Wednesday, 28 February 2018

28th February 2018

Weather:  NE 4, vis  35 mls, minus 4.5 degrees (without the windchill factor!), becoming E  5-6 with snow later

The coverage of the island during February 2018 by Obs members has been the most by the Obs since we started the blog (in 2008) and is possibly the best covered February ever (certainly since 1985).  This coverage has resulted in some great recording and today was no different despite the rather mixed weather conditions!

A very cold day on Hilbre with the temperature not rising above freezing all day, the first sign of cold weather movement were 39 Lapwing flying into the estuary in four small groups and going between the islands; three of the groups during horizontal snow in the afternoon.

Lapwings heading up the estuary after coming in off the Irish Sea
Many waders were on the shore between West Kirby and Little Eye after the tide, including 350 Grey Plover, 800 Knot, 1,500 Dunlin and 70 Sanderling. Other waders noted were 3,200 Oystercatcher over the tide, 4 Golden Plover flew west  over the island by the lookout,  2 Purple Sandpiper, 9 Ringed Plover, 2 Bar Tailed Godwit and 80 Turnstone.

Grey Plover - abundant species around the islands recently (350 counted today on the ebbing tide)
A pair of Red-breasted Merganser flew down the Swash then passed the North End, 11 Great Crested Grebe and 137 Common Scoter were on the sea and 27 Shelduck were south of Middle Eye.  Over 200 Brent Geese were present around the islands and a single Grey Heron was seen, also a Little Egret over by the West Kirby saltmarsh.

Pale-bellied Brent Geese (a pair at the North End)
Apart from 3 Wrens all the passerines noted were singles, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, Meadow Pipit and Rock Pipit.

Rock Pipit in the snow

An adult male Peregrine was seen to drop into the SK trapping area, but was unsuccessful.

Hilbre and Middle from Little Eye

Snow Storm approaching from Wirral


Huge icicle Middle Eye (see 50p piece for size comparison - icicle c1m long)  

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