Tuesday 28 November 2023

28th November 2023

Weather: E force 2 veering S 1   cold  but feeling warm in the sun

 A welcome bright start to the morning with Cwn Eigian (in the welsh Carneds) showing nicely from Hilbre in the sunshine.


The Purple Sandpipers (11) and a few Turnstones were roosting on the west side as the light breeze was from the east.

 A lot of the other Turnstones and many of the Brent however were settled on the east side in Niffy Bay.


Just one Eider showed this morning, a female type. 

Only one bird was caught today, a Robin that is resident on the island which was first ringed as a juvenile in August 2021 and was retrapped in October 2022 and now today.

Most of the other residents were here including the recent Dunnock (will it stay the winter?) Nothing that could be described as a passage migrant were observed. Some kayakers turned up just before high tide and put up a lot of the birds on middle. The birds did return though so not much damage done.

 Photos JE

Sunday 26 November 2023

26th November 2023

 Weather: ESE force 3

Today there were again about 500 Brent Geese around the islands, when the tides are not too big and relatively calm they can feed at the bottom of the cliffs.

 Two and a half thousand Common Scoter were out by the windfarms. Seven Wigeon sat on the water east of Middle, 5 female type and a male Eider only appeared in the gutter on the ebb.

 Over towards the marsh 140 Shelduck fed as the tide ebbed  and 350 Curlew still roosted. Eight thousand Knot along with 2,000 Dunlin were on the sand between the islands and the marsh and 65 Grey Plover in the area of the gutter.

 Purple Sandpiper roosting on the west side of the island numbered 15, the highest count so far this winter.

Two Canada Geese flew east going over Middle Eye and a single confiding Starling was found feeding on the muddy path, it's easy to forget how stunning these birds are.

 Photos AS

Saturday 25 November 2023

25th November 2023

 Weather: W force 2

A visit this morning meant a start before dawn to beat the early tide.

 It was chilly at first light as a Fox was glimpsed at Middle Eye  A Redwing was the outstanding bird visible on the island this morning and it gave the photographer the runaround to capture these fine shots.


The best visible migration were a flock of 250 Skylarks flying west across the island, while in addition a single bird was later down on the island. A couple of Goldfinches made an appearance. There were just 3 Eiders today including the adult drake.

Offshore were 1,200 Common Scoter and 2 Red-throated Divers, (the Great Northern Diver was on the marine lake). Most of the estuary Brent seemed to be here this morning, estimated at 500 birds.

Most of the recent residents were seen, including this one at the north end that was ringed this year as part of our Rock Pipit study.

 Roosting the tide were 160 Turnstone and 9 Purple Sandpiper.

Curlew numbered 120.

After the tide 2,500 Knot and 1,500 Dunlin were noted.

 The Kestrel was hunting voles.

 Photos CJW

Wednesday 22 November 2023

22nd November 2023

Weather: SW force 3/4

A brief visit following the morning tide out found 11 Purple Sandpiper feeding at the edge of the gutter below the Obs garden, floating in the gutter were 7 Eider and a Shag, with a second bird just off the North End.

 A good number of Brent Geese grazed on the rocks east of the two main islands but seemed 'spooked' (probably the fox) and repeatedly took to the water, giving opportunity to get an estimate of 500 birds .



  The Dunnock is still present and calling around the island.


 Photos AS

Tuesday 21 November 2023

21st November 2023

Weather:  N force 4, veering NNE 3,  clear, lake district visible

Eleven hundred Cormorant flew out of the estuary at dawn.


Arriving on Middle and finding a Redwing down could have been considered a good omen, but it wasn't.

The only other migrant was a fly over (again on Middle) Goldfinch as the observer was leaving. Three Eider were noted and the 335 Brent Geese included 3 colour ringed birds.

 Six hundred Common Scoter and a Red-breasted Merganser were on the sea, while the waders seen included 5,000 Knot, 60 Ringed Plover, 180 Turnstone but just 2 Purple Sandpipers and a Bar-tailed Godwit. A Grey Heron was about the islands with 4 Little Egret on the incoming afternoon tide.

Photos AS

Sunday 19 November 2023

19th November 2023

 Weather: SW force 6/7 decreasing 4/5 with steady rain

An early morning visit was made difficult by the weather, strong winds at first followed by heavy rain, rainbows gave the clue it was on its way. The island pond is full to overflowing after all the rain this month.


A Merlin was flushed from the west side and flew north around the cliff but failed to show again despite some of the waders being very wary at times. Shortly afterwards the bird of the day in the form of a Woodcock erupted from the ground near the light and flew south over the 'heli' paddock and frustratingly was also not seen again despite an extensive search of the likely areas of the island. A Song Thrush was present and 3 Blackbirds were in the SK trap with rings from previous visits. The low tide meant sightings were at a minimum, just 85 of the Brent showed and about 1,000 Cormorants exited the estuary in the early hours. Only 2 Little Egrets and one Grey Heron were noted. 


The Kestrel which is now regular on the island took shelter from the wind and rain where it could.


 Photos AEH

Saturday 18 November 2023

18th November 2023

 Weather: SE force 4/5,  SW 5 by midday

With very few birds on the islands now, it was good to have a variety of birds on and around the sea to observe. Two female and a male Common Scoter sat out on the rocks at the North End and a good 1800 more could be seen out by the windfarm.

 Early morning 4 Wigeon flew west over Middle Eye and over tide 10 Teal sat on the sea east of Middle , they were mixed in with some of the Brent Geese which remained about the islands over high water.

 Of the 12 Purple Sandpiper noted today only 3 could be found over tide, they fed around the pools on top of the island.

 A few Curlew fed about the islands and on the ebb and along with 150 Shelduck, 155 were counted towards the marsh 


No divers could be seen today but 10 Red-breasted Merganser came in with the tide on the west side and 2 Great Cested Grebe were around the North End.

 The 6 Eider present today consisted of an adult male and at least 1 immature male.

 A single Siskin was heard over and and there seem to be at least a dozen Wrens.

 Photos AS