After coming back from the residential part of my NCS (National Citizens Service), I got picked up by mum at West Kirby at 2:30pm and headed straight off to do some birding.......I haven't been birding for 4 days! We first stopped off at the Caldy Waterfowl Collection were we had 8 Black-tailed Godwits feeding in the field, along with 1 Oystercatcher which made a brief stop off for some water before flying off south west.
After this we headed off to the Docks were we had 15+ Great crested Grebes on the East Float, 2 of which were rather close to the Tower Quays when out of nowhere a Kingfisher shot right past us and out across the Float! This is the 1st record of Kingfisher for the Docks since they were last seen in 2004 when there was a nesting pair in the Egreton Dock; the Docks could very well be a wintering site for Kingfisher and possibly the occasional breeder, but since the Docks have only just started to be surveyed the status for many species in the Docks is unclear.
After the excitement of this I headed of to the sunken ship by the new Wirral Met Collage to try and photograph a Cormorant drying itself out, as I was able to get close to the bird I was able to see its gular which revealed it,with the help of Cian Cardiff, to be a Sinensis Cormorant (The continental race of the cormorant) . The status of the Sinensis Cormorant in the Wirral and the UK is not fully understood as most birders don't check to see what race a Cormorants is, so the status of the Sinensis race anywhere in the UK is far from clear. The most I've ever had in the Docks or anywhere for that matter was about 3 years ago on one of my first visits to the Docks were the whole of the East Float was surrounded by Sinensis Cormorants all in there spectacular spring courtship plumage; there was roughly 500 birds!
|Sinensis Cormorant (EM)|
|How to separate Carbo (British) and Sinensis (Continental) Cormorants|
After getting over the sheer enjoyment of spotting both Kingfisher and Sinensis Cormorant we drove round to the Egreton Dove were mum showed me a beautiful Nobel M12 that she'd "spotted" earlier on in the day. I'm also a bit of car nerd/lover! Anyway as we pulled I spotted something splashing about in the water, which it being salt water, not far from the Mersey and there being several days of 9m+ high tides, I was thinking maybe Black-necked or Slavonian Grebe? I was wrong. It was in fact the Docks first ever record of a LITTLE GREBE! I would of never of thought that there would be a Little Grebe in the Docks as there's a few large fish around which might fancy a Little Grebe as a snack and that there's a lot of large gulls which would easily attempt to predate the grebe. But saying that they do nest at Bidston Moss, behind the Docks and there have even been records of Little Grebe on Hilbre Island!
|Little Grebe, 1st site record (EM)|
Observer: Elliot Montieth