Sunday, 4 June 2023

4th June 2023

 Weather: E force 2

Another calm and fine morning with wall to wall sunshine. As expected this time of year, no great exciting finds but a few small highlights. Most unexpected of all was a Greenshank calling as it flew high overhead, although an occassional passage migrant in spring it is usually  an early autumn bird. A single Skylark also called overhead. No Eiders were initially seen but just as we wondered if they had finally departed, 6 turned up on the approaching tide.

Other wildfowl were 4 drake Mallards roaming about and a female close by.

 At least 3 Turnstones are still here including one in summer plumage.

As the tide approached several groups of Sanderling again flew west to east passed the north end where the limited number of the Oystercatchers that decided to stay with us are able to be seen.

Nine Gannets sat on the sea to the west and 3 Little Terns were logged in addition to 60 Sandwich and 70 Common Terns. The Linnets seem to have gone a little quiet this morning but we know there are very many on the island this year.

 The pair of Pied Wagtails near the north end were still hanging about the area.


In the paddocks the Blackthorn is now extensive, but a small portion is enhanced by some Honeysuckle.

 Photos AEH

Saturday, 3 June 2023

3rd June 2023

 Weather:  NNW froce 3   haze

An afternoon visit in this prolonged dry and sunny spell. The bird highligts were 120 Gannet out to sea and passing small groups of Sanderling totalling about 50 birds. A few Dunlin and 4 Ringed Plover were also around. There ware still about 80 Sandwich Terns and 20 Common Terns, while a pair of Pied Wagtails seem to be interested in setting up house somewhere near the north end. Noted also were 6 Little Egrets and a Grey Heron.

Thursday, 1 June 2023

1st June 2023

 Weather: E force 3   cloudy then sunny and warm

The focus this morning was on some of the breeding birds, as no migrants arrived on the island apart from a Sedge Warbler which although trapped for ringing it was found to have a 'scalery leg' disease and was therefore released without being ringed.

 Five Linnets were trapped, 4 of them were juveniles, showing the primaries and underwing coverts still growing.

 A juvenile Blackbird was also caught and again the juvenile plumage is clear to see.

 An adult male Blackbird was also trapped that had originally been ringed here as a juvenile in 2021. This bird can be seen to be a resident bird from the retrap data during different times of the year and different years. A Wrens nest was found over the obs door where Wrens have roosted there many times in the past.


 Photos JE 

Tuesday, 30 May 2023

30th May 2023

 Weather:SE force 3, strengthening to E 4   sunny

The fine weather continues, but the variety of species is erratic in the present benign conditions. The only migrants this morning was a House Martin and a late but welcome Yellow Wagtail which unforunately did not settle for pictures despite coming briefly to ground. The morning commenced with a flight of 6 Canada Geese travelling north and later a flock of 37 resting west of the lagoon before flying off east.


A Peregrine harrassed the small number of waders off the east side of Middle. There was a repeat performance of the feeding frenzy of yesterday with large numbers gulls and terns off the west side of the island. Gannets were more in evidence on the sea, 28 this morning. Three Eiders were made up of a pair and an immature male, while Shelduck totalled 19 seen. More waders appeared after the tide; 31 Sanderling, 7 Turnstone and a few dozen Dunlin. Three each of Little Egret and Grey Heron were among the shorebirds. Thrift has had a good season, the best in some peoples memory. A Linnet was feeding on it.

After midday 2 Ravens flew calling from West Kirby towards Little Eye (Liam Langley) A Common Blue was the sole butterfly flying this morning, although Brimstone was seen in the afternoon

Photos SRW

Monday, 29 May 2023

29th May 2023

 Weather:  ESE force 1/2

Our first long awaited Spotted Flycatcher of the year appeared on the island but was seen only only briefly, a late Chiffchaff was also here but was more cooperative and was ringed. 

A Sedge Warber was another late comer, but it was quite  elusive but revealed itself with its song in the Blackthorn. A spectacular event on the sea was a feeding frenzy amongst the  gulls and terns. It seems that large shoal of fish was moving in the Dee off the west side which attracted the birds and also the fishermen.

 Estimated involved were 265 Sandwich Terns, 34 Common Terns, 650 Herring and 83 Black-headed Gulls.

 Waders today were all in single figures apart from the over 100 Oystercatchers. Just 3 Turnstone.

and a single Dunlin at the north end.

A male and a female Eider and a Guillemot were noted on the sea.

In the afternoon the islad was invaded by the usual massive influx of visitors on a fine weather Bank Holiday weekend.

 A Red Admiral was seen today and the moth trap among others produced:--

Treble Lines

Brown-Line Bright-eye


Shoulder-striped Wainscot 

 A Cinnabar was out and about the island.

Meanwhile the Valerian is now in full flower ready to receive the first Humming-bird Hawkmoth of the year.

The Observatory hosted a visit by "The Merseyside Fire service Retired Members Walking Group". The records secretary gave them a talk about our activities.


 Photos: SRW

Sunday, 28 May 2023

28th May 2023

 Weather: W force 2

 An afternoon visit in the sunshine was productive in an unexpected way

For many years Hilbre bird observatory has been ringing Wheatears and although for a period even colour ings were used, we have had no recoveries at all. It would be nice to report one of 'our' birds had been sighted but the second best thing occurred today when a colour ringed Whteatear was seen down on the island.

After enquiries were made it proved to be a bird ringed at the Calf of Man (isle of Man) in June 2022. A very late arrival for a northern Wheatear at Hilbre, it transpires that it was also seen at Bardsey island on 8th May this year. British northern Wheatears are normally the first to arrive, so goodness knows what this individual is doing hanging around the Irish sea at a time when most are anxious to settle down to breed. A notable record for us at Hilbre. The rest of the records are less exciting, a single Swift did a fly-by late afternoon.

The remaining passerines appeared to be all island breeders, Wrens, Blackbirds, Linnets, Meadow Pipits, Rock Pipits, Swallows and Pied Wagtails.  There were 3 Eiders today and 7 Little Egrets, while 8 Ringed Plover stood out amongst the very low numbers of other waders at the low tide.

 Photo SRW

Saturday, 27 May 2023

27th May 2023

 Weather: SE force 4/5   slight most. veering NW 3 later

Although a south=easterly the wind was stronger and colder than expected, as so many have been  from this direction this spring. As can be seen from the pictures today was very much about the nsects. The headline from the moth trap this morning was a Small Elephant Hawk, the third record for Hilbre after individuals previously in 1970 and 2021



 Other species today included such as Brown Silver-line, several Marbled Coronet, Vine's Rustic and Brimstone. Butterflies were not numerous but the first Painted Lady of the year was found on the Thrift.

The only small migrants were 3 House Martins and several Goldfinches.


Young were being fed by the Pipits and it was nice to see juveniles of Meadow and Rock Pipit.


Some kind of sailing race off the north of the island was taking place, that was unusual to see.



 More interesting to the observers looking in the same direction were about 90 Gannets feeding and especially a Fulmar flying west, a quite scarce sighting in recent years. The Common Terns (125) are  now outnumbering the Sandwich Terns (25)

Three of the 4 regular Eiders eventually showed up,


.......... in the meantime a flock of 22 Canada Geese flew north away from the island. There were a large number of Ringed Plover present (85) considering the proximity of the breeding season and 2 late passage Whimbrel called this morning. A few Dunlin are also still about, Five Little Egrets made the island the home for the day.

Photos AS, SRW.