Tuesday, 22 May 2018

22nd May 2018

Weather: WNW  3-4 decreasing later, vis 5 mls

The only waders around the island today were 150 Oystercatcher and 2 Whimbrel, they were all disturbed by a Peregrine high over the north shore and probably the same bird was seen later, with prey on the East Hoyle.
The change in wind direction today seemed to have pushed in more Gannets with 146 noted along with 28 Guillemot, 12 Common Scoter and about 100 of mixed Sandwich and Common Terns. The 2 immature male Eider were on the west side and 2 Shelduck to the east of Middle, a male Mallard was on the pond at first light but soon disappeared. Two Little Egret and a Heron were also noted.
There were no migrants today but the first juvenile Meadow Pipit was seen by the Canoe Club, indeed many of the Pipits were carrying food today.
A single Harbour Porpoise was seen off the North End. Two male Orange Tip and a male Green Veined White were the best of the many butterflies around when the sun came out after the tide.
photos AS

Monday, 21 May 2018

21st May 2018

Weather: ESE   with light airs vis 8 mls with a light mist around the estuary.

A short visit after the early morning tide found the islands as quiet as expected with 2 House Martin briefly joining the breeding swallows over the island, a Collared Dove landed on the S.K trap...
  and 2 Jackdaw inspected every chimney pot on the island.
Two Goldfinch were present and it is suspected by some that they may be a breeding pair, time will tell… or not.
Six Little Egret were at the south end of the reef, (a better count than of late) and 2 Grey Heron were present. Two Shelduck were in the gutter but waders have almost disappeared with a small flock of 45 Dunlin and a few Oystercatcher about.
Terns numbered 2 Little, 40 Sandwich and 10 Common. The 2 Eider are still about along with 22 Gannet, 7 Great Crested Grebe and 2 Guillemot on the sea.
photos AS

Sunday, 20 May 2018

20th May 2018

Weather: SE force 2 mostly sunny
A late Willow Warbler was in the paddocks this morning but no sign of any of the larger warblers, and the only other grounded migrant was a single Wheatear. A Yellow Wagtail called as it passed through and 6 House Martins joined the Swallows feeding over the island and a Collared Dove flew south towards Middle being 'seen off' by the local Meadow Pipits. Despite the lack of numbers of birds it was nevertheless a very pleasant morning in the fine weather with lots of flowers now to admire.
There seem to be good numbers of breeding Linnets this year, although nationally they are in decline.

The 2 Eiders were again loafing off the west side and about 50 Gannets diving further out, with 3 Little Terns also identified amongst the other terns towards the west hoyle.
An Orange Tip butterfly flew again in the sunshine.
Ringed: 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Linnet        [ 356-24 ]

Saturday, 19 May 2018

19th May 2018

Weather: SSE force 0/1  sunny and warm
A Magpie was an early visitor, staying on the island for about an hour, but on the whole it was very quiet, and in that respect (also the weather) feeling like summer.
 Pairs of Linnets can now be seen near their nesting sites
A Goldcrest was present after dawn, but not for much longer and for most of the morning migrants were entirely absent, but just as members were moaning about the lack of warblers a Sedge Warbler found itself in the SK mist net. It became the first to be ringed this year and only the third on the island, it been a poor year here for Sedge Warblers so far.

A male Goosander sat on the tide off the north shore, an unexpected sighting at this time, while the 2 Eiders were off the west side today and 50 Gannets were still feeding in Liverpool Bay.
A Whitethroat sang briefly in the SK paddock late afternoon.
Two Goldfinches were noted, also 35 Common Terns, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Grey Herons, and a Little Egret.
Ringed: 2 Linnets, 1 Sedge Warbler      [ 354-24 ]
photos CJ,SRW,AS

Friday, 18 May 2018

18th May 2018

Weather:SE force 2
On arrival at the obs before 6am a Firecrest was heard singing in the garden, it filtered north down the island and was eventually singing again in the SK paddock where it trapped for ringing. Firecrest is less than annual at Hilbre and is more often found in autumn but spring records are generally in April/early May, and in fact this is possibly the latest ever in spring.

A nice surprise for the observers then who are always hopeful of finding a good bird despite most migrants having now completed their journey.
A Woodpigeon was trapped at the same time, providing a comparison between little and large!
A Collared Dove passed south over Middle half an hour earlier, while on the main island during the morning were male Chiffchaff and Whitethroat (both singing) also a male Wheatear. The only small passing visitor was a Redpoll although a couple of Goldfinches were again noted, we are not sure what exactly they are up to.
An unexpected treat was the sight of 5 Pink-footed Geese walking around the west hoyle sands for half an hour until the tide covered it, and even then they were reluctant to fly and just floated away (distant record shot below).
The calm sea also provided opportunities to watch the sea and log 26 Gannets and 28 Guillemots and the now almost expected Harbour Porpoise.
Fifty Sanderling flew north and 80 Dunlin were about with 3 Whimbrel on the island
Some of the Herring Gulls were lunching on Starfish at the north end.
Ringed: 1 Firecrest, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Woodpigeon.   [ 351-23 ]
photos SRW,CJ

Thursday, 17 May 2018

17th May 2018

Weather:  ENE 1, 1/8 cloud, moderate vis

A fairly quiet day with a cold start (for mid May) resulted in very few grounded migrants although single Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Whitethroat were found.  The two immature drake Eiders were  around the west side and on the ‘whaleback’ and a single Common Scoter was around the main island.

Small numbers of passage waders were found including Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Sanderling (see below).  As well as Whimbrel and terns remained very much in evidence with the highlight being 45 Little Terns which flew over the main island back west towards the Point of Ayr (where they breed).

Ringing: Linnet and Willow Warbler [347-22]

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

16th May 2018

Weather:  N 2, rain during morning, brighter afternoon 6/8 cloud, good vis

Rain stopped play!  This morning the weather did not look at all conducive for spring migration and it put observers off.  However, a brief post tide visit continued our excellent coverage of the islands this spring and the afternoon was brighter although the bluebells at the south end are fading and the predominate flowering colour of the island is rapidly becoming the pink of the Thrift.

Four Little Egrets were around the Tanskeys, the Reef and the gutter and the two immature drake Eiders sat out the tide on the rocks west of Middle.

A good passage of Swallows was noted with 65 birds counted in just a couple of hours during the afternoon.  Two Greenland Wheatears (male and female) were present on the main island between the light and the North End but there was no evidence of any other grounded migrants.

A small number of Dunlin were noted (9) and a single Whimbrel.