North Wirral: Sea Watching

Having only a single period for the day in College I decided to spend the rest of day scouring the north Wirral coastline, Hoylake to New Brighton and then up the river Mersey to Seacombe in ideal sea watching conditions.

Hoylake was relatively quiet and with only a monocular and camera on hand sea watching was pretty much useless due to the sand bank generating two meter high waves. Despite this factor a single adult pale phase Pomarine Skua along with five Northern Pintail were logged heading west between 10:45 – 11:20; the first being a county tick (235th) and the latter being the first time I’ve encountered off north Wirral waters, with the flock containing a 1st winter drake and four female/immature-types.

Highlight from Hoylake was undoubtedly though picking up a ‘Scandinavian’ Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus intermedius), from amongst the scattered gull flocks along the shore. Given how striking these birds may appear,  it’s only the second time I’ve encountered this particular subspecies in both Cheshire and Britain and as for county status, well know one knows as very few know what to look out for.

Scandy LBBG 1 poss
‘Scandinavian’ Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus intermedius) – Hoylake, Cheshire

Hitched a lift New Brighton to join J. Tymon and P. Lee for river watching of the Mersey mouth logging anything from Leach’s Storm Petrels to Northern Gannet and Common Scoter exiting the river once winds had dropped. Compared to the last visit to New Brighton where I clocked up to 53 Leach’s, today’s efforts were rewarded with a mere 13, all of which due to the winds so for those on the adjacent bank at Crosby and Seaforth, lucky you.

A single Leach’s came within a respectful photographable range at one point as did a party of 9 Red-throated Diver which evaded the lens, but singles continued to exit including a stonking summer plumaged bird that jolted past with a record shot being required.

Sum Plum RTD
Red-throated Diver (Gavia stellate) – New Brighton, Cheshire
New Brighton Leach's
Leach’s Storm Petrel (Oceanodroma leucorhoa) – New Brighton, Cheshire

Later on walking back up to the Docks I stumbled across a party of Common Ringed Plover which on the banks of the Mersey isn’t that special, were nationally important for the species. But a bit of work revealed a rather attractive fella showing some characteristics of the race tundrae.

Ringo ssp
Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hitaticula) – Showing features of race tundrae 
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