A Marsh harrier (possibly a young male) flew across the shore by Little Eye at 09.15hrs this morning. It continued on towards the north east before being put off by a cool stiff north-easterly wind and it veered eastwards and gained height as it crossed the Royal Liverpool Golf Course. The bird was spotted by an observer following the tide back, but fortunately observers on the island were alerted by mobile phone and got onto the bird before it drifted off. It is a most unusual record at this time of year with most Marsh Harriers passing Hilbre in April/May or August/September (although there has been one wintering on the Dee estuary at Parkgate).
It was obviously a day for raptors in the bright sunshine as yet another Sparrowhawk circled gradually westwards being mobbed by the resident Carrion Crows. Offshore the Velvet Scoter was found some way out off the North End and seems determined to spend the rest of the winter here.
There were lots of large gulls off the North End but no 'white wingers' could be found. On the passerine front a Rock Pipit remained around the North End and a Meadow Pipit was on Middle and a few Blackbirds and Song Thrushes remain on the main island.
Brents remained in good numbers with at least 140 present including several family parties such as this one (two adults and a young bird on the right).
(DB et al )