Saturday, 24 June 2017

24th June 2017

Weather: WNW force 5, vis 30 miles
A pre-tide visit this morning saw 41 Gannets off to the north as the tide approached, also 41 Common Terns.
A Little Egret, 5 Grey Plover (below) and 4 Curlew were on the shore.
Six hundred Grey Seals were hauled out on the west hoyle sands at low tide.
A very large species of Woodlice known colloquially as 'jaspers' by members are frequently seen.
About 1,000 Herring Gulls were on the log today

The orchids are still in full bloom

photos AEH

Friday, 23 June 2017

23rd June 2017

Weather:  West 3 increasing later vis 5mls with light rain early on.


With so few birds on the islands today, a sea watch was in order and produced a couple of Great Crested Grebe and 2 Guillemot. Most of the 18 Gannet were feeding out by the wind farms but a couple ventured nearer to the North End, five Manx Shearwater were seen entering the mouth of the estuary and a group of 18 Common Scoter  went West.

As the tide ebbed 7 Little Terns were noted. Also seen off the North End were 5 Swifts.

A family group of Wrens were around the Heli trap area, two adults and two juveniles were seen but from the noise it is guessed that more juveniles were present.

Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca)

Thursday, 22 June 2017

22nd June 2017

NW 2, rain earlier 

A brief lunchtime visit produced the first Mediterranean Gull of the summer for the islands.  A small adult summer was picked up with Black-headed Gulls and Sandwich Terns moving along and dropping down on the North shore of the East Hoyle bank.

Having been watched for a short time in the company of a couple of Black-headed Gulls which seemed intent on giving the Med a hard time.  It decided to make its own way down the gutter past the Obs and between the islands over the North End of Middle off to the west (see photos above and below).

Elsewhere a single Little Egret fed in the gutter and the first Whimbrel for three weeks was heard (which way is it heading - north or south?)

To end an extremely pleasant brief afternoon visit three spikes of Common Spotted Orchid were found in one of the gardens; a single having been found in June 2014 (the first ever on the islands), two in 2015 but none seen last year - today's three spikes were therefore a welcome surprise.

The Grey Seal haul-out on the West Hoyle sandbank was very impressive with 769 seals counted (part of the haul-out shown below).

Colour-ringed Ringed Plover

Hilbre Islands LNR Ranger Matt Thomas spotted a colour ringed and leg-flagged Ringed Plover between the islands as he left the island on 13th June 2017.

It turns out it was colour-ringed by Chris McGuigan last year as part of only six birds (three breeding pairs) at a Dundee supermarket car park.  This bird, a female '108', was paired to male '101'.  She was ringed ringed on 17 June 2016 and last seen on 11 July 2016.

At least four have returned this year (including 101). A couple were seen to over-winter on the Tay estuary so it was assumed that these birds did not move far. So the Hilbre sighting is a somewhat surprising and interesting development.

Thanks to Matt Thomas and Chris McGuigan for the info. Photo by @mattthomas966 taken at Hilbre on 13 June 2017.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

20th June 2017

WNW 2 vis 8mls

A typical very quiet June day. The Kestrel is still around the main island and 14 Shelduck were present.

The only wader of note was a nice Grey Plover before the early tide and 60 Black-headed Gulls were in the Gutter.

A dozen Sandwich Terns were feeding close in to the East side over the tide.

The breeding birds noted included 2 singing Wrens.

Hummingbird Hawk-moth

Another hot afternoon brought the first two Hummingbird Hawk-moths to the east side of the island.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

17th June 2017

Weather: calm with 10 mls vis, North 1 and 30mls later.
A surprisingly good day considering the month and the conditions. It started with Shelduck movements totalling 40 including the resident birds, then Curlew were spotted – 7 returning birds. Many more terns were about than of late with 130 Sandwich, 150 Common and a Little noted. A bonus was a Manx Shearwater going West to East close in to the North end.
Also on the sea were 8 Gannet, a Great Crested Grebe and a Guillemot.
Circa 70 Canada Geese flew from the Tanskeys and came down on the estuary North of Little Eye.
 Little Egrets numbered 6 with 2 Grey Heron.
The Kestrel was again present and there was a passage of 15 Swifts.     All photos AEH
Silver Y moth