Friday, 8 April 2011

8th April 2011

The thick fog in the Dee made the visibility on the islands down to 100 yards or less for much of the morning, so despite the normally unhelpful north westerly breeze some migrants were persuaded that Hilbre was their best option for a while. The biggest surprise was a Grasshopper Warbler (above) in the 'heli' trap on the first round and later another seen about the south end. These are the earliest ever Grasshopper Warblers seen at Hilbre, the previous record was held by a bird a day later on 9th April 1967. Other warblers today were 4 Chiffchaffs (below), 4 Blackcaps (3 males, right), 2 Willow Warblers and a Goldcrest. Two Tree Pipits were heard flying over in the fog, 3 Wheatears showed (1 on Middle) and there were just 2 single Swallows during the morning. Half a dozen Goldfinches were the only finches (apart from the resident Linnets) but there were 4 White Wagtails in addition to the 3 Pied recorded. The fog restricted sightings of any shore birds but a Merlin and 2 Canada Geese were close enough to be identified. Ringed:-3 Blackcaps, 3 Chiffchaffs, 2 Willow Warblers, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Goldcrest. (CJ,CJW et al) [141-27] photos CJ, CJW

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