Friday, 18 September 2020

18th September 2020

 Weather: ENE force 1/2, then NE 2/3    bright

A very good September day started with a Chiffchaff and a couple of Goldcrests in the paddocks and several Wheatears including 1 on Little Eye and 3 on Middle. Two male Stonechats were soon seen appearing in all parts of the island and first one then two Redstarts, one of each sex, showed on the paddock fence lines. A Whitethroat gave a brief appearance in the bracken by the bunker but failed to show again as did a male Blackcap in the obs garden. Also logged today were 5 Skylarks, a Pied Wagtail and 35 Meadow Pipits. A Golden Plover flew across the island calling and 2 Ravens came in at the north end with one flying around the island. A sea watch produced 6 Red-throated Divers, 6 Guillemots, 2 Gannets and 20 Common Scoter. Only 4 Brent could be found, the rest must have been elsewhere in the estuary on the very high tide or moved on. Apart from the 3,000 or so Oystercatchers in the roost waders were mostly in small numbers including 38 Ringed Plovers, 1 Grey Plover and 30 Redshank. A Kestrel was present, also 3 Little Egret and a Grey Heron. In the afternoon at least one, possibly both, of the Redstarts was still present and 5 new Wheatears dropped in near the north end. On the whole an excellent day with a lot of the most sought after of the regular September species showing.

 Ringed: 1 Redstart, 1 Robin.

Thursday, 17 September 2020

17th September 2020

 Weather: SE force 2 fresh breeze, sunny, mist around estuary.

Another nice day at the obs, but with little cloud expectations were moderate, and so it proved. A single Chiffchaff and 3 Goldcrests fed in the paddocks and a Grey Wagtail and Goldfinch briefly visited.. Among the 6 Wheatears was this lovely male with a Rock Pipit photo bombing. 

Highlight of the waders were 2 Greenshanks arriving in the east gutter to feed, a scarce visitor to Hilbre but typical at this time of year.

the supporting cast  included 50 Turnstone, 32 Redshank and 20 Dunlin.

Many parties of Common Scoter flew about at the (very high) tide, also 2 Guillemots, 2 Gannets; 3 Great Crested Grebes but an obliging summer plumaged Red-throated Diver was the star.

Both Kestrel and Peregrine amde an appearance. The only wildfowl seen this morning were a flock of 5 Teal flying in to the north end, 6 Shelduck and the 28 Brent now residing. 

Ringed: 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest.

photos CJ

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

15th September 2020

 Weather: SE force 1/2   high cloud and some mist around coasts

 Similar weather to yesterday, the change being some cloud drifting in early morning, resulting in a completely different day migration wise. Right from the off 3 White Wagtails were at the north end, others came through later, and a Spotted Flycatcher was fly catching in the obs garden and was joined by a few Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers around the bushes. Four Wheatears together on 'Wheatear hill' added to the feeling of a 'good' day to come. Nine Skylarks made it to the island, some landing on 'buzzard hill' for a time.

 A large flock of 46 Linnets flew about and a Lesser Redpoll called overhead as did 6 Grey Wagtails while  a number of Meadow Pipits were moving through including a leucistic bird that caused initial consternation.

Two unringed Dunnocks were a surprise as none has been seen here for some time. Not to be outdone several Goldcrests came in a sort of second wave of arrivals, while all the time the Spotted Flycatcher toured just about every suitable inch of the island before being eventually caught for ringing in the SK trap. 

Ducks made a strong appearance today with 12 then 6 Wigeon, a Teal and scarcest of all in a Hilbre context a pair of Shovelers. Eighteen Shelduck were a more normal sight. Pink-footed Geese showed for the first time this autumn when a skein of about 270 birds flew south down the Wirral coast as seen from Hilbre. A Raven called in the area, keeping up the recent series of appearances here. The Brent seem to be numbered at 29 now, while on the sea were 12 Gannets, 1 Guillemot and 3 Razorbills.

The Kestrel is still here, today unsuccessfully having a go at the flycatcher and a Peregrine passed down the east side.

Ringed: 4 Goldcrests, 2 Chiffchaffs, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Robin, 1 Dunnock.

Monday, 14 September 2020

14th September 2020

Weather: SE force 1/2         cloudless sky with a small amount of coastal mist

A disappointing morning on the whole with migrants very scarce, just single Wheatear and Willow Warbler and the first Goldcrest ringed this autumn, although there seemed to be more Robins around than usual. The now regular several Rock Pipits were showing well at the north end.

Some 24 Gannets, 15 Scoter and 12 Guillemots were off the north end and 2 Wigeon flew up the west side, a sign of the late autumn to come.

Ringed: 1 Robin and 1 Goldcrest

Sunday, 13 September 2020

13th September 2020

Weather: SW force 5/6

A sea watch on the early morning tide was surprisingly good with the main highlight being a Pomarine Skua seen towards Red Rocks and along the shore.

 The supporting cast included 4 Manx Shearwater, 2 Razorbill, 2 Guillemot, 350 Common Scote, 50 Gannets and a summer plumaged Red-throated Diver.
A Merlin flew north west and a Stock Dove west, although naturally small migrants were sparse in these conditions, just a Goldcrest and 2 Grey Wagtails.

photos AEH

Friday, 11 September 2020

11th September 2020

Weather: WNW force 5

A midday check of the island came up with 2 Common Snipe, also the first Goldcrest of the autumn, The Brent were counted at 23 including 5 juveniles. On the sea were 6 Gannets, 95 Common Scoter and 2 Guillemots and 6 Great Crested Grebes. Best of the waders were 8 Bar-tailed Godwits, 22 Ringed Plover and 62 Redshank. Eleven Little Egrets were more than usual and 135 Sandwich and 14 Common Terns were noted.

Thursday, 10 September 2020

10th September 2020

 Weather: WSW force 0/1   light rain

A mid-morning visit found 6 Wheatears around, a small movement of Swallows and a couple of House Martins. A Skylark was by the light and a Raven continued the run of records lately by this species. The Brent Geese suddenly increased to 21 birds including a few juveniles. There are still a good number of Sandwich Terns about which together with some gulls attracted an Arctic skua to the area where they gathered. Waders included 39 Redshank, 32 Turnstones and 2 Bar-tailed Godwits while also on the shore were 9 Little Egrets and a Shag on the sea.

Monday, 7 September 2020

7th September 2020

.Weather: SW force 2/3   light rain in the morning heavier spell early afternoon

Another quiet day with no small migrants to add interest but at least there were 3 Ravens near to the Little Eye area, one of which came to the main island and was promptly seen off by the local Carrion Crows.

 A single pale-bellied Brent Goose stood on the north end rocks off the slipway early on and then promptly disappeared. Very little to be seen on the sea at low tide except a Guillemot drifting in to the north end and fishing .....

 but more Guillemots were noted  at high tide together with several Gannets. At least 5 Rock Pipits were present also 3 Little Egrets, 2 Grey Herons and either 1 or possibly 2 Kestrels. A Peregrine took a kill at the north end and went to Little Eye with it. Two Bar-tailed Godwits were the best of the few waders at low tide. Only 2 Linnets were seen all day, and observers had to wait until late in the afternoon for the first Pied Wagtail. 

photos CJ

Thursday, 3 September 2020

3rd September 2020

 Weather: WSW    rain early morning

A short visit found it quiet with the only migrants being 3 Wheatears, and a House Martin. Five resident Rock Pipits were noted and 28 Turnstones and 18 Redshank were among the waders present. There are still 75 Sandwich Terns reluctant to set off south, and 2 Little Egrets and a Grey Heron were also on the shore.

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

2nd September 2020

Weather: SE force 2/3    

Headline of the day was a Wood Sandpiper heard calling as it went over, possibly towards the north west of the island, but was not relocated. Wood Sandpiper is a very scarce Hilbre visitor indeed, not seen in most years. Minimum passage earlier in the morning included a Chiffchaff, 2 Wheatears, 2 Grey Wagtails and a Yellow Wagtail in flight across the top of the island. Waders included a Whimbrel, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits.and a summer plumaged Grey Plover.

Two Kestrels and a Peregrine were about and at least 6 Rock Pipits were seen, while 22 Linnets still flit around the island.. In the afternoon 4 Pintail came in from the sea, possibly to winter in the area, in any event the first of the autumn to arrive.

photos CJ

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

1st September 2020

 Weather: SE force 1, slight mist around the estuary.

A clear sky meant no grounded small warblers, although the Chiffchaff from yesterday was still here and later on a Whitethroat fed about the obs garden bushes. Rock Pipits were very active and at the moment appear to be more numerous than Meadow Pipits. A couple of Wheatears stayed a good while and showed well.

The wader roost on Middle was unfortunately well disturbed by a paddle boarder but several Dunlin and Ringed Plover rested on the main island including this colour ringed bird, the origin of which will be researched.

A Raven was again a visitor, arriving from the welsh direction and a single Golden Plover flew from the north east and across between the islands. A Razorbill dived off the west side,

 while the best of the other sea birds were a couple of Gannets and quite a few terns. There were just 6 Brents here this morning after the seasons first arrival of 9 yesterday. After the tide a big surprise was the miraculous re-appearance of the Yellowhammer after not being seen for a number of days, this time it seemed to favour the rangers garden, although that area has been checked several times since its last showing. 

As the tide ebbed the Oystercatchers and Little Egrets were reluctant to leave their roost on top of the south end of Middle.

 photos CJ (others), SRW(dawn)