Saturday, 20 February 2016

20th February 2016

Weather: W  force 6/7. Cloudy and some rain later.
An early morning tide meant meeting at 06.30 and getting across to Hilbre in the dark on a very windy morning.
As the tide flooded a count of the Brent Geese sitting on the water just off Middle Eye resulted in 226 birds being logged. With the wind in the west a lot of waders chose to roost in Niffy bay with good numbers of Turnstone and Redshank present. A few more Knot have recently begun to roost around the island and today saw small groups totalling 150 birds being seen at various locations and times. The highlight though was the highest count of Purple Sandpipers seen so far this year with at least 9 birds being seen roosting with Turnstones on the steps in Niffy Bay (left).
Sea watching was difficult and only a single Red-throated Diver was seen flying west along with two Great-crested Grebes on the sea. Fewer Common Scoter were seen with only 40 being recorded.
The gull and wader roost on Middle Eye briefly held an adult Yellow-legged Gull which was present for around 10 minutes but was chased off by other gulls (see photo below in poor light).
Oystercatcher numbers were down on recent counts and this ties in with news from the northern isles that many have arrived back on their breeding grounds.
As to be expected in such windy conditions passerine numbers were low and apart from the resident birds the only other passerine see was a solitary Starling.
(AEH,KMc,PSW)     photos  AEH

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