Saturday, 23 April 2016


Today's visit was an attempt to get a new bird for the Dock List, Whimbrel.

For an attempt of adding this migrant wader to the Dock List I'd be spending the day at Seacombe Ferry were I was hoping one would make a flyby as the tide went out. On the way down I picked up 1 Swallow, 2 Great crested Grebe, 2 Canada Geese and 1 Peregrine at the East Float.
Whilst at Seacombe there were none of the normal waders roosting on the Ferry Terminal but over on the rock armour there were 15 Dunlin roosting which was a surprising find as there's usually too much disturbance for any roosting birds.

Over the 2hrs I spent watching over the Mersey the only real birds to note were 100c Herring Gulls over in the Liverpool Docks, 50c Herring Gull on the Mersey, 3 Cormorant and 2 Sandwich Tern which made a flyby as they were existing the Mersey. One of the gulls on the Mersey caught my attention when it done a flyby as I wasn't 100% sure on what it was. I got a few snaps and sent them off to friend of mine and finder of American Herring & Azorean Yellow-legged Gull Cian Cardiff who identified it as a 1st winter Scandinavian Herring Gull.

1st winter Scandinavian Herring Gull

Sandwich Tern

Observer: Elliot Montieth

Wednesday, 20 April 2016


The docks were there normal selves today with little sign of migrants: Morpeth was still holding its 2 Shelduck, the East Float had 3 Mallard, 1 Great crested Grebe, 3 Lapwing and 1 Canada Goose and the Gull Roost had a mix of  2 "White" Wagtail, 2 Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, 250c Gulls (70% Lesser Black-backed Gull) along with 8 Shelduck and a single Swallow.


In contrast Bidston Moss was alive with migrants today: 12 Willow Warbler, 13 Chiffchaff, 9 Blackcap, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Sedge Warbler and 1 Whitethroat were the totals from both the main site and the lakes. Learning the calls and songs of Warblers can be very useful when it coming to getting an ID on rare warblers such as Iberian and Siberian Chiffchaff.

Heading away from the migrants Bidston Lake produced 1 Great crested Grebe, 1 Tufted Duck, 1 Mute Swan, 2 Coot, 1 Moorhen, 1 Little Grebe and 6 Mallards (all drakes). Meanwhile in the skies above 1 Buzzard and 1 Sparrowhawk (female) were circling around and over on the pools the only birds of interested were the remaining 2 Little Grebe and 1 Reed Bunting (1st male record of the year).

Blackcap (male)
The first chicks of the year were out and about today with 3 Coot chicks underneath the footbridge and a further 4 of on the Pools.

Coot and young
On my way back from the Docks I pasted the East Float which threw up a big surprise with a flock of 89 Black-Tailed Godwit which flew over heading south.

Black-tailed Godwits

Observer: Elliot Montieth

Saturday, 16 April 2016


After 2 solid days of revision I had a break this afternoon and had a quick patrol of the Docks.

The first stop off was the Inlet which had 2 Shelduck (pair) present with another pair flying up the Mersey. There also activity off over on the Liverpool side of the Mersey with what appeared to be a fishing frenzy and amongst the Gulls I managed to pick out the first Sandwich Terns and Kittiwakes of the year with an estimate of 3 each along with 10c Common Gull.

female Shelduck
Afterwards I changed my usual plan and headed over to Seacombe Ferry hoping for a Little Gull. Sadly there were no Little Gull to be seen but 4 Mallard were present along with 3 Oystercatcher and 2 Great Black-backed Gull.


Great Black-backed Gulls

Herring Gull & Oystercatcher
The East Float was surprisingly quiet today with only 7 Canada Geese, 1 Raven, 2 Oystercatcher and 2 Shelduck being counted. Also a further 3 Oystercatcher on the Alfred Dock as the water level has been dropped exposing sections of the base which is covered in Mussels.


Finally stop of the day was the Gull Roost which was also surprisingly quiet with just 10 Shelduck and a couple of Pied Wagtails with a possible Grey Wagtail being heard.

Observer: Elliot Montieth

Tuesday, 12 April 2016


Walked for 8hrs straight round the Docks today!

The Morpeth and Egerton Dock hit it right off today with Morpeth having 2 Shelduck, 2 Cormorant and 2 Canada Geese, with Egerton not far behind with also 2 Shelduck along with 2 Mallard. All birds were in pairs.

The East Float produced 11 Great crested Grebe all in one flock with 5 birds taking off and flying SE, with 1 bird coming back in onto the float. There a very high count of 16 Shelduck on the float (all paired) which is by far the highest count for the East Float. There was also 8 Canada Geese around with 6 Cormorant and 4 Mallard on the Float with 6 Oystercatcher roosting in front of the Clock Tower. The Lapwings were also still present and on the nests with no sign of the Plovers.
Courting Great crested Grebe


Great crested Grebe
The Gull Roost also had a high count of Shelduck today with 14 birds, surprisingly only 4 Pied Wagtail today with no White's. Gull numbers were 250c (mainly Herring) but just 1 Great Black-backed Gull. 1 Sparrowhawk also flew over head West.

Bidston was were the majority of todays birds were with 2 Shelduck on the Recycling plant roof!!! With leaf warblers in every single available  piece of vegetation with totals of 37 Willow Warbler and 21 Chiffchaff. This is including counts from the Pools. The Main Lake had hold of its breeding Mute Swans and Great crested Grebe with 4 Tufted Duck also on the lake with 1 calling Little Grebe.


A walk round to the Pools produced a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a *Stock Dove*, with at the Pools them selves Canada Geese numbers were low with 8 Birds and some on nests. There were also 2 Little Grebe calling on separate Pools with the Birket having a single Cormorant (carbo). Also to note was a Tawny Owl pellet which was in the centre of the path leading underneath the road going to the Main site. Flying over the Pools were 5 Sand Martin and 2 Swallow giving good clear views.

Walking back to Bidston and visiting grassland resulted with 2 Bullfinch (pair) in the bushes, the long staying "Green" Pheasant and 3 Swallow were doing a small feedings circuit.

"Green" Pheasant
Walking down to Seacombe didn't produce anything new but t Seacombe 3 Turnstone and 2 Redshank were roosting on the Ferry Terminal and a drake COMMON SCOTER flew past heading out of the Mersey with a single Swallow flying over to Liverpool.


Observer: Elliot Montieth

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Spring has arrived

After 2 weeks away I was back in action at the Docks today and boy I wasn't disappointed.

Numbers of Great crested Grebe on the East Float have fallen to 9 remaining birds
along with 2 pairs of Shelduck present with a flock of 80c Herring Gulls roosting on the NE bank meanwhile 3 Oystercatchers were about with 1 bird flying over heading SW and the other 2 roosting in front of the clock tower. Other birds about were 9 Canada Geese, 8 Cormorant and the East Floats first record of Moorhen!

Great crested Grebe

Great crested Grebe
Whilst I was scanning the East Float fellow observer Adele had 3 Mallard (1 pair, 1 drake) on the Egerton Dock and 3 Cormorant where over at Morpeth.

Exciting news has came from the wasteland north the Wallasey Flats today as the 4 Ringed Plover and 3 Lapwing were still present with one of the female Lapwings on a nest!!!

Lapwing on nest
The next port of call was the Gull Roost which today was alive with birds: 150c Herring Gulls, 60c Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 4 Great Black-backed Gull were the only gulls present (Black-headed, Common or Med). Waders included 1 Redshank and 7 Snipe with waterfowl including 11 Shelduck and 20 Canada Geese.

Lesser Black-backed Gulls mating
There was yet more exciting news today as the first "White" Wagtails of the year have started passing through the Docks with 3 birds today showing brilliantly along with 10c Pied Wagtails at the Gull Roost. For those of you who have never heard of "White" Wagtail it is the race of Wagtail which replaces our "Pied" Wagtail in the rest of Europe from the Iberian Peninsula to Ural Mountains, Turkey, the Levant, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland's east coast, with some wintering birds going as far south as Kenya and Malawi. The UK gets a spring and autumn passage of White Wagtails (a few stay and breed and others hybridise with Pied) and are regarded by many birders as a true sign of spring.

White Wagtails can be easily separated from a flock of Pied Wagtails by there light grey backs and a small, neat, black bib, unlike the Pied which has a much blacker back with the black bib appearing messy and continuing round to the sides and neck.

"White" Wagtail
It was then time to head over to Bidston Moss were on the main lake the 2 Mute Swans were still about with the female sitting on her nest with the male keeping a look out. Meanwhile the 2 Great crested Grebe were also about but no sign of a nest yet with the lake also holding 6 Coot, 2 Moorhen, 2 Shelduck and the sites first Little Grebe since January! In the skies above the lake the first Hirundinidae's of the year were about with party of 4 House Martin, 1 Sand Martin and 5 Swallow giving good views as they were hawking for insects over the lake. In the vegetation surrounding the lake the familiar songs of warblers were about with 5 Chiffchaff and 3 Willow Warblers.

House Martin

Little Grebe
The days final pit stop was over at pools were an extra 2 Chiffchaff were singing with the River Birket being close to overflowing with the amount of birds: 1 Grey Heron1 Cormorant (sinensis), 5 Mallard, 4 Canada Geese, 1 Moorhen and 1 Coot. The pools themselves were experiencing an overcrowding of birds with an astonishing 18 Canada Geese, 8 Mallard2 Moorhen3 Coot and 2 Little Grebe. No sign of the female Goldeneye today.  

Observer: Elliot & Adele Montieth

Tuesday, 5 April 2016


Whooper Swans, Shelduck and Lapwing by Dermot Smith 
#SavingTheMersey is the name of the Thunderclap which I've set up as I'm taking a stand to the proposed plan of placing a Tital Barrier across the mouth of the River Mersey. The Mersey Barrier will be environmental disaster if it gets the go ahead as it'll destroy the globally important intertidal mud flats further up river.

Dunlin by Shaun Hicky
In 2015 those intertidal zones at places such as Stanlow Bay, New Ferry and Hale sustained over 100,00 birds including over 68,000 Dunlin, 2,400 Black-tailed Godwit, 10,500 Shellduck, 1,400 Ringed Plover, 3,100 Redshank, 2,100 Curlew and 3,000 Teal. Such numbers of these estuarine species our of either international or national importance. This is why I've set up the Thunderclap as very few people know that such plans our now becoming very close to becoming reality.
You can sign my Thunderclap clicking on the following link and by doing so your being a voice for what remains of our breath taking natural world as in the last 30 years Europe has already lost over 421 Million birds, lets not add to that so sign the Thunderclap and stand up for nature.

Elliot Montieth