Tuesday, 18 July 2017

18/07/17

A post college river watch from Seacombe Ferry Terminal was much more productive than what was anticipated. Kicking off the show was a flock of 14 Dunlin heading north up the river whilst overhead gulls were 'anting', which in amongst the 30c Black-headed Gulls up to 3 Meditterian Gulls (highest this autumn), joined in one of which was that observed on the 15th.

Lesser Black-backed Gull (ssp.graellsii) - 1st cycle birds such as this can to the untrained eye be mistake for the very similer Yellow-legged Gull. (Image - Elliot Montieth)

Meditterian Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus) - 1 of 3 moulting adults hawking over the ferry terminal this PM
(Image - Elliot Montieth)

Besides the Dunlin and gulls other species noted at the terminal included Northern House Martin (15c), Common Swift (9), European Sand Martin (6), Common Tern (40c), and a single Common Sandpiper whizzing around the banks of the Egerton Dock.

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) - The ferry terminal at Seacombe provides excellent photographic opportunities from the
Common Terns as they pass heading up river (Image - Elliot Montieth)

Observer: Elliot Montieth

Saturday, 15 July 2017

15/07/17

After over a month away from the Docks it was all hands on deck today for a complete census of the site with even the unexpected visit to Bidston Moss NR with Luke Anderson. Starting the day off at the Morpeth & Egerton Docks all that was to be offered were the resident pair of Mute Swans, 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Great Cormorant & a flock of 8 Black-headed Gull, 1 Great Black-backed Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull & 5 European Herring Gull.  

The East Float was on fire today with the Common Tern colony producing a record count of 110c Common Terns (19 Juv) & 1 Roseate type-Tern in flight when the colony was disturbed. After discovering the colony only 3 years it's been fascinating to watch the colony (Cheshire's only tern colony!), unfold with year upon year more and more birds flocking to the docks to breed; In 2015 30c adults were counted, 2016 that number rocketed to 60c and today that record was utterly smashed with 110c birds tallied.

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) - Despite being a count of 110c birds in flight
today the question of how many were adults and how many were infact juveniles is
unclear; however a total of 19 juveniles were counted (Image - Elliot Montieth)
A supporting cast for the East Float consisted of 1 Great crested Grebe, 20 Greater Canada Geese, 17 Great Cormorant, 2 Great Black-backed Gull, 7 Black-headed Gull, 5 Northern Lapwing, 5 Common Ringed Plover with an rather unexpected discovery being that of a singing male Common Whitethroat on the grounds of the clock tower.

Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula) - The fate of this locally rare breeding species
is an uncertain one with developments posing a serious risk to the species next year (Image - Eliot Montieth)

Next up at the Gull Roost only a handful of Lesser Black-backed Gulls were around with 2 1st summer Great Black-backed Gull; The vast majority of todays roost was located along Wallasey Bridge Road that held host to Black-headed Gull (55), European Herring Gull (112), Lesser Black-backed Gull (78) and with first adult Common Gull (2) were further located amongst the roost.

Common Gull (Larus canus) - Two adults located in the frame. 1st summers are
often seen on the Mersey throughout the summer however adults are a strict passage
& winter visitor (Image - Elliot Montieth)
After dropping into Bidston Moss NR (See here), the pair of us headed over to Seacombe Ferry for a sea watch of the Mersey to see weather or not the Roseate Tern's that had been showing on and off at Seaforth NR had ventured down river to associate with the dock terns. Over the half an hour that was spent observing the Mersey that totals came tot eh following: Great Black-backed Gull (2), Lesser Black-backed Gull (17), European Herring Gull (32), Black-headed Gull (49) and the highlight was a Mediterranean Gull that came to bread for a matter of seconds before turning into a ghost.

Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus) - Annual but scarce passage bird
to the dock complex (Image - Elliot Montieth0

Observers: Elliot Montieth & Luke Anderson

Monday, 15 May 2017

14/05/17

It was once again another trip down to Docks of Birkenhead to carry out the monthly WeBS and I think it's safe to say it's been the most productive time I've ever carried one out; kicking off at the Morpeth & Egerton Dock all seemed pretty normal and low in action (as it at the docks whenever WeBS comes around), with just a pair of Greater Canada Geese on the banks of Morpeth and the over summering (non-breeding), pair of Mute Swans on the waters of Morpeth.


Advancing upwards and onwards to the East Float things started to heat up with up to 30 Common Terns being present with the majority of them being on the raft. Meanwhile on the waters 2 Great Black-backed Gull, 5 Great crested Grebe, 1 Great Cormorant, 7 Greater Canada Geese & 11 Common Shelduck were present, with the highlights of the East Float not being the pair of Raven which can now be confirmed breeding for the second year, but was infact the presence of waders: 5 Eurasian Oystercatcher, 3 Northern Lapwing, 3 Common Ringed Plover & 1 Common Sandpiper were scattered around the western end of the float and going through my records it's only the second time a Common Sandpiper has occurred on the East Float!





Other birds included a single Common Swift & Northern House Martin before heading down to Seacombe for a wader count were rather strangely not a single wader could be found at the usual hunts so instead I replaced the usual watch for a 10min scan of the Mersey were 3 Whimbrel *First of Spring* & 20c Dunlin head south with a pair of Sandwich Tern *First of Spring* heading north towards New Brighton.

Ending up at the West Float I was joined up by Bidston Moss NR counter Luke Anderson were soon as we dived into the count 2 Little Ringed Plover were picked up near the shore on the eastern end of the gull roost with taking into account the sheer rarity of "LRP" at the docks then I'd put my money on this pair being the same birds which were first noted on the 2nd. Besides the plovers other birds at the float consisted of 3 Greater Canada Geese, 5 Common Shelduck, 1 Northern Lapwing & 1 Western Yellow Wagtail was picked up on call heading over the float in an easterly direction; a barley annual species to the docks.


Observers: Elliot Montieth & Luke Anderson

    Tuesday, 2 May 2017

    02/05/17

    Couple of shocking digi-scoped records shots and sightings from an afternoon visit to the docks today:

    West Float:
    Common Tern - 1 *1st of Spring*
    Northern Lapwing - 1
    Common Sandpiper *1st of Spring* - 1
    Lesser Black-backed Gull - 60c
    European Herring Gull - 25c
    Little Ringed Plover (3rd record!) - 2
    Peregrine Falcon - 1
    Common Kestrel - 1
    Barn Swallow - 10c
    Great Cormorant - 2
    Mallard - 2
    Common Shelduck - 8
    Stock Dove - 2 (pair)

    Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius) - After hours of going
    through the records for the docks this most recent documented
    is from I could find is just the 3rd record for the Docks with all records
    funnily enough from the West Float Gull Roost (Image - Elliot Montieth)

    Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) - Occurs more often than that of
    Northern  Wheatear, however records consist of singles rather than flocks or pairs
    (Image - Elliot Montieth).


    East Float:
    Common Tern - 8 *1st of Spring*
    Northern Lapwing - 6
    Common Ringed Plover - 3
    Northern Raven- 2
    Eurasian Oystercatcher - 2
    Common Shelduck - 14
    Northern Wheatear - 1 *1st of Spring*
    "Greenland" Wheatear - 5 *1st of Spring*

    "Greenland" Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) - A barely annual species
    which often occurs as flocks during a fall period (Image - Elliot Montieth)

    Seacombe Ferry:
    Ruddy Turnstone 19
    House Sparrow - 1
    Osprey - 1
    Black Tern - 2
    Common Tern - 2 *1st of Spring*



    Observers: Luke Anderson, Elliot Montieth & Michael Grant


    Sunday, 23 April 2017

    23/04/17

    So today I think it can safely said to be the best day of birding for the docks; the morning was kicked off to a flying start with 2 Little Gull (adult summer plumage), off the Ferry Terminal at Woodside which was quickly followed by a possible Glaucous Gull heading east over the Gull Roost (brief viewing in extreme lighting didn't allow time for a positive ID), an absolutely subline male WHINCHAT (Site 1st!!!) was distant on the vegetation at the base of the crane at the Gull Roost with the area also looking promising for a passage European Stonechat (perhaps we've been underestimating their occurrence ?), along with the Gull Roost having a supporting cast of Barn Swallow (4), European Sand Martin (1) & a singing Eurasian Blackcap which I think is a first for the Gull Roost ? 

    Rounding off the day at Bidston Moss NR before heading over to East Hoyle it reminded us why we love the Moss just because it's density and sheer variety of Warblers: Common Grasshopper Warbler (1st Spring) was reeling close toe the Main Lake, 3 Common Whitethroat (1 pair), 2 Eurasian Reed Warbler, 1 Sedge Warbler, 8 Willow Warbler, 11 Common Chiffchaff, 14 Eurasian Blackcap with a possible Garden Warbler singing round at the Back Pools.

    Observer: Elliot Montieth & Luke Anderson



    Sunday, 16 April 2017

    15/04/17

    For those who aren't on Facebook or Twitter then arrangements were made for a last minute Guided Walk by myself around Bidston Moss; due to the success of the walk more (and well planned & ), walks will be avaible to attend in the future. Before meeting up with those attending at the B&Q car park I took myself round the site to see what was about and were to have a rough idea what was to be expected, as summer migrants have started to flood the country.

     Around the Main Lake warblers were back and dominating with 2 Eurasian Blackcap (both males), 8 Common Chiffchaff (including a dodgy singing bird, Siberian, Scandinavian & Iberian have been ruled out), 10 Willow Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler (?), 1 Sedge Warbler (1st of Spring) & 1 Common Whitethroat (1st of Spring), were out with the majority picked on vocal work. Meanwhile over the lake 2 Barn Swallow, 9 European Sand Martin & 2 Northern House Martin (1st of spring) were hawking over; a good day spent watching the flock would be interesting to see what other hirundine are passing through. With luck a Red-rumped Swallow, Alpine Swift could be picked either over or coming into the roost which occurs in the main lakes reed bed.

    Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) - Image by Elliot Montieth

    Northern House Martin (Delichon urbicum) - Image by Elliot Montieth

    Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) - Image by Elliot Montieth

    After my stroll around the lake I met up with the others we headed off for our walk in the glistening spring sun. Walking through the woods multiple Willow Warblers & Common Chiffchaffs were on call with several Eurasian Blackcaps shooting across the path. Returning to the Main Lake the 2 Great crested Grebe (pair), were still present however no breeding attempt has been made despite courtship being observed. A single Little Grebe was also present which we do suspect a nest might be hidden within the reeds; the Mute Swans were still on the nest with eggs but no accurate count has been made yet. Mallards (7) and Tufted Ducks (6), were also on the lakes waters but again no sign of breeding despite all being paired up.

    Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) - Image by Elliot Montieth

    Common Buzzard (Buteo Buteo) - Image by Elliot Montieth
    Walking over to the B&Q Reed Bed via Star Gazer up to 4 Common Buzzards were curling over including a displaying pair with 2 Great Cormorants & 2 Mallard passing over, with at the Reed Bed its self a single Eurasian Reed Warbler (1st of spring) singing and 1 very obliging Common Chiffchaff.

    Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) - Image by Elliot Montieth

    Finishing off the walk at the Back Pools it's sad to report that there was no sign of any Eurasian Teal, Tufted Duck or the Northern Shoveler pair with just 4 Mallard (wild), 1 Grey Heron, 1 Common Moorhen, 4 Eurasian Coot & 7 Greater Canada Geese on the two ponds whilst on the River Birket a Mallard with 2 chicks were discovered.

    Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) - Image by Elliot Montieth

    Observers: Paul Beattie, Alan & Jane Howgate, Chris, Jim, & Elliot Montieth

    Sunday, 9 April 2017

    09/04/17

    Another glorious day down at the Docks to carry out the monthly WeBS today whilst Bidston was being covered by Mr Anderson. As per usual it was first off to Morpeth & Egerton Dock with a combined total of 2 Mute Swan (still) with the arrival of 2 Common Shelduck (pair) resting on the banks of the east side of Morpeth. A pair bred last year rising 5 young however all were soon predated by the local European Herring & Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

    Moving onwards to the East Float all was spookily quiet with 3 Common Shelduck (1 pair), 2 Greater Canada Geese (pair) and just 2 Great crested Grebes (pair) with a  handful of alba Wagtail passing over heading east with several Meadow Pipit, (could of been White Wagtail present in the loose flocks flying over however was unable to get clear views). Also with construction work taking place on the bridges close to the Clock Tower viewing in general is restricted.

    "Western" Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus.f. graellsii) - Not the greatest variation
    but you should be able to see that front bird has a darker tone than that of the rear bird
    which have formed one of the many pairs within the Dock complex - Image Elliot Montieth
    Moving onwards to the West Float the action started to heat up with several flocks of Linnet observed which appeared to be coming to drink before dispersing, 20c European Herring Gull of argenteus race were present along 100+ Lesser Black-backed Gull (race graellsii) with some showing some nice variation in mantle shade. Managing to move away from the Gulls a little move investigating revealed that 1 Northern Lapwing was present (distant male) along with 2 Mute Swan (Passage birds), 8 Common Shelduck and the star of the day 1 STOCK DOVE to the west of the main roost. Most defiantly going to be one of highlights of the year being one of the unexpected birds you'd see at the Docks which as you can guess is the 1st record for the Dock Complex (excluding recent record from Bidston Moss NR which is no longer counted as part of Docks due to adjustments in the WeBS Boundaries).
    Stock Dove (Columba oenas) - The "natural" habitat for the Stock Dove is of woodland
    like that found on Bidston Hill, Eastham CP & RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands. However
    this individual whilst migration has taken the decision to stop off at the Docks just 100m
    or so from the woods of Bidston Moss - Image Elliot Montieth

    Stock Dove (Columba oenas) with Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus.f.graellsii) -
    This image shows the black spots located on the rear of the bird along with head
    having the same tone of grey to that of the body which rule out both Feral Pigeon &
    Common Woodpigeon - Image Elliot Montieth

    Stock Dove (Columba oenas) - This shot showing the compact body size unlike
    that of Common Woodpigeon along with the black band on the outer wing continuing
    inwards onto the secondary's and the pale grey underwing. - Image Elliot Montieth

    Stock Dove (Columba oenas) - This image showing the pale grey panel on the
    inner wing with the absence of white band excluding Common Woodpigeon
    - Image Elliot Montieth

    For the docks that was it however over at Bidston 15 Mallards, 5 Common Moorhen, 2 Mute Swans, 2 Great crested Grebe, 11 Eurasian Coot, 7 Tufted Duck & 7 Greater Canada Goose.

    Observers: Elliot Montieth & Luke Anderson

    Saturday, 8 April 2017

    08/04/17

    Mainlake - 14 Common Chiffchaff, 4 Common Buzzard, 6 tufted duck, 2 Mute swans, 2 great crested grebe & 1 Common reed bunting

    Back Pools - 6 Greater Canada Geese, 3 Mallards, 2 Common Chaffinch, 1 Grey Heron & 4 Common Chiffchaff.

    Observer: Luke Anderson

    Thursday, 6 April 2017

    Bidston's Swans

    For those eagle eyed visitors who visit Bidston Moss and have managed to get up close to the male Mute Swan on the Main Lake, then you might have noticed a metal ring on one of its legs. Local birder and photographer Alan Howgate was recently fortunate enough to temp the bird out of the water were he was able get the code off the ring to send off to the BTO and we've now found out that he was ringed at Sefton Park, Liverpool 2 years ago.

    Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) - Image by Alan Howgate

    Tuesday, 4 April 2017

    05/04/17

    Great to get out in the field after what seems like forever. This morning was spent with Luke this for an investigation into some of the more restricted grounds surrounding Bidston Moss in order to discover more species, in particular insects for our joint Pan-List if the site. The sites Main Lake was host to 6 Barnacle Geese (flew over heading east, most likely part of the feral flock from Caldy), with 2 Great crested Grebe, 2 Mute Swan (on nest with no sign of eggs), 3 Common Moorhen, 8 Eurasian Coot, 4 Mallard with highlight being 2 calling LITTLE GREBE heard coming from the reeds close to that of the swan nest. Little Grebe along with several other species documented this spring at the moss by myself & Luke are something we'll be keeping a close eye on for breeding and if your visiting then please inform of your sightings.

    Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) - Image by Elliot Montieth

    Great crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) - Image by Elliot Montieth
    Luke guided me carefully guided us round to the wasteland and reed bed (the largest yet most under watched area of the site!) were the hunt began with Yellow-meadow (22), Myrmica sp (1) & Black Garden (5) nests, interesting to see that there was a lot of interaction between the Black Garden & Yellow-meadow. In terms of butterflies Comma (1), Peacock (4), Small Tortoiseshell (3) & Orange-Tip (2) were also being counted along with 3 species of Millipede, 5 Woodlouse, 2 Earthworm with a Caddisfly larvae sp & Ruby-tailed Wasp being the highlights. This is only a small percentage of the biodiversity we've documented since the beginning of the year (bird records extend to that since the site was first created), with more exact accounts recorded on mine and Luke's joint excel spread sheet.

    Yellow-Meadow Ant (Lasius flavus) - Image by Luke Anderson

    Comma (Polygonia c-album) - Image by Elliot Montieth



    Luke investigating one of the several Yellow-Meadow Ant nests located today
    After having spent 2 hours exploring the Main Lakes surrounding were we chanced upon Bidston's first "grounded" RING OUZEL (flushed and not relocated), a male Common Reed Bunting and the sites first European Sand Martin (3) of the year as they were observed hawking over the lake. Relocating ourselves to the Back Pools via the Woodland with 26 Common Chiffchaff & 2 Willow Warblers singing we soon came to the pools were we rounded off our trip to keep watch over the pair of Shoveler that have over wintered and paired up. Breeding Northern Shovelers would certainly be a surprised and first documented record for the site and with the birds remaining for so long and showing interest in the west pool the breeding does appear to be a likely scenario. Besides the Northern Shovelers that were present and keeping distance in the safety of the reeds, 2 Tufted Ducks were also present with the drake showing some signs of hybridisation (indicating migrant birds) with Luke picking up on the sites first Barn Swallow of the season.

    Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) - Image by Elliot Montieth

    Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) - Image by Elliot Montieth

    Observers: Elliot Montieth & Luke Anderson

    Monday, 3 April 2017

    03/04/17

    A lovely spring walk around the Moss today with the air full of love with 11 Common Chiffchaff & 4 Eurasian Blackcap in full song round the Main Lake along with 1 Great Cormorant (appeared carbo), the 2 Mute Swan (have constructed nest!), 8 Tufted Duck, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Grey Heron with 1 Eurasian Siskin seen briefly in the Alders

    Eurasian Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) - Image by Luke Anderson

    After finishing off at Bidston it was round to the Back Pools were 3 Common Chiffchaff, 2 Northern Shoveler, 8 Greater Canada Geese and 1 Common Kestrel were present.

    Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) - Image by Luke Anderson

    Observer: Luke Anderson

    Sunday, 26 March 2017

    26/03/17

    Spring is now in full swing and where else better to experience it than at Bidston starting off from the B&Q Reed Bed were the surprising find was by far and least the discovery of male Common Reed Bunting in full song! Reed Buntings are primarily a migrant species to the Moss with the occasional winter visitor with a male being seen on and off on a monthly bases through the autumn & winter in the B&Q Reed Bed so, same bird ?

    Common Reed Bunting (Phylloscopus c. collybita ) by Luke Anderson

    Despite the lack of size of the B&Q Reed Bed it has been surprising watching over it for the past 2 years especially considering the overall habitat of wet and dead reed bed interlocking with dead wet woodland. Water Rail (have bred), Common Snipe, Jack Snipe & Cetti's Warbler have all been documented in the bed so Reed Bunting is defiantly a species to keep an eye on.

    Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus c. collybita ) by Luke Anderson

    Northern Shoeveler (Anas clypeata) by Luke Anderson

    Meanwhile on the Back Pools a good diverse selection of birds were about with 1 Common Kestrel, 2 Eurasian Teal (pair), 4 Greater Canada Geese, 2 Northern Shoveler (pair) & 9 Common Chiffchaff.

    Observer: Luke Anderson





    Wednesday, 22 March 2017

    22. Jan, 2016

    After a trip to Gilroy NP and the Lighthouse of Leasowe I arrived at the Back Pools at Bidston where to kick start the patch visit were a total of 3 Common Chiffchaff (2 singing, 1 visual) along with the flock of Greater Canada Geese now building up to 30 birds (all in pairs) but there was no sign of any Shovelers or infact any Sand Martins which have been building up in numbers across the Wirral and North West.

    Next to Bidston's Main Lake was a total of 6 Common Chiffchaff with no sign of the recent Willow Warbler; however the lake was teeming with life with counts of 18 Tufted Duck, 2 Great crested Grebe, 2 Mute Swan, 12 Eurasian Coot, 6 Common Moorhen, 7 Mallard and to round it all off 1 Little Grebe with 1 Meadow Pipit over heading west.

    Due to developments on West Float it was devoid of birdlife but East Float saved the day with a grand total of 3 Eurasian Curlew & 4 Eurasian Oystercatcher, 2 Great Black-backed Gull, 5 Great Cormorant, 2 Northern Lapwing (East Wasteland) and just 7 Great crested Grebe.

    Observers: Elliot Montieth

    21/03/17

    2 Peregrine, 2 Common Buzzard and 1 Eurasian Kestrel above/around Cross Road today with Water Rails still calling from B&Q Reed Bed.

    Observer: Sue Noyce

    Tuesday, 21 March 2017

    19/03/17

    1 WILLOW WARBLER (1st of Spring for the Wirral!) was heard singing along with 3 Common Chiffchaff round the East Side of the main lake at Bidston Moss with only 7 Tufted Duck present along with the Great Crested Grebe pair.

    From along the track between the B&Q Reed Bed to the Back Pools a total of 2 Water Rail were heard calling with 1 Common Chiffchaff; and the Back Pools had a total of 3 Common Chiffchaff, 8 Canada Geese, 2 Northern Shoveler (pair), 1 Common Moorhen, 2 Mallard & 4 Eurasian Coot.

    Observers: Elliot Montieth & Luke Anderson

    If you have visited either Bidston Moss or Birkenhead Docks then report your sightings to elliotpmontieth@gmail.com so that they can be posted on the blog.

    Sunday, 12 March 2017

    11/03/17

    Another quality visit to Birkenhead Docks this morning to carry out the monthly WeBS count. I was supposed to be meeting up with students and lecturers from Liverpool John Moore's University's Wildlife Conservation course to demonstrate how to carry out a WeBS count, but disappointingly none showed up. Never the less the count continued...

    First off was the Egerton & Morpeth Dock which held a combined total of 3 Great Cormorant, the wintering pair of Mute Swans and most interesting...a single Great Crested Grebe on Morpeth; only the 2nd record for the Dock.

    An unusual site of a Great Cormorant on the banks of the Egerton Dock; went into "hiding"
    under the first arch way. Only later when looking through images that the bird appeared to
    have an injury to the left leg. (Image - Elliot Montieth)

    Great Cormorant (P.c.sinensis) candidate feeding on the Egerton Dock. Compered
    on other occasions when photographing Great Cormorant this single bird was noticeably
    more obliging then other individuals observed at the site. (Image - Elliot Montieth)

    Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) showing very well over on the Morpeth Dock this AM.
    As mentioned before only the 2nd record for Morpeth, most likely reasons for the
    occurrence is that it's either a genuine migrant or one of the birds from the East Float
    that has been displaced by a passing ship. (Image - Elliot Montieth)

    Meanwhile on the East Float I was joined by Dermot Smith where within 5mins on arrival he'd picked up both COMMON MOORHEN & EUROPEAN SHAG in amongst the roosting Great Cormorants (24) at the entrance of the Vittoria Dock. These finds account for only the 3rd record of Moorhen for the East Float & 3rd record of Shag for the entire Dock complex! Besides that there plenty of evidence that spring migration was in full swing with Lesser Redpoll, Eurasian Siskin, Northern Skylark, Common Snipe, Grey Wagtail, Common Shelduck & Mallard all knocking about/passing over. But in more exciting news 3 Common Ringed Plover were discovered on the Wasteland east of the Wallasey Flats and a "pair" appear to set up their own territory and displaying was subsequently observed! Having contacted Peel soon as I got back they'll hopefully leave the site undisturbed allowing them another successful breeding season. So far no sign of any returning Lapwing.

    European Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) with Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
    at the entrance of the Vittoria Dock on the "Cormorant Planks" (Image - Elliot Montieth)

    Mallard's are a uncommon passage migrant to the Docks with this pair being the first
    for the spring. (Image - Elliot Montieth)

    The Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna), is again primarily a passage bird to the Docks and an
    occasional breeder; only 1 breeding attempt in 2016 where all young where predated.
     (Image - Elliot Montieth)

    1 of 3 Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula) located on the Wasteland East of
    the Wallasey Flats this AM. Due to development plans this maybe the last time we see
    Common Ringed Plover making a breeding attempt. (Image - Elliot Montieth)
    Over to Seacombe next with more spring migration observations with 3 Mediterranean Gulls & 1 "White-winger" heading SE along the Mersey towards Hale & Frodsham. At the Ferry Terminal only a handful of roosting Ruddy Turnstones (20) &  Common Redshank (4) were picked up with this count shockingly lower compared to counts of the same time last year. Rounding off at the West Float just 200c assorted gulls (majority Lesser Black-backed Gull), 1 probable Water Pipit was heard along with 2 Meadow Pipit, 4 Common Shelduck, 1 Eurasian Kestrel, 1 Grey Wagtail & 4 Great Black-backed Gull.

    Further up the road at Bidston Moss a Eurasian Woodcock was discovered deep in the woods.

    Observers: Elliot Montieth, Dermot Smith, Luke Anderson


    Thursday, 9 March 2017

    08/03/17

    A quick little look round the Back Pools this evening resulted in totals being 2 Tufted Duck (pair), 26 Canada Geese, 11 Mallard, 5 Coot6 Moorhen with the B&Q holding host to 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker and 2 Bullfinch's (pair).

     Disappointingly no sign of either the Little Grebes or Shoveler at all!

    Observer: Elliot Montieth

    Wednesday, 8 March 2017

    06/03/17

    5 Tufted Duck, 29 Canada Geese, 2 Shoveler (pair) & 3 Teal were present on the Back Pools.

    Observer: Sue Noyce

    Wednesday, 1 March 2017

    01/03/2017

    2 Tufted Duck (1 adult drake & 1 female-type), on Back Pools with 2 Cormorant. 8 Long-tailed Tits & 4 Chaffinch along B&Q Reed Bed. At Cross Lane 2 Buzzard (1 noticeably larger than other individual), and 1 Peregrine!

    Observer: Sue Noyce

    Sunday, 26 February 2017

    26/02/17

    It was another trip to Back Pools & Bidston today with once again the Back Pools being the stars of the show with both LITTLE GREBES being present and active as well as 6 Teal (3 pairs) and 2 SHOVELEVER with the 1st winter drake still present but was joined today by a female which we strongly believe to be a different bird to that seen with an adult drake on the 15th of February.

    Bidston was its normal self with the Great crested Grebe pair still present and will hopefully have another successful breeding season as well as 2 Mute Swan, 14 Tufted Duck, 6 Mallard, 2 Bullfinch, 5 Moorhen, 20 Coot & 1 Water Rail (calling) behind the B&Q Reed Bed.

    Observers: Luke Anderson & Elliot Montieth

    Post Doris - 24/02/17

    A post Doris patrol started off with Egerton & Morpeth Dock this am with as per not much being present besides 2 Peregrine showing at Hamilton, 2 Mute Swans on Egerton with 2 Lesser Black-backed & 1 Great Black-backed Gull and a flock of 4 Long-tailed Tit round the hedges of Morpeth.

    Meanwhile on the East Float there was a definitive lack of birdlife with only 17 Great crested Grebe, 1 Great Black-backed Gull & 4 Cormorant. Mean while on Gull Roost there was yet another shockingly low variety of birds on the scene with only 22 Carrion Crow, 11 Lapwing, 3 Black-headed Gull, 14 Herring Gull & 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull. 1 Buzzard was observed later in the day.

    Over to Bidston & the Back Pools the main surprises came from a discovery of 2 LITTLE GREBE on the eastern Back Pool with is what seemingly looking like a potential breeding attempt and if it would be, then it would be the first documented breeding attempt (hopefully successful) of the species. Little Grebe was once a fairly common species to both the Back Pools & Bidston but over the course 2016 numbers dropped off massively with this pair of birds being the first observed since September were there was a single bird on Bidston's main lake. The reason for the decrease in records could be down to a number of factors such as an increase in disturbance at both sites as well as having to put up with an increase number of larger and more aggressive birds including primarily Canada Goose & Coot.

    1 Jack Snipe was flushed from B&Q Reed Bed.

    Observers: Luke Anderson & Elliot Montieth

    Thursday, 23 February 2017

    23/02/17

    2 Little Gull (adult & 1st winter), flew into the East Float this evening to join the Gull Roost which consisted of 2500c Black-headed Gull, 4 Meditterian Gull (All adults 2 in complete summer plumage) & 500c "large" Gulls sp flew over heading towards West Float. 1 Pied & Grey Wagtail were heard flying over the East Float along with 4 Oystercatcher, 22 Cormorant and 11 Canada Geese, with 2 Mute Swan on Egerton Dock.

    Observer: Elliot Montieth

    Sunday, 19 February 2017

    19/02/17

    Whilst on a patrol round the docks this afternoon I though that I'd try a new approach to seeing what Gulls were about, so I popped into the shops on the way down and bought some brown bread in order to attract what ever gulls were in the area. So for this plan to work I headed over to East Float to put this theory into action.

    On arrival 21 Great crested Grebe, 2 Oystercatchers, 8 Canada Geese, 15 Cormorant (1 sinensis) and 1 Skylark (flyover) were present, mean while when the plan was put into gulls attract included: 17 Herring Gull, 5 Black-headed Gull, 2 Lesser black-backed Gull & 1 Great Black-backed Gull were all that were present; rather disappointing results.

    Afterwards it was round to Seacombe Ferry were on the banks of the Alfred Dock adjacent to the bridge a 1st winter male STONECHAT was flushed and shortly afterwards relocated in the buddleia were the bird showed extremely well for a 10 minute period before the observers departed. This is the first record for the Docks with the only other record coming from an unconfirmed report from Bidston Moss in 2007.  

    1st winter male Stonechat (Image - Elliot Montieth)
    Over at Seacombe all was again very quiet gull wise with fewer than 30 present with the Ferry Terminal hosting just 10c Redshank and 15c Turnstone.


    The Gull Roost was also quiet with just 1 Mute Swan (5 were present on the 15th), 10 Shelduck and 1 Buzzard. Bidston Moss and the Back Pools how ever were slightly more "exciting" with joint totals of 2 Great crested Grebe, 4 Teal and 4 Tufted Duck.

    observers: Elliot Montieth & Luke Anderson