Saturday, 22 October 2016

22nd October 2016

Weather: SE 0/1
This settled October continues to make birding on the islands a pleasant experience, with the occasional 'good' bird as a bonus. This morning it was a ringtail Hen Harrier that excited as it flew east over the east hoyle from the direction of the north end and was mobbed by a group of 10 Carrion Crows that had gathered on the shore. It continued it's way towards north Wirral.
The day as a whole had plenty of typical late autumn birds, there were over 20 each of passing Starlings and Skylarks, about 8 Blackbirds, 10 Goldcrests and a single male Blackcap down on the ground, 5 Redwings were recorded, along with a Grey Wagtail, 5 Pied Wagtails, 6 Chaffinches and a Brambling, while Wrens and Robins have not diminished in numbers. Little Egrets still find the shore attractive, a total of 14 today, and 50 Sanderling were among the small number of waders noted at low tide. A flock of 43 Pink-footed Geese calling as they flew north directly over the island and 2 dark-bellied birds were amongst over 100 Brent Geese floating on the tide.
One of the Pink-footed Geese (CJ)

Ringed: 5 Goldcrests, 2 Robins, 2 Wrens, 2 Blackbirds, 1 Blackcap       [ 498-30 ]

Friday, 21 October 2016

21st October 2016

Weather: S force 0/1     high cloud and some mist early

This morning there were 3 Song Thrushes and 4 Blackbirds about that were definitely 'new in' and a Stonechat which was first seen at the south end and stayed the rest of the morning. A light passage of Skylarks (16) took place in small numbers and 6 Pied and a Grey Wagtail went through and again there were more than expected Wrens and Robins present. A single Goldcrest turned out to be a bird that was ringed yesterday.

Highlight for the members however was the capture and ringing of a male Sparrowhawk caught in the SK trap (left CJ), the first ringed this year.

Nine Little Egrets stayed near the islands and a Peregrine gave a display of hunting power over the east side and 2 Pintail flew south down the Dee. The 5 Rock Pipits this morning included the Norwegian ringed bird back from its visit to Red Rocks the other day.

Three red-head Goosanders flew west between Middle and Little Eye just after noon.

After the tide 113 Pale-bellied Brent Geese were counted on the ridge in the evening light on a very still evening.

Ringed:  2 Blackbirds, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Sparrowhawk       [ 486-30 ]

Thursday, 20 October 2016

20th October 2016

Weather: NE force 3

Several migrants went through this morning despite the north easterly breeze. Seven Goldcrests were calling and Wrens and Robins seem to be everywhere, possibly 16 Wrens and 12 Robins about, and the first Greenfinch and Siskin passing over for a good while, also small flocks of Meadow Pipits, 6 Skylarks, 4 Goldfinches and a Reed Bunting.

Thrushes however were not in numbers, just a single Blackbird on Middle and another on the main island.

A Merlin was seen a couple of times around the south end and between the islands, and a Kestrel landed on the mast briefly.

The Brent reached a new high total of 62 birds, while 80 Shelduck were seen from the north shore, where there were 64 Bar-tailed Godwits feeding the tide edge.  Huge flocks of Common Scoter could be seen off Meols but far too distantly to be find any less usual species amongst them.

Ringed: 3 Goldcrests, 1 Robin, 1 Wren               [ 482-29 ]

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

19th October 2016

Weather:  NNW force 5/6

A short sea watch was made today after the strong winds of yesterday but just 6 Gannets and 8 Guillemots were noted on the sea with in excess of 8,000 Common Scoter estimated swirling about distantly off North Wirral.

The Brent Geese have suddenly increased to 56, and other birds today logged in the short time available were 7,500 Oystercatchers, 180 Curlew, 124 Shelduck, 2 Little Egrets and a Peregrine.

Interestingly the Norwegian ringed Rock Pipit was noted at Red Rocks in the afternoon (photo from Hilbre).

Monday, 17 October 2016

17th October 2016

Weather: S force 2/3, later in the morning W force 4 and then dropping, sunny and fairly warm when the cloud had cleared.

A Richard's Pipit was first heard as it flew from the main path down the west side, it soon reappeared and toured the top of the island for a few minutes including the top paddock where it dropped down but was then chased by a Meadow Pipit to the grass outside the obs gate before flying back north and east and disappearing off to the south east towards West Kirby/Red Rocks saltmarsh. Other Richards Pipit's in the last few years have also been very reluctant to stay long, and only record flight shots could be obtained today which is slightly better than no photos at all, which has been the previous experience.

Uncropped 'record shot' of the Richard's Pipit above

There was a small passage of over 100 Meadow Pipits this morning and a couple of Goldcrests and a Blackcap were ringed, while a single late Swallow flew south passed the north end.

The Norwegian ringed Rock Pipit was retrapped this morning, it was one of at least four on the island, perhaps it will stay for the winter?  Photo below shows the Scandinavian bird on the left with a retrapped Hilbre-ringed bird on the right.

The other Rock Pipits spent time bathing and preening in the October sunshine (see below) and avoiding our potter traps!

A prolonged sea watch during the very high tide today was very fruitful, the highlights being a Scaup, an Eider, a Mediterranean Gull, plus all the regulars: 5 Red-throated Divers, over 5,400 Common Scoters (including a flock of 5,000), 55 Guillemots, 4 Razorbills, and 8 Great Crested Grebes.

Oystercatchers roosted the tide on Middle and the south end of the main island, numbering 7,500 and 180 Curlew were also on Middle. There were 80 Dunlin at the North End (see below upper), but other small waders were difficult to count (such as Ringed Plover - below lower) as many stayed the tide on Middle.

The 20 Brent included the 'HDRB' blue/red ringed bird (ringed in Canada) with his partner and two juvenile/first winters (see below).

Ringed: 2 Goldcrests, 1 Blackcap, 1 Meadow Pipit, 1 Song Thrush.             [ 477-29 ]

Sunday, 16 October 2016

16th October 2016

Weather: earlier heavy rain, afternoon S 4-5, 3/8 cloud, good vis

A brief afternoon visit after the tide (and the rain) found a single Redwing on the island, which was caught and ringed. The other news was of a sighting of a colour ringed Rock Pipit which will (almost certainly) be the bird controlled earlier this week although it has not been seen around the islands since caught on Monday 10th.

Five other Rock Pipits were present and counts were made of 350 Cormorants, 4,500 Oystercatchers, 250 Shelduck, 184 Curlew, 138 Redshank and 64 Turnstone.

Ringed:  1 Redwing, 1 Robin.         [ 472-29 ]

Saturday, 15 October 2016

15th October 2016

Weather: SE force 1,  mist and rain am.

Two Goldcrest landed this morning and a Song Thrush, 2 Blackbirds, and 15 Robins were also on the ground, while also passing through were 3 Pied Wagtails and a Skylark and 18 Meadow Pipits. Logged on the sea were a Red-throated Diver, 3 Gannets, 27 Guillemots, 2 Razorbills, 2 Great Crested Grebes and about 1,500 Common Scoter. Also noted today were 4 Little Egrets, 1 Kestrel, 250 Knot, 700 Dunlin, 16 Bar-tailed Godwits, 35 Turnstone, 90 Redshank, 3 Rock Pipits and 22 Linnets.

Ringed: 2 Goldcrests.    [ 470-29 ]