Sunday, 25 September 2016

24/09/16

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


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