Leach's Storm-petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa ©Steve Round Website
Birding Merseyside

Merseyside was a metropolitan county in North West England, with a population of 1.38 million. It encompasses the metropolitan area centred on both banks of the lower reaches of the Mersey Estuary, and comprises five metropolitan boroughs: Knowsley, St. Helens, Sefton, Wirral, and the city of Liverpool. It takes its name from the River Mersey. It is superseded by what the government calls: Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral Combined Authority – that might, more sensibly be called Greater Liverpool to be in keeping with other unified metropolitan authorities. Despite parts of the are being historically part of Lancashire or Cheshire the majority of people, according to polls identify with the Mersyside label.Merseyside spans 249 square miles (645 km2) of land which border Lancashire (to the north-east), Greater Manchester (to the east), Cheshire (to the south and south-east) and the Irish Sea to the west. North Wales is across the Dee Estuary. There is a mix of high density urban areas, suburbs, semi-rural and rural locations in Merseyside, but overwhelmingly the land use is urban.Merseyside is divided into two parts by the Mersey Estuary, the Wirral is located on the west side of the estuary, upon the Wirral Peninsula and the rest of the county is located on the east side of the estuary. The eastern part of Merseyside borders onto Lancashire to the north, Greater Manchester to the east, with both parts of the county bordering Cheshire to the south. The two parts are linked by the two Mersey Tunnels, the Wirral Line of Merseyrail, and the Mersey Ferry.While mostly urban there are rural parts and parks offering some birding opportunities but the biggest attraction is the Mersey estuary and sea. It is also within very easy reach of some excellent birding sites in neighbouring counties. In terms of avian records it is divided between Lancashire and Cheshire ‘vice’ counties.

Top Sites
  • Marshside, Southport

    WebpageSatellite View
    An RSPB reserve consisting of rough grassland and marsh just off the Ribble estuary. A favourite haunt of 3,000 to 4,000 Golden Plover this area also attracts up to 1,000 Black-tailed Godwit at high tide. Rarer visitors seen recently are Little Egret, Spoonbill, Marsh Harrier and a variety of waders on passage.
  • Seaforth, Bootle

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    Visually an unprepossessing place set in the middle of Seaforth Docks this reserve supports impressive numbers of gulls, terns and waders. Birds include regular sightings of Sabine's, Mediterranean and Little gulls. The reserve overlooks the mouth of the river Mersey and is an excellent sea-watching site. On shore gales can bring in Leach’s and Storm Petrel, Skuas and Shearwaters.
  • Woolston Eyes

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    800+ acres of wetland between the ship canal and river Mersey. Large numbers of duck are present in the winter including thousands of tea. 30 odd species of waders are observed during spring and autumn passage.
County Recorder
  • Hugh Pulsford - Cheshire & Wirral

    6 Buttermere Drive, Great Warford, Alderley Edge, Cheshire SK9 7WA

    01565 880171

  • Steve White - North Merseyside

    102 Minster Court, Crown Street, Liverpool L7 3QD

    0151 707 2744

Useful Reading

  • Atlas of Breeding Birds of Lancashire and North Merseyside 1997-2000

    | By Robert Pyefinch & Peter Golborn | Hobby Publications | 2001 | Hardback | 408 pages, 8 col plates, b/w illustrations, maps | ISBN: 9781872839080 Buy this book from
  • Birds in Cheshire and Wirral - A Breeding and Wintering Atlas

    | By David Norman | Liverpool University Press | 2008 | Hardback | 676 pages, 300 col photos, distribution maps | ISBN: 9781846311529 Buy this book from
  • Where to Watch Birds in North West England & Isle of Man

    | By Allan Conlin, Dr J P Cullen, Pete Marsh, Tristan Reid, Chris Sharpe, Judith Smith & Stephen Williams | Christopher Helm | 2008 | Paperback | 287 pages, 30 line illustrations, 50 maps | ISBN: 9780713664218 Buy this book from
  • Cheshire and Wirral Ornithological Society

    David Cogger, 113 Nantwich Road, Middlewich, Cheshire, CW10 9HD. 01606 832 517 The Cheshire and Wirral Ornithological Society. The county society that has so much to offer
  • Merseyside Naturalists Association

    The MNA arranges indoor and outdoor meetings on wildlife in the North West of England and North Wales area.The MNA caters for a wide variety of natural history interests. We have an extensive programme of field meetings by private transport and also by coach. During the winter months we have a programme of illustrated lectures. An annual illustrated newsletter is sent to all members…
  • Merseyside Ringing Group

    The Merseyside Ringing Group operates in Merseyside, Cheshire, Wirral and North Wales.
  • RSPB Liverpool Local Group

    To the Liverpool Members Group of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. The group was formed in 1972 to support the work of the RSPB in protecting birds and their environment. Liverpool is centrally placed in a string of coastal sites and reserves from Leighton Moss and Morcambe bay in the north to Glan Conwy in the west. While the upland areas of the Pennines, Snowdonia, and the Lake District are easily reached. Along the coast to the north of the city a line of local and national nature reserves take the birdwatcher to the River Ribble estuary while to the south lie the estuaries of the Mersey and Dee which are of international importance for wintering wildfowl and waders…
  • RSPB Wirral Local Group

    This is the website of the Wirral Local Group - Programmes, committee etc…
  • Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester & North Merseyside

    We are part of the Wildlife Trusts movement, the UK's leading conservation charity dedicated to all wildlife. We are your local charity, working hard to improve your local area for wildlife and for you. Since 1912, The Wildlife Trusts have been speaking out for nature in the UK. Our organisation is unique - while most of our work for wildlife takes place at local grassroots level, we have a national voice
  • Wirral Barn Owl Trust

    In 1999, Cheshire Wildlife Trust, the R.S.P.B. and Wirral Ranger Service got together and invited interested people to the inaugural meeting of The Wirral & Ellesmere Port Barn Owl Group. The group had an initial membership of 33 people
  • Wirral Bird Club

    Wirral is blessed with a wide range of different landscapes, including woods, farmland, reed beds, salt-marsh and lowland heath. The varying habitats are occupied by many different species, making the region an excellent base for bird-watching..

Abbreviations Key

  • LWT Seaforth Nature Reserve

    WebpageSatellite View
    An area of 30ha in the heart of the Liverpool Docks at the mouth of the Mersey, comprising two lagoons surrounded by tipped infill, and a small reedbed. A major roosting site for waders and seabirds; large numbers of ducks in winter; nationally important for spring passage Little Gulls….
  • Moore Nature Reserve

    WebpageSatellite View
    Moore Nature Reserve comprises almost 200 acres of woodland, meadows, lakes and ponds and is home to many diverse species of plants, animals, birds and other wildlife. The nature reserve is well known for its varied bird life and many interesting birds can be found either as year-round residents or seasonal visitors.
  • RSPB Marshside

    WebpageSatellite View
    Part of the internationally important Ribble Estuary, Marshside has some of the best lowland wet grassland in the north-west of England. It is an important refuge in winter for pink-footed geese, wigeon, black-tailed godwits and golden plovers and in spring provides nesting places for lapwings and redshanks, which are declining elsewhere…
  • Woolston Eyes Bird Reserve

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Woolston Eyes Conservation Group, a voluntary organisation formed in 1979, manages the rich and varied wildlife of the deposit grounds with the agreement of the Manchester Ship Canal Company. Its aim is to promote the study and conservation of the wildlife and habitat of the area with particular regard to the ornithology. The group undertakes management work to preserve or maximise the ornithological value of the Reserve, provides and maintains hides for the use of the public and permit holders, keeps the paths open and discourages disturbance. The group produces an Annual Report which summarises the work carried out and the results obtained including the scientific study of the flora and fauna of the Reserve. To carry out this work the group raises funds by the sale of Permits, Annual Reports and by applying for grants from various organisations…
Forums & Mailing Lists
  • Cheshire and Wirral Birding News

    Welcome to Cheshire and Wirral birding.This blog will be updated with bird news from around the county on a daily basis.
Other Links
  • Dee Estuary Birding

    The north Wirral shore - vast sand banks, promenades, embankments and sand dunes. The area is heavily used as a recreational area but despite this still holds huge numbers of birds. The sand banks are renowned for their large flocks of waders, especially Knot and Bar-tailed Godwit whereas inland a good variety of habitat includes sand-dunes, ponds, streams, reed-beds and un-spoiled meadows
  • Danny Foy - South Liverpool Birder

    Hi my name is Danny Foy, I am a South Liverpool based birder and all round naturalist, I am an Ecologist working for WYG, and have worked for a number of ecological consultancy firms. Through my work I am lucky enough to travel widely and experience a wide variety of British flora and fauna. I have a passion for local wildlife and making nature accessible for more people; this blog reveals my sightings from my wanderings further afield but most importantly highlights my local sightings and introduces sites of interest for local naturalists.
  • Elliot Montieth - Elliot's Birding Diaries

    Elliot Montieth is a life-long avian enthusiast. Inspired by a childhood visit to WWT Martin Mere, he quickly became captivated by all aspects of birds, in particular the identification of age, sex and subspecies which is aided by his Asperger’s Syndrome. From his early teens, Elliot became an avid patch and county-worker that subsequently lead to a taste for twitching, as well as keen interest in migration and vagrancy potential.
  • Phil Woollen - A Wirral Birders Blog

    Welcome to my blog about birding on the Wirral, in Cheshire and beyond. This blog will be updated regularly to include photographs of birds (and other wildlife) I've photographed both in the UK and abroad.
  • St Helens Birds and Wildlife

    A multi-contributor blog covering all aspects of wildlife in St Helens. Please see the "Report a Sighting" tab or use the contact form if you would like to contribute.
Photographers & Artists
  • Photographer - Richard Steel

    Most of my photography is undertaken locally on Merseyside, the Wirral and in North Wales but I always like to try and take a camera with me when I travel anywhere, just in case the opportunity arises
  • Photographer - Steven Round - Wildlife Photography Blog

    I am a full time wildlife photographer based in the North West of England. I concentrate mainly on bird photography and use Canon equipment. Regular posting of new images and notes from a full time wildlife photographer

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