Saturday, 21 March 2009

21st March 2009

It was a clear sky with only a light breeze from the west early morning but later the wind increased from the north west and the mist almost became fog. Improved conditions for watching seabirds due to the on-shore wind were negated by the difficulty of seeing through the mist, nevertheless 30 Gannets and 49 Little Gulls were noted together with 9 Mergansers, a Red-throated Diver and the male Eider that again flew passed the north end. An old adult cormorant (right) in such fine breeding plumage that it resembled the continental race sinensis came into view on two occasions.

A Short-eared Owl was on Middle and may have roosted overnight but was not seen again despite apparently resettling on the island. Two Merlins were also about the Middle Eye area and were probably the same birds as yesterday.

There seems to be an increase of Turnstones at the moment as these waders prepare to move north to breed and Purple Sandpipers were counted at a healthy 18.

The 3 Wheatears (left) on the island today proved to be all females of the nominate race oenanthe.
No Chiffchaffs at all today but finches still went through in small numbers:- 12 Goldfinch, 7 Greenfinch, a Chaffinch and a Siskin, but wagtails seen were just of the Pied variety (13). A small fall of Goldcrests (15) happened last night despite the wind being in the west, a phenomenon not unknown to regulars on the island.

Trapped for ringing :- 5 Goldcrests, a Wren, a Robin, a Chaffinch (left) and 2 Wheatears (right).
A Meadow Pipit was re-trapped that was originally ringed on Hilbre in 2001, and initial enquiries suggest this is the oldest known Meadow Pipit in Britain !


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