Friday, 2 December 2016

2nd December 2016

No wind with excellent visibility, snow could be seen on the hills of the Lake District 


The Pale-bellied Brent Geese were too dispersed for a decent count but a returning colour ringed bird was found on the Whaleback.  This bird had first been seen at Hilbre on the near coincident date of 4th December 2015 (see blog for that date) and had been ringed at Álftanes/Jörfavegur in SW Iceland on 19th May 2015.  It was also seen in Northern Ireland in October/November 2015 before being seen at Hilbre in December but heading to Ireland (Dublin Bay) by 12th January 2016 (staying until February) and remaining on the east coast of Ireland (Co Wicklow and Co Dublin) until March 2016.  It was then seen in Iceland on passage in April & May 2016 before returning to Northern Ireland (Strangford Lough) on 22nd October remaining into November 2016 and finally returning to Hilbre. Thanks as always to the Irish Brent Goose Research Group.

The drake Scaup spent its fifth day around the island. On the north shore were 141 Bar-tailed Godwits, 4 Grey Plover and 200 Dunlin with another 100 flying south up the estuary. About 3,000 Oystercatcher roosted on middle but there were only 6 Purple Sandpiper on the west side of Hilbre today.

On the sea were c1,000 Common Scoter, 3 Red-throated Diver and 14 Great Crested Grebe.

A Blackbird and 2 Redwing were about the gardens early on with 5 Wren, 4 Robin and a Dunnock. A Kestrel was also about and a Pied Wagtail, 3 Rock Pipits and 2 Meadow Pipits were seen.

A Little Egret was in the gutter and a Grey Heron was found roosting in the dark between Little Eye and the shore on the way off.  A Little Egret was also seen earlier on the Marine Lake wall and a single red-head Goodander was on West Kirby Marine Lake early morning only.

Photos by AEH and SRW

Thursday, 1 December 2016

1st December 2016

Another quiet day on the island but the drake Scaup showed well off the east side on the rising tide and 10 Purple Sandpipers were roosting.

Photo of Scaup by @mattthomas966

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

30th November 2016

Weather: W force 2, vis 30 miles

A very quiet day on the island but the Scaup was still on the east side, also a Little Egret. Eleven Purple Sandpipers roosted on the west side over tide.  A Song Thrush and 3 Redwing were in the sk paddock, 5 Robins and 8 Wrens were noted. A Dunnock and a Meadow Pipit were on middle.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

29th November 2016

Weather: SE 0/1, clear

A single Whooper Swan was seen going south, there was a Blackbird on middle and a Song Thrush on the north end with 10 Starling and a Redwing also noted. Three Pied Wagtails flew over separately and there were 3 Rock Pipits.
A male Scaup was close in on the east side as the tide rose, 163 Common Scoter  were counted with 1 Red-throated Diver and 5 Great Crested Grebes. Only 1 Purple Sandpiper was found but there were 130 Bar-tailed Godwit on the north shore with 120 Dunlin.
In the afternoon a Short-eared Owl was glimpsed briefly dropping behind the fence at the back of the heli trap, it was relocated in the bracken on the north end where a spectacular view was gained.

Monday, 28 November 2016

28th November 2016

Weather: NE force 1/2
Best bird of today was a male Scaup that was off the north end after the tide. The only small migrants were 2 Skylarks and a Pied Wagtail overhead, with just the regular birds, (4 Robins, 4 Wrens, 1 Blackbird, 2 Rock Pipits etc.) on the ground. Only 6 Purple Sandpipers could be found, a meagre number compared to years gone by. Up to 5,000 Knot were between the islands and the shore after the tide.
Grey Plover  (CJ)

Brent Geese flying up the east side  (CJ)

Sunday, 27 November 2016

27th November 2016

Weather: E 0/1 increasing to 2 later, vis 5mls, mist.

On the walk over in the dark, 48 Redwing were counted by call although no thrushes were found on the islands. A single Red-throated Diver was on a very calm sea with 7 Great Crested Grebes and about 2,000 Common Scoter .
Over the tide 2,500 Oystercatcher roosted on middle and after the tide there were 80 Redshank, 54 Bar-tailed Godwits, 124 Turnstone and 2 Grey Plover feeding at the bottom of the gutter. Twenty one Curlew were also noted.
The only passerine movement seen was a single Pied Wagtail going East over the north end, a Kestrel was viewed briefly over the south end and there were 7 Wrens, 3 Robin, 2 Rock Pipit and 3 Meadow Pipits on the island.
The flat calm was ideal for spotting 2 Harbour Porpoise in the swash, they were observed for 5 mins circling around in the same area (probably feeding) before heading out to sea.
A count of 19 Grey seals on the haul out was very low and possibly due to the cold east wind.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

26th November 2016

Weather: light air, some thick fog
A very brief afternoon visit found the new colour ringed Brent (see 23rd) still present.