Thursday, 16 April 2015

16th April 2015

Weather:  No wind first thing, backing ESE, then NNE later, 3/8 cloud, good vis; a glorious day!

Another glorious April day on the island began with an early morning flava Wagtail passing over calling and a small trickle of phylloscs with 2 Willow Warblers and 2 Chiffchaffs caught and ringed.

A Merlin was seen near the light and the male Kestrel showed well hovering at various points around the island (see below).

Kestrel - hovering over the Old Obs garden (note the ring, possibly the bird caught on 11 September 2014 which had been ringed 8 years previously at Meols, Wirral as a pullus on 2 June 2006)
 A male Blackcap was caught but attention soon turned to sea-watching with Little Gulls in good numbers in the mouth of the Dee with 63 counted.
Little Gulls - record shot (iPhone-scoped video grab) off the West Side of Hilbre
Harbour Porpoise - one of three seen off the West Side (following six yesterday in similar area)
Three Harbour Porpoises were seen on the flat calm sea following six seen briefly yesterday.  The sea also provided over 70 Red-throated Divers in various stages of plumage and a single Black-throated Diver in partial summer dress.

At around midday the highlight of the day appeared from the West and flew over the island pursued by gulls - our first Osprey of the year; a few calls, texts and tweets later and it was picked up at several locations further along the North Wirral.

Osprey - the first record this spring passes over the North End of the island

Wheatear - a first year male caught in the SK
Rock Pipit - the first to be ringed this year on Hilbre and quite late for this species on Hilbre
To top a great spring day a Rock Pipit was caught on Wheatear hill in a potter trap; the first to be ringed this year on the islands.

As the tide flooded in the evening the first flocks of spring Dunlin and Ringed Plover appeared below the Obs and Whimbrel could be heard calling down the estuary.

(CJW(f), CLW, FPW, GIW, SRW, TGW from over and DB) [165-26]

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