Friday, 30 December 2016

Mayhem at Bidston

After a morning spent at Walton Hall Park photographing "Pablo" the resident Red-crested Pochard, it was a trip round to Bidston. The first stop was to the Birket and Back Pools were both were fairly lifeless apart from a handful of Mallards, Coots and Canada Geese along with 2 Cormorant & 4 Teal on the Birket with 2-3 Goldcrest in the Willow at the entrance of the Pools.

Teal - Stock Image (Elliot Montieth)

Next up it was round to the main lake were 1 Sparrowhawk flew over the footbridge behind B&Q and 6 Bullfinch were in the bush's and woodland west of the Main Lake. Meanwhile on the Lake its self 25 Tufted Duck had moved in along with 15c Coot and 1 Great crested Grebe.

The Great crested Grebe was trapped in fishing line so could fly or swim more than 5 meters from the edge of the lake. It was either let it suffer a stressful, painful and unnatural death or go in and attempt to free it, as no local birders could be of assistance and the RSPCA wouldn't pick up I went in and attempted to release it. Unfortunately the plan failed and it was another painful 10mins before the bird lodged its self free.

The trapped Great crested Grebe trying to escape from the line

After the drama was over 2 Buzzards and 1 Mediterranean Gull flew over the lake head SW & W along with 2 Jay seen darting about in the Willows.

Mediterranean Gull (Luke Andseron)

Observers: Elliot Montieth & Luke Anderson

Thursday, 29 December 2016


After an early morning start at West Kirby it was a swift trip over to Bidston and the Docks to see if myself and Luke Anderson could catch up with a flock of 7 Waxwings flying NE over Leasowe Lighthouse. Waxwings are an irruptive species with the last time we had such vast numbers in the UK being in the winter of 2012/2013 were Merseyside was coated in them, there were counts of flocks of 150+ at Hamilton, yet despite this year being an "irruptive" year very few have been on Wirral this year.

1 of the 60c Waxwings currently wintering in St Asaph, today saw a large
influx into the North West including birds seen in Wirral, Liverpool, Manchester,
Warrington, Wigan & Preston.
Arriving by train it was the "Back Pools" which were the first stop off were apart from a flock of 4 Teal & 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker there was also 1 LITTLE EGRET (1st winter), on the banks of the Birket which represents the first record of this ever expanding species for Bidston. The bird was flushed several times by passing dog walkers and cars before it flew NE along the Birket heading towards the Mersey.

Little Egret
Next off it was round to the main site were amongst the woods were several assorted tit flocks were gathering in the willows several Goldcrest were associating with them along. Meanwhile on the Mainlake 2 Water Rail were heard calling with on the lake itself 2 Great crested Grebe, 1 Mute Swan, 20c Coot, 5c Moorhen & 2 Mallard. Next it was round to the West Float Gull Roost were apart from 9 Common Snipe the highlights were 2 flocks of PINK-FOOTED GEESE numbering 70c birds which flew over heading SW towards the Dee Estuary.

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Observers: Elliot Montieth & Luke Anderson

Monday, 19 December 2016


Well it's certainly been a while hasn't it!

Once again it was WeBS and well the routine started as usual, starting at Morpeth & Egerton before making our way round to East Float, Seacombe, West Float and finishing off at Bidston and the Pools.
Black-headed Gull
Despite being the middle of winter (prime time for the docks!) both docks of Morpeth and Egerton were dead with just 2 Herring Gull roosting at Morpeth and a Black-headed Gull on Egerton. Meanwhile over on the East Float things were a little more exciting but never the less still pretty much dead: 13 Great Crested Grebe (1 in summer plumage?!), 33 Cormorant (none race-able), 4 Canada Geese, 2 Grey Wagtail (a winter pair), 1 Curlew, 2 Oystercatcher, 2 Great Black-backed Gull along with "Calvin the Coot" who after over a year has remained on the East Float.

Calvin the Coot

Great crested Grebes
Next off it was round to the Ferry Terminal at Seacombe were amongst the record count of 74 Turnstone and 23 Redshank lay a long awaited PURPLE SANDPIPER which done its best to remain hidden amongst flock and did manage a bog standard "Record shot" but as you can its pretty much undeniable from my Digi scope I've decided not to post. Apart from the waders other birds of notice were 3 Great Black-backed Gull.

After the joy at the Seacombe it was then over to the West Float Gull Roost which made the day even better as apart from the first returning Shelduck of the winter there was also a yet another count made today but instead of 74 Turnstone it was a mind blowing 106 Lapwing!!!

To round off the trip it was over to Bidston & the Pools were apart from the bog standard a call came through from a rather chilled observer saying that there was not much about on the Back Pool's apart a Shoveler, this is only the 2nd record for the site and the first this year.


Observers: Elliot & Adele Montieth

Sunday, 6 November 2016


With strong NW winds this morning it reminded that it was this time last year that we had our first modern day record of Great Northern Diver which appeared on the East Float and stayed for 5 days. With that memory in mind I trip to the East Float was in order.

A quick stop off was made to Morpeth Dock with 1 Redwing (fly over), 2 Cormorant (carbo) and 1 Redshank were present. With Waxwings flooding into the UK at the moment its looking good for an invasion year, this is good but all of our berry's have already been eaten by the resident Mistle Thrush's so it seems that the best shot of finding one here would be to go and check Bidston Moss.
Common Scoter
The next stop was to the East Float were just as I arrival on site a duck sp flew over the float and after making a lap round the float it landed amongst the flock of 25 Great crested Grebes. After inspecting the shots it was infact a Juv. COMMON SCOTER, only my 4th record for the docks with the previous being a drake on East Float, 2 drakes on the Inlet and a drake past Seacombe.

Common Scoter
The Scoter stayed till dusk and started to roost as soon as it got in with the Grebes so hopefully it'll stick for others to see.

Elliot Montieth

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Bird Sighting Update

Apologise for the lack of posts recently, 6 Form & relationship have been keeping me rather busy lately, so not been able to get down to the Docks as often.

Anyway bird news over the past few days have been:
  • 1 Skylark flew over the Morpeth Dock & 1 Meditterian Gull was feeding at Seacombe Ferry Terminal on the 16th.
    Adult Meditterian Gull

    Adult Meditterian Gull

    Adult Meditterian Gull
  • 1 Leach's Storm Petrel flew past Seacombe Ferry on 18th.  
  •  Our resident pair of Ravens were seen fending off another pair of Raven on the East Float on the 22nd.
  • 1 Firecrest (male), showed briefly at Bidston near the Lake on 23rd. Also 1 Common Buzzard, 6 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Great Black-backed Gull, 1 Canary (escape) & 1 Kingfisher (male) were present on the East Float.
    Great Crested Grebe in flight
Considering that were now in October now nearing November numbers of Great Crested Grebe seem to be rather low for this time of year, as compared to this time last year (29th), there were 15+ birds present.

Observers: Elliot Montieth & Michael Grant

Also remember that we do have a Twitter account - @BirdingHead - which you can keep track of whilst your out and about.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Brent Geese

A flock of 9 Brent Geese flew low over the West Float this afternoon.

Observer: Adele Montieth

Sunday, 25 September 2016


Today with strong southerly winds I thought that it may be interesting to see what would turn up on the River Mersey; As I was now in serious competition with fellow young Cheshire birder George Dunbar who's patching Woolston Eyes (yes he held the White-crowned Sparrow in the hand!) for this years Patch Work Challenge and the fact that we were neck with myself being just 3 points ahead of him. I was hoping that todays visit would be an opportunity to boost that lead.

After being dropped off at Pacific Road, I made my way over to the Inlet which held host to a small mixed flock of waders: 1 Curlew, 1 Redshank & 2 Oystercatcher, largest flock of waders the docks has seen for some time.

Over on the Morpeth & Egerton Dock all was pretty much dead: Mute Swans had moved on, no Great Black-backed Gulls about, no Wigeon or Mallards, 1 Moorhen, 4 Cormorant and 1 Kingfisher which was heard calling round the Egerton Bridge along with 2 Grey Wagtails over. Grey Wagtails are a typical autumn migrant bird to the docks with only small numbers in the winter with possible breeding at 2 sites this year within the docks.

Over on the Eat Float all was relatively pleasant, Great crested Grebe numbers were on the up with a total of 9 birds in the Float including several juvenile birds. 42 Cormorants were also counted with a possible roosting Shag over on the Tern Pontoon. Other news was that only 2 Canada Geese were counted round the East Float along a flock of 7c Linnet, 2 Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 Oystercatcher and an unpresented count of *4 KINGFISHER*...yes you are reading that correctly 4 Kingfisher! Birds were darting birds were darting about left right and centre, yet they all bar one bird somehow to avoid the lens of me camera.
Kingfisher flyby (Alcedo atthis)
It was now time for Seacombe were I'd be spending 4hrs watching over the Mersey as the tide made its way in. By the end of my 4hr stint I had some pretty interesting totals: 4 Great Black-backed Gull, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit (1st record of the year but believed to be more numerous than first expected), 1 Little Gull (1st winter), 6 Turnstone, 1 Redshank (very low!), 100c waders sp in flock roughly 1km up river, 1 House Martin, 4 Oystercatcher, and a record count of not just 1, not 2 but 3 Meditterian Gull! Both the Little and Meditterian Gulls made their way down river at around 3pm as did a lot of Black-headed Gull (200c) along the East side.
Meditterian Gull record shot (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus)
With both Little Gull and Bar-tailed Godwit added to the PWC list it placed me on 124 species and 148 points putting me a firm 6 points ahead of Mr Dunbar and Woolston Eyes; but when I arrived home I received word from George that he'd found a Yellow-browed Warbler at Woolston earlier in the day. With YBW being a 3pt species and being self founds its increased to 6pts he was now on 123 species and 148 points...ahead of me and the Docks.

Observer: Elliot Montieth

Sunday, 18 September 2016


After a break from Docks due to College work I was back down today to complete yet another WeBS.
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
The first stop off of the day was at the East Float which appeared pretty normal with 6 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Canada Geese, 34 Cormorant, 3 Great Black-backed Gull and 4 Linnet. But after a good 10mins the first Kingfisher of autumn was back which called as it shot along the east side of the Float. 1 "Large Plover SP" was flushed from the Clock Tower but didn't call and views weren't clear for an ID.
Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Meanwhile over on the Egerton and Morpeth Dock, they too seemed pretty normal at first with 2 Moorhen and the 2 Mute Swans still present along with 5 Cormorant and a small passage of 3 Grey Wagtail. Yet over on the far side of Morpeth the Docks first record of *WIGEON* was discovered and showed very well and also seemed to be in good health. Surprisingly non of the gulls were remotely interested init.  
Wigeon (Anas Penelope)
The next stop was over to Seacombe were the high tide had forced waders to roost over on the Ferry Terminal: 34 Turnstone and 17 Redshank were counted along with 1 SPOTTED REDSHANK (winter plumaged adult) was found roosting amongst them. Unfortunately no images of the bird were managed, yet another first for the Docks!

Mixture of Redshank (Tringa tetanus) and Turnstone (Arenaria interpres),
can you spot the dead Redshank ?
Over to the West Float....nothing! But 1 Buzzard flew over the Gull Roost heading SE whilst being mobbed by a Carrion Crow.

Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) chasing a Carrion Crow (

Bidston Moss was rather interesting today as on the Mainlake, the one which is always productive,  only the 6 Mute Swans (2 adults 3 immature) were about along with 21 Coot, that was it, no Tufted Duck, not even a Mallard or Great Crested Grebe! Yet walking round along the path past the Reed Bed behind B&Q which is usually empty: 2 Water Rail & 1 Cetti's Warbler called along with 2 Snipe (1st of autumn) being flushed.
The Cormorants have now started roosting in the Poplar Trees between the Pools
Meanwhile over on the pools 7 Teal were flushed from the River Birket which then 3 relocated on the Western Pool along with 11 Mallard, 5 Moorhen, 5 Cormorant, 1 Green Sandpiper (1st of autumn) and yet another Kingfisher (male) which has been feeding on the abundance of fish in the drying up pools for the past few weeks now.

Teal (Anas crecca)

Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)

Observers: Adele & Elliot Montieth

Wednesday, 17 August 2016


With a week long trip to Bardsey Island quickly approching and autumn migration kicking off with the first Ortolan Buntings and Wrynecks of the year, I made my last trip to the Docks to see if it wanted to throw up anymore surprise birds that I could actually see to add to Patch Work Challenge.

The Woodside Ferry Terminal and Inlet were dead to say the least with just small flocks of roosting Black-headed Gull. Meanwhile on the Morpeth and Egerton Dock life was booming: 2 Mute Swan, 1 Moorhen and 7 Cormorant (2 sinensis).

sinensis Cormorant
Mean while over at the East Float, 53 Canada Geese (record for East Float), were counted along the west side along with 31 Cormorant (7 sinensis), 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Grey Wagtail1 Great Black-backed Gull and 4 Great Crested Grebe were also of note.
Great crested Grebe

Carrion Crow

The Gull Roost was barren today with nothing of interest apart from the 2 Raven soaring high over the Beauford Road, which later perched on the large yellow static crane. Despite the abundance of Carrion Crow with 34 being counted in total from today there was still no sign of the Hooded Crow.
A walk round to Bidston Moss was fairly productive with 1 Chiffchaff singing (bit late ?) along 4 Mute Swan on the main lake, with on the Pools 1 Grey Heron (Juv) and 1 Kingfisher (heard), being the highlights. Seems that the recent heat has evaporated a large percentage of water at the Pools at Bidston making it much easier of birds to catch a snack.
Grey Heron
Also, during an early Vis Mig session this morning up at Bidston, 1 Yellow Wagtail was picked up.

Observer: Elliot Montieth

Monday, 15 August 2016

Hooded Crow

1 HOODED CROW was found by Chris Shaw yesterday near Birkenhead North Train Station. Image on Dee Estuary Birding.


After Michael Grants remarkable find of 1 TWITE yesterday, I went down today to have a little look at what's around.

The Inlet started to show that winter was on its way with 1 Redshank and a small build up of Black-headed, Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Where as on Morpeth and Egerton Cormorant numbers saw a rise with a total of 22 Cormorants with the majority of 1st winter birds. The 2 Mute Swans which have been doing there annual moult in the docks were also present.


Mute Swan
Meanwhile over on the East Float there was also noticeable increase in Cormorant numbers with a total of 17 birds in total including 3 carbo and 1 sinensis.  Away from the Cormorants other birds about were 1 Great Black-backed Gull, 7 Great Crested Grebe1 Oystercatcher.

carbo Cormorant

sinensis Cormorant

Observer: Elliot Montieth

Friday, 29 July 2016

Return of the Seal

A routine walk round the docks this PM was interrupted by the discovery of a ATLANTIC GREY SEAL in the East Float. Could this by the same individual as was a few months ago, or a new visitor to the docks ?

Observer: Elliot Montieth 

Friday, 22 July 2016

Lesser Black-backed Gull

1  Lesser Black-backed Gull (very ill!!!) was picked up from the Egerton Dock this PM and has been taken into care.

Also 1 MOORHEN and 2 Mute Swans were on the Morpeth Dock.

Observer: Elliot Montieth 

Wednesday, 20 July 2016


With it cracking the flags and with free time on my hands I trip to the Docks was in order. The first stop off was the Morpeth and Egerton Dock were it was evident that the breeding season was coming to a close as 15c Juv Gulls were bobbing about on the waters of Morpeth with on the roofs of the nearby buildings a flock of 33 Black-headed Gulls, along with 1 Great Black-backed Gull which flew over heading west.
Great Black-backed Gull
The Egerton Dock was quiet expect from a pair of Mute Swans which have been around for a few weeks now. This pair is believed to be the same pair which bred at Bidston Moss this summer raising a total of 3 young.
Mute Swan
The East Float was alive with action today with 4 Great Crested Grebe, 23 Canada Geese, 17 Cormorant (8 carbo), 1 Grey Wagtail and 2 Great Black Backed Gull, 30c Common Tern and 10c Black-headed Gull.
Great crested Grebe

Cormorant (carbo)

Common Tern

Observer: Elliot Montieth

Thursday, 7 July 2016


1 Gannet (3rd cycle) was washed up dead on the inlet this evening whilst walking round with
Joel Tragen. Images will be posted tomorrow.

Observers: Elliot Montieth and Joel Tragen 

Saturday, 2 July 2016


Rather quite round the Docks today: 20+ Common Terns on East Float, 4 Common Tern's off Woodside and 3 Meadow Pipit at the Gull Roost this PM

Tuesday, 28 June 2016


After some absence due twitching both the Great Knot and American White-Winged Scoter and school work I finally managed to make a complete circuit round the Docks this PM.

A period of river watching over the Mersey from Woodside in the rain produced a variety  of birds including 14 Common Tern, 19 Cormorant, 3 Oystercatcher and 2 Shelduck.

Morpeth and Egerton had nothing.

The East Float was fairly productive with 3 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Great Black-backed Gull, 4 Canada Geese, 4 Shelduck and of course the Common Tern's which I'm glad to report are still going well. Meanwhile on the Wasteland both west and east contained 3 Lapwing (2 female & 1 male) as well as 2 Oystercatcher.

The Gull Roost along Beauford Road was slow creeping up in gull numbers with an estimate of 350c, mostly Lesser Black-backed Gull along with at Bidston Moss's Lake holding 3 Tufted Duck, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Mute Swan (with young) as well as 1 drake Pochard which is believed to be the same bird at Port Sunlight River Park a few days previous.

Observer: Elliot Montieth

Behaviour I've been witnessing over past couple of weeks is Lesser Black-backed Gulls killing and eating Feral Pigeons.

Observer: Michael Grant

Wednesday, 22 June 2016


Exciting news has come from the Tern Raft today as the Docks second pair of Lapwing have bred successfully!

Observer: Michael Grant

Wednesday, 15 June 2016


Shelduck have bred successfully on Morpeth with 9 young, with on Egerton 2 Great Black-backed Gull (pair), 14 Cormorant flew over heading towards Hale and meanwhile on the East Float 1 Great crested Grebe (Juv) 1 Cormorant, 2 Canada Geese and 2 Shelduck were present.

Observer: Elliot Montieth

1 Lesser Black-backed Gull predated a Feral Pigeon which it partial eat before leaving it which when the surrounding Feral Pigeons fed from its crop before the LBBG returned.

Observer: Michael Grant

Sunday, 12 June 2016


With Red-necked Phalarope appearing at Woolston Eyes and a summer plumaged Long-tailed Duck (drake) at Lapwing Hall Pool I was hoping that something just as good would have dropped in at the Docks.

Woodside Ferry Terminal, Morpeth Dock and Egerton Dock were rather quiet with just 3 Shelduck being noted flyover Morpeth. As it stands all birdlife was concentrated over on the East Float today were the first sinensis Cormorant of the summer being noted along with 2 carbo Cormorant.
sinensis Cormorant

sinensis Cormorant

Todays highlight however went to a immature SPOONBILL flying over the East Float heading NE heading towards Seaforth. Due to the marking on the wings its believed that this is the same immature bird which was present at Hale last Friday.

There has been a large influx of Spoonbill in the North West with birds being noted at Hale, Frodsham, Burton Mere Wetlands and Leighton Moss. Out of the 4 sites Spoonbill the highest count was at Burton Mere Wetlands with a count of 7 birds, 1 adult with 6 immature birds.


Other birds noted on the East Float were 1 Pied Wagtail, 2 Great Black-backed Gull, 5c Raven, 1 Oystercatcher, 1 Juv Great Crested Grebe, 4 Shelduck along with a record count of 54 Common Tern. This is the first accurate of the species at the Docks this year and what's great news is that numbers are on the up since there discovery last year by almost double!
Common Tern


Observe: Elliot Montieth