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

Oystercatchers
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.
Swallow

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

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