Monday 26 February 2024

26th February 2024

 Weather: NNE force 5

The only unexpected bird today was put up from the rocks east of Middle early morning, the single Lapwing flew up but came down again on the reef. In the last couple of years the Purple Sandpiper have taken to roosting in various places, often seperately, but today 13 were all together sheltering from the cold wind (11 in photo with 4 Turnstone).

 There were only about 250 Brent noted today, but more will still be here. 

 Four Eider were noted today, including 2 adult males.

 West of Little Eye as the tide made were 130 Grey Plover, 3,000 Knot and 60 Curlew. There was not much on the sea to the north but 80 Common Scoter were counted and singles of Red-throated Diver and Great Crested Grebe flew west. Our loyal Kestrel still shows well to visitors.

 

Photos AS  

Sunday 25 February 2024

25th February 2024

 Weather: E force 2/3,  SE 3 by noon  

The day started well with just a light mist around the estuary

 But that soon changed and suddenly only Hilbre existed.

A Canada Goose flew out of the mist and landed with some of the 360 Brents recorded today, showing the size difference between it and these lovely little sea geese.

 Thirteen Purple Sandpiper roosted together on the west side.

 One of the 70 Turnstone counted decided to feed on top of the island alone over tide, a gamble which didn't pay off as it was found freshly predated later.

Mid afternoon a male Stonechat popped up onto the obs fence but didn't stay to be photographed. Two Grey Heron flew west early morning and a third roosted on Middle. The Kestrel and a Peregrine were around, the 3 Eiders and 8 Common Scoter were noted.

 Photos AS

Saturday 24 February 2024

24th February 2024

 Weather: SE force 2/3, then W 3

The only bird of note was a Sparrowhawk which zapped through the SK paddock going south and was not seen again. A quiet day then but a sunny one for a pleasent change and the breeding birds appreciated it with Wrens singing, Blackbirds visiting a probable nest site and Meadow Pipits doing display flights in several places. A single Skylark passed by. It was a high tide mid-morning and 50 Redshank roosted in Niffy bay with 90 Turnstone and a single Bar-tailed Godwit.

 

 Among some of the other waders logged were 40 Sanderling, 30 Grey Plover and 9 Purple Sandpipers. The 3 Eiders rested on the whaleback.

There are still a large number of Brent around the islands, 424 were counted today and 3 Red-throated Divers with 80 Common Scoter that were mostly out to sea.

 The Kestrel is still here and there was just a single Grey Heron.

 Photos AS
 

Friday 23 February 2024

23rd February 2024

 Weather:  W force 4/5

 A fresh breeze for the high tide this morning and many waders rested around the island including Dunlin, Knot and Redshank.

 

 

A Common Scoter sat on the sand with a group of Redshank, about 30 others were out at sea.

  Oystercatchers were as usual the largest group of waders present, 3,000 seen today.

  There were 12 Purple Sandpipers, some as photogenic as usual.

 

 A Peregrine became the star of the show when it hunted amongst the waders and carried one away.

 

 

  The 3 Eiders are still here (2males), also 445 Brent and a pair of Mallard on the pond.

 Just the regular small birds present, 4 Rock Pipits, 3 Meadow Pipits, 2 Blackbirds, a Song Thrush, a Robin and 6 Wrens or so, many of which were in song. The main things on the sea in addition to the Scoters were a Red-throated Diver and 2 Great Crested Grebes.


Sunny intervals made spring seem near, even if it was cool, although the daffodils were still in flower.

 Photos CJW

Saturday 17 February 2024

17th February 2024

 Weather: ESE force 4,   mist around the estuary

A brief morning visit was well worth the walk with the first 2 Stonechat of the year being noted upon arrival, they spent some time around the south gardens.

 

 

Stonechats are a scarce visitor to the islands especially at times of passage, but in particular they seldom let February pass without an early year appearance. A single Starling flew south, a Pied Wagtail, 4 Linnet and 2 Goldfinch stayed around the island, the Goldfinch spent some time in the birch where a pair nested last year. Rock and Meadow Pipit continue to display. Sixty Pink-footed Geese flew north east out of the estuary, 3 Shelduck were in the Gutter and 2 female Goosander fed to the west of the island. Singles were present of Little Egret, Kestrel, and Grey Heron.

 

Snowdrops brightened up the island.

 

Photos AS

Friday 16 February 2024

16th February 2024

 Weather:  WSW force 3   later W 5  drizzle

A Great tit greeted us in the obs garden when we arrived but spent its time quickly flitting around the east side of the island. Great Tit is a scarce visitor, often occuring at this time but only usually about once a year.

 

Eighty Bar-tailed Godwits entertained at the tide edge as the tide flooded. and a lone Lapwing down on the North end was an uncommon sight, perhaps here due to early dispersal? 

 

 

 

Three Goosanders were observed a good way out today and the 3 Eiders were joined by a small group of Common Scoters.

 Fourteen Purple Sandpipers roosted and a count of 145 Turnstone was made.

A single Skylark became the sole 'small migrant of the day', although Blackbirds appeared busy in the drizzle and a new large (probably Scandinavian) female was ringed.

 

 As usual Grey Seals appear at the north end at the high tide.


 The Fox was in the east side privet at Telegraph house.

Photos CJW
 

Tuesday 13 February 2024

13th February 2024

Weather: SSW force 4, SE 3 in the afternoon

Five Goosander were at the North End, a Red-throted Diver and 800 Common Scoter were noted and 3 Pintail drifted just off the west side before dawn.

 

The 4 Eider present today included 2 adult males.

 Purple Sandpiper numbered 18 roosting in 3 seperate places with at least, 8 of them feeding off the north slipway as the tide made.

A Peregrine flew down the west side early morning but the photogenic Kestrel has not been seen for a couple of days.

Photos AS