Monday, 20 August 2018

20th August 2018

Weather: S force 1,  cloudy and humid
A short visit this morning confirmed that the hoped for autumn fall of warblers had not taken place, there were just 2 Willow Warblers present and a Wheatear moving around the island. The surprise today were 44 House Martins dropping in at the south end and then many were seen feeding while clinging to the wall under the eaves of the Buoymasters House, while 25 Swallows flew about the island.
The Bonaparte's Gull was not seen, but may still be here as the gutter was still flooded near to the obs. An estimate of the Black-headed Gulls came to an astonishing 3,000 with over 1,000 Sandwich Terns and 150 Common Terns and 4 Little Terns that flew low over the obs garden. An Arctic Skua chased terns briefly off the west side. Others seen this morning were 5 Little Egrets, 18 Grey Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits.
Several Small Whites and a Red Admiral were the only butterflies, but a Migrant Hawker dragonfly suddenly appeared in the obs garden, resting on a concrete fence.
Ringed: 2 Willow Warblers     [ 456-31 ]
photos CJ

Sunday, 19 August 2018

19th August 2018

Weather:WSW force 3/4
Despite the continuing presence of the Bonaparte's Gull, the focus today was on the sea with a stiff westerly bringing in good sea birds. A large total of 23 Arctic Skuas were noted, a big improvement on recent weeks, also 102 Manx Shearwaters, 59 Gannets, 40 Common Scoter, 7 Great Crested Grebes, 4 Kittiwakes, 2 Guillemots and a Shag. Not to be outdone, there were good counts of shorebirds including 11 Whimbrel, 107 Ringed Plover, 5 Little Egrets and the regular immature Eider. A Mediterranean Gull was among the over 600 Black-headed Gulls on the shore with 700 Sandwich Terns.

Only 6 Swallows noted today and 2 Willow Warblers in the paddocks, also a Comma butterfly which is scarce on the island.
 photos AS

Saturday, 18 August 2018

18th August 2018

Weather: W force 3

Once again the Bonaparte’s Gull took centre stage, showing well in the same area as yesterday.
A Stonechat and a Willow Warbler turned out to be the only distractions from the gull flock.
On the sea 27 Gannets (below) and 14 Manx Shearwaters were present, strange how sometimes there are none of either in similar weather, also noted were 31 Common Scoter. 
 The usual waders were showing well around the island.

A post tide watch found 4 Arctic Skuas, 5 extra Manx Shearwaters, 10 new Gannets and a Guillemot.
Ringed: 4 Swallows (pullus)      [ 454-31 ]
photos AS,PSW

Friday, 17 August 2018

17th August 2018

Weather: W force 3
As reported on the blog for 12th, members have been on the look out for the Bonaparte's Gull at Hilbre and sure enough this morning it was found feeding in or near the gutter to the east of the island. A first for the island and much appreciated even by those Hilbre listers who had seen the bird at Hoylake. Stunning views were obtained without going any further than the obs veranda.
  Occasionally Black-headed Gulls were aggressive towards it.
Earlier 46 Swallows exited the Niffy bay roost and at least 2 Willow Warblers called at either end of the island, while later in the morning a Wheatear appeared on the 'air raid shelter' and 12 Black-tailed Godwits flew south down the west side. Waders noted also included a massive 9,000 Oystercatchers, 34 Ringed Plover, 6 Redshank, and 4 Whimbrel.
After the tide a quick search of the area for the Bonaparte's Gull found instead a Mediterranean Gull in adult plumage.
Also on the north shore in the evening were a large gathering of 840 Sandwich Terns and 325 Dunlin near the islands.
photos CJ, AS-- there may be more to come !

Thursday, 16 August 2018

16th August 2018

Weather:W force 4, vis 8 miles
A quiet morning with 57 Swallows first thing which were later joined by a flock of 28 House Martins which circled and fed for a period. Other counts today were 3,400 Oystercatchers, 53 Curlew, 5 Whimbrel, 270 Dunlin, 45 Ringed Plover and 240 Sandwich Tern.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

15th August 2018

Weather: WSW 3  vis 25ml

A brief morning maintenance visit noted a single Willow Warbler in the Obs garden and 68 Swallows over. Wader numbers were low but 650 Black-headed Gulls were carefully checked in the hope of the Bonaparte’s from Hoylake paying a visit, but it was not to be.
A Common Blue and 3 Red Admiral butterflies were noted.
photos AS

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

14th August 2018


A Common Snipe flew from the main island towards one observer just crossing the lagoon, then swerved and went west – our first of the Autumn. Four Willow Warbler were about the island with one in the obs garden giving little bursts of song. On the sea were 4 Manx Shearwater, 5 Gannet and 2 Arctic Skua, one of them hunting over the West Hoyle Bank. The immature male Eider is still present.

About 200 Sandwich Terns were on the sands east of the Gutter.
photo AS 

Sunday, 12 August 2018

12th August 2018

Weather: SW force 2/3   rain and drizzle brightening in the late morning
The overnight rain did not prevent 5 Willow Warblers making it to the island, although only one was found in the central trapping area.  All were bright sulphur yellow juveniles.
Swallows have been fewer in the last few days but 35 suddenly dropped in this morning before making a prompt departure. One each of Bar-tailed (colour ringed) and Black-tailed Godwit were logged, the latter flying south between Hilbre and Red Rocks.
 
 High tide found several hundred Dunlin,95 Ringed Plover and 5 Sanderling roosting on the west side.
Two Whimbrel were also on the shore, also the Eider and a Mediterrannean Gull with the other gulls on the east hoyle.
Observers at Hilbre will be on the look out for the Boneparte's Gull that was found this morning on the nearby Hoylake shore high tide (below)
 Meanwhile Herring Gulls fed at the north end on a wreck of Starfish.

On the sea before the tide 3 Gannets and an Arctic Skua were logged.
Ringed: 4 Linnets, 1 Willow Warbler.          [ 450-31 ]
photos GB (small waders) AEH rest

Saturday, 11 August 2018

11th August 2018

Weather: SE force 2
With the tides approaching their peak for this month the islands were soon surrounded this morning and sea watching in the sunshine was the order of the day, although records were few with a single Arctic Skua, a Manx Shearwater, a Gannet, 4 Great Crested Grebes and 7 Little Terns the best of the sightings. Before the tide the Grey Seals were hauled out as usual on the west hoyle bank.
About the islands were 4 Whimbrel, the regular Eider and a single Black-tailed Godwit. Eight more Black-tailed Godwits flew south later.
Other waders were not present in large numbers at the roost at the north end of Middle owing to late comers mis-judging the tide and having to stay there.

However there were Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Sanderling roosting on the west side of the main island.
Sandwich Terns peaked at the massive number of 2,800 at the roost.
Three Willow Warblers were noted as the only small migrants.
Three Linnets were ringed      [ 445-31 ]
 photos JE

Friday, 10 August 2018

10th August 2018

Weather:W force 3/4
Noted today; 45 Ringed Plover, 500 Dunlin, 2 Whimbrel and 6 Turnstone. A single Willow Warbler was on the ground.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

8th August 2018

Weather: WSW force 3
The best sightings on the sea today were 6 Gannets, 14 Little Terns and a Harbour Porpoise. The Eider is still present and 5 Whimbrel were about, also a Peregrine, 3 Grey herons, a Little Egret and wader counts of 27 Sanderling and 600 Dunlin.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

7th August 2018

Weather: SW force 1

The Eider on the west side of the island. 
There were lots of gulls and terns and good numbers of Oystercatchers, Dunlin, Ringed Plover and a few Turnstone.
At the north end the body of a seal pup was on the rocks that could not have been very old when it died and had not been dead for more than a few days. It could not be a Grey Seal as they do not pup until October so it will be a Harbour (common) seal. So that seems pretty good evidence that we have a small group of common seals in the Dee.
A very young Meadow Pipit was ringed.     [ 442-31 ]
A Greenfinch was a surprise visitor at this time of year.
photos JE


Sunday, 5 August 2018

5th August 2018

Weather: SE force 1, cloud clearing to a warm sunny day.
Still no sign of a fall of warblers (just a Willow Warbler in the old obs garden) but a productive morning nevertheless. A Common Sandpiper was found at the north end which promptly disappeared as so often they do at Hilbre, soon after a Tree Pipit did a circuit of the top of the island by the lookout while giving its distinctive call. Tree pipit is fairly regular in spring at Hilbre but very scarce as an autumn bird. The thousand or so Sandwich Terns resting on the east hoyle were making a constant commotion with their rasping calls for no apparent reason as no skuas could be found until eventually a pale and dark phase Arctic Skuas were seen to be hanging about a few hundred yards off the north shore. As observers followed them a Great Skua glided closely in from the east to brighten the mood of the members who had been lacking in skua sightings lately. Another Arctic was distantly off the west side later. The Eider for a change was on the rocks to the west of Middle this morning and more routine sightings included 5 Shelduck, 11 Whimbrel, 84 Curlew, 7 Little Egrets, 125 Dunlin and 9 Little Terns resting on the north shore. Good numbers of gulls today included 3,000 Herring Gulls within reach of the island, also 500 Black-headed Gulls and 40 Lesser Black-backs. About 35 Swallows still fed over the island and a single Sand martin and House Martin also showed briefly.
At low tide 126 Grey Seals were hauled out on the west hoyle, about normal for this time of year.

Ringed: 1 Linnet (juv)      [ 441-31 ]

Saturday, 4 August 2018

4th August 2018

Weather: NNW force 1/2
A basically quiet day, one of the main talking points was the number of Sandwich Terns around the estuary, 700 or so were noted on the way to the island and another 300 at the north end at the same time, along with 25 Common Terns and about 400 Black-headed Gulls. Other shore birds today were 7 Whimbrel, 3 Little Egrets and 3 Grey Herons sitting together on the beach.
In the paddocks this morning was a Willow Warbler (later caught for ringing) and a Chiffchaff that was trapped and amazingly found to be an individual that was ringed here on 2nd July this year. It seemed to be completing its main moult and presumably has been here all that time whilst evading capture. It is very unusual for a migrant warbler to stay that long on the island.
A sea watch was not very fruitful but did note 11 Gannets and an Arctic Skua along with a distant skua species which was thought to be a Long-tailed. Skuas in general have been scarce at Hilbre this summer and early autumn. Not as many Swallows today but still over 20 on the island. An indication that the breeding season is now near its end is this retrapped Meadow Pipit half way through its post breeding main moult.
Ringed: 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Linnet         [ 440-31 ]
photos JE