Monday, 4 April 2016

4th April 2016

Weather: WSW 2-3, dropping by midday, cloudy giving way to sunshine with rain clouds gathering late afternoon down and across the estuary

The day began with a light but cool breeze and with rain overnight observers were not in confident mood.  However, this soon dissipated when a Greenshank was found on the tide edge just after 630am; a good bird for early April at Hilbre.

There were only single Goldcrest and Chiffchaff grounded first thing but it soon became apparent that an arrival of Wheatears was occurring with ten seen together at the North End.  Numbers increased during the morning especially as the sun came out and birds were seen leaving the main island off to the South so it was difficult to estimate numbers accurately but a conservative 25 were counted.  

During the morning five birds were caught and ringed (the first for the year) most being the nominate race (see above - O o oenanthe) but they included an early Greenland bird (see below - O o leucorhoa). 

With the wind dropping and the island warming up a few more Chiffchaffs appeared (with 6 noted for the day). A few Sand Martins (12) and Swallows (6) were seen whizzing through during the day but attention turned to the sea where the first 7 Little Gulls of the year were found along with 65 Gannet, 35 Kittiwake and good numbers of Common Scoter (500), Great Crested Grebe (35) and 3 Red-throated Divers.

Just after 1230hrs all of the gulls and waders 'went up' off the East Hoyle sandbank and this alerted observers to the presence of our second Osprey of the Spring arriving high between Hilbre and Red Rocks it drifted quickly North dropping towards the tip of the bank (heading in the direction of Formby Point) but was lost to view.

The Brent Geese remain in good numbers (188) and a couple of the colour-ringed birds remain with the flock including the Canadian ringed bird.  More unusually was the presence of a drake Shoveler amongst the Brents off the West side late afternoon (see below).

During the morning the sun glinted off the snow sprinkled tops of the Carneddau mountains in North Wales.

But by late afternoon the sunshine was replaced with forboding dark skies but the rain never materialised at Hilbre.

Ringing:  Wheatear (5), Meadow Pipit, Wren, Goldcrest, Chiffchaff (2) [62-11]

Photos CJW & SRW

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