A quality day with quality birds ! This is what we have been waiting for, a cracking migration day with lots of species arriving on a good spring morning.
Still cloudy but much windier than yesterday, the Willow Warblers were slightly down in numbers although there were many other species to more than compensate with at least one representative of most of the larger warblers and chats etc.
The first surprise was a Mealy Redpoll among the 4 Redpolls caught. In comparison with the Lesser Redpoll in the hand (above and right) it was a larger bird and shows much more white on wings and rump, extensive pink on the breast and only one streak on the undertail coverts. A adult male Redstart (below right) and a Greenland Wheatear were also ringed, together with the first Whinchat to be caught this year (below) and the first Whitethroat on Hilbre this Spring. Yet another Grasshopper Warbler put in an appearance, also a Blackcap, and the first Sedge Warbler to arrive this year was singing but failed to offer itself to be ringed. A different male Redstart arrived about noon to finish off an exciting day with lots of diversity in the trapping area.
The first 2 Arctic Skuas of the year were on the sea with 10 Gannets, 26 Common Terns, 32 Sandwich Terns, 28 Common Scoter, 5 Razorbills and 5 Kittiwakes.
Nearer the island a total of 31 Whimbrel and 11 Bar-tailed Godwits (some in summer plumage) and a single Little Egret.
Other birds mostly overhead :- 2 Yellow Wagtails, 14 White Wagtails, 9 Tree Pipits (a few on the ground), 50+ Redpolls, 12 Siskin, 56 Goldfinches, 30 Sand Martin, 1 House Martin, 100+ Swallows. On the ground 10 Wheatears, at least 7 of them being of the Greenland race.
A dead Pipistrelle Bat was found on one of the paths.
Let's hope tomorrow is half as good !
10 Willow Warblers
3 Lesser Redpolls
1 Common ('Mealy') Redpoll (top right)
2 Redstarts (bottom left)
1 Whinchat (middle left)
1 Grasshopper Warbler (middle right)
1 Whitethroat (top left)
1 Greenland Wheatear (bottom right)
(BSB,DB,FD,CJ,KN,AW,DCT,PT,NDW,SRW,)  photos BSB & CJ