Monday, 9 October 2017

08/10/17

A good tour round the docks today for todays WeBS; the count was kick started with the docks third record of Great Spotted Woodpecker coming in fresh off the Mersey off the inlet whilst the docks first record of Yellow-browed Warbler was heard calling in a loose tit flock in the plantation east of Morpeth dock.

The waters of Morpeth and Egerton were as usual quiet with three Great Cormorant and one Mute Swan. Whilst overhead two Redwing, four Blackbird, one Grey Wagtail and nine Pied Wagtail were logged heading west. 

Ruff (Philomachus pugnax) - Elliot's Birding Dairies 
East Float seemed to be struggling to hold the top dog title today with the product of an hours watch being only four Great Black-backed Gull, one Peregrine Falcon, 11 Great crested Grebe, six Common Skylark, one Common Chaffinch and ten Great Cormorant being logged. The absence of any Greater Canada Geese was somewhat of a relief whilst the numbers of Great Cormorant and Great crested Grebe were down by almost a third on last years October WeBS.

Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus) - Elliot's Birding Dairies 
For once it was the West Float that stole the show, something that doesn't happen fairly often! Reasons being due to the discovery of a juvenile Ruff amongst a flock of 37 Northern Lapwing, with a supporting cast of six Grey Heron, one Raven and one Mediterranean Gull. Ruff was the second first for the docks to be found today and given that were currently witnessing an explosion year for the species (100+ documented at Frodsham!), it was surely a matter of time before one would be discovered.

Observers: Elliot Montieth & Luke Anderson 

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 three Meditterian Gulls (highest this autumn), joined in one of which was that observed on the 15th.

Lesser Black-backed Gull (ssp.graellsii) - Elliot's Birding Diaries 

Meditterian Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus) - Elliot's Birding Diaries 

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

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) - Elliot's Birding Diaries 

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, one Common Sandpiper, two Great Cormorant & a flock of eight Black-headed Gull, one Great Black-backed Gull, four Lesser Black-backed Gull & five 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) & a good candidate for Roseate Tern was 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) - Elliot's Birding Diaries 
A supporting cast for the East Float consisted of one Great crested Grebe, 20 Greater Canada Geese, 17 Great Cormorant, two Great Black-backed Gull, seven Black-headed Gull, five Northern Lapwing, five 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) - Elliot's Birding Diaries
Next up at the Gull Roost only a handful of Lesser Black-backed Gulls were around with two Great Black-backed Gull; The vast majority of todays roost was located along Wallasey Bridge Road that held host to 23 Black-headed Gull,112 European Herring Gull, 78 Lesser Black-backed Gull and with two Common Gull located amongst the roost.

Common Gull (Larus canus) - Elliot's Birding Diaries 
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: two Great Black-backed Gull, 17 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 32 European Herring Gull, 49 Black-headed Gull 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) - Elliot's Birding Diaries 

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