Saturday 13 April 2024

13th April 2024

 Weather: SW force 2

The early morning was without wind of rain and as usual started with the Pink-footed Geese flying out north along the Wirral shore, 40 today. A look at the trapping area saw several phylloscopus warblers about and 4 Willow Warblers and a Chiffchaff were ringed.


 It was obviously not a big 'fall' however and the next two hours only produced a few more. One of the Willow Warblers (right in photo) was darker in the hamd and probably belonged to one of the northern races.

Late morning a few drops of rain was enough to drop in 3 Chiffchaffs and another Willow Warbler. Totals estimated were 15 Willow Warblers and 6 Chiffchaffs.

 Four Wheatears were on the west side of the island during the day, one was certainly of the Greenland race. 

The hoped for larger warblers and chats did not arrive but we were happy with what we had, especially in a south westerly. Six White Wagtails came through and later in the morning 5 of the 6 Swallows were seen.

Finches visiting the resident Linnets were a Siskin and 4 Goldfinches. A Golden Plover was the pick of the waders, it called mid-morning, others showing up as the tide flooded were some Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Sanderling, Bar-tailed Godwits, Purple Sandpiper etc. also a single Whimbrel and some Turnstones.

Knot meanwhile spent a lot of time this morning at the north end area. Brent (93) arrived on the flood tide. and then a group of 64 Gannets fed close in off the island in spectacular fashion.


A single Common Tern, a first for the year, rested with 85 Sandwich Terns on the west hoyle between their feeding sessions.

Earlier 2 Canada Geese flew low over the SK paddock surprising the observers. A single drake Eider was noted as were 30 Common Scoter and 4 Shelduck. Five Little Egrets were in the gutter.

 Ringing: 10 Willow Warblers, 4 Chiffchaffs, 4 Wrens.

 Photos: SRW

Friday 12 April 2024

12th April 2024

Weather: SSW  force 3, increasing 6 later

 Another quiet day.  Most of the Brent will be leaving shortly, possibly within the next few days, but there are still at least 146 around the islands. Also leaving are the Pink-footed Geese, exiting the estuary for breeding grounds further north, about 100 were calling as they went. A Canada Goose that was in the gutter will be of local origin and not planning any long journeys. Some of the 5 Eiders today may stay the summer, who knows. A Good variety of waders roosted the high tide in Niffy bay


At the north end 450 Knot were there most of the morning,


The 27 Sandwich Terns, newly arrived for the spring gave a good display,

other sea birds visible were 30 Scoter, 2 Guillemots

A Willow Warbler and 2 Chiffchaffs on the island were noticed and the best of the other migrants were 2 Siskins and 3 Goldfinches,


and a smart White Wagtail.

Wrens are around the islands in very good numbers at the moment, hoprfully there will be a strong breeding season. There were 13 Little Egrets today, the most for some time, but only 1 Grey Heron.

Photos AS

Thursday 11 April 2024

11th April 2024

 Weather:  SW force 4

On the whole a quiet day for April. Wildfowl featured early with 3 Canada Geese around the islands and about 200 Pink-footed Geese flying out of the estuary. Some of the Brent seem to have left already, 116 were counted today, while Eiders numbered 5, numbers present seem to vary slightly each day. There were 4 Shelduck and 2 Little Egrets on the shore. The only real migrants found were 4 Goldfinch and a Willow Warbler. A Guillemot was hanging around the island again and 4 Sandwich terns were seen. Good numbers of waders are still here,


 500 Oystercatchers, 250 Bar-tailed Godwit,

  2,500 Knot, 30 Ringed Plover,

 800 Dunlin, 

120 Turnstone and 6 Purple Sandpiper.

Ringed: 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Wren, 1 Linnet.

Photos  CJW 

Wednesday 10 April 2024

10th April 2024

Weather: SE force 4    later veering SSE with showers


This morning was the biggest exit of Pink-footed Geese we have seen leaving the estuary in one day with over 3,000 moving north in numerous loose flocks, none exceeding 200 birds.

A lot of showery rain about meant few migrants passing through and on the island despite the wind direction, 24 Goldfinches managed to arrive but there were just singles of Swallow. Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff.

There were however 2 Wheatears, a species that seems to be able to make the islands regardless of the conditions.

A newly arrived Whimbrel was found plus the usual waders such as Dunlin,

and Ringed Plover,

Seven Blackbirds were seen but the Linnets made themselves scarce in the weather. 

The 4 Eiders were here, also 4 male Mallard were on the pond and 10 Common Scoter on the sea. The best of the sea birds seen were 6 Sandwich Terns.

Ringed: 1 Wheatear, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler.

Photos AS, PSW

Tuesday 9 April 2024

9th April 2024

 Weather: NNW force 5 increasing WSW 8 by noon (high tide)

 Our members were present for one of the highest tides of the year which caused controversy at West Kirby as the water flooded over the new sea wall. Things were just as spectacular on the island as some areas could not be visited during the height of the storm.


 Migrants did not entirely desert us in these challenging conditions, a Blackcap, 4 Chiffchaffs and a Willow Warbler were here, also 3 Wheatears.

 A Woodpigeon was a less surprising visitor. Newly arrived Sandwich Terns rested low on the rocks for shelter, there were 260 today.

Elsewhere on the sea 1,500 Common Scoter flew about towards the wind farms, there were 5 Gannets flying and scarcest of all was a single Fulmar, sightings of which have become increasingly irregular over the last few years. The 4 Eiders made their usual appearance and a bonus was a male Red-breasted Merganser. A few of the Scoters gave close views by the island.

Most of the waders were unable to roost on the islands because of the huge tide, but some numbers were seen/estimated at other times. There were 96 Bar-tailed Godwit, 160 Turnstone, 18 Purple Sandpiper, 600 Knot, 150 Dunlin, 10 Grey Plover, 20 Ringed Plover and 25 Redshank. Just 2 Shelduck and a single Little Egret today. There was fresh evidence that the Fox is still with us.

Photos  CJW

Monday 8 April 2024

8th April 2024

 Weather: ESE force 2, light rain, increasing 4 late afternoon

 Pink-footed Geese are now leaving the Dee for their northern breeding sites, 165 left at dawn followed by a further 219 at high tide.

Four Eiders stayed with us but scarcest of the wildfowl seen today were 2 pairs of Shovelers just off the East Hoyle for a while after the tide before flying north east.

Watching the sea produced 13 Gannets, a Red-throated Diver, 34 Common Scoter, 5 Great Crested Grebes, 5 Guillemots, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers and 7 Sandwich Terns. On the passerines side 2 Wheatears landed today,


Other small migrants were fairly scarce this morning but did include 12 Goldfinch, a Swallow, 2 White Wagtails, 2 Willow Warblers with 2 or 3 unidentified phylloscopus warblers and a Chiffchaff.

 A Woodpigeon was here and a Collared Dove was around the island all day.

Two parties of Bar-tailed Godwits comprised a total of 140 birds and Turnstones numbered 180 plus 5 Purple Sandpipers. Only about 900 Oystercatchers were in the roost.

Four Little Egret roosted the tide on Middle and unusually a 5th was on the main island pond. 


Mallard were mating in the obs garden


 Rock Pipits are now a regular feature of the island at all times of the year.

 Photos AS

Sunday 7 April 2024

7th April 2024

 Weather: SW force 8

 Another day, another gale. An afternoon visit found 6 phylloscopus warblers still on the island, probably left over from saturday. The birds were buffeted about and kept low as possible in the paddocks and gardens and were therefore difficult to see well enough to assign to species. The single Starling however was easy to see as it hung about the obs garden most of the afternoon. 

A single Wheatear was still here and found shelter on the east side. Twelve Gannets fished in the swash (west side), 260 Common Scoter were noted this afternoon and Sandwich terns have arrived in force in the last 2 days, there were 130 today, many were resting on the east hoyle.

The stand out number amongst the waders were 110 Bar-tailed Godwit. The four Eider present didn't really seen care much about the wind.

it was a lot more calm in the evening


 Photos AS