Saturday 31 October 2009

31st October 2009

The first Snow Bunting of the winter (left) was feeding around the north end this morning for a couple of hours and then appeared to leave at high tide.

Another sign of the coming winter were 4 Purple Sandpipers (above) amongst the roosting Knot and Turnstones (left). Surely this time these birds will stay at Hilbre to became the basis of they regular flock and are not migrants travelling further south.
The Great Northern Diver is still in the area and may remain for other visitors to see in the days ahead.
A redwing overhead at dawn was not the precursor of a thrush movement but finches were in evidence with both Greenfinches and Chaffinches being seen in addition to some Linnets. Two hundred Starlings were counted during the morning.
One of the 3 Rock Pipits was trapped making a record total of 4 in one year.
Ringed:- 1 Rock Pipit (right), 1 Robin, 1 Wren.
(JE) [579 ] photos JE

Friday 30 October 2009

30th October 2009

A Great White Egret flew west over the south end at 11.20 this morning and continued towards Wales, this is the first record for Hilbre. The Great Northern Diver was found again this time preening in Niffy Bay for a short time while the Common Buzzard made another trip from the mainland and was seen all the way from Rocks Rocks to its reception party of 120 gulls and 4 Crows which gave it a hard time for an hour on the island.
There were lots of other good records totaling 45 species for the day, very similar to yesterday in many respects plus the Great White Egret !
Other highlights were 2 late Gannets, 2 Razorbills, 14 Wigeon and a Teal, a Merlin, a Woodpigeon, 6 Lapwing, a Redwing, a Siskin and a continuing passage of Starlings with 1,500 passing today.

Thursday 29 October 2009

29th October 2009

Lots of finches were seen travelling south over the West Kirby shore this morning but Hilbre as usual did not share in this movement and all we could muster was 1 Chaffinch and 3 Goldfinches. It was however a very decent day otherwise with about 800 Starlings passing south mostly in parties of a few dozen at a time, and at least 12 Blackbirds going through the island also a Song Thrush and Redwing.

A Flock of 5 Little Egrets flew north up the shore and a Golden Plover called and was seen crossing Little Eye.
On the sea the Great Northern Diver from yesterday was found half way between Hilbre and bird rock (right), although later in the afternoon it came close to the north end and was seen to devour some crabs. Two razorbills were together just off the slipway.

A Peregrine chased a Woodpigeon (left) over the island (the photographer concentrating on the Woodpigeon as the far rarer of the two birds at Hilbre !)

Mid -morning it was a case of deja vu from 12 months ago when a large raptor was seen from the obs veranda to be mobbed further up the island. The same three members from last years Rough-legged Buzzard were again running up the island to see it better. Unfortunately it turned out to be just a Common Buzzard this time (above), but still a rare bird to see on the island.

Just a single Wigeon today, but a drake Scaup (left, very scarce in the last few years) flew east passed the north end. The Brents were still counted at 38, including the bird with white colour rings (below).

Ringed :- 3 Blackbirds, 1 Chaffinch.
(DB,CJ,KMc) [576] photos CJ

Wednesday 28 October 2009

28th October 2009

At this moment (09.50hrs) a Great Northern Diver is sitting off the end of the slipway at the north end and has been there for half an hour. The Brent with white colour rings is still in the area.

Tuesday 27 October 2009

27th October 2009

A small amount of movement this morning comprising 5 Blackbirds, 3 Redwings, 2 Song Thrushes, 100 Starlings, 2 Goldfinches and a Chaffinch. The regulars included Meadow Pipits, Linnets, Pied wagtails, Rock Pipits and a Dunnock.

On the sea were 6 Wigeon (left), a Common Scoter and a Shag.

The most interesting sighting was a pale bellied Brent wearing colour rings not seen previously (second bird from right), white rings on both legs with the letter A on the right and number 4 on the left; enquiries will be made to try and find out where, when, and by whom it was marked. Today the Brents were at a high for this autumn of 38 birds.
Ringed:- 1 Blackbird (left)
(DB,JE) [573] photos JE

Saturday 24 October 2009

24th October 2009

Hilbre was sunny this morning (left) and fortunate in not sharing in the rain affecting the rest of Liverpool Bay.
A Fieldfare was on the ground early on (not an everyday experience at Hilbre), a Redwing and a flock of 4 Chaffinches were found while moving through were 250 Starlings and a number of Linnets and Meadow Pipits. On the shore the Brent had increased to 15 individuals and a Peregrine hunted the area.
Another Rock Pipit visited the obs today (right), the third to be ringed this autumn, and equaling the record number ever caught in any one year (2007).
(JE) [572] photos JE

Friday 23 October 2009

23rd October 2009

Some thrushes were evident at first light when 7 Blackbirds, a Song Thrush and 3 Redwings were grounded. Not many other passerine migrants down except for 4 Chaffinches (left) and a Reed Bunting. Overhead movement saw 50 Meadow Pipits, 57 Starlings and 3 Skylarks passing through during the morning.

A Merlin (right) stayed around the north end for a short while and then went off east, while a Lapwing went west between the islands and a Teal (below) landed in the east gutter.

Only 9 Brent could be found on the shore along with 20 Sanderling and 26 Bar-tailed Godwits.
As with the last week or so 4 Dunnocks are still on the island with at least 2 Rock Pipits.

Observers were treated to 9 Helicopters in twos and threes flying across from the Navy vessels in the Mersey to celebrate 100 years of naval aviation.

Ringed:- 4 Blackbirds, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Wren.
(DB,CJ) [571] photos CJ

Further updates from the last few days are now shown below

21st October 2009

A good migration day with 110 Meadow Pipits, 224 Starlings, 80 Linnets, 17 Chaffinches, 2 Greenfinches and a Redwing being logged. On the shore were 4 Wigeon, 2 Teal and 42 Sanderling.
Another very late Swallow passed Hilbre.

20th October 2009

A visit by the Liverpool Ornithological Society managed to see a Great Tit (quite rare at Hilbre), 6 Chaffinches and 2 Purple Sandpipiers.
The partial albino Oystercatcher (right) that has been around the islands for some time at last posed for a decent photograph.

(NDW + LOC [12]) photo John Drakeley

Monday 19 October 2009

19th October 2009

The Slavonian Grebe was present again mid-morning to the east of the island and later off the east of Middle Eye.
Later a single Swallow was seen.
(DB,MGT) [photo from 17th oct]

Saturday 17 October 2009

17th October 2009

That's more like it ! For the first time in weeks it really felt like autumn with some thrushes and finches etc. down on the ground, and although we couldn't compete with the large movements taking place this morning at Red Rocks it turned out to be a really nice migration day.

About 30 Redwing were heard over before dawn and logged on the ground during the morning were 4 Blackbirds, 2 Song Thrush, 3 Reed Buntings, 4 Rock Pipits (above right), 4 Dunnocks (above left), 5 Greenfinches, 3 Goldfinches, a Chaffinch, and a Blackcap. Fly overs were 45 Skylarks (left), 6 Starlings and a Grey Wagtail.

Bird of the day was on the sea when a Slavonian Grebe (left and above) appeared near to the obs and gave close views for 2 minutes before flying out to telescope distance and staying about the estuary mouth for some time. Shortly afterwards a female Long-tailed duck was sighted off to the south east and later a male was off the north end before travelling west.

More mundane sightings off shore were 6 Red-throated Divers, 3 Red-breasted Mergansers, 50 Great Crested Grebes, 210 Shelduck, 64 Common Scoter, 4 Guillemots, 17 Brent Geese (right) and a Little Egret.

Ringed:- 2 Blackbirds, 2 Song Thrushes, 2 Goldfinches (right), 1 Chaffinch (left), 1 Blackcap (middle).
(GB,JE,CJ,PSW,SRW) [565] photos CJ, PSW.

Friday 16 October 2009

16th October 2009

Despite a north easterly overnight it was all quiet around the trapping area this morning except for a single Blackbird, 2 Dunnocks and a flock of 8 Greenfinches that kept together and stayed mobile (left). The best birds of the day were all from distant flight views seen looking south from the obs veranda :- 2 Canada Geese, 4 Greylag Geese, a Sparrowhawk and a Great Spotted Woodpecker, also some very distant duck, probably Tufted.
Passing through but not alighting were 3 Grey Wagtails and 16 Skylarks in ones and twos.
Noted between the islands were 4 Wigeon and later 11 Pale-bellied Brent, and on the shore were a total of 300 Knot (below right) and a large count of 9,000 Oystercatchers spread over this part of the estuary.
A sea watch at high tide produced 3 Red-throated Divers but very little else apart from the sighting of a Porpoise close to the north end for a short time.
Later in the morning the sun appeared and a Red Admiral butterfly and a Silver y moth were flying.
Ringed:- 1 Dunnock
(GB,CJ,KMc,et al) [557] photos CJ

Thursday 15 October 2009

15th October 2009

A start just before dawn because of the early tide found a Chiffchaff singing in the twilight in the obs garden. It was not seen or heard again until it was found in the old obs mist net two hours later. An even bigger surprise was a Greenfinch (below) quietly sitting in the same net and it became the first to be ringed this year. A Song Thrush and a Blackbird soon also received rings but a Redwing that landed on the 'air-raid shelter' was not so obliging (another was heard calling over in the dark before dawn).
Only 4 Skylarks today, but a total of 67 Starlings, 7 of which were feeding on the path in front of the telegraph station, and other passing visitors were 3 Goldfinches, 2 Greenfinches and a Grey Wagtail.
A female type Goldeneye (left) was on the sea briefly on the east side and then flew away between the islands, probably the same bird as was seen yesterday with some Mergansers. The same number of Brent as yesterday (10), and just 2 Great Crested Grebes and 5 Common Scoter on the sea. Ringed:- 1 Song Thrush, 1 Blackbird, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Greenfinch, 1 Wren.
(CJ) [556] photos CJ

Tuesday 13 October 2009

13th October 2009

A slight improvement in visible migration this morning in what has generally so far been a poor autumn, made it worth while looking and listening overhead. Two groups of House Sparrows (a scarce Hilbre bird) were noted, the first were flyovers (left), but the second group of four landed and toured the island for some time (below).

Two single Reed Buntings went through and finches also over were a Redpoll, 2 Goldfinch, 2 Greenfinch, and 40 Linnets. Other autumn visitors were a good passage of 20 Skylarks, also 6 Starlings, and 2 Grey Wagtails.
Fifteen Wigeon flew north over little eye at dawn and a single Black-tailed Godwit was off to the east side later, but no Brent were seen up to 11.00hrs.
On the ground were 2 Song Thrushes (1 from 2 days ago), 6 Pied Wagtails, 2 Dunnocks, a Rock Pipit and several Robins that looked new in.
Ringed:- 1 Song Thrush, 1 Robin, 1 Linnet.
(CJ,PSW,et al) [551] photos CJ (above left in flight), PSW (above right)

Monday 12 October 2009

12th October 2009

Very light northely wind and beautifully clear skies saw a solitary recorder make a brief pre-work visit.

It turned out to be very worthwhile - a light passage of Skylarks (5), Meadow Pipits (50) and Rock Pipits (6) were encountered as were a few finches including 5 Greenfinch, 1 Goldfinch and 25 Linnet. Also a few small groups of late Swallows flashed through (see below) enjoying the morning sunshine.

A single Starling spent much of the first couple of hours of daylight on the "Green Flag" pole and there was some evidence of a small arrival of grounded migrants with single new Blackbird, Song Thrush, Wren and Robin all caught along with the highlight of the morning - another Rock Pipit; unusually for this species trapped in the Newton trap...they almost always turn up in the Potter traps!

The Pale-bellied Brents were back up to eleven in number and the adult Peregrine kept a watchful eye on proceedings from its usual perch on the reef.

Ringed (all singles): Robin, Wren, Blackbird, Song Thrush and Rock Pipit
(SRW) Photos SRW [548]

11th October 2009

A fresh north west breeze greeted observers and once again there was very little to report from around the islands. Six Pale-bellied Brents were present and reasonable numbers of waders but no evidence of passage apart from the odd Rock Pipit.


Saturday 10 October 2009

10th October 2009

With the wind in the west expectations were not high and it turned out to be a reasonably quiet day with a few ducks, finches and other regular late autumn birds.

Early morning saw 54 Starlings on the mast where they possibly roosted, and 13 more flew low over the obs near to noon. A Skylark was heard overhead and then 3 went through low over the paddock.
Three Teal, 4 Pintail and then 16 Wigeon flew west and later 4 Wigeon landed on the east hoyle (above).
Two Greenfinches were around early and 3 Goldfinches (above) stayed some time but refused to be trapped. Goldfinches have been particularly scarce so far this autumn.

A flock of 300 Knot landed in the east gutter where again only 6 Brent were present.

Bird of the day must be an immature Pomarine Skua that passed the island this afternoon.

A splendid Rock Pipit (left) was captured in a potter trap at the north end. It is the first ringed at Hilbre since October 2007. October/November is the peak passage period for this species on the islands.
Ringed :- 1 Rock Pipit.

(JE,CJ,MGT+2, +CD) [543] photos CJ

Friday 9 October 2009

9th October 2009

As expected the south easterly produced a slight improvement with a few different species present but still nothing like what could be called good visible migration. A Chaffinch spent all morning up and down the island and was later briefly joined by a Greenfinch and a flock of 20 Linnets. A Reed Bunting called overhead first thing, a Skylark (below) was flushed by the west path and ten Starling flew over, while a Lapwing spent most of the morning by the east gutter with the Oystercatchers (above).

The only thrush was a grounded male Blackbird (right) and there was little other to note apart from a Rock Pipit at each end of the island. Just 6 Brent could be found, possibly the previous birds have moved on.
Ringed:- 1 Blackbird, 1 Wren.
(JE,CJ,CJW,PSW et al) [542] photos CJ

Thursday 8 October 2009

8th October 2009

Birds even harder to find today in a north westerly breeze, overhead were 2 Grey and 3 Pied Wagtails, 50 Linnets and a Skylark.
A cloud of 3,000 Knot were seen moving across the east hoyle and both Kestrel and Peregrine made an appearance by the island.

Very little indeed on the ground and ringers had to be content to see a Meadow Pipit still in post-juvenile moult (left) at this late stage of the season and another that had completed as expected at this time (right).
Ringed:- 1 Meadow Pipit
(DB,JE,CJ,CJW, et al) [540] photos JE