Saturday 9 December 2023

9th December 2023

 Weather: ESE force 5  rain early, wind increasing WSW 7 during the morning.


The early tide came with the rain and the forecast of gales later in the afternoon, it was brighter as the rain ceased and enabled some good photos in the morning. A few of the 100 or so Common Scoter seen were close to the island, there were 2 males and a female that stepped out on the rocks.


 Two immature Eider were noticed first and a little later a drake came into view. Two Teal were here and the Brent were counted at 485 birds. Purple Sandpipers numbered 18.

Other waders in the strong wind were 10 Bar-tailed Godwits, 45 Sanderling, 10 Ringed Plover, 60 Curlew. 40 Redshank, 100 Turnstone, 350 Dunlin and 500 Knot. The small number of resident birds were keeping a low profile in the wind but our friend the Kestrel was not affected by the wind.

 Photos CJW

Wednesday 6 December 2023

6th December 2023

 Weather: ESE force 3,  mist around the estuary

 It was very cold in the wind, with frost covering the sand at the south end.

 Four Common Scoter were off the north end along with a male Wigeon which didn't stay for long.

Three immature male and 2 female Eider swam just off the Whaleback, the adult male was not to be seen today.

Around the north end were 344 Brent Geese including 1 Dark-bellied and 2 colour ringed birds, one of which is new to the islands this winter. Enquiries are ongoing as to its origin.

Most of the regular waders were also seen on this short visit, as were little Egret and Kestrel. Four Skylark flew over calling and a solo Starling went south, it's surprising to see 2 Meadow Pipits still here looking lost on the frozen pond.

 There was fresh evidence this morning of the presence of the Fox.

Photos AS 

Sunday 3 December 2023

3rd December 2023

Weather: SE force 4

 A trip across in the dark at freezing point found the island unsurprisingly quiet, the best sighting of the brief early morning visit was a flock of 12 Teal.

Just 4 Eiders were around at the time and Brent numbered about 300 including one of the dark-bellied variety.


 No migrants as such, although 10 Wrens were showing on the island, 3 Blackbirds, a Robin and a Rock Pipit.

 Among the few waders present early morning there were 3 Purple Sandpipers.

 Photos AEH, CJW

Saturday 2 December 2023

2nd December 2023

Weather: ESE force 2/3  SE 4 by noon

 A bitterly cold and quiet morning was brightened by the presence of 18 Purple Sandpipers which seem to have roosted over the tide in different areas than usual but appeared together with Turnstones as the tide dropped.

Five Eiders performing for the observers was another of the highlights today.

One of the 3,000 Oystercatchers logged did what they seldom do and fed on top of the island.

A count was made of 377 Brent, many of which sported colour rings.

There were 55 Shelduck, 50 Common Scoter, 3 Little Egrets and 2 Grey Heron.  A Goosander made a welcome appearance and the Kestrel did its thing over the island.

Passerines were scarce with only the regular Rock Pipits and a couple of Meadow Pipits being seen along with the resident Wrens. A new Blackbird was ringed and another retrapped along with a retrapped Robin. Frost was still present even late in the day. 


Photos AS, PSW

Friday 1 December 2023

1st December 2023

 Weather: No discernable breeze, sunny but cold

 The Snow Bunting was still at Little Eye, on the frosty tide wrack.


 The Snow Bunting was not alone, this Sanderling was also at Little Eye.

In total 800 Sanderlings were present, also 3,000 Knot and 1,200 Dunlin and 9 Purple Sandpipers. A drake Eider and 2 Goosander floated in the gutter at the flood tide.

Winter migration was in action with 2 Skylarks flying through and 5 Song Thrushes on the island and 2 were caught for ringing.

 Brent were estimated at 460 birds.

 and Little Egrets made a comeback in numbers when 8 were here today.

A species new to Hilbre landed on one of the members today, surely this has never happened before. It was identified as a late migrant male Gem moth and confirmed as a first for Hilbre.



Photos SRW, Matt Thomas(moth)

Thursday 30 November 2023

30th November 2023

 Weather: NE force 4

A Snow Bunting was found at Little Eye, feeding on the tide wrack in the early sunshine. it was present for most of the morning.

A Marsh Harrier then appeared and flew west to east south of Middle, where it was dive- bombed by a Peregrine.

 It flew over the obs and went off towards the north shore.

Three flocks of Pink-footed Geese were in flight this morning, going out heading north over Caldy Hill and were estimated at 500 birds.



Sea birds included 9 Red-throated Divers, 26 Great Crested Grebes (including a group of eleven), 200 Common Scoter and a Razorbill flying east. There were a total of  5 Eiders today. 4 of them were on the whaleback. 

Two passing Siskin were welcome, the Dunnock was still here and other birds logged were 430 Brent, over 500 Grey Plover and 20 Purple Sandpiper roosted again until they were disturbed by a kayak, 3 Shelduck were off the west side and 90 around Little Eye after the tide. 

Earlier birds seen on the West Kirby marine lake were a Goldeneye briefly (which have been more scarce the last few years), also the Great Northern Diver.


 Photos SRW