Seasonal Highlights


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!

Meditterian Gull (Elliot Montieth) - By far one of the most beautiful members
of the Gull family can be found passing through the Dock complex each spring &
autumn on return to there breeding grounds. At first them appear identical to there
cousin the Black-headed Gull, but once you notice the thicker bill, jet back head
of the summer plumaged adult and snow white wing tips, they start to stand out
like a soar thumb.
Common Chiffchaff (Elliot Montieth) - By far the most iconic and joyful sounds
of spring. This is one of only a handful of warblers which tough out our winters
and are one of the first signs of spring as they fill the air with there unforgettable
"Chiff-chaff-chiff-chaff-chiff-chaff" song.
White Wagtail (Elliot Montieth) - Like Wheatear the "White" Wagtail is another
Spring migrant to the Docks and does need carful attention to identify so not to get
confused with the extremely similar "Pied" Wagtail. These beautiful birdies will
winter on the continent and fly all the way up to ICELAND to breed.
Greenland Wheatear (Elliot Montieth) - The "Wheatear" is a true and iconic
spring migrant, which not like all can be found within the Docks. These birds
love a bit of rough land and short vegetation, so were else better than the Wasteland
of the East Float (N&S of Wallasey Flats), and the West Float Gull Roost. Most
Years you'll get a few singles, but every so often you'll get a fall were up to 30
birds can be within a single flock!


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.

Northern Lapwing (Elliot Montieth) - These graceful waders are one of Urban
Natures finest birds as they often one of the first species to take advantage of
barren land to breed on. Besides the Docks Lapwing have been noticed coming into
roost on the roofs of nearby buildings just outside of Manchester Piccadilly!

Great crested Grebe (Elliot Montieth) - One of the star species of the Docks. This
wetland wonder is most often associated as a winter bird to the Dock complex with
the returning pair breeding over on Bidston Moss. Yet a handful of birds fail to
breed and/or don't move and stay faithful to the Docks all summer were you can
witness them in their drop dead gorgeous summer plums. 

Common Ringed Plover (Elliot Montieth) - Besides Northern Lapwing & Eurasian
Oystercatcher, there is also a 3rd species of wader which breeds around the Docks
Common Ringed Plover. These tinny birdies can only be found during the summer
months around the Docks and 2 breeding sites have been confirmed in the Dock

Common Tern (Elliot Montieth) - The Docks star species. This swallow of the seas
only colony and annual breeding site can be found here, in Birkenhead Docks, it was
this spectacular find made by yours truly that first got the Docks in the eyes of both
local and national ornithologists and is species which is currently being studied.


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.
Greater Scaup (Elliot Montieth) - During strong westerly and northerly winds
or periods were inland water bodies are frozen over, then the East Float is an ideal
place to go in search of rare waterfowl, such as this stunning 1st winter drake
Greater Scaup: Common Goldeneye, Common Scoter & Goosander have also
been recorded on the float. 
Great Northern Diver (Elliot Montieth) - Along with rare waterfowl, the East Float
of Birkenhead Docks also every so often have a much rarer group of birds on its
waters, Divers. To date only 2 out of the 5 species which occur in the UK have
appeared in and around the Docks: Great Northern & Red-throated.

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!

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