By the end of the day in addition to the Pomarine seen earlier, Arctic Skuas were totalled at 26 including 5 dark phase, with 4 Great Skuas, 35 Manx Shearwaters, 15 Leach's petrels and a Storm Petrel. Other sea sightings today were 120 Gannets, 20 Kittiwakes, 15 Common Scoter, 20 Great Crested Grebes and 2 Red-throated Divers, also 3 Razorbills and a Little Tern. It is hard to understand how the sea could be so much more prolific than yesterday with the wind being somewhat less strong and almost exactly from the same direction. Such is the unpredictability of birding at Hilbre. On the shore were 42 Bar-tailed Godwits, a good count of 20 Redshank, 13 Sanderling and 550 Knot, and intriguingly amongst the 5,000 or so Oystercatchers was one sporting a new looking ring on the left leg, surely the bird rescued and released on 18th August (see blog for that date). A Golden Plover flew from the direction of Niffy bay across the top of the island and off to the south west, a nice record of this scarce Hilbre bird. Three juvenile Shags were present and a Peregrine stood on the east hoyle as they often do. Terns were counted at about 150 Sandwich and 25 Common, not forgetting the Little Tern mentioned earlier. Considering the westerly airstream 5 birds ringed was a fine total;- a Blackcap in the morning followed by a Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff at noon, and then 2 Robins later. Linnets were in good numbers, with a count of 64 birds while a single Wheatear and 11 Swallows battled the gale to reach Hilbre. All in all, a memorable September day.
Mid morning update:
A Pomarine Skua was reported to the Obs early morning and by 1030am three Leach's Petrels were seen passing the North End (from the Obs garden) along with 10 Manx Shearwaters.
More news to follow....
(DB,KMc) + Mark Feltham, Matt Thomas [783-42]