Thursday, 16 March 2017

16th March 2017

Weather: SW 1
The first Wheatear of the spring was found by the mast this morning and after it moved down to 'wheatear hill' it was soon joined by another and an hour later a third arrived to delight members.
It was hatrick of firsts when a Chiffchaff (below) was trapped for ringing in the paddocks and (most surprising of all) an early Whimbrel was heard calling from the shore.

Goldcrests arrived in small numbers during the morning, with about 8 all told but there were not as many wagtails today although a White wagtail was recorded. Finches included 4 Goldfinch and a Siskin. A drake Eider was on the sea off the north end, probably the bird seen yesterday, also 2 Great Crested Grebes. 

Early in the day groups of 8 and then 22 Canada Geese were noted and a male Mallard was in the pond.
Ringed: 3 Goldcrests, 1 Chiffchaff          [ 19-8 ]
Photos AEH(wheatears)
CJ (Chiffchaff)

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

15th March 2017

Weather : SW. 0/1, later N 0/1
A very pleasant morning with obvious movements of wagtails (4 Grey and 20 alba), a few Meadow Pipits, half a dozen Goldfinches, 2 Goldcrests and regular Hilbre spring 'migrant' visitors such as a Magpie (below), a House Sparrow, plus  Reed Bunting and Skylark.
 The sea was mostly quiet although a drake Goldeneye and a drake Eider were a bonus. One hundred and fifty seven Curlew roosted the tide on Middle and 82 Turnstones were counted.
Purple Sandpiper
A Bottle-nosed Dolphin swan in the calm sea off the north end, while the afternoon sun encouraged the first butterflies of the year, a Peacock and 4 Small Tortoiseshells to take to the air.
Ringed: 1 Goldcrest, 1 Dunnock. [ 15-7 ]     photos CJ

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

14th March

Weather: SW 2
Five Goldcrests were present this morning also 2 Pied Wagtails, a female Blackbird and a Starling. A Scaup made a reappearance on the sea.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

11th March 2017

Weather: SSE force 2/3
The first Sand Martin of the spring flew quickly east passed the obs this morning, and spring has now certainly arrived, with a pair of Reed Bunting visiting the island. It was a delight to see the Stonechat pair still on the island and up to 16 Goldcrests present including yesterday's control bird and 2 new birds ringed (both males).

A lone female Long Tailed Duck spent the tide off Niffy bay. Others passing through today were 2 Skylarks, a Goldfinch and 9 alba wagtails. 
Ringed: 2 Goldcrests      [ 13-6 ]  photos AEH

Friday, 10 March 2017

10th March 2017

Weather: SE 2/3

The first real passage of spring this morning with at least 10 Goldcrests on the islands, a movement of over a dozen alba wagtails and records of a few Goldfinches and Greenfinches and a Reed Bunting on Middle.
A young male Pied Wagtail was an unexpected find in the 'Newton' heligoland trap.

One of the first three Goldcrests of the year caught this morning was found to be ringed elsewhere so we look forward to finding out where and when.

Another sign of spring was the singing of several Linnets, Meadow Pipits and Wrens in preparation for nesting.
Other records today included 5 Little Egrets and 7 Purple Sandpipers.
 Ringed: 4 Goldcrests, 2 Wrens, 1 Robin, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Pied Wagtail     [ 11-6 ]

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

7th March 2017

Weather:  SW 2, 6/8 cloud, sunny intervals 

A very pleasant day on the islands started with a good number of Pale-bellied Brent Geese on the morning tide; although they proved hard to count as they were dispersed around the reef, the North End and the East Hoyle an estimate of 300 birds was probably conservative.

A few Meadow Pipits and wagtails passed over with Grey, alba (5) and a single White Wagtail noted.  Also 7 Jackdaws and 5 Canada Geese flew South; both typical March species for the islands.

Further signs of spring were evident on the island with daffodils flowering and the expanding gorse patch flowering which was just waiting for a good bird to perch up.  Meanwhile work began by Wirral BC around the island repairing some of the damage from Storm Doris (including the slate roof of the Telegraph Station - see below).

A single Wren was caught and ringed and another Stonechat spent the morning around the gardens before being discovered in the SK heligoland trap. Not a species that is ringed annually at Hilbre.

More typical was a very confiding ringed Robin near the day room.

The sea produced small numbers of Great Crested Grebes and Common Scoters and waders were noted around the rocky shores but whilst Purple Sandpipers were conspicuous by their absence Turnstones gave themselves up to one photographer.

Of other interest a Shanny, Blennius pholis, was discovered at the South End under some rocks (see below photo by AS).

Ringed: Wren, Stonechat [2-2]  

Photos by Matt Thomas (@Mattthomas966) (Brents and Turnstone) and SRW (remainder)

Monday, 6 March 2017

6th March 2017

Weather: W 2 then NW 1
Two Goldcrest were on the island this morning, the first of the spring. A Skylark was singing on Middle and 8 Pied Wagtails went through, also a Goldfinch was in the old obs garden. The Brent were counted at a still impressive total of 298 birds.