Sunday, 31 January 2016

31/01/16

The 1st winter drake Scaup was still present on the East Float today.

Observer: Helen Banister

Apologises for not putting this in a pervious post but there is a female *Goldeneye* over on the lake at Bidston Moss, the bird has been present since the 24th.

30/01/16

Before heading off to a family event I spent the morning down at docks to see what the wilde weather would produce.

Shelduck (EM)
First port of call was the inlet, which today was the most productive I'd ever seen it: 2 Shelduck, 1 Curlew, 5 Mallard5 Redshank, 6 Oystercatcher and 1 Cormorant (sinensis).

Curlew (EM)

The extreme winds made it near enough imposable to see what was on the East Float. After sheltering behind the Wirral Met College for 30mins I had 6 Great black-backed Gull, 25 Cormorant (11 sinensis), 30+ Great crested Grebe, 1 Canada Goose and 1 Scaup.

With time to spare I called in at the Egerton Dock where the female Kingfisher was still present, along with 2 Mallard (fly over), 1 Lesser black-back Gull and a pair of Carrion Crow investigating a possible nest site.

Observer: Elliot Montieth

Friday, 29 January 2016

Return of the Scaup 29/01/16

After spending 2hrs at Hoylake this afternoon and just having 1 Great crested Grebe the Docks seemed like a good spot for perhaps another Great Northern Diver.

First port of call was the West Float Gull Roost where 3 Mallard (flew over), 1 Canada Goose and 7 Shelduck where present with just 17 Black-headed Gull!

sinensis Cormorant (EM)

The East Float provided the days highlight as usual with 3 Cormorant (2 sinensis), 34 Great crested Grebe, 2 Oystercatcher (pair) and 3 Canada Geese. Amongst the Grebes was the 1st winter drake Scaup which hadn't been seen by multiple birders over the last few days due the chopping waters and high winds making the Scaup impossible to pin down.

Scaup and Great crested Grebe (EM)

Oystercatcher (EM)
Other notable events round the Docks where that the Oystercatchers round the Clock Tower where observed acting courtship behaviour, hopefully they'll breed. Along with that most of the Great crested Grebes are now paired up and I witnessed them performing there captivating "Weed Dance", this evening!

Observer: Elliot Montieth

Thursday, 28 January 2016

27/01/16

A quick check of the docks this afternoon produced 300c Gull at the Gull Roast, mainly Black-headed but contained up to 5 Great black Backed Gulls. 5c Pied Wagtail and 3 Meadow Pipit where feeding together, no sign of the Rock Pipit. There was also a record high count this winter with 8 Shelduck.

Female Shelduck (EM)
2 Canada Geese where on the West Float its self and on the East Float an estimated 35c Great crested Grebes where present. There were also 13 Cormorant roosting by the Tern Raft.

Observer: Elliot Montieth

Monday, 25 January 2016

25/01/16

No sign of the Great Northern Diver or Scaup on the East Float. 1 Kingfisher was seen on Egerton Dock.
Observer: Michael Davenport


Great crested Grebe and Scaup, January 24th (Michael Davenport)

Great Northern Diver, January 24th (Michael Davenport)
22 Tufted Duck, 12 Coot, 2 Moorhen, 2 Great crested Grebe, 2 Canada Geese, 2 Bullfinch and 2 Goldcrest where present at Bidston Moss today.

Observer: David Marland

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Diver, Grebes and Scaup 24/01/16

After finishing my guided bird walk round Port Sunlight River Park this morning I headed down to the Docks where the 1st winter drake Scaup is still present on the East Float in front of the Wirral Met College. Parking is available in the east car park of the college and I wouldn't recommend parking anywhere else due to the high chance of getting a ticket/fine.

Great crested Grebes displaying (EM)
Other water birds apart from the Scaup where 25+ Great crested Grebe, 13 Canada Geese and 12 Cormorant (4 sinensis, 1 Carbo).

carbo Cormorant (EM)
Whilst watching multiple pairs of the Great crested Grebes displaying with mum and a local birder, I noticed in the corner of my eye a bird just "slip" into the water. The bird then resurfaced and there it was, a juvenile GREAT NORTHERN DIVER, which called!!! This represents only the 3rd record for the Docks, the 3rd inland record for Wirral this winter and the 2nd record for the Docks this winter!

Juv Great Northern Diver (EM)

Juv Great Northern Diver (EM)
After getting the news out Allan Conlin arrived just in the nick of time as Great Northern Diver resurfaced a few meters from the bank. Unlike the bird still at West Kirby this bird will travels vast distances from where it dives under, to where it resurfaces, often ending up on the completely opposite end of the float from where it set off from.

Great crested Grebe and Great Northern Diver (EM)

Great crested Grebe (EM)
Other birds observed whilst observing the GND where 3 Linnet, 1 Curlew (fly over), 2 Oystercatcher (fly over), 4 Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail13 Canada Geese and 2 Grey Heron.

With 2 Great Northern Diver and 1 Scaup this winter I thinks its safe to place Long-tailed Duck, Black throated Diver and Red-necked Grebe on the cards.

Observers: Elliot and Adele Montieth and Allan Conlin

23/01/16

Scaup still present today with 36 Great crested Grebe

Observer: Phil Oddy

Friday, 22 January 2016

22/01/16

The 1st winter drake Scaup was still present on the East Float today and is continuing to associate with the Great crested Grebes between the Wirral Met College and the Clock Tower.

Observer: Elliot Montieth

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Scaup 21/01/16

Having reviewed all the additional photos of the Scaup ssp, showing the bird from multiple angles, the bird is certainly a Greater Scaup, the marine cousin of the more familiar Tufted Duck.

1st winter drake Scaup
The Scaup was once a fairly common winter visitor to the Wirral coastline and could be observed in flocks numbering in the there hundreds off Caldy, Hilbre Island, West Kirby and Hoylake. But since the 1970's  numbers of Scaup around Wirral have plummeted to such an extent that the Scaup is now only seen occasionally off Hilbre Island and rarely on the marine lakes at West Kirby and New Brighton.

1st winter drake Scaup
When I first took up the Docks as a patch I made a list of birds that I was hoping to see within my first full year: Black Redstart, Great Northern Diver, Common Scoter, Glaucous Gull, Iceland Gull and more. I never would of thought that Scaup would have ever turned up at the Docks.

1st winter drake Scaup
The observer who first found the bird relocated the *Scaup* this morning on the East Float in amongst the Grebe flock, which is stretched across from the Tower Quays over to the Clock Tower.

I popped down to the Docks after school where the *Scaup* was roosting with the remaining 27 Great crested Grebe, as some birds have already started returning to there breeding grounds, in front of the College.

There wasn't a single gull present at the Gull Roost this evening on the West Float, but there was an immense flock of 91 Lapwing containing 3 Redshank, along with 4 Shelduck, 4 Cormorant (3 sinensis 1 carbo), 3 Heron and 7 Canada Geese.

Observers: Elliot Montieth

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

20/01/16

I received word yesterday from an observer saying that they where unsure whether or not there was a 1st winter drake Scaup or Scaup hybrid on the East Float. Although the plumage superficially resembles that of a 1st winter drake Scaup, rarely encountered on Wirral, we believe that the bird is most likely the result of hybridisation, due to it's steep sloping forehead which isn't a feature typically found on Scaup.

Possible Scaup hybrid
Since today I had a free period mum and I went down to the Docks to check out the bird. I found the bird rather close on the water directly in front of the Clock Tower on the East Float, were it was associating with a group of 16 Great crested Grebe, 3 of which were already in there jaw dropping summer plumage.

Possible Scaup hybrid (EM)

Possible Scaup hybrid (EM)

Possible Scaup hybrid, note steep forehead (EM)
The bird appeared to be rather comfily on the outer rim of  the flock, if the bird got too close to the main flock then the bird would be "rejected".

Great crested Grebe (EM)
Afterwards we checked Morpeth, Egerton and the Inlet. Morpeth had a few Black-headed and Herring Gulls and Egerton still had hold of its Little Grebe. The Inlet was proactive today with the low tide resulting in 1 Peregrine, 3 Turnstone, 2 Oystercatcher and 3 Mallard (2M 1F).

Mallards (EM)
A quick drive round to the Gull Roost produced an estimated 120c Gulls (80% Black-headed) containing 2 Great black-backed Gull, 20c Starling, 4 Shelduck, and on the edge of a flock of 3 Meadow Pipit and 10+ Pied Wagtail was 1 ROCK PIPIT, (2nd record). I saw the bird through mums bins but was unable to relocate when swapping to camera so no images were taken, hopefully it'll stay to get photographed.

Meadow Pipits (EM)

Shelduck (EM)


Observers: Elliot and Adele Montieth

Sunday, 17 January 2016

17/01/16

Had a very brief 10min stop off at the Gull Roost this morning were only 30c Carrion Crow, 1 Pied Wagtail and 300c Gulls were present. No sign of any of the recent Shelduck or Lapwing.

Observer: Elliot Montieth

Saturday, 16 January 2016

16/01/16

There were 26 Great Crested Grebes on East Float this morning. 10 Lapwing & 1 Shelduck on the Birkenhead side of West Float.

Observer: Colin Schofield

Thursday, 14 January 2016

14/01/16

Popped down to the West Float Gull Roost this afternoon to see if last nights winds had blown anything rare in. What I wasn't expecting was that due to last nights winds was that the majority of Gulls were over on the far side of the roost, so were out of view only showing when disturbed.

Only 200c Gulls were in view at the front of the Roost and seemed to be split equally between Herring and Black-headed Gulls along with 5 Common Gull and 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull.
Curlew (EM)

Snipe (EM)
Other birds present were 1 Grey Wagtail, 3 Pied Wagtail, 4 Shelduck (2 pairs), 1 Curlew, 1 Cormorant and 3 Snipe, which for once I didn't flush............Mum did!

Shelduck pair 1 (EM)

Shelduck pair 2 (EM)
Whilst trying to get a closer view of the distant gulls I noticed a flock of 20c Lapwing , highest count for the Docks, which occasionally took off when a Carrion Crow or Magpie came to close.

Lapwing (EM)
Whilst driving along the motorway for a evenings trip to RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands I saw 1 Buzzard soaring over Bidston Moss.

Observers: Elliot and Adele Montieth

Sunday, 10 January 2016

10/01/16

It was the first WeBS of 2016 today and with so many "good" birds about locally; Pallas's Warbler in Heswall, Great Northern Diver at West Kirby Marine Lake and a Merlin found at Winsford Flash today, expectations were high for the Docks!

Curlew (EM)
Whilst driving down one of the Peregrines was once again perched on top of the Tunnel Air vent. Even from driving down you could tell that it was going to be a quite day. Morpeth and Egerton were empty and on the East Float there was 33 Great crested Grebe, 1 Coot, 3 Curlew and just 2 Cormorants.
Great crested Grebe (EM)
A quick stop off to the West Float produced an extra 3 Cormorant along with 1 Linnet and 1 Grey Wagtail, my first for the Docks in some time!

Grey Wagtail (EM)
The Gull Roost had some rather unusual business going on with a exceptional high number of Black-headed Gulls (150c )present, along with 6 Common Gull, 40c Lesser black-backed Gull, 4 Great black-backed Gull and 480c Herring Gull. It wasn't just Gulls that were present, 3 Shelduck, 5 Canada Geese and 5c Pied Wagtail also made there presence notable and rather strikingly not a single Snipe !

Shelduck and Herring Gulls (EM)
After this me and mum headed over to Bidston Moss to see if anything was with the Tufties, was hoping for a Lesser Scaup or Ring-necked Duck, don't know why but there's always the chance.

Whilst walking along the path via the recycling plant I came across multiple parties of Long-tailed Tits, Goldcrest and Chaffinch in the trees, but then I noticed a small bird with a red spot shoot right past me. I searched the tree in the tree in which it had embedded its self in and it was a flipping *LESSER REDPOLL*  (1st record)! The bird then flew past me onto the other side of the path to only reveal a flock of 8 LESSER REDPOLL!

LESSER REDPOLL (EM)
I ran to get mum when I heard 1 Raven (2nd record) calling away, but wasn't able to photograph the bird. When mum got over she picked out 2 SISKIN (2nd record) from the Redpoll flock which also consisted of 5c Goldfinch.

Can you spot the SISKIN in this image (EM)
We walked along down to the lake were there wasn't a single Cormorant! But 1 Great crested Grebe, 2 Little Grebe6 Moorhen, 6 Tufted Duck and 15 Coot were present on the lake. As we were walking back I spotted 1 BUZZARD (2nd record) soar over before heading NW and mum spotted 4 Bullfinch as I got 2 Fieldfare.

BUZZARD (EM)
But the action was far from over, just as we got to the car 4 RAVEN flew over heading north!

Raven (EM)

Observers: Elliot and Adele Montieth

Thursday, 7 January 2016

07/01/16

After a few weeks of absence from birding due to revision, I finally got back into action and headed down to the mighty Birkenhead Docks.

Peregrine Falcons (EM)
 As me and mum were driving down to check the Inlet I spotted 2 Peregrines (M+F) perched on top of the Tunnel Vent. On the inlet 60c Black-headed Gulls, 3 Common Gull, 20c Herring Gull and 4 Lesser black-backed Gull were present feeding on the sewage, whilst 1 Dunnock, 2 Blackbirds and 2 Woodpigeon were in the surrounding bushes.

Egerton Dock was barren and Morpeth Dock had a mixture of Juv Herring and Lesser black-backed Gulls numbering 17.
Sinensis Cormorant (EM)

Sinensis Cormorant (EM)
The waves on the East Float prevented any accurate counting of Great crested Grebes but a few individuals were in summer plumage. 2 Cormorants were in the Alfred Dock were once we'd reached the viewing point from Duke Road we had 4 Cormorant (1 sinensis), 2 Coot and 30c Black-headed Gulls with one in full summer plumage.
Lapwing (EM)

Shelduck (EM)



Lapwing (EM)
Today's activity was all concentrated at the West Float Gull Roost were there was 3 SHELDUCK (2nd record), 3 LAPWING and 13 SNIPE!!! Once again I flushed the Snipe without knowing it, but one bird did return shortly afterwards so that I could actually get some record shots. Looking good for a Jack Snipe now (Wishful thinking).

Black-headed Gull and Snipe (EM)

Snipe (EM)
Overall the numbers at the gull roost were rather low were 50c Black-head Gull, 30c Lesser Black-backed Gull, 200c Herring Gull, 20c Common Gull and just 2 Great black-backed Gull.
2nd winter Lesser black-backed Gull, 3rd winter Herring Gull and Lapwings (EM)
Over at Bidston Moss 1 Great crested Grebe, 2 Mallard, 25c Coot, 1 Moorhen, 1 Little Grebe and just 5 Tufted Duck (1F,4M) where on the lake. Whilst at Bidston Moss Cormorants were left right and centre, just everywhere, the days total was suddenly boosted to 33 Cormorants, 13 of which were "race-able" and they were all sinensis!
Tufted Ducks (EM)
Observers: Elliot and Adele Montieth