton had Great and Pomarine Skua, whilst down at Hale there was Kittiwake and Red-throated Diver. But my plan back fired as I had abandon the watch as the Mersey started to burst it banks!
 
Great crested Grebe (EM)
 On the Morpeth Dock there was 23 Herring Gull, 2 Black-headed Gull, 2 Mistle Thrush and 2 sinensis Cormorant, whilst on the Egreton Dock there wasn't even a Feral Pigeon it was that windy, I could barely stand on my own two feet! But I soldiered on to see what was on the East Float were it was that choppy that I couldn't make out a single Great Crested Grebe, had they left the dock? Birds which were around were hundreds of gulls pouring into the Docks to roost along with 3 sinensis Cormorant and 1 Oystercatcher. The toughest birds on the East Float were by far the 4 Canada Geese which were still present, despite the howling winds and birds being constantly pounded by the spray off the waves they just kept on happily feeding away without a care in the world. Meanwhile on the more sheltered Alfred Dock there was still the 1 Great Crested Grebe, along with a roost of 17 Black-headed Gull and 1 sinensis Cormorant.
 
Great Northern Diver (EM)
After wards I headed over to see the GREAT NORTHERN DIVER, which is present for its 2nd day and is happily feeding on the crabs which are in plentiful supply. Had 13 Canada Geese on the way behind the Tern Raft.The Diver can be seen on Duke Road going cross the bridge between the West and East Float were there's a small lay-by, the bird can be viewed from the car. The GND can also be a bit hard to pin down at times so be patient. Other birds present at the south end of the East Float with the GND were 3 Pied Wagtail, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 13 Cormorant (4 sinensis) and 1 Coot. Hopefully the GND will stay the winter or at least long enough for the next WeBS count.
Total sinensis Cormorant count: 10
 
Coot (EM)

Great Northern Diver (EM)
 
Observer: Elliot Montieth


Saturday, 28 November 2015

GREAT NORTHEN DIVER !!!

Starting off at Pacific Road were the Peregrine was back on top of the Air Vent, I walked over to the  Morpeth Dock were passerines dominated with 4 Goldfinch, 2 Blackbird, 3 Robin and 2 Mistle Thrush. There was also 1 Cormorant on the pontoon which was too far to race ID.
 
Peregrine (EM)
Even walking over to the East Float you could tell that something good was going to appear as there was 33 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Woodpigeon20c Black-headed Gull, 70c Herring Gull along with 1 Great Crested Grebe and 1 Pied Wagtail on the Alfred Dock.
 
Great crested Grebes and Gulls (EM)
Now today I was hoping to do a full lap round the docks before going out with a friend, but due to the wind and rain I wasn't able to do that. I when arrived at the Flats near the Tern Raft (East Float) I was having a look around to see if there was any Great Crested Grebe hiding around, but while I was scanning the area I thought I saw a Great Northern Diver.............I took a shot of it then zoomed in and saw that it was in fact an adult GREAT NORTHERN DIVER !!! I was in shock to be fair as any birder would finding such a beauty on there patch and giving such views. As soon as I realised what it was I put out the news via Twitter and text messages and it wasn't long till a small crowed started to gather round by road side cafĂ©, which is were I headed.
 
Great Northern Diver (EM)

Great Northern Diver (EM)

Great Northern Diver (EM)

Great Northern Diver (EM)
When I arrived Allan Conlin had just pulled up and spotted 1 COOT (2nd), quickly followed by 2 Shelduck (1st) flying over heading SW. After this the weather started to deteriorate so me, mum and Andy went off to check the Gull roost on the West Float which produced 500c Gulls, before heading to the Egerton Dock were there was 1 Kingfisher. Once again being elusive.
 
Relating back to the GND this is the 2nd record for the Docks. When I went to see the Red-throated Diver at the West Kirby Marine Lake on Thursday, I got talking to a bloke (forgot name), who grew up around the docks and said that he remembered seeing a GND on the West Float, this birder is trust worthy! The GND is a bird I've been hoping to see as the docks as to me the docks is an ideal place for any storm blown birds such as Divers, Scoters and "winter grebes". The GND is also my 230th British lifer!
 
Observers: Elliot and Adele Montieth, Andy Mottram and Allan Conlin 

Thursday, 26 November 2015

26/11/15

Todays count of the Docks
 
 
West Float:
200 Black-headed Gull
800 Herring Gull
20 Lesser black-backed Gull                                                             
1 Great black-backed Gull 
1 Peregrine (juv)
3 Pied Wagtail
1 Grey Wagtail
1 Cormorant
              
East Float:
33 Great crested Grebe
1 Canada goose
20 Black-headed gull
30 Herring Gull
3 Cormorant

Egerton Dock:
1 Little Grebe
1 Cormorant (sinensis)
30c Goldfinch
2c Robin
2c Blackbird

Morpeth Dock:
4 Robin
2 Blackbird
1 Cormorant
4 Herring Gulls
1 Mistle Thrush
 
Juv Peregrine with Woodpigeon (AM)

 
(Elliot) News relating back to the Juv Peregrine, this is now the 3rd Peregrine to be recorded at the docks since the blog was set up. Over the course of the blog there's been 1 female, 1 male and now 1 Juv Peregrine observed at the docks, this demonstrates how productive the docks are as its able to sustain up to 3 Peregrines.
Observer: Adele Montieth


Wednesday, 25 November 2015

25/11/15

Spent an hour and an half at the Docks today were apart from the gulls I had 31 Great crested Grebes on the East Float and 1 on the Egerton!
 
Observer: Dave Marland

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

24/11/15

After mum had picked me up from school we headed down to the Docks, but instead of heading to the East Float we went to the West Float as we wanted to see if the Lapwings were still about in the gull roost. As it happens there were in fact no wading birds at all in the roost and even the roost its self was rather low consisting of around 120c birds, mostly Herring Gull including 2 Great black-backed Gull. After this we went round to the East Float were again not much was happening with the Grebes being to far to count and the Gulls being to far to ID/count, the only birds which were countable were 1 Great black-backed Gull and 4 Cormorant.
 
 
We decided to check the bottom of Morpeth Wharf were whilst I was observing a flock of 5 Linnet, mum spotted the Peregrine back on top on Mersey Air Vent checking out the gathering of gulls around the entrance of the inlet.
 
Linnet (EM)

Peregrine (EM)

Peregrine (EM)
 
Just before we reached the inlet 1 Curlew shot out and flew east up river whist just at the mouth there was a gathering of 50+ Black-headed Gulls, 3 Common Gull and 10c Herring Gull. Despite the Mallards not present the inlet was still very productive as it had 3 Redshank, 2 Oystercatcher and 1 Turnstone!
 
Turnstone (EM)


Curlew (EM)
The surprises of the day came from the Morpeth and Egerton Dock, were at last the Morpeth finally produced something of interest; 2 sinensis Cormorants and 1 Moorhen! This is the same 1st winter Moorhen which has only been observed at the Egerton Dock over the last few weeks but today it was observed happily swimming along the wall of the Morpeth Dock.

Whilst I was watching the Moorhen and Cormorants at the Morpeth Dock, mum was watching over the Egerton Dock were she spotted 1 KINGFISHER (Female) sitting along the chain at the south end of the Dock, which thankfully stayed along enough for me to get round. But as I did the heavy rain came and it flew underneath the 4th arch way and stayed there till we left on an iron bar which I never knew was there! This is by far the same Kingfisher which was seen on several occasions earlier in the month and in late October and now it appears that this bird will stay the winter. If were lucky we may have repeat of 2004 when they were first noticed at the docks and also when they bred on the Egerton Dock!
 
 
sinensis Cormorant (EM)

Kingfisher (EM)
 
 
Observers: Elliot and Adele Montieth


Friday, 20 November 2015

20/11/15

Since I had some free periods today I done the standard practise of getting the bus down to the Docks. Instead of heading to Egreton I went off to the end of Pacific Road to do some "sea watching" on the Mersey to see what the winds were blowing into the Mersey.
 
Kittiwakes (EM)
 
It wasn't long until I had 7 KITTIWAKE (1st) fly past on the Liverpool side of the Mersey side heading east up the river, some poor record shots were managed as you can see. After a period of about half an hour watching the Mersey and the only highlights being the Kittiwakes and I dead Auk (Unknown), I decided to move on round to the Morpeth and Egerton Dock, but on route I checked on the small inlet were the Mallards were still present and had increased from 9 up to 11 birds; 4 females and 7 drakes, along with 1 Redshank flying over NE.
 
Mallards (EM)
 
As per normal the Morpeth was barren but 2 Mistle Thrush's were in the nearby bushes feeding on the berries, while on the Egerton Dock the 1st winter Moorhen and Redshank were still present feeding along the south bank were the Moorhen has been observed spending a fair amount of time in the gutter. Shelter perhaps?
 
Mistle Thrush (EM)
 
After this I headed over to the East Float were just as I arrived it wasn't just the wind I had to contend with, but also the hail! It was just a matter of time till my hands were freezing cold and my hands had turned into claws, when this occurred I called up mum to see if she could pick me up, thankfully she did and before we headed home we stopped off at the gull roost on the West Float to check on the Lapwings.
 

Thankfully the Lapwings were still present but numbers were reduced to just 8 birds, while other birds at the site were 1 Redshank, 2 Pied Wagtail and a another huge roost of 1000+ Gulls! This is a very promising site for both Iceland and Glacous Gulls to be seen over the winter period along with that its were half of records of Med Gulls for the Docks have occurred.
 
Lapwing (EM)

 
Observers: Elliot and Adele Montieth

Thursday, 19 November 2015

19/11/15

Since I didn't have to be in school till 11:15 I decided to spend my free time down at the docks.
 
The first stop was in fact to Pacific Road so that mum could pick up a package. While she was getting the package I went down to the Mersey at the bottom of the road to a small inlet which can be also accessed via the north end of the Morpeth Dock, were I had 2 Redshank, 2 Curlew, 1 Oystercatcher and 9 MALLARD !!!  Yes believe it or not this is the first record for the Docks! There were 3 females and 6 drakes which were feeding in the mud in the inlet. Seems like a good site for Teal?
Curlew (EM)

Curlew (EM)

Afterwards we went down to the end of Morpeth Wharf were the Rock Pipit had been seen, whilst we didn't the Rock Pipit mum managed to see 1 Meadow Pipit. The Meadow Pipit is a bird which currently has not status at the docks, there's perfect habitat for them around the Morpeth Dock and West Float, so do they winter, summer (breed) or just a passage bird? If you do have any Meadow Pipit sightings then please do get in touch!
Mallards (EM)
From this we went over to the East Float were as we pulled up 1 Grey Heron was happily feeding away very close to the car, were over a period of 5 minutes it caught 6 fish. After watching this masterful assassin doing what he does best, I done a count of the Great crested Grebes which numbered 33 (1 on Alfred). Also at the East Float we had 2 Grey Wagtail and 3 Canada Geese. Better is yet to come!
 
Grey Heron (EM)
 
For the first time in while I paid a visit to the West Float were mum had finally found a good access site were we found 2 Great crested Grebe and "some" Canada Geese. From were we where standing we could see some gulls flying into the gull roost so we went over to investigate. While driving round I spotted 1 GREAT-SPOTTED WOODPECKER flying east!!! This is the only the 2nd record of any woodpecker species at the docks as the first record was also a Great-spotted Woodpecker.

When we got over and had a look at the roost I had the shock of my life........ in amongst the Black-headed, Common, Herring, Lesser + Greater black backed Gulls a flock of 21 LAPWING!!! This is the 3rd record of Lapwing for the docks and this is by far the highest count of not just lapwing but also any wading birds for the Docks. Lapwings were first recorded in the summer of 2014 were  there was 2 adults and 1 Juv bird present, the same year they where believed to of bred on the East Float but there was solid evidence to prove this. They were then recorded again later in the year in the autumn when 1 bird flew over the East Float, and no records since. Also at the gull roost there were also 22 Canada Geese, 1 Grey Wagtail and 1 Redshank.

 
LAPWING (EM)

LAPWING (EM)
Observes: Elliot and Adele Montieth