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.

photos CJ-- 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

Friday, 3 August 2018

3rd August 2018

SW force 1, vis 30 miles
A superb early morning sea watch found a raft of 280 Manx Shearwaters out from the mouth of the Dee. They took off en mass and headed towards the north end with a smaller group splitting off up the Dee. The remaining flock (180) went passed the north end where they wheeled about whilst more birds split away.
The remainder of the flock headed towards Red Rocks at Hoylake where small groups could be seen for a good half hour.

The rest of the day was fairly quiet and we had to wait until just before noon to find a Willow Warbler, possibly brought in by a slight drizzle.
Soon about 100 Swallows and 46 House Martins also arrived to add to the many Swallows already feeding about the island.
 Not too many Ring Plovers around the island today but one individual near Middle was seen to be colour ringed. It was ringed in Iceland and further details are awaited.
A young Great Crested Grebe stayed close to the west side, and at least 7 Whimbrel were noted, while butterflies present were mostly whites but a nice Common Blue was in the paddock

Ringed: 1 Swallow (pullus)    [ 438-31 ]
photos CJ, AEH, Matt Thomas (Ringed Plover) more to follow from today and recent days

Thursday, 2 August 2018

2nd August 2018

Weather: S force 2, vis 30 miles +
Just 2 Willow Warblers were again present today until just after 8am when a Whitethroat popped up in the obs garden, but dropped down before a photo could be taken, what was presumably the same bird was in the same place at 8pm ! A juvenile Robin was seen and may have been the bird heard yesterday, has it made the short hop from the mainland or have Robins bred secretly on the island?
 Juvenile Wrens are also in evidence and Wren, Meadow Pipit and Dunnock are all still singing
 And of course the Linnets are still numerous.
A Common Scoter was around the island and the Eider is still to be found at the north end. The end of the day held a surprise when 16 Black-tailed Godwit came down on the north shore near the terns, most of them in fine summer plumage.
 photos AS

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

1st August 2018

Weather: SSE force 1/2        vis 15 miles

Today was a quiet start to the month with the only passage migrants being 2 Willow Warblers and a Robin which was only heard. Two juvenile Dunnock were probably bred on the island. five Wren were vigorously alarming at a ground predator in Telegraph garden, probably a fox. Fifteen Meadow Pipits are about the island.
A good count of 720 Sandwich Terns was made but Common Terns are in very low numbers. Best of the waders were 16 Sanderling, 10 Whimbrel, 36 Turnstone, and 41 Ringed Plover.
Just 2 Little Egrets were in the gutter today.

It was a good day for Red Admiral butterflies with 12 seen.
photos AS