Sunday 31 August 2008

31st August 2008

In a wet and miserable morning two more Garden Warblers (left) were surprisingly found and ringed following yesterday's bird. After having several this spring this now makes 2008 one of the best years for this species in recent times. Also ringed was a Greenland Wheatear (of 3 Wheatears on the island)(right) and a Willow Warbler.

A Spotted Redshank flew calling down the east side but could not be relocated, while 2 Grey Wagtails and 23 Pied Wagtails stayed down on the island for most of the day in the rain, but 40 Swallows managed to pass in the brief drier spells. Just 4 Arctic Skuas were seen in a brief sea-watch, but an unusual sight at high tide were 11 Grey herons standing on middle (see top).

A new creature for Hilbre was identified when a Chevron moth (right) was attracted to the light trap last night.

(MJG,CJ,CDT,PT,DNW,PGW) all photos by CJ

Saturday 30 August 2008

30th August 2008

A successful session of wader ringing last night resulted in 9 Redshank (below right) and 9 Turnstone (below left) colour ringed with this autumn's code for Hilbre (red over pale green on the left leg).

The nets were set at dusk at both ends of the island, most of the Redshank were caught at the south end and most Turnstones at the north. All the ringers thought it a privilege to handle these special birds, and always a unique experience, especially for those who don't seem able to see in the dark!

[News now of a result quicker than expected when one of the Redshanks was recognised today on the shore at Meols. This must be the fastest recovery ever away from Hilbre ! ]
The apparently ideal conditions this morning did not produce the expected fall of Willow Warblers and/or Goldcrests, but a Reed Bunting (below left) and Garden Warbler (below right) more than compensated.

Apart from the now normal Little Egret other good records were 2 Golden Plover and 15 Wigeon.


Friday 29 August 2008

29th August 2008

Good numbers of waders, terns and gulls around today with the highlights being c300 Sandwich Terns, 510 Curlew, 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls on the beach between Little Eye and WKML, 4 Little Egrets around the Tanskies and a Common Sandpiper at the North End early morning.

Passerine migrants continue to be thin on the ground, however, a Wheatear appeared before the tide and a small passage of Swallows was noted. But with south-easterly winds forecast for the next couple of days perhaps our luck will change...

Thursday 28 August 2008

28th August 2008

Continued westerlies produced some decent sea birds on a high tide visit. Counts included 90 Gannets, 14 Arctic Skuas (11 dark and 4 pale), 30 Manx Shearwaters, and 15 Common Scoter. Passerine migration was again meagre with 42 Swallows and a single Willow Warbler and Wheatear.

Monday 25 August 2008

25th August 2008

With not many birds around today's highlight was the Red Arrows (see opposite) from Hoylake Lifeboat Day!! Views from the island were superb - although the local waders and terns seemed less impressed.

However, there was still a Little Egret in the gutter and at least 4 Arctic Skuas were seen including 2 on the East Hoyle harrassing the terns and gulls. Passerines included a couple of Wheatears in Fisherman's Cove (Middle Island) and a rather late very young Linnet was trapped.

Saturday 23 August 2008

23rd August 2008

A calm and sunny morning became even more pleasant as SRW opened the obs living room curtains and was greeted by a close fly past by a ringtail Hen Harrier (distant photo CJ), the bird flying off the south end and then low over middle.

Over 3,000 terns were estimated on the west hoyle bank including a good count of 110 Little Terns. Late morning saw a passage of over 100 House Martins in a loose flock going south passed the obs, and also 2 flocks of Black-tailed Godwits totaling 122 heading west high between the islands (photo by SRW). Click photos to enlarge

Friday 22 August 2008

22nd August 2008

For a change neither Arctic Skuas nor Willow Warblers were to be seen on a low-tide visit today in a fresh north-westerly breeze. The Greenshank however was still present, this time in the rock pools south of middle (photo CJ) with a Peregrine nearby.

Only 1 Northern Wheatear could be found, also on middle, and just when we thought there were no migrant passerines on the main island an early autumn Goldcrest appeared at 11.00am (photo CJ).

Thursday 21 August 2008

21st August 2008

Ten Arctic Skuas (4 pale and 6 dark), 10 Gannets, 2 Kittiwakes and c.100 Little Terns were logged on an over-tide stay. The Little Terns were especially welcome as only very small numbers have been seen previously this autumn. After a damp start the sunshine brought good numbers of butterflies out on the wing. A Greenshank flew down the east side and 2 Wigeon were seen distantly towards the shore. Fifty Swallows were noted and a female/juv. Blackcap loitered briefly near the canoe club. Three Northern Wheatears were trapped of 10 present including one from 3 days earlier (see photo 18th Aug), but a more unlikely result was the only Willow Warbler caught (out of 3) was a retrap from 2nd August !

Monday 18 August 2008

18th August 2008

At last the Wheatears today decided to co- operate and inspect the mealworms in the potter traps. Both were first year birds, a male (photo JE) and female of the nominate race. Greenland Wheatears are expected to pass through at a slightly later date.
A single Willow Warbler and a Swallow were the only other migrants.
Two of the 6 Bar-tailed Godwits present were in summer plumage.

Saturday 16 August 2008

16th August 2008

Five Arctic Skuas and lots of Gannets today, estimated about 100, Common Terns were up to 500, but just 1 Little Tern. A single Willow Warbler was the only migrant passerine and bird of the day was a juvenile Greenshank, a scarce visitor to the island at this time of year.

Friday 15 August 2008

15th August 2008

A very pleasant but fairly average day for an August high tide stay, with 8 Arctic Skuas (2 seen circling high overhead the island) and 6 Gannets on the sea, and the east hoyle bank hosting 700 noisy Sandwich Terns (photo BSB), 240 Common Terns and a good count of 134 Sanderling. Six Whimbrel were around the island, this time normally being the peak of their return passage at Hilbre. Visible migration was again light with 5 Willow Warblers (3 trapped), 3 Wheatears (photo BSB) and a few small groups of swallows totalling about 30. Both male and female peregrines were seen, the female seen to unsuccessfully chase a group of Turnstones passed the lifeboat house.

Resident male Linnet photo (by BSB) included because it was too good not to !


Wednesday 13 August 2008

13th August 2008

A limited migration today with 6 Willow Warblers and a Whitethroat grounded and 20 Swallows passed. Both Common and Sandwich Terns were to be seen also 2 Little Terns with a few Arctic Skuas and Gannets on the sea, and the now almost expected Little Egret at this time of year.

Sunday 10 August 2008

10th August 2008

Two more Black Terns were seen on the east hoyle sand-bank between tides, a moulting adult and an immature bird. A large passage of Common Terns estimated at 1000+ drifted west passed the north end in a constant stream for over 2 hours. A Little Egret was noted early in the day.

Saturday 9 August 2008

9th August 2008

The heavy and persistent rain in the morning made the day a wash-out in more ways than one, the only decent record was of a single Black-tailed Godwit.

Friday 8 August 2008

8th August 2008

A shift to a northerly wind did little for visible migration, with only 2 Wheatears, 9 Swallows and a Willow Warbler being true migrants. A Merlin flew passed the obs and landed on the cliff on middle; an adult Peregrine had been earlier on the rocks south of middle. A warm sun produced some interesting insects including a Migrant Hawker, 100+Grayling, 50+ Common Darters, lots of Small and Green Veined Whites, a Painted lady, and the scarcer Small Skipper, Small Copper, and 5 Spot Burnet Moth.

Wednesday 6 August 2008

6th August 2008

Highlights of the day were a Green Sandpiper flushed from the south end of the island and a Common Seal hauled out on the rocks (see photo by Barry Barnacal).

Tuesday 5 August 2008

5th August 2008

A juvenile female Peregrine was resting on the rocks at Little Eye, as the weather deteriorated on the way to the island this morning. A slight drizzle became heavier and seemed to cause a small arrival of Willow Warblers. Five were trapped but at least 13 were seen to be present (no apologies for yet another Willow Warbler photo).
The miserable conditions did not make for good bird recording, nevertheless 19 Swallows were logged passing through and at the north end 3 immature Shags and a pale phase Arctic Skua gave close views. Little tern sightings have been particularly scarce this season and so 2 drifting passed were a welcome bonus.

Monday 4 August 2008

4th August 2008

Highlight of today was a Common Sandpiper, supporting cast were 5 Whimbrel, 3 Arctic Terns, and 5 Arctic Skuas.

Saturday 2 August 2008

2nd August 2008

Still plenty of terns but in contrast to mid-week no skuas at all to be seen from the island. Also unlike mid-week plenty of Willow Warblers on passage, 17 being trapped for ringing. Surprising how different an experience it can be with a subtle change of weather.