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

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

18/11/15

After checking Leasowe Gun site and New Brighton for any Leach's Storm Petrels and failing, but did see a Skua ssp at New Brighton, me and Allan Conlin headed down to the Docks to see if the winds had blown anything in.
 
First we went to the East Float were as we pulled up a flock of 3 Linnet flew over heading SE, while on the float we had a count of 30 Great crested Grebes, also present were Black-headed, Herring and Common Gull along with a few Cormorants which we didn't count.
 
Redshank and Moorhen (EM)
 
Afterwards we went over to the Egreton Dock were as soon as we parked up Allan spotted the Moorhen along with not 1 but 2 Little Grebe over on the south bank and under the arch ways. For those who do visit the Docks and have been to Egreton to see the Moorhen and Little Grebes then do bear in mind that at times both species will spent long periods of time underneath the arch ways and there out of sight.
 
 While Mr Conlin was looking at these patch rarities which are looking like they might stay the winter, I hit gold with a 1 SISKIN (1st ) calling over as it flew north, sadly didn't manage an image, but shortly after this 1 Redshank flew in via the Morpeth Dock and land on the south bank with the Moorhen. "Its all happening here", Allan said. Due to the amount of lighting we didn't have time to go round and see a ROCK PIPIT (1st) which had been seen round by the north side of the Morpeth Dock on the 15th but not confirmed until today.
 
Observers: Elliot Montieth and Allan Conlin

Sunday, 15 November 2015

15/11/15

Before heading off to Thurstaston to get ready for DAY 2 of Wirral Wader Festival. See more about this brilliant event on Wader Quests blog Wader Quest. In which I was the "Journalistic photographer"! I paid a quick visit to the Docks to see what was around.
 
So that I wasn't late I only had a quick 5min stop off. With all the weather that we've been getting due to Hurricane Abigale, I had my hopes up with maybe a "winter grebe", scoter or diver on one of the docks, but non of these were to be seen. Birds which were present at the Docks were 2 Cormorant (Carbo) on the Egreton Dock while on the East Float Great crested Grebe numbers had risen to 33 birds! The highest count so far this winter! Along with 5 Cormorant (3 Sinensis and 2 Carbo) But bird(s) of the day have to go to 2 Curlew (2nd record) which flew over the Morpeth Dock and headed south.
 
Something which did grab my attention was a huge flock of 1000+ Gulls all over the far side of the East Float. They were in the water, they were in the sky and on the roofs of all the nearby buildings! Could there of been a Mediterranean Gull or something rarer amongst them? At Hoylake the beach has been turned white over the last few days with the thousands of gulls in the roost, which as you might of expected has attracted a few rarer gulls such as Mediterranean and Yellow-legged Gull! Not to mention a good selection of sea birds such as Arctic and Great Skua, Little Gull, Common Scoter and Long-tailed Duck! Its not just at coastal sites were numbers of gulls are rapidly increasing due to the weather, today there was a year record count of 400 gulls at Winsford Flash!
 
And to finish off, thank you ever so much Ellis and Rick Simpson (Wader Quest) for such a magical weekend with the Wirral Wader Festival. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I and the people of Wirral did and I wish you both the best of luck with your priceless conservation work in protecting the Waders of planet earth. I hope to see you very soon at Birdfair North at WWT Martin Mere next week :)
Ellis and Rick Simpson of Wader Quest. The stars of Wirral Wader Festival. (EM)
Observer: Elliot Montieth

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

10/11/15

Today my last period was a free so I done the standard go home and head to the Docks.
 
The Egreton Dock had 2 Grey and 1 Pied Wagtail which flew over, 1 Great Tit (1st), 46 Goldfinch, 1 Blackbird and 1 Robin were in the surrounding trees and bushes. Mean while on the dock its self the Little Grebe had return! The reason why its been so hard to see over the last week or so is that it stays in the arch ways on the west wall and only comes into the open to swim round into another. No sign of Moorhen.
 
Great crested Grebe and Sinensis Cormorant (EM)
When I arrived at the East Float the Gull roost had already started to form with a total of 94 birds; 86 Black-headed Gull, 3 Common Gull and 5 Herring Gull. Many more Herrings were flying over. There was also 1 Pied Wagtail along with the finch flock by Tower Quays which had increased to around 15 birds; I could hear Linnet and Goldfinch with a possible Brambling? Mean while Great crested Grebe numbers had risen to 27 birds!(1 bird on Alfred) the highest count so far this winter.
 
Sinensis Cormorant (EM)
On the Alfred Dock its self apart from the 1 Great crested Grebe, there was also 1 Great black-backed Gull, 1 Pied Wagtail and 7 Sinensis Cormorant! Also the largest count so far this winter! A total of 46 Cormorant came into roost this evening.
 
Sinensis Cormorant (EM)

Sinensis Cormorant (EM)
Observer: Elliot Montieth

Monday, 9 November 2015

09/11/15

In the finial 10min of day light me and mum made a quick visit down to the Docks to see if anything had been blown in by todays winds. The fact that the sun was going down and the sky was basically black didn't really help as you can imagine. At the Egreton Dock mum had the 1st winter Moorhen which is still present but being elusive.
Canada Goose (EM)


Canada Geese by Dave Marland (Library pic)

The Morpeth Dock was barren, mean while on the East Float there was a flock 14 Canada Geese feeding by the Clock Tower, not Church! With a Pied and Grey Wagtail at the Tower Quays. On the float it's self there was a gull roost of 250c birds which mainly consisted of Black-headed Gulls with a few Common Gull; similar story on the Alfred Dock but there was 50c birds at the roost there. Todays highlight was by far the return of the 2 Juv Mute Swans from Bidston Moss. One bird was amongst the gulls in the roost while the other flew over head heading NE towards Hale.
 
Juv Mute Swan (EM)
Observes: Elliot and Adele Montieth

Sunday, 8 November 2015

08/11/15

Since Elliot had gone off birding with a few mates down to Burton Marsh I went down to the Docks just to see what was around.
 
I pulled up at the Egreton Dock were a Kingfisher was on the railing on the far side, it was on the same rail that I saw Kingfishers when I first visited the Docks back in 2004! There was also a Moorhen which was hard to see at times along with 1 Dunnock, 1 Blackbird and 1 Robin.
 
Linnet (AM)
Afterwards I popped over to the East Float were there was a flock of 7 Linnet feeding around the car park at Tower Quays, there was also some work going on around the Wirral Met College so the Great crested Grebes were distant.
 
Observer: Adele Montieth
 


Saturday, 7 November 2015

07/11/15

Had a very brief visit to the Docks (10mins) this morning as I had to rush off to an NCS charity walk. Due to the brief visit I made a very quick stop off at the Egreton Dock and East Float. The Egreton Dock produced 2 (3?) Blue Tits by the Egreton House, with 4 Goldfinch flying west and 1 Chaffinch. There was also 1 Grey Wagtail catching sticklebacks on the south shore!
Grey Wagtail with Stickleback (EM)
 
Grey Wagtail (EM)

 
After this I made my way over to the East Float were yesterdays raft of Great crested Grebes had moved over to the Church and just 1 bird was by the Tower Quays giving superb views! The best I've ever had of Great crested Grebes! There was also 9 Magpie and a Wagtail SP flew over, unable to get an ID as it wasn't calling and went into the sun.
Great crested Grebe (EM)
 
Great crested Grebe (EM)

 
 
Observer: Elliot Montieth

Friday, 6 November 2015

06/11/15

Today I had the last of my mock exams and since my last 2 periods were frees I finished school early, headed home, got changed, got my camera, and headed down the Docks.
 
When I got to the Docks the sky was black and the rain was on and off, like my pen was in the last exam. When I reached the Egreton Dock all hopes of good days birding had gone; the only birds present at the Dock were the Feral Pigeons, with one nest still active along with 2 Magpies and 1 Blackbird. After this disappointing start I walked off to the Mersey to see what could improve the day, via the Morpeth Dock which produced; 1 Goldcrest, 10 Starling, 2 Black-headed Gull, 2 Blue Tit, 5 Robin and 4 Blackbirds in the trees and bushes surround the Morpeth while on the Mersey there was 2 Great black-backed Gull, 30c Herring Gull, 4 Lesser black-backed Gull, 3 Goldfinch flew over heading south, and there was a small raft of Black-headed Gulls.
 
 Leaving with hopes slightly up I walked onwards to the East Float via Wallasey Dock to observe the Starlings coming into roost. At that current moment there was only 50 or so along with 1 Dunnock. As I walked back to the Egreton Dock to check again to see if I'd missed anything 3 Curlew flew over heading north. This is the first record of this species at the Docks!
 
Grey Heron (EM)
When I got to the East Float the rain had stopped and I was greeted by a raft of 12 Great crested Grebes very close to the Tower Quays ( 5-10 meters) along with a flock of 9 Linnet (A very scarce bird here!!!) and 3 Pied Wagtail. I spent about half an hour sitting on the wet rocky ground watching the Grebes in the evening sky which looked alien, with blues, pinks, purples, oranges, blacks and greys filling in the sky.
 
Great crested Grebes (EM)
 
 At this point I looked to my right to see a COOT!!! yes a Coot swimming towards me! Moorhen and now Coot at the Docks! Very surprising as both these species rarely ever venture onto salt water. Apart from the Grebes, Wagtails, Linnets and Coot there was also a flock of 17 Canada Geese feeding amongst the grass on the opposite bank with 1 Grey Heron on the central bank. A day which started off dull, disappointing and disastrous had suddenly turned into one of my best days of birding's! Its not about how rare a bird is, its about how it makes you feel.
 
Coot (EM)
 
 
To finish off this outstanding trip to the Docks I decided to go to the Alfred Dock, a Dock I've hardly visited. While I was at the Alfred Dock watching the Black-headed Gulls coming into roost I heard then saw 1 Oystercatcher fly in from the East Float and across the Alfred before shooting off down the Mersey, this is the first sighting of Oystercatcher since the summer! There was also 100+ Starling giving a stunning mini murmuration over the Wallasey Dock with the Radio City Tower and the Liver Building in the background, (beautiful), along with 1 Dunnock and to complete this magnificent day 1 Peregrine made an agile flyby over onto the East Float. Todays total Cormorant count was 56. I was only able to race ID 5 birds; 4 Carbo and 1 Sinensis.
 
Peregrine Falcon (EM)


Oystercatcher (EM)
 I've finally found the love of my life, Birkenhead Docks. 
 
Observer: Elliot Montieth

Sunday, 1 November 2015

01/11/15

Since todays NCS meeting finished early ,3pm, I headed down to the Docks to see what the unexpected fog would bring in. My first stop was at the Egreton Dock were the now elusive Little Grebe was still present, along with 20+ Goldfinch,1 Robin, 1 Wren, 2 Blue Tit and 2 Blackbirds in the trees and bush's bordering the Dock. While watching the distant Little Grebe I heard 1 Kingfisher calling from the Morpeth dock but didn't go round to investigate, instead I got distracted by an unusual looking bird on the opposite side of the Docks. My first thoughts were Moorhen....but a Moorhen in Birkenhead Docks? Was it possible? I mean all of the Docks in the complex are salt water, what would a fresh water bird be doing in salt water? Bidston Moss is just a 1min fly away if your a bird so why choose the Docks? A lost passage bird maybe? Anyway I walked round to the opposite side and there it was, a 1st winter Moorhen happily feeding on the algae along the west wall. After the astonishment of this find I then looked up to find a Feral Pigeon nest with 1 possibly 2 young calling away.
 
 
Moorhen (EM)
 
 
With spirits high I went off to the East Float were the Great crested Grebes had formed a raft by the abandoned church, this finally gave me the opportunity to get a precise count of the Grebes on the float which numbered 20 birds. As I'm aware there aren't any grebes on the West Float. While watching the Grebes which were about 15 meters off shore 2 Pied and 1 Grey Wagtail flew over heading north, along with 40+ Cormorants flying into roost, 1 came close enough to see that it was a Sinensis race. There was also 1 Grey Heron on the tern raft pulse 1 Robin and 1 Blackbird around the church.
 
Sinensis Cormorant (EM)
 
 
As it was getting rather dark I decided to start walking back when I looked up and saw 1 Peregrine perched on top the church, always a cracking bird to see! While walking back there was a mini murmuration of 250+ Starling over the Wallasey Dock. A great day made only better by a visit to the Docks!
 
Peregrine (EM)
Observer: Elliot Montieth