Saturday, 27 February 2016

27/02/16

Todays 8hr walk of the Docks and Bidston Moss produced a multitude of surprises along with a newbie for the patch Bird List.

Peregrine (EM)

Peregrine (EM)

Peregrine (EM)
First stop was the Inlet at the bottom of Pacific Road which produced a brief view of a Peregrine along with the surprising find of 155 *BLACK-TAILED GODWIT* flying over the Air Vent heading up the River Mersey, most likely to feed at Port Sunlight River Park.

Part of the 155 Black-tailed Godwit flock (EM)
You could tell that spring was in the air round the docks today as Goldfinch's, Woodpigeons, Collard Doves and Greenfinch's were all either in pairs or calling away on the vegetation surround the Inlet, Morpeth and Egerton Dock.

Collared Dove (EM)
It was nice to finally catch up with the wintering female Kingfisher on the Egerton Dock where I finally managed to get some decent close ups with the bird whilst it was perched on its favourite chain. There were also a pair of Lesser Black-backed Gull on Egerton were one was feasting on a dead pigeon.

Kingfisher (EM)
Lesser Black-backed Gull (EM)

Kingfisher (EM)


Next port of call was the East Float which was active to say the least. The 1st winter Shag might have still been present, but distant, and only 14 Great crested Grebe were out in the open along with 39 Cormorant, 11 Canada Geese and 2 Great Black-backed Gull. The wasteland north of the Wallasey Flats still has hold of its 4 Ringed Plover (hopefully will breed) along with at least 1 pair of Oystercatchers.

Ringed Plover (EM)
I was left gobsmacked today with the Gull Roost, as I visited twice today and there only a grand total of 5 Black-headed Gull! There were Shelduck present but didn't make any counts.

Bidston Moss was alive with raptors today with 2 Kestrel, 1 Sparrowhawk and an astonishing count of 5 Buzzard. The lake had not a single Tufted Duck or double figure count of Coot, just 2 Great crested Grebe where of note. There was plenty of birds in the hedge rows and reed beds around Bidston with Water Rail, Redwing, Pheasant (calling), Bullfinch and Linnet, but no Lesser Redpoll or Siskin.

Carrion Crow and Common Buzzard (EM)
The Goldeneye has departed from the back pools and 1 Teal was heard calling from the fields opposite but was out of view and out of patch boundaries.

After back tracking on my self all the way to the Inlet, I sat down a bench watching over Mersey when I came across a new bird for the Dock & Bidston bird list: a flock of exactly 50 Pink-footed Geese flew over heading west wards.

Pink-footed Geese (EM)
All in all another great day at the Docks & Bidston and with a Glossy Ibis at Gowy Meadows CWT you can guess where I'll be tomorrow.

Observer: Elliot Montieth

Friday, 26 February 2016

26/02/16

A quick circuit round the docks this morning before heading to school produced 1 Cormorant and 6 Canada Geese on the West Float.

The East Float had 14 Cormorant on the Tern Raft with 7 Canada Geese, 2 Great Black-back Gull and Great crest Grebe on the float with 4 Ringed Plover and 1 Oystercatcher on the wasteland north of the Wallasey Flats.

The Gull Roost had 2 Redshank, 50c Gulls and a new record count of 19 Shelduck! 3 birds where flyovers.

Observers: Elliot & Adele Montieth

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

BTO Guest Post

For those who are interested I've recently written a post for the British Trust of Ornithology Young Birders Blog, explaining the misconception of urban nature and my love for Birkenhead Docks.

If you'd like to have a read then please click the following link - Birkenhead Docks, The Urban Misconception

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

23/02/16

Following the terrific findings of Shag, Scaup and Merlin on Sunday expectations for the docks were still high todays taking into account Mondays weather.

Shelduck (EM)

The Gull Roost had a new high count of 11 Shelduck along with 30c Pied Wagtail, 250c Black-headed, 100c Herring, 35c Lesser Black-Back and 20c Common Gull. Wader wise 2 Redshanks were patrolling the far NE scrapes with a single Redshank going along the central scrapes amongst the gulls. 27 Snipe were also flushed from the buddleia today with still no sign of a long awaited Jack.

A drive round to the West Float produced a particular high count of Cormorants for this part of the Docks with 28 birds being counted.

View over the East Float, south end (EM)

The East Float was rather surprising today both positively and negatively: Only 23 Great crested Grebe were on show and no sign of the Scaup! Currently trying to workout access to the Vittoria Dock, SE of the College, which is were I believe the Scaup and the rest of the Grebes may be sheltering as its the only place on the East Float which isn't observed.

A total of 47 Cormorants were recorded on the East Float with 32 on the Tern Raft including 2 Lapwing, but there was no sign of the 1st winter Shag from Sunday. Most of the birds were distant but managed to get a positive race ID on 16 sinensis and 6 carbo's.

Cormorants on the Tern Raft (EM)
Todays positive news came from the fact that 75 Cormorant in total had been recorded in the Docks, highest count so far this year, along with that the Wasteland just north of the Wallasey Flats (East Float) today had an abundance of waders: 5 Oystercatcher, 1 Lapwing, 1 Curlew and 4 RINGED PLOVER! Other birds beside the waders were 13 Starling, 1 Grey Wagtail and 10c House Sparrow.

Curlew (EM)


Ringed Plover with Starlings (EM)
Observers: Elliot & Adele Montieth

Sunday, 21 February 2016

The magic trio

Once again it was WeBS today and even though the Docks has had 2 Great Northern Diver, 1 Med Gull, 50+ Snipe, 91 Lapwing and a Scaup know of them were on a WeBS day. But today all that was about to change.

Scaup amongst Great Crested Grebe (EM)
The East Float was the first port of call were Great crested Grebe numbers had swelled up to 31 birds, after no more than 10 seconds of scanning the flock hoping for either a Slavonian or Red-Necked Grebe my eyes were pinned upon an adult drake SCAUP. But remember the 1st winter drake Scaup we had only a few weeks ago? A closer inspection of the head quickly revealed it to be that very bird but had transformed into its spectacular adult plumage.

Scaup with Great Crested Grebes (EM)

Scaup with Great Crested Grebes (EM)
Excluding the Scaup there was still plenty of birds about the East Float with 18 Cormorant,  a record count of 6 Oystercatcher, 1 Lapwing, 1 Kestrel14 Canada Geese, 2 Shelduck and 1 Pied Wagtail. But hidden amongst the roosting Cormorants opposite the Tern Raft another vagrant to the Docks was to be found,a 1st cycle SHAG. A bird which when researching for bird records for the Docks I only came across once!

Juv Great crested Grebe (EM)

Oystercatchers (EM)

SHAG with Cormorant (EM)
The West Float Gull Roost was extremely productive this morning with Gulls consisting of 40c Lesser Black-back, 5c Greater Black-back, 150c Herring, 200c Black-headed, 30c Common Gull and 1 very good candidate for a 3rd cycle Caspian Gull. Along with 1 Redshank, 18 Lapwing (flyover), 1 Kestrel, 9 Canada Geese, 8 Shelduck, 2 Cormorant, 7 Meadow Pipit, 13 Pied Wagtail and 4 Linnet. But there was also a another vagrant to the Docks today at Gull Roost and it was smashing male Merlin! Again the only 2nd record for the docks and the first sexed bird as well. Merlin are also a regular but very rare visitor to Bidston Moss.

Lapwing (EM)

Kestrel (EM)
Bidston Moss may not have had a patch gold but it still had a relatively high number of Tufted Duck with 34 birds on the lake along with 2 Great Crested Grebe, 3 Moorhen and 13 Coot. Also a flock of 6 Siskin at the north entrance.

Siskin (EM)
By far the most productive session I've had at the Docks to date: New max count of Oystercatchers, three patch golds and 2 new birds equalling in 4 more points for Patch Work Challenge.


Observers: Elliot & Adele Montieth


Thursday, 18 February 2016

18/02/16

Walked another circuit of the Docks and Bidston Moss today.

Shelduck (EM)

As the tide wasn't low enough to expose the mud bank only 2 Shelduck (pair) where in the Inlet and surprisingly nothing notable on either the Egerton or Morpeth Dock. Just a flock Goldfinch's about.

The East Float had a wide variety of birdlife with 19 Cormorant (1 sinensis),  2-3 Turnstone (calling), 2 Great Black-Backed Gull, 1 Siskin5 Canada Geese1 Mistle Thrush, 13 Great crested Grebe along with 1 Sparrowhawk (female) soaring over the clock tower heading NE and 1 Kestrel shot over the Tern Raft.

Sparrowhawk (EM)
The next stop was the Gull Roost where despite there being 400c Gulls present (80% Black-headed Gull) with both Glaucous and Mediterranean Gull being seen on Wirral recently there was absolutely nothing amongst the gulls. But 1 Peregrine did fly over displacing the gulls along with 6 Shelduck.

I'm very pleased to report that there's one pair of Great crested Grebe at Bidston Moss which'll hopefully breed again this year following last years succession of 5 young. Other bird news from Bidston Moss is a new record count of 41 Tufted Duck, 1 Oystercatcher attempted to land on the lake edge but failed, 6 Lapwing flew over, 1 Water Rail was seen briefly and called in the reed bed, multiple flocks of Siskins were flying around, at least 5 Bullfinch's and 1 Buzzard flew over heading west whilst being mobbed by 4 Carrion Crow.

Tufted Duck (EM)

Great crested Grebe (EM)

Oystercatcher (EM)
Over at the pools the female Goldeneye was still about and which's between the two pools on a daily basis. There was also 1 Siskin (female), 1 Grey Heron and 29 Mallard.

Siskin (EM)

Goldeneye (EM)


Observers: Elliot & Adele Montieth

Saturday, 13 February 2016

13/02/16

Spent 6 hours today walking a completed circuit round the Docks and Bidston Moss.

The East Float was fairly quiet with 17 Great crested Grebe scattered about along with 1 Curlew (roosting) and 1 Oystercatcher,  12 Canada Geese and a nice count of 16 Cormorant (9 sinensis).

Curlew (EM)
Great crested Grebe (EM)
The West Float only had 5 Cormorant (3 sinensis)

sinensis Cormorant (EM)
The Gull Roost contained a rather large and unexpected shock today as when I was walking along I the fence I somehow flushed a flock of 50+ SNIPE (Blue means way over average count) from amongst the buddleia. I'm stilled stunned at sheer number of them! Other birds present where 2 Linnet, 1 Redshank, 3 Pied Wagtail, 2 Shelduck, 70c Gulls and 6 Meadow Pipit.

Snipe (EM)
A complete walk round Bidston Moss today produced a wide variety of birds today including a few newbies to add to my list for Patch Work Challenge. The Lake at 10+ Tufted Duck and 1 Great crested Grebe with a female Reed Bunting in the reed bed. The woods produced 2 Bullfinch, 2 Redwing (1 Icelandic),1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Lesser Redpoll, 4 Siskin, 30c Long-tailed Tit and 1 Jay.

Great spotted Woodpecker (EM)

Jay (EM)
Whilst watching the female Goldeneye on the pools at the back I heard 1 Water Rail and a male Kestrel flew over. 

Goldeneye (EM)

Observer: Elliot Montieth

Friday, 12 February 2016

12/02/16

After seeing the Twite at Connah's Quay and running into Kelvin Jones, where him and a few others were ringing them and very kindly allowed me to release a bird, I headed to the docks.

First port of call was the West Float Gull Roost where amongst the 150c Gulls present I managed to pick out a long awaited Mediterranean Gull in partial summer plumage. The bird was around for no more than 5mins before taking off and not being re-located. Other birds present where 4 Pied Wagtail, 2 Meadow Pipit, 7 Shelduck and 23 Linnet.

Mediterranean Gull (EM)
The West Float its self had nothing as usual, but the East Float was fairly productive with 25 Great crested Grebe, 11 Cormorant and 3 Canada Geese. Rather sad to report that the Scaup is no longer amongst the Grebes.

Whilst I was surveying the docks local birder Graham Connolly was over at Bidston Moss and had the female Goldeneye on the pool along with a flock of 4 Teal on the River Birket.

Goldeneye (Graham Connolly)

Teal (Graham Connolly)
Observers: Elliot Montieth & Graham Connolly

11/02/16

Female Goldeneye still present at Bidston Moss

Observer: Dave Marland

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

10/02/16

The suns golden rays made it absolutely brilliant for photography round the docks today.

The East Float held host to 32 Great crested Grebe with the 1st drake Scaup amongst them along with 50c Black-headed Gull, 8 Cormorant (3 sinensis) and 6 Great Black-back Gull. Despite the rather low wind speeds the grebes and scaup where still over on the far side opposite to the Wirral Met College where parking is very restricted at the moment.

Black-headed Gull (EM)
The West Float had 1 Cormorant (sinensis) fly over.

sinensis Cormorant (EM)
The Gull roost had a 9 Shelduck mostly drakes, along with 3 Meadow Pipit, 10c Pied Wagtail, 400c Gulls50c Carrion Crows and 30c Starlings.

I've also been informed of a reported 3rd winter Yellow-legged Gull at the Gull Roost on Monday

Shelduck (EM)
Bidston Moss was extremely productive this afternoon with a nice flock of 8 Bullfinch along with 4 Lesser Redpolls and a Siskin flyover. There was also multiple flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare about but only seen when flushed so not countable. Bird of the day has to go to the stunning female *GOLDENEYE* which is still present on pools at Bidston Moss near Bidston Golf Club.

female Goldeneye (EM)

female Goldeneye (EM)

Observer: Elliot Montieth

Monday, 8 February 2016

08/02/16

8 Shelduck, 550c Black-headed Gull, 64 Lesser Black-backed Gull,  650 Herring Gull and 8 Great Black-backed Gull where present at the West Float Gull today, along with 38 Great crested Grebe and 8 Cormorant on the East Float with 1 Kingfisher on the Egerton Dock.

Observer: Adele Montieth

07/02/16

1st winter drake Scaup still present on East Float with 24 Great crested Grebe

Observer: Chris Tynan

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

02/02/16

Bidston Moss had an abundance of birdlife on display this afternoon, the lake held host to 1 Little Grebe, 15+ Coot, 1 Great crested Grebe and a huge flock of 28 Tufted Duck.
With plenty of time I done a complete circuit of Bidston with highlights being 1 Lesser Redpoll and a possible Green Woodpecker caught in flight by Adele. 

Tufted Ducks (EM)
The winds and tide resulted in the West Float Gull Roost being restored to its former glory with 500+ Gulls present mainly consisting of Herring, but there was a good number of Black-headed along with 12 Great black-backed Gull. Still no sign of any "white-wings" yet.

Black-headed Gull (EM)
With not much precipitation lately the water levels at the roost have dropped attracting 3 Redshanks, 20c Pied Wagtail, 9 Shelduck, 1 Grey Heron and 4 Snipe.

Black-headed Gulls and Redshank (EM)

Shelduck (EM)
Moving away from the Gull Roost the only other signs of life around the West Float where 4 Canada Geese.

The strong winds made it once again extremely hard to view the Scaup, seen earlier by Pete Atherton, amongst the 35c Great Crested Grebes. Cormorants numbered only 8 birds today, 3 of witch where sinensis.

sinensis Cormorant (EM)

Observers: Elliot & Adele Montieth, Pete Atherton