Friday, 18 January 2019

18th January 2019

Weather: SE  3-4  Temperature 0  vis 20 mls

There was a bitter wind chill this morning and the visibility decreased to 5 miles when the snow started, more of a day for sitting in front of the fire with a cup of tea than being out counting birds !
Nevertheless, a good count of 230 Brent Geese was made, most in the lagoon as the tide ebbed. Shelduck around Little Eye numbered 30 and a female Red-breasted Merganser flew east passed the North End. Nine Great Crested Grebe were on the sea and 3 Harbour Porpoise were again seen in the mouth of the swash.
With the small tide today the 4 Purple Sandpiper present were roosting in the tide gauge channel.

The Purples were briefly alarmed when a Peregrine sped by the North End and up the west side.
Two Rock Pipit and a Blackbird were present and 2 Song Thrush were re-trapped, one of which was ringed last January so is a returning winter resident.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

17th January 2019

Weather: N  3-4   visibility good,  temp. 4

Despite the snow to be seen on the Carneddi, a wren was singing in the SK paddock!
In addition to the usual 2 Eider which were off the Whaleback, 2 males and another female type were out towards the wind farm.
 As the tide ebbed 34 Ringed Plover and 800 Knot were south of Middle, only 1 Purple Sandpiper was located and wader numbers were lower today.
Only 8 Common Scoter were logged, one of those being close in on the west side.
A couple of hours after the tide a steady stream of Gulls (mainly Herring) were noticed heading west off the North End, they were estimated to be at least 4,000.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

15th January 2019

Weather: WSW  2   good visibility

 The highlight of the morning was the spectacle of at least 5,000 Knot flying passed the Obs garden after tide, some stayed and performed for a few minutes, going up and down the Gutter.
There was a good count of 124 Redshank but only 2 Purple Sandpiper, other waders included 280 Dunlin, 78 Turnstone and 97 Curlew.
The 219 Brent Geese included 7PBY, 3 GreyHeron were west of Little Eye and the 2 Eider still about the islands.
The only notable passerines were 12 Linnet and a Rock Pipit.
A single Celandine flower was showing.

Monday, 14 January 2019

14th January 2019

With a brief visit over low water it was inevitable that there would be little about, no Purple Sandpipers were to be found at the North End  but a Rock Pipit was there and some of the 700 Oystercatcher around the islands were also there feeding on the slipway.
Most of the 204 Brent Geese were feeding on the west side rocks
Whilst the remainder roosted on the North Shore.
Feeding at the bottom of the Gutter and on the East Hoyle were 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 26 Grey Plover,118 Redshank and 308 Dunlin along with 72 Knot which were joined as the tide started to flood by a flock of about 4,000. Two Eider were off the Whaleback and a single Little Egret was below the Obs garden.
 photos AS

Thursday, 10 January 2019

10th January 2019

Weather: NW force 2/3,  poor light, drizzle
The single Eider was logged today, also a Rock Pipit, 2 Meadow Pipits, 5 Wrens, 4 Song Thrushes 2 Dunnocks and 3 Robins. An adult male pergrine was around, as were 2 Little Egrets. best of the waders were 2 Grey Plover and 7 Purple Sandpipers. Signs again today of the fox , with fresh scats and chewed up remains of an Oystercatcher.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

9th January 2019

Weather: force 3
A number of good wader counrts this morning of 136 Curlew, 139 Grey Plover, 77 Turnstone, 126 Redshank and 4 Purple Sandpipers.
A Dunnock and 2 Song Thrushes were retrapped, one was an adult that was ringed here on 3rd November 2017, so is now in its second winter on the island, the other Song Thrush is a first year. The adult bird has even length greater coverts......

While the first year bird shows shorter old greater coverts,
Two Robins were about.

Twenty Three Great Crested Grebes, 18 Common Scoter, 56 Shelduck and 265 Cormorants were logged and 2 Eider were present.
photos JE,AS

Sunday, 6 January 2019

6th January 2019

With the high tide just after 11 am it was a leisurely start to the morning even though it was only just getting light during these dark winter months. Arriving on the island just after 8 am the first priority was to get the kettle on! A walk round the traps revealed there were few passerines about with only the resident Rock Pipit, Dunnocks, Wrens and Robins seen along with the two wintering Song Thrushes. 

The sea was very calm and a check down the north end resulted in good numbers of Common Scoter and Great Crested Grebes being recorded but only three Red - Throated Divers. Two eiders were also present with one of them having an injured wing and seemingly unable to fly.
Waders were plentiful with small numbers of Knot feeding along the gutter with Oystercatchers, Redshank, Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Curlew and a handful of Dunlin and Bar-Tailed Godwits. 5 Purple Sandpipers were picked out foraging along the tide line at the north end and they were joined by 2 more roosting over the high tide. The Brent Geese were hard to count as they were spread out around the island and a conservative estimate of 200 was logged.  As the tide rose a good wader roost developed on Middle Eye.

Three bird were caught in the heligoland traps - a re-trapped SongThrush first ringed at the beginning of December and the first new birds to be ringed of 2019 - a female Blackbird and a Song Thrush.

Mammals were represented by the usual curious Atlantic Grey Seals but also by a single Common Seal that hauled out between Middle Eye and Hilbre as the tide starts to ebb before eventually swimming out before it got stranded.

Footnote: A Redshank first  colour ringed on Hilbre in 2007 and subsequently retaught by the SCAN ringing group in N Wales in 2010 was retrapped again in N Wales on the night of Saturday 6th January. 
Ringed: 1 Blackbird, 1 Song Thrush       [ 2-2 ]
photos PSW

Saturday, 5 January 2019

5th January 2019

Weather: WSW  0-1  good visibility

Today was a slightly better day for Duck than of late, with 3 Red-breasted Merganser and a fine male Eider floating between Little Eye and Middle as the tide rose, two female Eider were around the main island and a male Scaup was in the Swash. Between Little Eye and the Marine Lake were 124 Shelduck after tide and 58 Common Scoter were off the North End with a single Red-throated Diver.
The 200 plus Brent Geese included a colour ringed bird.
Waders logged today included 1,200 Dunlin and 2,270 Knot….
 Seven Purple Sandpiper 142 Grey Plover and 3 Bar-tailed Godwit.
A Little Egret and 2 Grey Heron were present.
Five Linnets flew over the island but only 1 Song Thrush was seen today.
A Common Seal was hauled out on the east side after tide briefly and 3 Harbour Porpoise were watched for about 20 minutes.
photos AS

Friday, 4 January 2019

4th January 2019

Weather: NNE  1  good visibility
A Rock Pipit was at the south end of Middle with 3 Meadow Pipit also present and 3 more on the main island.
Brent Geese numbered 220 along with 42 Shelduck and an Eider around the islands. To sea were 800 Common Scoter, 12 Great Crested Grebe and a Guillemot.
Waders recorded included 800 Knot, 620 Dunlin, 88 Grey Plover and 3 Purple Sandpiper.
Two Little Egret were around the islands and 14 Great Black-backed Gull were noted.
As a member arrived pre dawn a Fox was spotted on the east side rocks, there seems to be one permanently present again so far this winter.
photo AS