Tuesday, 13 November 2018

13th November 2018

Weather:  West 3, vis 10 mls

It was a beautiful day to be out on the islands.

There were good numbers of waders along the north shore this morning, including 2,250 Dunlin, 1,560 Knot, 155 Redshank and 4 Bar-tailed Godwit. Two Purple Sandpiper were at the North End and 388 Curlew were logged, most being towards the Tanskeys.

Two Little Egret were around Middle Eye and the Brent Geese spread around the islands numbered 182. The Eider was off the North End as were 9 Great Crested Grebe and 57 Common Scoter.

A Song Thrush and Rock Pipit were on Middle, 4 Goldfinch and a Chaffinch landed briefly in the Obs garden, 3 Linnet stayed a little longer. Three Skylark and a Reed Bunting flew over the main island and the Snow Bunting is still feeding around the area north of the lookout (Telegraph Station).

A few large jellyfish (rhizostoma pulmowere to be found stranded on the shore.

Thanks to visiting birder Pete Sutton for the great photos of Purple Sandpiper and Snow Bunting

Monday, 12 November 2018

12th November 2018

Weather:  SE 3-4   vis 8mls

A brief pre-tide visit found that the Snow Bunting was still present and feeding in the same area north of the lookout.

It is a first winter male of the subspecies ‘nivalis’ which breeds from northern Scandinavia, across to Greenland and Arctic Canada.

A Redwing was heard to call over the island and a single Song Thrush was down. The only visible migration noted was 274 Starling, 11 Skylark,  5 Chaffinch and 30 Meadow Pipit , a Rock Pipit was on Middle.

Two Purple Sandpiper were logged along with 80 Sanderling, 300 Dunlin73 Redshank and 97 Grey Plover.

A quick scan off the North End saw 38 Common Scoter, 2 Red-throated Diver and 4 Great Crested Grebe. The Brent Geese were counted at 174 and included the new Irish-ringed bird.

Photos AS (Brents) and CJW (Snow Bunting)

Sunday, 11 November 2018

11th November 2018

Weather: SSE 4-5, 8/8 cloud, poor vis, occasional rain

A single observer found a Snow Bunting just after first light, as is typical it was approachable, feeding and calling near the light.  Our first record this autumn. 

106 Starling flew over in several parties, as did a single Fieldfare and two Redpoll. A couple of Purple Sandpipers fed at the North end of the island along with 193 Brent Geese including colour ringed bird HDRB.

A single Grey Heron fed successfully off the West Side of the main island and another was also present.

On arrival back at the mainland a female Scaup was noted on WKML.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

10th November 2018

Weather:  SE  3   vis 15 mls

A nice start to the day was a drake Goosander spotted flying  west passed the North End and over towards Wales.

A little later it was noticed that the Eider which has been around for a few days had a dive buddy in the form of a Goldeneye, as the tide made they were feeding together in the Gutter, the Goldeneye was later off the North End with some of the 823  Common Scoter noted.

Also on the sea were7 Red-throated Diver, 7 Great Crested Grebe and an immature Gannet which was probably the same one as recorded yesterday. The cormorant roost consisted of 292 birds.
Numbers in the wader flocks are increasing with 8,200 Knot, 3,00 Dunlin and 244 Grey Plover logged. In smaller numbers were Ringed Plover (11), Curlew (121), Turnstone (64) Redshank (54) and 4 Purple Sandpiper.

There was only a small amount of passerine movement with 2 each of Chaffinch and Goldfinch, 4 Linnet and a single Skylark over. A  Blackbird, 3 Song Thrush, 30 Meadow Pipit and 2 Rock Pipit were around the islands.

The Kestrel had been absent for a few days, but reappeared today.  

Friday, 9 November 2018

9th November 2018

Weather: SE   3-4  vis 5 mls

The day started well with a Short-eared Owl just east of the island off the North End, it looked to be heading east but then turned and went west, being lost to sight over the West Hoyle.

(Photo from 29 October 2018)

There was a good passage of Chaffinch with 120 logged within a couple of hours, with just one Goldfinch and 28 Starling. Two Song Thrush and 3 Blackbird were on the island.

A sea watch noted just 2 Red-throated Diver, 2 Wigeon flying east, 2 Red-breasted Merganser flying west, 4 Great-crested Grebe and  singles of Guillemot and Gannet.

A total of 3,542 Common Scoter were logged, an Eider was again between the islands and at least 160 Brent Geese were present.

Knot numbered 4,300, with 800 Dunlin, 27 Sanderling, 202 Grey Plover and 31 Ringed Plover, mostly to the east of the islands after tide.

Two Harbour Porpoise were watched for some time quite close to the North End.

Ringing: Blackbird [546-34]

Thursday, 8 November 2018

8th November 2018

Weather:  SSE 3, vis 12 mls

An interesting sea watch today despite the ‘wrong’ wind direction, as observers were checking through those of the 6,000 Common Scoter close enough to examine in detail, a Merlin flew in from the sea. It didn’t quite look right and as it got closer it was seen to be carrying unidentified prey, it flew down the west side of the island pursued by a Herring Gull. Then the first Great Northern Diver of autumn was spotted flying east, as were the 6 Whooper Swan that provided the next excitement.

Also on the sea were 9 Red-throated Diver, a Guillemot, 7 Great-crested Grebe and 3 Scaup that flew in and landed  off the North End.

Shelduck numbered 40 and 178 Brent Geese were around the islands. Over the tide 6,500 Oystercatcher roosted on Middle, other waders included 1,700 Knot, 1.330 Dunlin, 80 Curlew and 5 Purple Sandpiper.

There were only a small number of passerine migrants with singles of Linnet and Reed Bunting, 19 Starling, and 2 Blackbird. Five Skylark went over, also 2 Chaffinch and 4 Goldfinch.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

7th November 2018

Weather:  WSW 3, 8/8 cloud, rain in the afternoon

With all the excitement happening at nearby Meols (see below) observers only arrived after the tide today and with little expectation as the weather had taken a turn for the worse.

However, as is invariably the case there was something of note.  The highlight was a Woodcock, the first of the autumn for the islands, being flushed from just north of the light.

Whilst trying to relocate the Woodcock down the west side an injured Greylag Goose was spotted in amongst the rocks but it made its way gingerly into the sea and swam off and was later seen swimming distantly off the North End.

Three Blackbirds and a Song Thrush were present around the gardens presumably having arrived overnight or during the morning.  A single Blackbird was caught and ringed.

Waders were very evident on the ebbing tide edge with large numbers of Knot (7,500), Dunlin (2,500), Grey Plover (150) and Curlew (128) noted.

The wind dropped almost completely and 21 Great Crested Grebe were noted on the flat calm sea.  It was a beautiful end to day.

Ringing: Blackbird [545-34]

Postscript 6/7th November: “just outside our recording area!”

After a good day on the island yesterday our Records Officer was at home last night updating the blog when he received an email, just after dark, from Richard Smith (www.deeestuary.co.uk) forwarding an email from Richard Ashford of Meols, Wirral, about a Wheatear sp he had found, and photographed that afternoon, on the sea wall at Meols (he had also seen it the evening before - 5th November).  It was followed up by a text and a brief exchange of messages (some unpublishable) whereby our Records Officer identified it as a Pied Wheatear - the first record for Cheshire and Wirral!

The news was put out along with the photos and there was a sleepless night for many local birders.

Fortunately, the bird was still present this morning for all to see.  Congratulations to Richard Ashford for finding such an incredible bird near his home and to Richard Smith for circulating the photos as soon as he could.  Photos above and below from today per BSB.

Meanwhile, one of our founder members (AAB) recalls seeing a late Wheatear at Leasowe near the Lighthouse on 17 November 1957 - he considered it to be a Pied Wheatear and a failed attempt was made to catch the bird to formally identify it.  He saw today’s bird at Meols, along with many other happy Obs members, and it brought the memories flooding back...

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

6th November 2018

Weather:  SE  2  vis 2mls with both increasing later.

It was a good day for thrushes with a total of 14 Blackbird, those present early didn’t go in the traps and moved on quickly but others arrived later and were very obliging. Two Fieldfare, 4 Song Thrush and 10 Redwing completed the thrush count.

Starlings passed over throughout the morning with 493 noted, also 4 Brambling, 22 Chaffinch, 4 Goldfinch and 2 Reed Bunting. There were at least 9 Wren on the main island, 2 Rock Pipit at the North End and 74 Meadow Pipit logged, quite a few of which came down.

Brent Geese in the Lagoon after tide numbered 160 and included the new ringed bird 9ABB, twice  previously seen but not clearly enough to get the full code.  This bird was ringed at Greystones Golf Driving Range, Co Wicklow, on 8 February 2012 as a young male and has been recorded on Iceland on spring passage before being seen at Strangford Lough this October 2018 before arriving at Hilbre later that month (29th and 31st October).  Thanks as always to Graham McElwaine of the Irish Brent Goose Research Group for the information.

An Eider was again feeding between the islands, 2 Teal flew up the swash over tide whilst observers were counting the 5,000 + Common Scoter. Also on the sea were 11 Red-throated Diver, 20 Great-crested Grebe and the first Gannet to be seen in a while, 148 Shelduck were also noted.

At least 2,500 Knot were on the East Hoyle after tide, with additional flocks totalling 2,000 flying over the area as observers left. Other waders included 152 Grey Plover and 5 Purple Sandpiper.

A Peregrine was around the islands then flew off east putting up waders on the shore. 

Ringing: Wren, Blackbird (4), Somg Thrush, Redwing [544-34]

Monday, 5 November 2018

5th November 2018

Weather: SE  2-3   vis 2-3 miles with mist and poor light.

A better day for migrants than of late with 16 Redwing recorded including 4 on the island , along with a Fieldfare, 6 Song Thrush and 2 Blackbird.

A flock of 10 Greenfinch flew low down the east side and there were also 10 Chaffinch but they came through in 1’s and 2’s, other finch logged were 3 Brambling and 2 Linnet. A total of 320 Starling flew over the island but only a couple landed briefly.

Other passerines recorded included 3 Skylark,  one of which was flushed from the west side, 38 Meadow Pipit, one Rock Pipit, 4 Reed Bunting, 5 Robin and 4 Pied Wagtail.

On the sea were 630 Common Scoter, 15 Great Crested Grebe and a Red-throated Diver flew passed the North End.

After the tide 329 Shelduck were on the sands in front of the marsh, a male Scaup was in the gutter east of Middle and a single Eider in the Lagoon. Brent Geese were counted at 199.

A Kestrel visited briefly then flew low over the sand towards the Golf Course.

Best of the waders were the 6 Purple Sandpiper  at the North End.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

4th November 2018

Weather:  SSE  3, vis moderate (10 mls)

Another poor day for visible migration but 2 Redwing were heard over before dawn, 3 Blackbird, a Song Thrush and 2 Chaffinch were in the gardens along with the usual couple of Dunnock, a Robin and 8 Wren. Two Pied Wagtail went over, a single Skylark,  also 116 Starling in small groups all going west. A Rock Pipit was on the North end and 32 Meadow Pipit were about the island, some taking advantage of the rain in the gutters for a bath.

Brent Geese today numbered 197 and included a colour ringed bird, 42 Shelduck were on the sand east of Little Eye after tide, 15 Common Scoter and 7 Great Crested Grebe were off the North End.

Only 4 Purple Sandpiper were found today but a good count of Curlew was made with 365 logged, also 108 Turnstone and at least 250 Redshank.

For the third day running there were 3 Little Egret and a Grey Heron present.

Photos by AS