Monday, 30 August 2010

30th August 2010

What a difference a day makes! The wind had dropped overnight and despite still being a relatively stiff northerly (dropping and backing north east later) the only wind blown sea-bird of note was this Great Crested Grebe that spent the morning fishing just off the slipway.

The first sign that things had changed overnight was the sound of a calling Goldcrest from a bramble bush at first light, despite being photographed (see left) it stayed well clear of the traps and nets; sadly a rare sight in recent times at Hilbre. Let's hope it is a sign of their recovery.

Next was the appearance of four Wheatears together at the North End not long after dawn. Up to at least a dozen Greenland birds spent the day on the island and the improving weather (with hardly a cloud in the sky) meant that the presence of day-trippers resulted in the Wheatears taking up residence of the sheep paddock, fences (see below left) and 'Newton' trap wall.

This resulted in the first three birds of the autumn being trapped and colour-ringed; all of the Greenland race and including a male (see above right).
With the sun shining the resident birds were also putting on a show including the recently colonising Dunnocks (left). Apart from a couple of Robins (of five birds present) the three Greenland Wheatears were the only birds caught. The sun was now blazing and being August bank holiday Monday the Hoylake Lifeboat (RNLI) show put on a performance with the highlights being a spitfire (left) and a couple of bi-plane "wing walkers" (right).

Up to six Little Egrets fed on the ebbing tide during a beautiful evening on the island and as the sun gradually set and the day cooled you could see the Lake District mountain range from Hilbre - there is always something to see here even if the birding is slow ('Black Combe' is on the extreme left).

[FES, TJS, CLW, NDW, SRW, TGW, CJW(f), GIW] [410] Photos SRW

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