Sunday, 16 December 2018

16th December 2018

Weather: still air at dawn, then SW force 2

A brief visit across before dawn (with Venus shining brilliantly) thankfully found very little evidence of any damage due to yesterdays storm. Among the 178 Brent was colour ringed 'HSBW', ringed in Ireland 10 years ago and first seen here 8 years ago. About 100 Pink-footed Geese were seen flying south distantly over Wirral.
Six Field Voles snuggled under shelter, a good number for this time of year. A single Purple Sandpiper was among the Turnstones, a few dozen Redshanks were in the gutter with 15 Dunlin and 2 Grey Plover.
Around the gardens and paddocks were 2 each of Wren, Dunnock and Song Thrush.
photos AEH, CJ

Thursday, 13 December 2018

13th December 2018

Weather:  SE force 4/5 cold with windchill
A typical winter movement today of 9 Lapwings flying low to the south, also a Common Snipe which sat at the north end until moved by the incoming tide. The female Eider was still about but was the only duck species seen all day. Principal wader sightings included 4 Purple Sandpipers and 244 Turnstone on the island and 1,500 Knot roosting along the West Kirby shore. A Red-throated Diver and 204 Common Scoter were out to sea. Brent were counted at 193. An adult female Peregrine showed, while more sedentary land birds included 2 Song Thrushes and 2 Robins. On the mammal front fresh evidence of fox droppings were seen, but nevertheless at least 4 Field Voles survive.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

6th December 2018

Weather: SW  3-4   vis 8 mls with rain showers.

As is expected at this time of year very few birds were on the islands, however 2 Linnet and a Rock Pipit were on Middle, 2 Song Thrush and 5 Meadow Pipit on Hilbre with just a Robin, Dunnock and a few Wren.

On the sea over tide 5 Red-throated Diver were seen along with 17 Great Crested Grebe a Guillemot and 173 Common Scoter. Two male and a female Mallard were in Niffy Bay and an Eider by Middle Eye.
A Peregrine put up the 8,000 Oystercatcher roosting over tide but hunted unsuccessfully, and then spent quite a while ‘playing’ on the thermals by the mast.
Other waders included 9,000 Knot, 630 Dunlin and 5 Purple Sandpiper. Two Grey Heron were at the north end of Middle.
An adult Grey Seal with a wound on its head was hauled out at the North End  and two younger ones seemed very interested in it. Although it looked quite unwell it did move as the tide came up.
 photos AS

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

4th December 2018

Weather: W force 2, clear overnight and cold
Calmer and drier this morning with a surprise of a late Goldcrest in the paddocks, also a Woodpigeon, both usually only seen at Hilbre at times of passage. Three Skylarks went through mid-morning and another was down on Middle at midday. Probable wintering birds today included 3 Song Thrushes, 5 Wrens, 2 Robins, 2 Dunnocks and 2 Rock Pipits. A seal was hauled out on the rocks by shell beach and later near the north end.
Sea birds seen were 23 Common Scoter, 8 Great Crested Grebes and 2 Guillemots, while best of the waders counted were 1,500 Knot, 300 Dunlin, 25 Sanderling, 4 Purple Sandpipers with a few Turnstone.

Grey Herons unusually today outnumbered Little Egrets 6 to 1, and there were 2 Eiders, an immature male (below) and a female, and 70 Shelduck rested on the shore after the tide.
 photos AS

Sunday, 2 December 2018

2nd December 2018

Weather:  SW 4, 7/8 cloud, showers

A short visit on a grey morning produced a Peregrine on the reef between Middle and Little for observers on the way over.  

The Eider was off the North End as were 180 Common Scoter.

212 Pale-bellied Brent Geese were counted but there were certainly more present below the rocks between the islands.

Lots of waders were around the North Shore and the Tanskies.  The Great Northern Diver remains on West Kirby Marine Lake along with the Little Grebe and the returning Cumbrian colour-ringed Black-headed Gull 2J75.

A single Song Thrush was in the trapping area and a Skylark passed over. 

Saturday, 1 December 2018

1st December 2018

Weather:  S 3-4, 8/8 cloud, poor vis (2 miles), rain
An early damp start found 6 Song Thrushes about the island, more than the norm at this time of year.
A Goosander was present, these birds seem to be more common in the estuary during the last few years, unlike Red-breasted Mergansers that may have declined. A female Eider continued the now regular appearance of these ducks at Hilbre. The bad weather hampered much bird finding but waders included 7 Purple Sandpipers, 60 Dunlin, 40 Redshank and a Grey Plover.
Ringing: Song Thrush [555-34]

Friday, 30 November 2018

30th November 2018

Weather: WSW 4, 5/8 cloud, good vis

A short visit today was surprisingly productive with a flock of 20 Pintail flying over the island and off south up the estuary as observers arrived.

The single Eider was off the North End and a single Purple Sandpiper fed on the slipway along with good numbers of Turnstone (85).

The Pale-bellied Brent Goose flock has increased and a peak count so far this autumn/winter was made today with 242 birds present.

A single Little Egret fed in the gutter with good numbers of Redshank (180) and Knot (850) also present.

Two Song Thrushes were around the gardens and one bird retrapped today was the returning bird which is clearly now wintering on the islands.

Meanwhile, yesterday an adult Great Northern Diver was found on West Kirby Marine Lake (still present today - photo below by Peter Sutton) joining the Little Grebe that was still present (see below); a real ‘little and large’ double act for the lake!