Spring brings mixed times to the Docks as when one graceful bird departs (Great Crested Grebe), another arrives (Common Tern). The Docks are full with the sounds of rasping Terns, shrilling Oystercatchers and the "long calls" of the 3 breeding species of Gulls trying to find there next home to raise a family. Infact the Docks are the only place in Cheshire were you may find Great Black-backed Gull. While this is all happening keep your eyes open for the Cormorants and see weather you can spot any Sinensis raced Cormorants in there magnificent spring courtship plumage. Typical birds you stand a chance of seeing round the Docks include Wheatear, Common Whitethroat, Common & Sandwich Tern along with Lapwing, Ringed Plover & Raven!
As the weather hot's up so does the action! The breeding season is in full swing at the Docks, the Terns will be running the gauntlet trying not to get caught by the much larger and predatory Herring, Lesser & Great Black-backed Gulls. Meanwhile Peregrine Falcons and Northern Raven will be battling in the skies above, where as on the ground Common Ringed Plover, Eurasian Oystercatcher and Northern Lapwing will be doing there best to hide there chicks from the multitude of threats in all shapes and sizes. When while on the beloved East Float there'll still be a handful of charming Great crested Grebes bobbing about, in what has to be the most transfixing plumage of all the Docks birdlife.
Autumn sees the action slowly die down in the Docks as they prepare them self's for another winter. The Tern young will be fully fledged and starting to venture away from the Docks with the adults to the mouth of the Dee Estuary before there 5,000 KM flight back to the west coast of Africa. The Great Crested Grebes will be back at the Docks ready to spent another winter. As the numbers of Herring, Common, Black-headed, Greater and Lesser Black-backed Gulls increase dramatically, it would be a good idea for any visiting the Docks to check the Gull roosts to see if there's any Mediterranean Gulls about, you never know there might be something rarer hidden amongst them! Autumn is also the best to find any unusual visitors to the Docks; in the past there's been Eurasian Spoonbill, Black Tern, Common Scoter, Yellow-browed Warbler, Manx Shearwater, Red-necked Phalarope & even Leach's Strom Petrel!
|Black Tern (Jeff Cohen) - A rare and barley annual species to the Docks but if your|
lucky enough in the Spring or Autumn then you maybe able to get a glace as they pass
past Seacombe and on occasion, the East Float!
Eurasian Spoonbill (Elliot Montieth) - During autumn anything can happen, and
no matter how unreal in birding anything can happen, even a Eurasian Spoonbill
making a flyby along the East Float!
Common Scoter (Elliot Montieth) - During the autumn, strong gales can sometimes
bring some rather unexpected visitors which your most likely out on the open sea,
such this beautiful Common Scoter!
Meditterian Gull (Elliot Montieth) - As the breeding season is over and
done with, the Med Gulls are back on the move were up to 5
can be seen during a high tide watch at Seacombe & Woodside in there snow
white winter plumage
In the winter the Docks are transformed into a winter wonderland. The Docks are jam packed with Great crested Grebes, Cormorants, Corvids, Pied and Grey Wagtails, Starlings, Goldfinches and of course the Gulls. During periods of bad weather birds such as Common Scoter, which you usually see as small black dots on the horizon can be pushed onto the Docks giving great views, along with numbers of Great crested Grebes shooting through roof. There's been as many as 60 birds in the Docks after a period of bad weather. It was during a period of bad weather in January 2015 that a Grey Phalarope was spotted on the Mersey.
Bohemian Waxwing (Elliot Montieth) - I very rare visitor which only occurs
during "irruption years" were several thousand invade the UK. In the 2013
irruption a flock of over 150 of these Siberian gems wintered at Hamilton Square.
Common Snipe (Elliot Montieth) - One of the Docks most surprising and unsuspecting
winter birds with up to 60 wintering in the Buddleia along Beauford Road, adjacent
to the West Float.
|Grey Phalarope (Elliot Montieth) - Winter can be a surprising time of year|
with all sorts turning up. This shocking find of a 1st winter Grey Phalarope
proves that with this beauty found feeding off Seacombe Ferry Terminal on the
4th of January!