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.

Monday, 13 October 2014

13th October 2014

Weather : ENE force 4
A brief visit early morning found a Raven down the east side, a Little Egret, 400 Shelduck near Tanskey rocks, 26 Brent, a Pied Wagtail and a Rock Pipit.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

12th October 2014

Weather:  SSE force 2, sunny
Next to nothing was grounded overnight which was not surprising considering the the clear sky, a single Goldcrest was found briefly at the south end and that was about it. Later 4 Goldfinches dropped in to join the female Chaffinch which was still present, other than that observers had to look skywards to see any action. Passing over were 2 Reed Buntings, several Starlings, 6 Pied Wagtails, and about 40 Meadow Pipits. It was not until mid-morning that Skylarks started moving, over 20 all told, mostly in an easterly direction. A lone female Teal sat on the sea off the north end, and later a Mute Swan flew across the obs garden and on towards the Point of Air (right). The count of Brent could not better the 33 of yesterday and there was thought to be 2 Rock Pipits on the island today; other birds on the log were both male and female Kestrel, a Peregrine that was seen to stoop on prey between the islands, also 80 Redshank in the east gutter with 8 Bar-tailed Godwits and a single Little Egret. Best sighting today was not of a bird but of a Red Fox in the vicinity of the telegraph buildings. Very rare sightings of a Fox and frequent signs of faeces have often suggested a permanent presence, but the animals are too secretive to confirm this, and rarely Foxes have also been seen crossing to and from the mainland. Just to put every ones mind at rest the resident rabbit was also showing today.
Ringed: 1 Wren                [ 913-36 ]
(DB+ESCA,CJ,BT) also John Ball               photo CJ

Saturday, 11 October 2014

11th October 2014

Weather : SSE force 1/2
Lighter winds made for a pleasant feel to the morning. Soon after dawn 33 Brents were on the tide line to the west of the island, another increase in numbers towards the coming winter peak. The female Chaffinch that has been here for a few days made itself known in the obs garden and continued to call loudly around the rest of the island for about 2 hours (left). At least 1 Chiffchaff crept about the paddocks and a Reed Bunting came down on the 'newton' trees. Skylarks were regularly passing over in small numbers, mostly travelling north east (only they would know why), while Meadow Pipits, again in small numbers, were more predictable with their southerly preference. A Goldcrest unexpectedly appeared in the SK trap when none had been heard on the island. A fine sight this morning was of 8 Little Egrets feeding in the gutter to the east of the obs all at the same time. One or two Red Admirals were still to be seen most likely as a result of the influx noted yesterday.

Ringed:- 1 Robin, 1 Goldcrest       [ 912-36 ]
(CJ)                             photos CJ