Having been separated from the patch for several months, it was good to be back down at the docks today for carry out the monthly Wetlands Bird Survey (WeBS). Compared to other October counts I’d done over the 3 years I’ve been performing WeBS at Birkenhead Docks, 2017’s has by far been the least productive in terms of numbers with species such as Great Cormorant and Great crested Grebe both down by a third compared to previous counts.
Numbers weren’t on side however migrants were: Great Spotted Woodpecker (3rd record), came in off the Mersey whilst Common Skylarks and Redwings were passing overhead in a steady stream throughout the day, with singles of Meadow Pipit and Chaffinch also of note. Highlight migrants however comes down to two species which were both new additions to the dock list, rounding it up nicely to 184 – Ruff and Yellow-browed Warbler.
The Ruff (juvenile), was discovered on the scrapes running adjacent to Beauford Road in amongst a loose flock of Northern Lapwing and remained till 13:12 when it was flushed by a Peregrine Falcon and subsequently unable to be relocated. Whereas the Yellow-browed Warbler was located on call from within the plantation on the east bank of Morpeth Dock.
Besides the Ruff and Yellow-browed Warbler then the last species of note was a Mediterranean Gull that made a brief appearance in the gull roost before heading out towards New Brighton. The Meds have been some what scarce this year compared to the previous two with just 9 records (21/2015 & 32/2016), for the year, so stumbling across this bird was something to feel good about.