A beautiful morning greeted observers and the light wind was in the south-east first thing before backing west and then south south west later. Large numbers of Black-headed Gulls are gathering around the tide edge at the moment and amongst these on the edge of the gutter were 7 Little Egrets.
A couple of Willow Warblers had arrived on the island and were both caught during the day as was yet another juvenile Dunnock. In addition, juvenile Pied Wagtails, Meadow Pipits and Linnets were much in evidence around Hilbre and Middle.
The main focus today was sea-birds and waders. Sea-watching produced 16 Manx Shearwaters, 57 Gannets, 3 Razorbill, 11 Great Crested Grebes, 3 Shag and the highlight was a single drake Tufted Duck (uncommon at Hilbre).
Terns were very active and noisy today particularly the 500+ Sandwich Terns which included many adults feeding youngsters but other counts included 4o Common, 21 Little and 6 Arctic Terns. As a result, at least three Arctic Skuas pursued and harrassed the terns off the North End.
Visible migration was limited as would be expected in July, but did include 5 Swallows and a single Kestrel that was mobbed by terns as it flew 'in off' the sea and landed on the North End a little exhausted. This was the third Kestrel of the day and a single adult Peregrine sat on the beach after the tide.
Waders were also passing through in small numbers with at least 18 Whimbrel seen (continuing their good recent numbers on the island), Dunlin (c100), Turnstone (25) and Ringed Plovers (6). Yet another Common Sandpiper was heard down the West Side before being seen flying around the North End.
Other wildlife today included 8 Grayling Butterflies, 4 Harbour Porpoise, 2 Common Frogs and a currently unidentified spider. Photos to follow.
(ME, NDW, SRW, TGW + SH)