Friday, 6 November 2015


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


  1. Thrilling to see such a large gathering of Grebes. My favourite bird - so elegant.

    I so agree with you - rarity is not everything; it is how the bird makes you feel. Coots are so common on the Thames that we nicknamed them 'Compulsory Coots' as every photo has at least one Coot in it, whether you plan it that way or not. Yet they have a simple charm, and the juveniles are really lovely.

    Happy birding & keep blogging.

  2. Hi Cathy thanks for the comment :)

    During bad weather earlier this year there was 60 Great crested Grebes in the Docks, it was a stunning!!!

    The great thing about the Docks is that when the Grebes leave there replaced by Cheshire's largest colony of breeding Common Tern! Forget Cemlyn Bay, Birkenhead Docks is on a whole new level!