Friday, 26 May 2017

26th May 2017

Weather: SE 3, 0/8 cloud, good vis

The day started early for observers staying on the island and eeking out the last migrants of spring.

Two Woodpigeon flew off the island first thing and these were followed by the arrival of a single Collared Dove; a species that has been scarce on the island this spring.

A singing Chiffchaff could be heard in the Obs garden - perhaps a new migrant or the bird from the paddocks yesterday.

Several Swifts arrived 'in off' as did small numbers of House Martins.

Butterflies were again much in evidence battling the increasing South-easterly breeze with Painted Ladies and Red Admirals the predominant species.

The ornithological highlight of the day was seen by a visiting birder (with Obs members off island or working in the shed!) when three Spoonbills flew low over the islands heading south.  A great record and only our sixth ever (and first multiple sighting) but the fifth since 2010 (when one was seen on the similar date of 30th May - see our blog for that date).

The other highlight of the day was the discovery of a Red-veined Darter in the east side trapping area.  This is only the second record of this stunning dragonfly for Hilbre.

It is interesting that the first record of Red-veined Darter on Hilbre was May/June 2009 at a time when we experienced the largest influx of Painted Lady butterflies ever, which was of course the forerunner to Hilbre's first ever Paddyfield Warbler...

With Obs members (young and old) staying on the island this week our coverage promises to remain high until the end of spring whatever that may bring. This evening Obs members once again helped members of the public by calling the coastguard.  The West Kirby RNLI attended and a couple were taken off the island as the tide rose and the sun set.

Ringing: Linnet [386-32]

Thursday, 25 May 2017

25th May 2017

Weather: light air, fog, later SE 1/2 very warm and sunny

The fog in the estuary early on soon cleared leaving a loving day to be on the island. The breeding Linnets now have many youngsters busily fluttering about the paddocks and 11 juveniles and an adult were ringed today (and there's more on the way - see below). 

A late migrant Chiffchaff was singing but was particularly elusive, unlike the Shorelark which was showing well again as usual in its favoured places although could not be found in the evening in a brief search.

A single Wheatear was on the west side, this species has been unusually scarce this spring.

A Fulmar paid a brief visit to examine the cliffs of Middle Eye and 2 Collared Doves stayed a few minutes around the buildings, while passing through were 4 House Martins, some mixing with the Swallows before they moved on and a group of 4 Swifts speeding to the south.
A Whimbrel was present, also a few Sanderling with the 150 or so Dunlin around the shore and 4 Bar-tailed Godwit rested briefly at the Middle Eye high tide roost.

As with many species Mallard is particularly elusive during the breeding season at Hilbre and the sight of a pair bathing and dabbling in a pool between the islands in the evening may be a sign that the female has been down on eggs somewhere unknown.

There were not many butterflies considering the fine weather, but a few Green-veined Whites, two Red Admirals and a Painted Lady brightened the scene.

However, by late evening over 25 Painted Ladies and 8 Red Admirals had arrived and were enjoying the evening sunshine.

Ringed: 12 Linnets, 1 Meadow Pipit

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

23rd May 2017

Weather:  NW  1, visibility 5 miles, increasing later

Another very quiet day with the only passage birds on the island being two Wheatear which spent the day on the west side, and the Shorelark which remained for its tenth day.

Fifty Ringed Plover flew along the reef as one observer approached Middle before tide, a Grey Heron looked as if it had roosted overnight on the East side of Middle and five Shelduck were present in the gutter.

Sandwich Terns on the West Hoyle numbered c300.  Also of note were 2 Whimbrel, a Grey Plover and 120 Dunlin.

Monday, 22 May 2017

22nd May 2017

Weather: SE force 3

A similar day to yesterday bird wise, the only warblers being two Whitethroats and a Willow Warbler, also a Wheatear down the west side and four House Martins passing through with a few Swallows.

One of the Swallows decided to enter the obs building and was rescued by hand, receiving a ring in the process.

Young Linnets are now fledging all over the gardens and paddocks, three of them were ringed this morning, while in addition to the main island birds a flock of 22 was on Middle Eye first thing, quite unusual at this time of year.

The Shorelark survived the ordeal by visitor invasion in the sunshine of yesterday afternoon and was happily feeding again in its favoured spots.

Also of note today were 120 Sandwich Terns and 50 Sanderling on the north shore tide edge; other waders seen included over 100 Dunlin, 20 Ringed Plover, two Grey Plover and a single Bar-tailed Godwit.

Ringed: 3 Linnets, 2 Whitethroats, Swallow, Willow Warbler [ 372-32 ]

Sunday, 21 May 2017

21st May 2017

Weather: SSW force1/2 at dawn, then SE 3/4

A small improvement on previous days with a couple of Whitethroats and a Willow Warbler present, one of the Whitethroats becoming the first bird ringed since 16th, together with a newly fledged juvenile Linnet. Three Wheatears were down the west side and passing through were 5 Swifts, 5 House Martins, 7 Swallows, also a Siskin, and a White Wagtail.

The Shorelark was finding undisturbed feeding difficult amongst the many visitors today, it remains to be seen if it is still here tomorrow.

Little sea watching took place over the early tide, just a Gannet and 3 Sandwich terns and a single Common Tern were logged. Among the moths found in the moth trap this morning was a Bright-line Brown-eye, a Treble lines, 4 Marbled Coronet, Netted Pug and a Clouded Bordered Brindle.

On the beach thousands of comb jellies were found to have been washed up.

Ringed: Whitethroat, 1 Linnet ( juvenile) [365-32] 

Photos BT (birds), SRW (moths) and visitor Lucy Charlton (clouded bordered brindle and comb jellies)

Saturday, 20 May 2017

20th May 2017

Weather:  SW 3, 1/8, good vis

The Shorelark remains around the main island and three Wheatears joined it.

Waders continued to pass through in small numbers including 5 Whimbrel, 30 Ringed Plover and two Turnstone.

A few terns were around the island early in the day but an evening sea watching produced 120 Gannet, two Manx Shearwater and an Arctic Skua (only the second of the year).

Swallows remain around the building in good numbers (4 pair) and Meadow Pipit and Linnet numbers also appear healthy this year.

Friday, 19 May 2017

19th May 2017

Weather: W 1-2, 8/8 cloud, good vis

Observers made their way to the island early which meant the tide was still well in (not advisable unless you know the tide times, heights and weather thoroughly).

There were a few waders around the tide edge and five Little Egrets and two Grey Herons.

There were very few migrants on the island but two Wheatears appeared.

The Shorelark remained around the island again today although she became a little more mobile today but was still present during the evening tide.

Photos by BT (birds) and SRW (Hilbre)