Tuesday, 21 September 2021

21st September 2021

 Weather: W force 3  mostly sunny

 Another lovely day although again few migrants or sea birds in a light westerly. On arrival this morning a count of 109 Grey Seals were hauled out on the west hoyle. Counts are frequently taken by the obs at low tide.

Two Ravens were at the north end being mobbed by gulls, also there was a single pale-bellied Brent , with 14 others between the islands at the same time.


 There were no warblers today but a single Greenland Wheatear arrived in the early afternoon. This Wren was the only bird ringed this morning.

The gathering of 15 Little Egrets roosting on the north end of Middle with some Oystercatchers made a very impressive sight for Hilbre at high tide.

A sea watch revealed just 2 Gannets. Fifty Ringed Plover and a Whimbrel were the best of the waders.

  Photos JE

Monday, 20 September 2021

20th September 2021

 Weather: WSW force 3/4

 A clear and sunny day, and although the wind direction did not inspire any great hope of bird movememts, undaunted the Wheatears continued to arrive in this autumn of plenty, 6 were here today. As the tide flooded 18 Brent were south west of Middle, up to now only 3 had been around so far this autumn and of course more will certainly follow, at least 14 were still present as the tide receded. Three Purple Sandpipers appeared on the slip at the north end but they left abruptly. A Chiffchaff and a Goldcrests landed in the obs garden and a couple of Grey Wagtails came through. Only a single Wigeon represented the ducks until 10 Pintail were found between Hilbre and Middle as the tide ebbed. The Kestrel was seen to take one of the island voles, there is no shortage at the present time, while an adult male Peregrine was also around. On the sea 10 Gannets and 3 Scoter showed and on the shore 12 Little Egrets kept up the run of good numbers of these now regular birds. Most notable of the small wader numbers were 77 Ringed Plover. Six Rock Pipits are still here.


Photos SRW

Sunday, 19 September 2021

19th September 2021

 Weather:  SW force 2

Excellent sightings of ducks this morning with 24 Pintail, 5 Teal and 22 Wigeon,

  and an unusual fly-past of 5 Tufted Duck (a less than annual visitor to Hilbre) into the estuary.

 A couple of Wheatear came through, the lowest number for a while and 2 Goldcrests were grounded and one was ringed.

 A Chiffchaff and a Grey Wagtail were on the island at some stage. Many Ringed Plover were feeding between the islands.

 A Marsh Harrier was seen heading into the Hilbre recording area from the north shore mid-morning (AMC) and 7 Brent Geese arrived in the evening (per Tim Kinch). Back on the mainland 4 Curlew Sandpipers were by the main lake south end mud (also in the recording area)



Photos AEH, SRW

Saturday, 18 September 2021

18th September 2021

 Weather:  SW force 1

A good day with a greater variety of species on show, the ducks coming to the fore as the autumn moves on. As mentioned previously this autumn has been particularly good for Wheatear arrivals, today there were 17 (mostly Greenland race) with 6 being ringed. 


 It was fortunate the potter traps had been deployed in the best places.

The duck records consisted of 21 Wigeon, 12 Pintail and 2 Teal, while 120 Shelduck and 3 Common Snipe added to the autumnal feel.


Singles of Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Whitethroat reminded us that a few warblers are still about from the summer

 ... and 50 or so Swallows and a Sand Martin came through and there were also a few extra Robins in the paddocks. Light breezes does not necessarily mean that sea birds will not come within sight, today 12 Gannets, 4 Red-throated Divers, 2 Great Crested Grebes and 250 Common Scoter were logged. Big numbers of Oystercatcher (5,000), Dunlin (1,500) and Curlew (330) overshadowed the smaller groups of Sanderling (30), Ringed Plover (60), Turnstone (25), Knot (6), Bar-tailed Godwit (2) and a single Grey Plover. Curlew Sandpipers have featured on the island and around the Wirral coast over the last week and 7 were seen today in the Hilbre recording area by the marine lake. For a change 2 each today of Peregrine and Kestrel, 10 voles were seen so there will be good numbers on the island.


Nine Little Egrets and 3 Grey Herons fed around the shore. Gulls inclued 500 Black-headed, 12 Great Black backs and 400 Herring, one of which attracted attention when its colour ring was able to be read due to the fine detail in the photograph. It was ringed at the calf of Man on 27th June. 

  Light winds overnight brought many moths to the trap


Feathered Ranunculus
Lunar Underwing

Black Rustic
 Photos BT, CJW, SRW

Friday, 17 September 2021

17th September 2021

Weather: SE force 4  sunny intervals

An early start to beat the early tide made the first hour or two feel quite cold in the fresh breeze, however it was all worthwhile when an adult Hobby flew south down the west side of the island and showed its colourful plumage off to the observers. Hobby is less than annual at Hilbre and occurs more usually in spring but the chance to obtain an image of this fast flying bird passing through is rare.



 Earlier a Merlin flew around the north end and a Peregrine flew by the south end of the island so when a Kestrel arrived after the appearance of the Hobby, we had the complete set of falcons for the day! Another good Little Egret turnout with a flock of 10 (and 2 others later) flying together as the tide rose, indeed they seemed to be acting as a flock and sticking close together at the roost.

  There were 6 Wheatears this morning

 In the paddocks singles of Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Whitehtroat were found, the Blackcap and Chiffchaff obtained rings. The local Swallows seem to have departed now although 6 single Swallows came through on passage, while 4 Grey Wagtails also visited. The 3 Brent were not seen, though they could still be around somewhere. We had hoped the Dunlin and other small waders would roost the tide on the main island so we could examine them for Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper but as the tide arose they decided to go elsewhere. A Guillemot and 2 Sandwich Tern were the only sightings on the sea. In the afternoon a Stonechat arrived and showed well in the area of the Newton trap.

Photos SRW

Thursday, 16 September 2021

16th September 2021

 Weather: W force 1/2

 A brief visit found few records of note except for a Wheatear, a Goldcrest and a few extra Robins. In addition to the Kestrel this Peregrine gave good views.

Thirteen Little Egrets made the bird list, and best of the waders were 45 Ringed Plover, 120 Curlew and 24 Turnstone.

photo SRW

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

15th September 2021

Weather:  NW force 1

Best birds of the day were 2 Stonechats by the 'air raid shelter' and the Newton trap.

Just 5 Wheatears today, they have been plentiful so far this autumn, spring is very much the time normally to see them here in any numbers.

 Two Chiffchaffs were ringed out of the 3 present, but they were the only warblers, although a Grey Wagtail called over. The Linnet flock has been large since the breeding season but today an exceptional 120 were counted. A single Gannet was seen and waders  were mostly in small numbers apart from 115 Curlew. Curlew Sandpiper again featured in the small wader roost. 

A Merlin was a visitor to the island (as per Matt Thomas) and the regular Kestrel was here. Sixteen Little Egrets were around today, another bumper appearance for these recent regulars to the island.

Photos AS, SRW