Tuesday, 19 February 2019

19th February 2019

Weather: SW force 2
The adult male Eider was missing today, but the other 2 were still about. Eight Meadow Pipits were present, 2 of which were making display flights but may have been young birds. A first year Meadow Pipit was ringed,

and a Dunnock and Robin were retrapped, the Dunnock was ringed here as long ago as 2015 and the Robin late last year.

The only definite migrants were 3 Skylarks , one of them on Middle Eye,while 2 Song Thrushes were also on the island.

Wader counts at the high tide included 3,200 Oystercatchers, 800 Dunlin, 40 Ringed Plover and 142 Knot.

Also 91 Redshank, 5 Purple Sandpipers and 2 Bar-tailed Godwits.

...and 50 Turnstone.

Brent seen today were estimated at 150 birds, and a Red-throated Diver was seen on the sea in addition to 800 Common Scoter.
Ringed: 1 Meadow Pipit       [ 3-3 ]

photos JE & AS

Monday, 18 February 2019

18th February 2019

Weather: SSW force 3, increasing during the morning.
A big surprise at first light was a Fulmar lifting off the west cliff and flying south towards Middle. Fulmar is more associated with prospecting flights around the islands in spring and during sea watching in autumn gales. A single male Stonechat remained from yesterday, spending most of it's time around the paddocks and the old obs area.
A Sparrowhawk was glimpsed briefly as it carried prey over the centre of the island, possibly the same bird that has been seen in the last few weeks.
A Skylark called when passing over but there was little other visible migration, apart from a small number of Meadow Pipits, 3 Linnets and a Pied Wagtail. Residents noted included Song Thrush, Wren, Robin, Dunnock and a Rock Pipit.
Six Purple Sandpipers roosted the high tide at the north end,

while 26 Ringed Plover stayed on the east side, then on the ebb tide large groups of waders fed on the east of the island chain towards the shore, mostly Knot (6,000), Dunlin and about 200 Grey Plover.
Three Eiders are still present.
Today the adult male seemed more interested associating with a male Common Scoter sitting close to the island than the other 2 of its species.
The Brent were too scattered to count but are still probably over 200 in number.

photos CJ , AS & PSW

Sunday, 17 February 2019

17th February 2019

Weather:ESE force 5/6

An early start was needed due to the tide and with the southerly airflow the single observer was not disappointed with the first Stonechat of the Spring appearing shortly after dawn quickly followed by 2 more.

A couple of Grey Wagtail flew over continuing the early Spring theme and a party of Common Scoter chased a lone female Scoter close into the East side of the island enabling the observer to hear the calls of the displaying birds.

8000 Oystercatcher roosted on an undisturbed Middle Island with 250 Redshank and 210 Brent Geese.

The 3 Eider spent the high tide roosting and preening in Niffy Bay, the Male in resplendent plumage.

 Resident Wren and Dunnock were ready for spring.
 A pair of Peregrines gave a good display.
Whilst Grey Plover showed well amongst the waders.

photos AEH

Friday, 15 February 2019

15th February 2019

Weather: SE  3  mist around the estuary early but good visibility later.

The temperature before dawn was 2 degrees but as it warmed up later it turned into a lovely Hilbre spring like day with a total of 7 Skylarks going over eastwards, and 4 Jackdaw heading the same way flew right over observers at the North End, where a Rock Pipit was present.
The Brent Geese were very confiding before the island became busy, 193 were counted with 2 colour rings noted.

Two Shelduck flew west, 5 Great Crested Grebe, a Red-throated Diver and 24 Common Scoter were visible off the North End. The two regular Eider drifted down the Gutter with the tide but were then joined by a male (probably yesterday’s bird), it left them again later in the morning but was spotted further out with the Common Scoter so seems to be staying in the area.
Fewer Redshank were about than of late but over 100 Turnstone were counted, also 53 Grey Plover, 32 Ringed Plover, 32 Bar-tailed Godwit and 450 Dunlin. There were 2 Purple Sandpiper noted.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

14th February 2019

Weather: SE force 2/3 clear sky and misty around the coast, cold breeze increasing during the morning.
Soon after dawn a Lapwing (a scarce winter visitor at Hilbre) was resting at Little Eye in the half-light.
 A flock of 80 Pink-footed Geese flew out the estuary over the island.
 An adult male Eider joined the 2 regulars sitting on a large rock on the edge of the gutter to the east of the island, all 3 moving to the north end but the male was not present shortly afterwards.

Two House Sparrows were found in the old obs trees, then flying beck and forth to the paddocks. These scarce passage visitors at Hilbre were still present later in the morning.
Other passerines were few, just 6 Meadow Pipits, 1 Rock Pipit and 2 Goldfinches.

A flock of 70 Bar-tailed Godwits flew east off the north end, while other waders seen were 97 Redshank, 35 Sanderling, 12 Ringed Plover, 63 Turnstone but no Purple Sandpipers.
Two Skylarks touched down briefly on Middle just before noon.
photos CJ

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

13th February 2019

A Sparrowhawk was the highlight of the day, perhaps the same as the individual seen a few times recently. A single passage Skylark was noted, also a wintering Song Thrush. Waders seen included 300 Knot and 35 Redshank. On the sea were 4 Great Crested Grebes and 12 Common Scoter. The 2 Eiders are still present.

Monday, 11 February 2019

11th February 2019

Weather: NW  1-2 with showers early but good visibility later.

Only 168 Brent Geese were around the island this morning but 3 colour ringed birds were found amongst them, the 2 Eider were on the Whaleback. Four Great Crested Grebe and 27 Common Scoter were seen, a few of the Scoter were displaying and close enough to be heard calling.
As the tide rose the waders started to gather along the North Shore with 6,500 Knot, 2,000 Dunlin, 130 Sanderling and 84 Grey Plover close enough to count, but others more distantly.

Below the Obs garden were 34 Ringed Plover and along the Gutter were 112 Turnstone, 90 Redshank and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit. West of the Lagoon were 2,500 Oystercatcher.
A Pied Wagtail flew west over the island, there were 7 Wren, 2 Rock Pipit and 6 Meadow Pipit in addition to a few Robin. Song Thrush, Dunnock and a Blackbird.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

10th February 2019

Weather: NNW force 1/2,    overcast at dawn, sunny later.
Six Meadow Pipits were about the island this morning, although probably too early to imagine it  heralds the start of spring for the local breeding birds. A Rock Pipit was near the north end. A couple of dozen Common Scoter flew unusually close to the north end and settled in a tight group just off the tideline, they were all males. The 2 Eider were floating 50 yards offshore. A Robin and 3 Song Thrushes were in the gardens. Waders seen included 3,000 Knot, 250 Dunlin, 6 |Grey Plover and 2 Bar-tailed Godwits,

Thursday, 7 February 2019

7th February 2019

Weather: NW force 9/10 frequent showers following a period of prolonged heavy rain, poor visibility, winds decreasing during the day.
A severe gale over the tide made very uncomfortable viewing conditions for the intrepid observer present. A Knot flock of 5,000 gathered between Little eye and West Kirby as the tide ebbed and moved to the north shore and increased to 12,000. The 2 Eider were still present, while in the gardens were a female Blackbird, 2 Song thrushes, 2 Robins, 3 Wrens and a Dunnock. A Rock Pipit also showed itself.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

6th February 2019

Weather: SW force 2
A quiet day, the highlight of which was a Harbour Porpoise seen in the sea.
Waders were not much in evidence today despite the high tide, there were 2 Bar-tailed Godwits logged, and 7 Purple Sandpipers roosting at their usual cliff by the north end.

Wren, Robin, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird  and Song Thrush were all recorded, while a Sparrowhawk was a welcome visitor to the island and the 2 Eiders were still present. Daffodils were out in the old obs garden.

 photos JE

Monday, 4 February 2019

4th February 2019

Weather: Overcast, brightening later. Wind NW 5 dropping to 2 during the day.

A typical winter's day on the islands. Some 200 Brent Geese were around the islands in small groups but proving difficult to count accurately. 
The two female-type Eiders remained faithful to the east channel. A 90 minute seawatch over the tide produced two Red-throated Divers, 500 Common Scoter (most out by the windfarm but with a few scattered groups close inshore), two Red-breasted Merganser and 24 Great Crested Grebes.
Eight thousand Oystercatcher, 5000 Dunlin and 3000 Knot provided the bulk of the waders. Six Purple Sandpipers roosted at the North end over the tide.
Other than the regular residents, the only passerine of note was a single Rock Pipit. Snow drops were out on the island.
 photos CS