The Dee Estuary Voluntary Wardens Bird Report  2001

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Systematic list - 
Mediterranean Gull to Great Black-backed Gull.
Kittiwake to Rock Pigeon.
Stock Pigeon to Sand Martin.
Swallow to Wren.
Hedge Accentor to Blackbird.
Fieldfare to Garden Warbler.
Blackcap to Coal Tit.

Blue Tit to Chaffinch (below).
Greenfinch to Reed Bunting.

Blue Tit                                                              P. caeruleus 
Present throughout. Peak count 14 September 29th.
[The July movement of warblers and tits contained all common species of tit with 11 Blue Tit on July 27th.. There was very little noticeable movement of Blue Tit during the main migration periods.]

Great Tit                                                          P. major 
Present throughout
[ Although Great Tit were involved in the summer movement of small birds they were not particularly noticeable. Numbers on site at this time were no greater than normal, but as individuals were seen to be moving with the flocks, it was potentially higher.]

Eurasian Jay                                             Garrulus glandarius 
Autumn passage visitor
2 July 4th., 3 July 9th., 2 July 12th., 14th. and 19th., September 17th. and 21st. 1 October 10th. and 21st. 2 October 22nd., 27th., 28th., 30th. All birds were noted in flight.
[ Like the movement of warblers and tits later on in July, the mid-summer records of Jay are unprecedented and remain inexplicable. Autumn dispersal is usually more noticeable slightly inland, with an all time peak daily count over Hoylake Langfields of 157 in 1996. This was the highest total recorded in a year from the site.] 

Black-billed Magpie                               Pica pica 
Present throughout with a peak of 17 on April 12th. Up to 6 birds were resident on site during the summer.
[ The spread of this much maligned corvid continues, and it is probably one of the commonest, and definitely the most noticeable, garden bird in the area. Peak counts have been calculated as the number of birds present at any one time and not over a set period, such as a day, which can result in the same birds being counted twice or more.]

Eurasian Jackdaw                                 Corvus monedula 
Small numbers present throughout with a peak of 39 October 23rd.
[ Until comparatively recently the nearest places to see Jackdaw were Heswall town center and Birkenhead but there is a resident flock of c. 40 - 50 around the West Kirby area now. As corvids rate alongside waders in the editors admiration this is a welcome improvement to the avifauna of the area.] 

Carrion Crow                                             C. corone 
Present throughout with a peak of 27 on the shore January 24th. Up to 6 birds were resident on the shore during the summer.
[Carrion Crow are to be found on the shore throughout the year and have become used to walkers and dogs. On April 3rd. 2 birds were feeding along the edge of the saltmarsh when a very small Yorkshire Terrier started to chase them. The birds responded in their usual manner by just moving out of the way but the dog continued to harass them. After c.5 minutes the crows turned on the dog, beating it with their wings, pecking at its head and pulling lumps of fur out. By the time the owner had rescued it the dog was half way to Hilbre and extremely subdued. Perhaps the Wardens should invest in something similar, but much larger.] 

Northern Raven                                                    C. corax 
Scarce winter visitor
1 July 20th., 1 August 7th., 1 September 17th., 2 October 1st., 1 on 4th., 2 on 21st., 2 on 23rd. 2 November 6th. All except the first 2 in October were recorded as flying over.
[ With birds nesting as close as Liverpool and Chester, Raven are becoming more commonly recorded from the site and this was probably the highest year total recorded from the site, ever. The 2 summer records are unusual but IMF had Raven throughout August, with a peak of 9 on the 13th. Most sightings, until this year, have been from the middle and late winter as birds return to their nesting sites.]

Common Starling                                          Sturnus vulgaris 
Peak count 1st. winter period :- 26 January 19th.
Peak count for year :- 147 July 31st
Peak count 2nd. winter period :- 93 September 26th.
[ As with many passerines in the early part of the year, Hoylake Langfields was the place to be. Numbers on the shore were only 13% of those recorded in the 1st winter period last year. The peak year count in July consisted of 109 juveniles and 38 adults. ] 

House Sparrow                                         Passer domestica 
Peak monthly counts :-

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
19 21 11 16 41  n/c 53 39 23 9 12 5

[ When the editor was setting up this years report he wondered 'Are House Sparrow's as scarce on site as the records show, or are they under-recorded?' After making a special effort it can be reported that Sparrows are not under-recorded, they are just ignored. Falling House Sparrow numbers have, over the last decade or so, become a concern for conservation organisations with surveys reporting a massive decline, and even the extinction, of birds from some areas, but is this the pattern across the whole country? Are there areas in which 'Spuggies' are still common, but have become the avian equivalent of 'The Purloined Letter'?]

Tree Sparrow                                            P. montanus 
Rare passage visitor
2 October 4th. at Red Rocks was the only record for the year.
[ Tree Sparrow are much scarcer than the above species but are fairly widespread in the general area. The appearance of very small numbers during either passage period is fairly regular on site. ]

Common Chaffinch                               Fringilla coelebs 
Winter visitor
Peak count 1st. winter period :- 4 March 6th.
Peak count 2nd passage period :- 31 between 0730 and0830 hrs. October 16th..
Peak count 2nd winter period :- 7 December 3rd.
[ Chaffinch are one of the scarcest of the resident British finches to be found on site. The figure for the first part of the year reflects the use of Hoylake Langfields as the main wintering area for many small passerines with mixed flocks of finches reaching 100.]

Greenfinch to Reed Bunting.