Sunday, 23 April 2017


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


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


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


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


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


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