Wednesday, 16 April 2014

16th April 2014

Weather SE force 4/5 slight mist, cool
Grasshopper Warbler (SRR)


Following 4 firsts for the year yesterday, another today when a Grasshopper Warbler was heard reeling by the 'heli' trap early morning. It evaded capture until noon, by which time it was realised there were 2 birds on the island when another was heard at the south end.

Another 'first' was the sight of a Little Egret at the main island pond in the late afternoon, something all agreed was a unique occurrence.

Little Egret by the pond
Fifteen Willow Warblers during the morning was similar to yesterday but there were far fewer finches. Of the 2 Redpolls trapped, one turned out to be a control (ringed elsewhere), the first such control this year. Two Tree Pipits called overhead soon after dawn, more regular migrants included a Greenland Wheatear, 2 Pied and 3 White Wagtails, 7 Swallows, 4 Sand Martins, 1 House Martin and a Skylark that landed briefly on the west side.

control Lesser Redpoll
 At about 7pm a chorus of noise from the gulls alerted a member to the arrival of an Osprey from the west which crossed between the islands and flew out to the distant tide to catch a fish and proceed to eat it on the east hoyle bank. This becomes the third at Hilbre this spring and more are still possible as we go through April and May.
male Blackcap (CJ)
Slightly less exciting records today were of 5 Red-throated Divers, 8 Sandwich and 1 'commic' tern, 1 Gannet, 30 Sanderling and 15 Ringed Plover. Two males and a female Mallard are now at the main island pond.
Ringed:- 10 Willow Warblers, 1 Chiffchaff,1 Greenland Wheatear, 2 Blackcaps, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Wren, 1 Robin, 3 Linnets, 1 Lesser Redpoll.                    [ 215-23 ]
(DB,MSC+2,CJ, et al) +SRR&LPL

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

15th April 2014

Weather :- SE 3/4 slight mist
Redpoll showing some features of Common Redpoll
male Lesser Redpoll
Spring sprung into top gear this morning with 57 bird species recorded and 36 birds ringed by the end of the day. The first small fall of Willow Warblers (12), and Chiffchaffs (5), were backed up by good finch numbers (22 Lesser Redpolls, 21 Goldfinches, 2 Siskins and one each of Greenfinch and Chaffinch) a House Sparrow. Other small bird entries on the log were 5  alba wagtails and a single Goldcrest.and a wide variety of other goodies including no less than 5 firsts for the year:- 1 Arctic Tern, 3 Whimbrel, 2 female and 2 male Blackcaps (the female first caught still had pollen adhering above the bill), 2 Tree Pipits and a Yellow Wagtail passing. One of the Redpolls appeared to be a Common Redpoll type (long winged, big billed, pale undertail coverts but otherwise like lesser, however biometrics could not decide the issue). The hirundine total reached 8 Swallows, 3 Sand Martins and 2 House Martins, and while 12 Wheatears were counted it didn't seem so to observers as none stayed long enough to be much noticed (or ringed).
House Sparrow

Unexpected records today included 5 Canada and 2 Greylag geese, a Raven, a Jackdaw, 2 Woodpigeons, and 2 Buzzards over Hoylake. On the sea were 1 Red-throated Diver, 2 Great Crested Grebes, 4 Guillemots, 2 Razorbills, and 19 Sandwich Terns in addition to the Arctic. Five thousand Common Scoters lifted off from the north west sea for no perceptible reason. Wader numbers are naturally down from the winter with 1,100 Oystercatchers, 18 Ringed Plovers,12 Sanderling, 10 Turnstone and 45 Curlew logged.

Ringed :- 10 Willow Warblers, 5 Chiffchaffs,1 Goldcrest, 1 Wren, 2 Blackcaps, 3 Goldfinches, 8 Lesser Redpolls, 5 Linnets, 1 Meadow Pipit.        [ 194-22 ]
(DB,MSC +2,CJW et al )

Monday, 14 April 2014

14th April 2014

Weather :- NNW force 5
As expected on a north westerly there were not many migrants, the only Wheatear was a Greenland type on Middle Eye, 3 Swallows and 2 Pied Wagtails were seen and the only finches were 8 Goldfinches and 45 Linnets. A Peregrine had a kill on the shore and 2 pale-bellied Brent still remain today. Ninety five Dunlin were counted and 6 Grey Plover flew north.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

13th April 2014

Weather :- NW force 5/6
Thirty five Gannets and 1,500 Common Scoter were on the sea. Two Brent geese are still around the islands. The Rabbit survives.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

12th April 2014

Marsh Harrier over the obs (as seen from Red Rocks) (JET)
Weather: WSW force 2, increasing 5 by noon
Marsh Harrier (SRW)
A phone call at 06.45hrs from a member at Red Rocks (JET) alerted an observer on the island to a Marsh Harrier crossing over high from east to west. Others on other parts of the islands were then further notified enabling all to see this first of the year. Such is the value of co-ordinated migration watching! The harrier flew steadily off towards Wales untroubled by the attentions of a couple of Shelducks that objected to the intrusion on their island.

Redstart (CJ)

beautiful male Redstart appeared in the Newton trap about 08.00hrs and as the first of the spring would normally be bird of the day and indeed some thought it was, despite the harrier. Three single Chiffchaffs were caught at intervals, and became the first warblers on the island for 3 days, and while 2 Wheatears were seen, none were ringed today. Very few other migrants, just a flock of 4 Goldfinches a White and 2 Pied wagtails and a single Swallow. Counts on the flood tide included 494 Curlew, 950 Oystercatchers, 34 Shelducks, 6 Bar-tailed Godwits, 8 Ringed Plovers, a Grey Plover and just 3 Brent (all that remain?). On the sea were 2 Gannets, several Sandwich terns (left, CJ) (2 went between the islands at the ebb), 4 Red-breasted Mergansers and on the shore were 3 Little Egrets, increasing to 5 after the tide.
Grey Plover (SRW)
Ringed:- 3 Chiffchaffs, 1 Redstart, 1 Linnet.                [ 158-20 ]
(JE,CJ,JET(on mainland), SRW)

Friday, 11 April 2014

11th April 2014

Weather:- NNW force 1/2
No warblers again but 4 male Wheatears was some compensation for the observers, also a Merlin, 3 Sand Martins and 8 Swallows passing through made it not a bad day. The best sighting was of an immature male Eider that passed between the islands and headed east. A Woodpigeon flew south and 10 Goldfinches were noted today. Eighty five Gannets, 3 Red-throated Divers and a pair of red-breasted Mergansers were the highlight of sea watching. Two Little Egrets were recorded today, and 38 Brent still remain.
Ringed :- 2 Wheatears                         [ 153-19 ]
(AAB,DB,CJW, et al)

Thursday, 10 April 2014

10th April 2014

Weather:- SW force 2
No phylloscopus warblers or Wheatears today, and just a single Goldcrest but plenty others birds of interest including 2 Grey, 2 Pied and 7 White Wagtails, 7 Swallows, 10 Goldfinch, a Redpoll and a House Sparrow. At 09.15 hrs a Lapland Bunting flew up from the Little Eye area and headed north towards the other islands but unfortunately it could not be re-found despite an extensive search. A female Sparrowhawk was seen to fly west from the island towards Wales (right) and later 2 Buzzards were also seen, this time at long distance from the island, over Hoylake in fact !
Turnstones (AEH)
Small Tortoiseshell (AEH)
Quite a lot recorded on the sea today, not just the massive flock of 12,000 Common Scoter lifting off towards the wind farm when disturbed, but newly arrived 85 Gannets and 137 Sandwich Terns (a high count for early April). More Bar-tailed Godwits present today with 9 being logged. Four Little Egrets were at Tanskey rocks and a fifth arrived from along the North Wirral coast.
Carrion Crow (AEH)
 (AEH,DB, et al )                        Ringed: 1 Goldcrest & 1 Meadow Pipit        [ 151-19 ]