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 (below).
Stock Pigeon to Sand Martin.
Swallow to Wren.
Hedge Accentor to Blackbird.
Fieldfare to Garden Warbler.
Blackcap to Coal Tit.
Blue Tit to Chaffinch.
Greenfinch to Reed Bunting.

Black-legged Kittiwake                            Rissa tridactyla 
Rare passage
2 off West Kirby April 7th. 22 off Red Rocks September 16th. was the peak autumnal count.
[This species just manages to be recorded annually off West Kirby, but in very small number. An average year.]

Sandwich Tern                                                 Sterna sandviciensis 
Summer visitor
First :- 3 April 7th.
Peak count :- 421 July 30th.
Last :- 1 October 19th.
[ This is invariably the first, last and commonest tern to be recorded from West Kirby. Large numbers tend to build on the shore from the middle of July and reach a peak in August. April 30th was the date of last years first record and the last was seen on October 5th. Although there are no threshold figures set for Nationally Important numbers of terns the Dee is the third most important site in Britain and is just under 500 birds short of qualifying for designation as Internationally Important.] 

Common Tern                                         S. hirundo 
Summer visitor 
First :- 6 March 15th
Peak count :- 121 August 20th
Last :- 3 September 21st.
[ The second commonest tern to be recorded from the site, although size of the breeding population further up the river should result in much higher numbers on the shore. The first birds, last year, were seen on May 9th with the last on September 30th. Yet again, the Dee is the third most important site for this species of tern but is a very long way off International Importance.] 

Arctic Tern                                                          S. paradisea 
First :- 1 March 15th
Peak count :- 7 July 27th. + 30th. 
Last :- 4 September 12th.
[The number of birds recorded during the spring was exceptional with a minimum of 75 recorded during the first passage period. Careful checking of migrating tern flocks should reveal many more than are normally noted.]

Little Tern                                                            S. albifrons 
Summer visitor
First :- 2 May 9th 
Peak count :- 91 July 21st.
Last :- 2 September 3rd.
[After a disastrous breeding season this year at Gronant, where just a single young fledged, it is not surprising that all birds recorded from West Kirby were adults. Although this breeding season was equal third in the lowest number of young raised, the overall trend in the area still remains upward with over 100 young being raised in each of four of the last 10 years. The presence of this colony makes the Dee the most important site in Britain for Little Tern and the mean figure for the last five years shows we are only 69 birds away from International Importance. The extreme dates last year were May 12th and September 18th.]

Black Tern                                                      Chlidonias niger 
2 August 19th, 5 September 3rd.
[Although Black Tern are regularly seen in small numbers from Hilbre we are probably too far inside the mouth of the river for them to be regularly recorded from West Kirby shore. The first birds were recorded flying over the dunes, and were picked up 30 minutes later at Gilroy NP. This was the best year ever, for this species, since the wardening scheme started.]

Common Guillemot                                      Uria aalge 
Scarce visitor
Small numbers were recorded, mainly in flight, off Red Rocks from April to October with a peak of c.95 September 30th.
[ Guillemot are the commonest auk to be recorded from the wardening site and have, on occasions, be seen on the Marine Lake. This was rather a poor year for records.]

Razorbill                                                               Alca torda 
35 past Red Rocks October 28th. was the only report of the year.
[This is the first report of Razorbill for the wardens for nearly 10 years. Lack of consistent observer coverage at Red Rocks is probably to blame, as they are recorded frequently off Hilbre and North Wirral.]

Atlantic Puffin                                                   Fratercula arctica 
County Rarity
3 reported off Red Rocks / Hoylake Octoer 28th. ( JE. Turner )
[ A rather surprising species to be considered a rarity but, as with many sea birds, confusion over identification is the problem. Awaiting confirmation from CAWOS Rarities Committee.]

Rock Pigeon Columba livia 
Feral resident
Peak count :- 43 October 18th.
[ The number of feral pigeons on the shore remains at a constant level even though numbers in the center of West Kirby have fallen. As Peregrine evolved to take pigeons why do they always appear to go for waders and leave the much easier prey, in the form of 'Mickies', alone ? ]

Stock Pigeon to Sand Martin.