Saturday, 25 October 2014

25th October 2014

Weather : SSW 3, later WSW 4/5
A Blackcap on the island this morning was unexpected in the fresh south westerlies but welcome nonetheless. Two Reed Buntings also visited, one of which came down on the ground for a short while, and then later in the morning a Chiffchaff was found by the 'heli' trap, but disappeared and was not seen again. There seemed to be quite a few Wrens about today, hinting at a small movement through of these little creatures which are sometimes regarded as purely sedentary. Several Starling flocks moved about including one large group over towards the West Kirby shore, and the odd Skylark was heard as they passed over. Not much action today on the sea although 4 Red-throated Divers and a couple of Guillemots were seen. The Brent were counted in flight  at 75 birds, just short of the peak total so far this autumn/winter. Two hundred and eighty Curlew rested south of Little on the flood tide, while at high tide 110 Turnstones, 53 Redshanks, 26 Bar-tailed Godwits and 3 Little Egrets were noted  with 6,000 Oystercatchers roosting on Middle.
Ringed : 1 Blackcap (right), 1 Wren                  [ 932-37 ]
(DB,CJ,KMc) + Dave Steel, Dave Bowman and a small group from Woolston (thanks for the cake!)

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

22nd October 2014

Weather : WNW 7 with squalls, later WSW 4/5 some drizzle
Following the passage of low pressure 'Gonzalo', a sea watch was the option for many birders today as intense storms have been noticeably absent so far this autumn. The wind was still quite strong early in the day and the first Hilbre Leach's Petrel of the year appeared before the high tide (record shot right). It was not to be one of the famous Leach's days on Wirral and just one more appeared during the sea watch and no skuas made it on the list. Other sea birds noted were a good count of 60 Razorbills (over 14,000 were at Bardsey this morning !), 45 Gannets, 20 Kittiwakes, 30 Guillemots, 35b Great Crested Grebes, over 200 Common Scoter and 6 Red-throated Divers.
 The long awaited first Purple Sandpiper of the winter arrived at the north end today (left) and the Brent reached a new high of 76 birds. Not surprisingly very little small bird movement although 40 Meadow Pipits were certainly not all residents, neither was the single Skylark over.  Over 800 Cormorants flew out of the estuary at dawn, a new record for the autumn, a Merlin flew west and a female Peregrine was also seen. Waders noted today included 29 Grey Plover flying south, 15 Bar-tailed Godwits, 43 Ringed Plover and 120 Turnstone.
(DB,PSW et al)

Sunday, 19 October 2014

19th October 2014

Wind: SW Force 7-8. Cloud cover 1 to 4/8.
Pressure 29.68 Bar
Temp 17 C
Sandwich Tern
Given the weather conditions not much was expected to turn up on Hilbre but the opportunity was taken to observe the waders at close range by following the tide as it ebbed. Good numbers of the commoner waders were seen but the star bird was a very late Sandwich Tern hunkered down with the gulls between Middle & Hilbre. As expected passerines were few in number but surprisingly a female Chaffinch was found in the Obs garden. Later a female Reed Bunting was located in the SK paddock before moving to the bracken at the south end. A female Wheatear also appeared and was picked up flying down the east side from the Obs balcony before landing in the south end cove. 



Ringed Plover
 (PSW)      all photos PSW

Friday, 17 October 2014

17th October 2014

Weather : S force 2/3, later SE, sunny
A very quiet start to the morning with surprisingly no thrushes at all, even the locally bred Blackbirds could not be found, there were however about 4 Goldcrests calling and the two Wheatears from yesterday were still there, to be joined later by a new Greenland bird.
Retrapped birds ringed last month (left), and in 2007 (right) in both photos
A Rock Pipit was trapped to be ringed, only the third this year (below,CJ), followed later in the morning by 2 more which were retraps, one of which was ringed a month ago as a bird born this year and the other amazingly ringed at Hilbre in October 2007 see right, AEH). This is almost a longevity record for Rock Pipit in Britain and even more surprising as it has never been retrapped here since. Rock Pipit sightings peak in October at Hilbre, with maybe 1 or 2 staying for the winter, but most seem to be passage birds at this time and moving on before too long. We have no way of knowing whether this bird has avoided the potter traps these last seven autumns, or is returning for the first time, either way it is very interesting evidence towards an understanding of Rock Pipit movements locally.
As the sun came out mid-morning a few things started to happen, a Reed Bunting came down near the obs (left,CJ), Skylarks again began passing over, about 30, also a dozen or so Starlings did likewise and then another highlight of the morning came with the arrival of  3 House Sparrows from the west, landing in the trees in front of the 'heli' trap and became the first of this scarce Hilbre species to be ringed this year (below, CJ). Finches only came through late in the morning with 30 Goldfinches, 8 Greenfinches and a single Chaffinch, while Meadow Pipits were just a very small trickle passing through today. A brief view of a Song Thrush in the obs garden at midday became the first and only thrush of any kind seen today.
House Sparrow (CJ)


  The Brent were hard to find, 3 on the east tide edge (right with a Bar-tailed Godwit, AEH) and another 4 elsewhere, 3 Little Egrets and 3 Bar-tailed Godwits were in the east gutter, 55 Sanderling flew west over the sea, and Redshank numbers were up with 115 counted today. To finish off a good day, later in the afternoon 2 twite flew over the area of the lookout whilst calling. Twite are definitely a less than an annual record at Hilbre.
Ringed : 3 House Sparrows, 1 Greenland Wheatear, 1 Rock Pipit, 1 Meadow Pipit, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Wren.  [ 930-37 ]
(DB,AEH,CJ,CJW et al)

Thursday, 16 October 2014

16th October 2014

Weather : SE force 3, later SSW force 2, drizzle early sunny later
One of two late Greenland Wheatears on the island today
A few Blackbirds were down in the paddocks again this morning but unlike yesterday only a single Redwing was to be found. Two Wheatears (possibly the same ones as yesterday) were at the north end but this time a fresh supply of live meal worms did the trick and they were ringed. Only one Wheatear has ever been ringed at Hilbre on a later date, that was 21st October 2006. The Brents did not show at all on the low tide, and single Wigeon and Teal were the only ducks. Passage birds were fairly scarce, though again Skylarks went through regularly, as did Meadow Pipits, also 6 Starlings, about 6 Pied Wagtails, a Goldfinch and a Reed Bunting down in the gardens mid-morning. Looking out to sea only produced 12 Great Crested Grebes, a single Guillemot and 130 Sanderlings flying south west passed the north end. Cormorants exiting the estuary after dawn numbered 423, while waders on the shore included 12 Bar-tailed Godwits, 64 Redshank and 45 Ringed Plovers. Earlier observers had noticed a Mediterranean Gull on the marine lake at West Kirby mid-morning. A Red Admiral and a Small White butterfly enjoyed the late morning warm and sunny weather.
Ringed : 2 Blackbirds, 2 Greenland Wheatears, 1 Meadow Pipit      [ 922-36 ]
(DB,AEH,CJ,KMc+SD,CJW et al)              photo  CJ

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

15th October 2014

Weather : SE force 3
Grounded this morning were a few Blackbirds and 4 Redwings, other Redwings seen brought the total to 13 for the day. Some visible migration included several sightings of Starlings, 32 in total, 3 Chaffinches, 4 Goldfinches and a Greenfinch. Late seasonal visitors present were 2 Wheatears and 2 Swallows flying high to the south. Eleven Wigeon were the only ducks today, 5 Bar-tailed Godwits fed on the shore and only 23 Brent were around to be counted, but no doubt more were elsewhere. Later a Merlin was seen to fly south of the islands. Three Rock Pipits were logged.
Ringed ; 2 Blackbirds, 1 Dunnock, 1 Meadow Pipit.            [ 917-36 ]     
(DB et al)

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

14th October 2014

Weather : NE force 5
A new high for the season of 43 Pale-bellied Brent were counted this morning, Twelve Carrion Crows were down on the island, and an unusual record today was of a Rock Pipit that was found on Little Eye, it was an individual that had previously been ringed on the island. No small migrants due to the north easterlies, but a single Skylark flew north.