Monday, 26 September 2022

26th September 2022

 Weather: NW force 7, decreasing NNW 5 by late afternoon.   rain showers

Because of the forecast observers were in place 3 hours before the midday tide to sea watch from the north end. As the tide approached the hoped for sea birds were not found but plenty of duck were here, in the form of 4 Pintail, 7 Scaup and 5 Tufted Duck (scarce here). The first sea birds to show were Manx Shearwaters, 2 of then 2 other singles later.

 A Goosander made an appearance followed by 2 Razorbills.

 It was an hour and a half after the high tide that a Leach's Petrel appeared, always looked for at this time in these conditions and always a thrill to see battling against the north westerly wind.


The sea watch lasted all day and 4 more Leach's came through as the tide ebbed. Chief among the supporting cast was a juvenile Little Gull heading west, a total of 11 Kittiwakes, 13 Gannets, 16 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Red-throated Divers, a couple of dozen Sandwich Terns and 720 Common Scoter. Unrelated to the conditions 26 Pink-footed Geese flew high to the north in the afternoon.

Waders and gulls took a back seat, however good records were logged such as 72 Grey Plover, 38 Ringed Plover, 220 Curlew, 24 Bar-tailed Godwits, 15 Sanderling and 22 Redshank. Noticed over the rough sea were 125 Common Gulls flying west (with 100 more present), 3,000 Herring Gulls on the hoyle banks after the tide, also 18 Lesser Black-backs and 42 Greater Black-backs. Twelve Shelduck were seen and just 18 Brent about today. The Kestrel was here, also 3 Little Egrets and a Grey Heron. Naturally there were no small migrants with this type of weather:

Photos SRW

Sunday, 25 September 2022

25th September 2022

  Weather: SSE force 1/2  some spots of rain.

A good late September morning included the presence now of 44 Brent at the islands and the arrival of flocks of Pink-footed Geese into the estuary (some 1,500 were seen distamtly over Burton Marsh).and some heading north through burning skies at sunrise.

Not to be outdone some duck made an appearance with a couple of Wigeon and some Teal, while a Goosander arrived here before departing towards the marine lake and off to the south west. It will be anticipated that Goosanders will winter again at the lake and in the local area. Two Peregrines came to harass the waders.

The southerly influence of the breeze brought in a Goldcrest and a Chiffchaff to be ringed.

A couple of dozen Meadow Pipits passed through, a Pied Wagtail was here and 2 Skylarks also visited briefly. Despite the light winds a an immature Gannet flew west and 200 Common Scoter showed on the sea. A Raven was noted again, the Kestrel was here but wader (and Egret) counts were low and only improved as the early tide approached the island. Two late Red Admirals flew to brighten the scene.


 Photos SRW

Saturday, 24 September 2022

24th September 2022

Weather: NNE force 3

An afternoon visit to the island found that there were now 24 Brent present, and amongst them were 2 first year birds, the first seen this season (not visible in photo).

There were many Cormorants about, about 2 hundred of which flew down the estuary as the later afternoon arrived, we usually see them travelling in the other direction in the early morning.

Three Red-throated Divers flew east and a Guillemot and several dozen Common Scoter were seen. Some of the good counts of waders and gulls were enhanced by sightings at the Tanskies; 9,500 Oystercatchers, 485 Curlew, over 1,000 Black-headed Gulls. Nearer the island were noted 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 36 Ringed Plover, 22 Redshank and 19 Turnstone. The sunset alone was worth waiting for.

Photos SRW

Friday, 23 September 2022

23rd September 2022

Weather: NNW

A beautiful breezy autumnal day to celebrate the autumn equinox on Hilbre today.

The sea was generally quiet with just a small flock of Common Scoter being recorded but two sub-adult Gannets flew up the west side just after high tide.

Wader numbers are increasing with good numbers of Curlew and Oystercatchers roosting on Middle Eye over the high tide along with Redshanks and Turnstone. A flock of Ringed Plover and Dunlin roosted on east side the north end, sheltered from the NNW breeze.


Linnets have had a good breeding season with at least 100 birds commuting between Middle and Hilbre. Many dropped to feed on the seedbeds of Rock Sea lavender and Thrift at the north end of Hilbre. Birds were also taking advantage of the freshwater puddles on the main track to have a bath. 

The small passage of Robins continued with another new bird being ringed along with another juvenile Blackbird, probably from a 2nd or 3rd brood reared by the resident pair. Rock Pipits are also on the move with at least 4 unringed birds being seen. A single Grey Wagtail was recorded flying over and 2 Wheatear stayed around the north end.

  The regular Kestrel was also seen hunting voles and appears to be completing its moult.

Photos PSW

Thursday, 22 September 2022

22nd September 2022

  Weather: SE, force 4/5,  S 3 by noon with persistent rain

The sky at dawn gave the clue of the weather to come with constant rain from 11.00 am. Wildfowl featured again this morning with totals of 15 Teal, 4 Wigeon and 2 Pintail (which flew west directly over observers),

  also a party of 9 Pink-footed Geese.

  A single male Common Scoter sat on the island rocks.

No terns were seen, although a Common Tern was reported to be by West kirby marine lake. Two new Linnets and a Rock Pipit were ringed today, 

 also one retrapped.

 and a juvenile Blackbird was also retrapped.

Up to 200 Linnets flew around the island but only 3 Meadow Pipits were noted and there were no hirundines, warblers, crests nor wheatears seen. A late Whimbrel was here today, also 180 Curlew, 70 Ringed Plover, 17 Bar-tailed Godwits and 7 Grey Plover. Peregrine and Kestrel were both in attendance and at one stage 2 Ravens were on the island, one had been attacked by the Crows.

Photos JE, SRW 

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

21st September 2022

 Weather:  SE 3, veering SW 4 by mid morning, mostly cloudy

An early start to be there before the tide.

Hopes that migrants would be in the paddocks and gardens were soon dashed and it was not until mid-morning that a Chiffchaff was heard (it was still present in the middle of the afternoon). 

As time went on a few visitors appeared in the form of 2 Pied and 2 Grey Wagtails, a small passage of Meadow Pipits passed south, which for the most part has so far been absent this autumn, but there had been a Wheatear on Middle early on. 

 It was however a excellent wildfowl and wader day starting with distant views over Wirral of 35 Pink-footed Geese going north and a total of 320 Black-tailed Godwits flying in from the estuary towards Newton. About 100 Shelduck flew into the estuary in many small groups, similarly about 30 Wigeon did the same in 8 parties.

The wildfowl were not finished, a group of 4 Teal flew over the east hoyle sands at high tide, another was later also flying south. Early in the day a Common Snipe had been flushed by the west side of Middle and flew up the west side of the main island while calling, but could not be relocated. More usual waders included 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 62 Ringed Plover, 2 Grey Plover, 50 Redshank, 26 Dunlin and 2 Knot. A Guillemot was off the west side, while other sea birds seen were 250 Common Scoter and several Gannets. A Kestrel hovered over the island and a Peregrine flew passed the north end in the morning.

The afternoon was livened up when 3 Ravens spent some time flying around the west side of the island. One picture shows the characteristic tail shape.


On the shore all day were 6 Little Egrets and 4 Grey Herons and flying about all day were the itinerent 2 flocks of Linnets, estimated at 140 birds. There still seems to be at least 8 Rock Pipits here, some will be ex breeders and others migrants at this time of year.

Photos AS & SRW

20th September 2022

 Weather: SE force 1/2   cloudy at first sunny later

A Golden Plover species was heard over early on with a disyllabic call, unfortunately it was not seen but it was suspected of being an American Golden Plover, we shall never know. Regular waders present included 29 Bar-tailed Godwit and 47 Ringed Plover.

A flock of 9 Teal were the only wildfowl today, they were on the tide edge before visiting the gutter east of the island.

Among the small visitors today were another Goldcrest, 2 Goldfinches, a Wheatear, half a dozen Swallows, a Grey Wagtail and a Reed Bunting. Little Egrets seem to be back to single figures now after the many birds present over the last few weeks.

As regular visitors know seals rarely haul out on the island rocks, but today there were pups at either end of the island, one at the north end and another below the obs. 

 Photos SRW