Monday, 15 September 2014

15th September 2014

Weather: ESE 0-1, backing NE 2-3 by 7am, 8/8 cloud, 6mi vis, light drizzle at 730am

Fifteen Canada Geese were seen over the shore early morning.

However, it was generally another very quiet start to the day with a single Robin caught and ringed and no grounded migrants on the island prior to 8am.  However, a couple of Goldcrests could then be heard around the main island and a single Chiffchaff was calling in the Obs garden before a Willow Warbler found itself in the Old Obs mistnet mid morning.

A single Snipe flew east over the island before another was seen flying up the reef as the tide flooded.

Two Linnet flocks combined over the main island during the afternoon with a count of 68 made; many utilising the wildlife garden pond for a good bathe as usual, perhaps they will pull something else in...

A single Wheatear appeared below the mast as the tide began to flood and remained on the island for the tide and seven Little Egrets were noted.

Over the tide a single Arctic Skua was seen, something of a rarity so far this autumn.

The moth trap was again used overnight and produced mostly lesser yellow underwings but also a few Feathered Ranunculus (see below).

(DB, GB, KMc+SD, NDW et al) [787-35]

Sunday, 14 September 2014

14th September 2014

Weather:  E 2, 8/8 cloud, 5 miles vis, mist around estuary

Despite the favourable winds there were few migrants around with only a couple of Goldcrests on the island at first light. Just before high tide however a Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler dropped in and the Chiffchaff was caught in the Old Obs mistnet.

Good numbers of waders roosted around the island with the Turnstones preferring the ledges on the west side cliffs out of the easterly wind. They were joined by a few Dunlin and Ringed Plover whilst the main wader roost on Middle Eye held the usual of Oystercatchers but included Knot and two Whimbrel.  However, two Snipe were a nice record.

Invertebrates included a female Southern hawker Dragonfly caught in the SK Heligoland and released, after giving the ringer a nip, and four Red Admiral butterflies.

Linnets numbered 52 birds which is noteworthy in recent times.

Ringed Plover - on West Side (PSW)
Dunlin - West Side out of the easterly wind (PSW)
Whimbrel (centre with Redshanks and Oystercatchers) - one of two seen today (PSW)
Oystercatchers (PSW)
Ringing: Chifchaff, Linnet

(DB&ESCA, PSW later) [785-35]

Saturday, 13 September 2014

13th September 2014

Weather: SE 3, 8/8 cloud, poor vis (5miles), slight mist around estuary

A late night bat detection session last night revealed over 20 passes of Pipistrelle Bats - what better way to spend a Friday evening?

Despite the pessimism of some this morning - it was a nice morning again on the island with an early trap round producing a Goldcrest and the first of four Reed Buntings made its presence known by its persistent calling from the blackthorn in the lower trapping areas.

Overhead migration remained a little thin but once again Grey Wagtails were well represented with 12 counted during the morning, a few Swallows passed over a nice flock of 12 House Martins.

5 Wigeon flew around the North End early on and 7 Teal flew in and landed on the edge of the East Hoyle sandbank for a short while.

Grey Wagtail - it has been a good few days for this species passing over the island and today saw several bird grounded briefly (SRW)
 The predicted later arrival of phylloscs  (a feature of the last few days) started at about 840am when 2 Chiffchaffs and a Willow Warbler had found their way into the Old Obs mist net.

With several more Chiffchaffs caught and ringed during the morning, a couple of new Meadow Pipits and a control Robin which was in the Obs garden (we look forward to finding out where this bird was ringed).

Robin - an adult ('4') control ringed elsewhere (JE)

A Raven appeared from over Middle Eye and flew in towards Hilbre before doubling back to Middle where it was joined by a second bird.

Raven - joined a second bird over Middle (SRW)

Pimpla rufipes - an ichneumonid that parasitises Lepidoptera pupae was found on the Obs window during the morning (SRW)

(JE+HVJ, ME+HE, SRW, TGW) [783-35]

Friday, 12 September 2014

12th September 2014

Weather: SE 3, 8/8 cloud, 3 miles vis, mist around estuary

Lime Speck Pug
It felt good again this morning and the promising weather conditions again delivered.  Phylloscs started arriving a little earlier than yesterday and at least 12 Chiffchaffs and 3 Willow Warblers drifted in during the day along with half a dozen Goldcrests.

Green Carpet
Meanwhile the moth trap provided some invertebrates interest including a Green Carpet and Lime Speck Pug as well as Sexton Beetle.
Sexton Beetle (PSW)

Two Whimbrel were noted on the shoreline and a single Golden Plover was heard passing over mid morning.

Whimbrel - one of two seen or heard today

Greenland Wheatear - one of four caught today (PSW)
Skylark - West Side
A few Greenland Wheatears started arriving mid morning and by the end of the day four had been trapped for ringing and a further five were seen passing through.  A single Skylark alighted briefly on the West Side.

The sea was fairly quiet with a few terns, a single Fulmar, 8 Guillemot and a Razorbill as well as a frustrating distant skua spp.  However, as the wind dropped to almost nil a single and then three Harbour Porpoise were seen.

Just as observers were on the final 'round' of the day all of the Oystercatchers and gulls took flight and once again a frantic search of the skies for a raptor produced an Osprey seen drifting between the islands and West Kirby before drifting off south down the estuary putting up more waders and gulls as it went.

Osprey - the second of the Autumn
Ringing: Wren, Robin (2), G Wheatear (4), Chiffchaff (9), Willow Warbler (2), Goldcrest (3), Linnet (3), Meadow Pipit (2)

(DB, JE +HVJ, AEH, CJ, KMc, PSW, TGW et al)  [769-35]

Thursday, 11 September 2014

11th September 2014

Weather: SSE 3, 0/8 cloud, mist all round estuary, 5 miles vis

Another promising morning weather wise started slowly with a couple of Goldcrests on but very little else until about 8am when a Chiffchaff was observed flying in off.  Two more appeared and it was apparent that the mist was helping to produce a nice trickle of birds.

At 940am a Firecrest appeared in Pallas's Privet and made its way along the top wall and conveniently into the Heli trap (see right).

After release it disappeared for quite some time before reappearing in the Privet and happily fed in the sycamores along the Telegraph House West Side garden all afternoon and evening allowing some photographs and video to be taken and also some visitors to see this stunning little gem of a bird.

Firecrest - spent the afternoon and early evening feeding in the sycamores (SRW)

Meadow Pipits were definitely passing over in numbers today with 150 counted along with 7 Grey Wagtails and 6 Albas and 3 Skylarks were noted on the main island and on Middle.

Things went very quiet around mid to late morning but the wind had died down by lunchtime and the excitement was reignited at around 1410hrs when a male Kestrel found its way into the Obs garden mist net, when extracted it was found to be a control, we look forward to finding out where it was ringed soon.  The stunning bird was photographed by visitors Rob and Terry.

Kestrel (male) - controlled (Terry)
Kestrel (male) - Rob Williams
At around the same time it was apparent that a few more phylloscs had arrived and a Willow Warbler and a further two Chiffchaffs were caught during the afternoon.

Robin - one of many passing through the islands in the last week or so (SRW)
A short video of the Firecrest is posted here

Ringed:  Chiffchaff (5), Willow Warbler (1) Goldcrest (2), Firecrest (1), Wren (1), Linnet (2), Robin (1) + Kestrel (control male)

(DB, CJ, SRW - PSW later + Rob W & Terry) [743-35]

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

10th September 2014

Weather: SE 0-1, 3/8 cloud, 6 miles vis, mist around estuary

Promising weather did not disappoint with a small trickle of Goldcrests (4) single Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler and a female Blackcap was the best of the ringing today.

'Vis Mig' was also good with single Reed Bunting, 75 Meadow Pipit, 32 Swallow, 6 Grey Wagtails and 3 Rook which flew right over the Obs.

A flock of a dozen Teal flew south down the West Side and 300 Starling flew in from North and headed over West Kirby.

Rook - one of three passing over the Obs
Ringing:  Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Robin (2), Blackcap

(DB, CJW et al) [730-34]

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

9th September 2014

Weather: light air variable direction, cloud from time to time but mainly sunny

The lack of any definite wind direction caused uncertainty in predicting what would happen this morning, in the event very little did. Goldcrests were very few and a single Chiffchaff the only other warbler, with 2 Wheatears (one on Middle) and again a small arrival of Robins on the island. About 50 Swallows and 2 House Martins fed for a short time while passing through mid-morning and apart from a small number of Meadow Pipits that was about the sum total of passage birds.  Shore birds today included 5 Little Egrets, 3 Grey Herons, 1 Whimbrel and 3 Bar-tailed Godwits. Two Kestrels were present as yesterday.  On the calm sea a mini 'pelagic' in a small boat by Obs members logged 200 Common Scoters, 55 Sandwich Tern and 1,500 Dunlin.

Ringed: 2 Robins, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Wren.  

(DB, CJ, KMc, PGR, CJW, NDW et al +Tony Duckels & friends)  [724-34]

Sunset over the Hilbre Islands LNR - from WKML (SRW)