Friday 31 July 2009

31st July 2009

The first three Wheatears of the autumn appeared mid-morning as Wheatears often do on Hilbre and stayed about an hour and then moved on. One was in juvenile plumage (above left) and the other two were either adult females or birds of either sex in post juvenile dress (above right).

The other highlight of the day was a Common Sandpiper which for once remained stationary at the north end long enough for photos to be obtained.

There were two Willow Warblers, one of which was the moulting adult from six days ago which obviously found Hilbre to its liking whilst growing flight feathers for the forthcoming journey south.

Strange for July was a (family?) group of six Shags that associated together both in and out of the water (right).

A Peregrine (left) hunted the ridge south of middle at the early high tide, and 2 Kestrels were on the main island.

Counts today included 250 Sandwich Terns, 15 Whimbrel and 41 Ringed Plovers.

Not many butterflies around at the moment, but there were 2 Painted Ladies.

Ringed :-
3 Meadow Pipits
1 Linnet
1 Willow Warbler (right)

(JE,CJ, +CD) [435] photos CJ

Saturday 25 July 2009

25th July 2009

A small 'fall' of warblers, the first of the autumn, comprising 6 Willow Warblers (above) and a Whitethroat arrived unexpectedly on a westerly wind this morning. Most of the Willows were young birds in bright sulphur yellow plumage, except for a duller adult still in main wing moult (below).

Two Swallows fledged from the nest last week and the parents still seem to be in the area, while lots of young Linnets are about despite apparently being less nests this year.

Terns were counted at 170 Sandwich mostly on the east hoyle and 100 Common on the west hoyle, and waders are already on the increase with 750 Oystercatchers and 45 Turnstones mostly in summer plumage.
A female Peregrine flew over the island and a wandering Lapwing made a rare appearance landing briefly with the Oystercatchers and making it hard to see (above right, flying centre bottom of picture).
At the high tide 10 Whimbrel appeared and a Common Sandpiper was noted.

Ringed :-
5 Linnets
2 Meadow Pipits
3 Willow Warblers (left)
1 Whitethroat (right)
1 Wren
(JE,CJ,MGT+2) [430] Photos CJ & JE

Saturday 18 July 2009

18th July 2009

A strange day for Summer. The wind was blowing so much the Ranger had to turn off the wind generator! Mushrooms (below) were blooming, more expected in the autumn but there has been spells of heavy rain recently. More predictably a young Linnet was ringed, probably a second brood bird, the picture showing how the wings and tail are still growing.

An owl was flushed from a tree in the rangers garden, unfortunately not finding its way into the heligoland trap. The bird was not seen well and so must be recorded as an 'owl species' but all owls are rare on Hilbre apart from the occassional Short-eared (which seldom rests in trees) and the balance of probability is that it was a very unexpected Long-eared.

(JE) [418] photos JE

Saturday 11 July 2009

11th July 2009

Summer is in full swing with the Rock Sea Lavender (left) and Harebells (right) in full bloom and autumn just around the corner, there were some young birds to ring this morning including island bred 3 Swallows (below left) and 3 juvenile Meadow Pipits, also a visiting juvenile Chiffchaff (below) and an adult Willow Warbler.
The Willow Warbler (below) was particularly interesting as we seldom see adults in heavy main moult at Hilbre as the first of the autumn passage birds normally arrive towards the end of the month.

An Emperor dragonfly (below) was released from the SK trap during the morning and many Green Veined Whites and Meadow Brown butterflies were about but only a single Small Tortoiseshell.

The Sandwich Tern roost on the east hoyle is now built up to 50 birds, and more will join them, and hopefully attract some of the rarer terns.
(JE) [417] photos JE

Saturday 4 July 2009

4th July 2009

A Blackbird in complete juvenile plumage was trapped today, and although it was not thought to have bred on Hilbre, it could raise questions about the origin of the juvenile Robins that appear regularly here in the middle of summer and were thought to be local. It was duly ringed with the enthusiastic assistance of Emily from the Whitely bungalow.

There now appear to be 5 Crows on the island, and the young Pied wagtails are still about.
The autumn Sandwich Tern roost on the east hoyle has started already with about 30 birds showing after the tide.
(JE) [409] photos JE & Emily