Tuesday 29 June 2010

29th June 2010

Not many seabirds today considering the wind was quite strong from the west, just 3 Gannets, 1 juvenile Kittiwake and a single Sandwich tern. Bird of the day was a Whitethroat that appeared from nowhere as they sometimes do in mid-summer. Creature of the day was a Hummingbird Hawk moth that was found in the old obs garden. Three Little Egrets were on the shore together with the single Whimbrel.

Sunday 27 June 2010

27th June 2010

Great Spotted Woodpecker averages about one bird a year at Hilbre usually in late autumn, so it was a surprise when one appeared suddenly today across the south end at 07.15hrs this morning and was seen to carry on to Middle Eye where it rested momentarily on a post. It was then followed through a telescope off towards Little Eye and amazingly was seen to be snatched out of the sky by a female Peregrine! The falcon then proceeded to devour the unlucky Hilbre visitor by a yellow buoy on the shore to the east of the islands. Later the remains were identified as a juvenile, and judging by the direction of travel probably from Wales. A sad but interesting episode.
Another Common Sandpiper was on Middle for a time and 12 Shelduck ducklings were a very pleasing sight in the east gutter on the flood tide, but the rest of the records today were of more normal fare:- 3 Swifts, 5 Swallows, 3 Little Egrets, and a male Kestrel.

Friday 25 June 2010

25th June 2010

The first Common Sandpipers of the autumn (yes, for some species its autumn already!) spent the morning around the tide edge rocks (above). The 3 birds were constantly on the move and gave the photographer the run around to try to get a decent shot.
Also briefly in the area was the single late Whimbrel that was first seen some days ago. Other shore birds of note were 3 Little Egrets and a large group of 8 Grey Herons.
Ten Gannets were well out towards the wind farms but more obliging were 2 drake Eiders (right) that flew closely passed the north end late morning, but again a marked lack of terns with just a single Common Tern between the islands at high tide.

No hirundines at all today but there were 5 Swifts before 07.00hrs this morning.

Some Meadow Pipits are still on eggs (above), but there appears to be a new family of Dunnocks just out of the nest this week (right).

Ringed :- 4 Meadow Pipits, 1 Dunnock.
(DB,CJ) [307] photos CJ

Thursday 24 June 2010

24th June 2010

A fairly strong north westerly produced records of 40 Gannets, 2 Guillemots and a Common Scoter.
At low tide yet another all time record count of 825 seals was made.

Wednesday 23 June 2010

23rd June 2010

Highlight of today were 3 Manx Shearwaters seen fairly closely on a south westerly breeze. Just 2 Sandwich Terns seen and passing through during the morning were 3 Swallows and a Swift.

Sunday 20 June 2010

20th June 2010

Single female Scoter (left) and Eider were off the west side at the ebb tide this morning and 10 Gannets were out to sea early with 3 Great Crested grebes but again no terns were to be seen.
Thirty two Curlew flying south at Little Eye was a very good number for mid-summer although unexpected bird of the day was a late Whimbrel (above right) that flew down the east side calling.

Young birds seen today on the island included a Dunnock (left) along with the more regular breeding species.
Burnett moths (above right) are now hatching out in numbers, but despite the warm sunshine the only butterfly of the morning was a Small Tortoiseshell.
(DB+ESCA,CJ) photos CJ
brief updates for this last week are below

Friday 18 June 2010

18th June 2010

The young of 3 species that bred on the island were ringed today : - Carrion Crow (left), Wren (right) and Meadow Pipit (below left).
An out of season male Chiffchaff (below right) was also present today, no doubt a failed breeder from the mainland and the fact that it had some growths around the head may have had some bearing on its lack of success.
Ringed:- 2 Wrens, 2 Meadow Pipits, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Carrion Crow
(DB,JE et al) [ 302] photos JE

Thursday 17 June 2010

17th June 2010

A massive wreck of jellyfish was found deposited by the tide today on the shorelines of Hilbre and the Red Rocks area. They consisted mostly of the common 'Moon' jellyfish aurelia aurita but with some giant 'Lion's Mane' jellyfish cyanea capillata often resting on a carpet of the smaller commoner species, as in the picture taken at Middle Eye. None of the present witnesses pretend to be an expert in the field of jellyfish but it is known that the Lions Mane is capable of giving a very painful sting.
(DB,BSB and AAB,CJ at Red Rocks) photo BSB

Wednesday 16 June 2010

16th June 2010

The noise of a few thousand Herring Gulls making a commotion at 14.40hrs alerted an observer to an Osprey flying up the estuary to the west of Hilbre. It rounded Red Rocks dived for fish and departed passed Hoylake and Meols (where it was twitched by a member on the shore) and off to the north.
(DB,CJW on the mainland)

Tuesday 15 June 2010

15th June 2010

A total of 10 Little Egrets were around the islands today on the ebb tide, surely a record count for Hilbre.
A single Swift and 5 Swallows were the only migrants.

Monday 14 June 2010

14th June 2010

Good sea bird numbers noted today included 163 Gannets, 140 Common Terns, 3 Sandwich Terns and 3 Razorbills. Eight Little Egrets were on the shore. A single Wood pigeon was an unexpected visitor.

Sunday 13 June 2010

13th June 2010

A summer Skylark was on Middle Eye this morning as a reminder that they once bred there, but in recent times they are only seen as passage birds in spring and especially late autumn. The Carrion Crows that nested on the rangers chimney now have 3 young out and about (left).
Before the heavy rain arrived in the afternoon 4 Canada Geese, a Peregrine and a Little Egret were noted around the island although the sea was quiet as expected with just 2 Sandwich Terns seen.
(DB+ESCA,CJ) photo CJ

Saturday 12 June 2010

12th June 2010

An accurate count was made this evening at low tide of the Grey Seals hauled out on the west hoyle bank and the result was an all time high of 779 individuals. The high numbers present over recent weeks have followed a few years of slow decline, and while counts have always fluctuated over the years the overall trend has been a steady increase.

Friday 11 June 2010

11th June 2010

A drake Eider was discovered near to Little Eye before the tide and was the best bird of the morning although a sea watch produced 2 Arctic Skuas and a Kittiwake off the north end, also 5 Razorbills, 3 Common Scoter, 3 Guillemots, 7 Gannets and a single Great Crested Grebe.

Wednesday 9 June 2010

9th June 2010

A light easterly in the morning did not deter a few sea birds from appearing near Hilbre on the tide, there were 230 Common, 60 Sandwich and 5 Little Terns and a single Gannet. At 15.30hrs a Great Skua flew north, an excellent record for this time of year.
During the day 10 Swifts and 8 Swallows were logged, a gathering of 7 Little Egrets were in the east gutter, and at 14.30hrs and out of season Whitethroat appeared on the island.

Tuesday 8 June 2010

8th June 2010

The second Cuckoo of the spring arrived this afternoon after none having been seen since 2003. The bird flew in from the south end over the obs garden and off towards the north end and then doubled back to the south (as a result of a member giving his impression of the call ?) but did not alight as the island Crows saw it off. It was last seen flying off high to the south east.
The earlier part of the day was wet but a good number of terns (170 Common and 35 Sandwich) and 30 Gannets stayed fairly close off the north end for some time.
Four Little Egrets were logged today with just a single Turnstone remaining and overhead just 2 Swallows and 5 Swifts.
The Pied Wagtails have at least 2 juveniles with them now around the island.

Friday 4 June 2010

4th June 2010

A lazy morning was largely spent staring out to sea from the north end in the lee of the gusty south easterly wind in the hope of some seabirds and some reward came in the form of 7 Manx Shearwaters up to 3 at a time moving in a south westerly direction. About 20 or so Sandwich Terns and 5 Gannets were distantly towards the wind farm and the run of Canada Geese continued with 4 and then 9 flying close to the island (above). Eight Swallows, 4 House Martins and 5 Swifts drifted in over the sea during the morning.

At 11.20hrs a Hobby flew from the direction of the Point of Air, over Middle Eye and off towards West Kirby (4 pics). Unfortunately it was quite high and did not come closer to the obs than about 500 yards, hence the very poor quality images. As is often the case when the island is quiet, possible good birds were mentioned on the wish list for the day and Hobby was certainly amongst them, however there were a few others on the list that were not seen !
(DB,CJ) photos CJ

Thursday 3 June 2010

3rd June 2010

A very quiet morning with warm sunshine but very few birds, even Swallows passed only occasionally with 2 Swifts (right), a House Martin and a late Sand Martin. Six Gannets were noted on the sea but terns were distant and difficult to find. Strangest sight off the north end was a small helicopter apparently attempting to land on the old wreck (above).

The pair of Pied Wagtails were flying to and fro to feed their brood of 5 youngsters (above right). As yesterday 3 Little Egrets were present to the east of the island.

With few birds attention turned to the insects, and the first damselflies of the year emerged to dance about the grassy areas in the sun, likewise Silver Y moths were out in numbers. The first dragonfly of the season was a Four-spotted Chaser seen briefly over the north end rocks.
Butterflies today included a Speckled Wood, a Small Copper (above), 2 Small Whites and many Green-veined Whites.
Ringed:- 1 Linnet (female showing brood patch - right).
(DB,JE,CJ,KMc) [296] photos CJ & JE

Wednesday 2 June 2010

2nd June 2010

A few odd visitors today were flocks of 4 and 27 Canada Geese, a Wood Pigeon, and a Lapwing.
On the sea were 15 Common and 10 Sandwich terns and a fly past summer plumage Grey Plover. A single Swift and 15 Swallows were noted, also 3 Little Egrets which seem to be now making a comeback at Hilbre this year after a period of few sightings.