Friday 30 July 2010

30th July 2010

A touch of south in the westerly for the first time this week, did little to encourage migrants to the island, and although there were 2 Willow Warblers present, one was a bird ringed on the 20th July but the other dropped in during a patch of light drizzle mid-morning.

A Manx Shearwater passed east at the north end early in the day, but no Gannets were found and almost all the terns were of the Sandwich variety with just a few Common Terns. An Arctic Skua was seen very distantly on the west hoyle bank, occasionally lifting off when terns were in the vicinity (left).

The first Swallow seen since Sunday was over the south end, and later 3 others flew west across Middle.
As the morning progressed butterflies became active including 2 Peacocks (above) and numerous Graylings (right).
Ringed:- 1 Willow Warbler
(DB,CJ) [337] photos CJ

Thursday 29 July 2010

29th July 2010

The Grasshopper Warbler (see 27th) seems to be still on the around as it was glimpsed flying across the paddock. A single Willow Warbler was also noted.
Two further Common Sandpipers for this year were logged when they were seen flying from Red Rocks direction across the east hoyle bank and towards the island. Eighteen Whimbrel are about the rocks and the first Sanderling of the autumn was noted.

Wednesday 28 July 2010

28th July 2010

Not much to report today, the highlights probably being 25 Gannets and a Little Tern on the sea.

Tuesday 27 July 2010

27th July 2010

An unusual happening today was the presence on the island of a Grasshopper Warbler, a Sedge Warbler and 3 Willow Warblers. Why so surprising? because the wind was stubbornly from the north west, a direction notorious at Hilbre for not bringing warblers. The large warblers seen to arrive mid-morning although it cannot be certain that they were not already present.
The Sandwich Terns are still numbering approximately 500, but only 20 Common Terns were to be seen.

Sunday 25 July 2010

25th July 2010

With the wind back in the west, land migrants were non-existent and ringing was restricted today to some young Meadow Pipits that bred on the island (left). Quite a strong blow at high tide produced about 150 Gannets, 2 Common Scoters, 2 Common Terns and 2 Arctic Skuas, with a few hundred Sandwich Terns still present with young being fed. Two Yellow -legged Gulls were a good find for the day, more regular birds present were Turnstones (c.30,right), Whimbrel (5), Dunlin (60) and some Shags.
Ringed:- 3 Meadow Pipits.
(AMC, JE, KM et al) [336] photos JE

Saturday 24 July 2010

24th July 2010

A beautiful morning greeted observers and the light wind was in the south-east first thing before backing west and then south south west later. Large numbers of Black-headed Gulls are gathering around the tide edge at the moment and amongst these on the edge of the gutter were 7 Little Egrets.

A couple of Willow Warblers had arrived on the island and were both caught during the day as was yet another juvenile Dunnock. In addition, juvenile Pied Wagtails, Meadow Pipits and Linnets were much in evidence around Hilbre and Middle.

The main focus today was sea-birds and waders. Sea-watching produced 16 Manx Shearwaters, 57 Gannets, 3 Razorbill, 11 Great Crested Grebes, 3 Shag and the highlight was a single drake Tufted Duck (uncommon at Hilbre).

Terns were very active and noisy today particularly the 500+ Sandwich Terns which included many adults feeding youngsters but other counts included 4o Common, 21 Little and 6 Arctic Terns. As a result, at least three Arctic Skuas pursued and harrassed the terns off the North End.

Visible migration was limited as would be expected in July, but did include 5 Swallows and a single Kestrel that was mobbed by terns as it flew 'in off' the sea and landed on the North End a little exhausted. This was the third Kestrel of the day and a single adult Peregrine sat on the beach after the tide.

Waders were also passing through in small numbers with at least 18 Whimbrel seen (continuing their good recent numbers on the island), Dunlin (c100), Turnstone (25) and Ringed Plovers (6). Yet another Common Sandpiper was heard down the West Side before being seen flying around the North End.

Other wildlife today included 8 Grayling Butterflies, 4 Harbour Porpoise, 2 Common Frogs and a currently unidentified spider. Photos to follow.

(ME, NDW, SRW, TGW + SH) [333]

Friday 23 July 2010

23rd July 2010

Calm today with no showers for a change and cloud giving way to sun later in the morning.

A Peregrine (left) sat on the beach a hundred yards or so from the shore and was reluctant to leave its racing pigeon kill until it was approached to within 25 yards.

Willow Warblers (left) continue to pass through, but only 5 today, although the Whitethroat seen recently (or another) was finally ringed (right). Lots of young Dunnocks, Linnets and Meadow Pipits were flying around the island and added to today's catch. Only 4 Swallows seen in the morning and the only Swifts were a group of 110 seen hawking high over the sands towards West Kirby.

Eight Little Egrets were logged including a group of 6, Whimbrel numbered 14 and the Turnstones (most of which seemed to be adults in breeding plumage, left) were at 35 at least.
A partly leucistic Oystercatcher flew with a small party of recent arrivals across the south end (below left).

Four juvenile Shags at the north end were the most seen for some time (right); others on the sea were 7 Common Scoters flying closely down the west side, 3 Little Terns flying between the islands, and 6 Gannets.
Ringed:- 1 Whitethroat, 3 Willow Warblers, 4 Dunnocks, 5 Linnets, 1 Meadow Pipit.
(DB,JE,CJ) [330] photos CJ

Thursday 22 July 2010

22nd July 2010

Turnstones have increased to 43 today and the Sandwich Terns were estimated at 500 on the east hoyle bank. Five female or immature Eiders were present, while on the island 10 Willow Warblers made landfall helped by the easterly wind, and the young Blackbird was still about.

Wednesday 21 July 2010

21st July 2010

Good counts today of 620 Curlew, 440 Sandwich Tern and 19 Whimbrel. A Common sandpiper remains around the shore. A juvenile Blackbird that bred on the island was seen also a single Willow Warbler. Butterflies today included 20 Gatekeepers and 10 Grayling.

Tuesday 20 July 2010

20th July 2010

The local civic dignitaries outing to Hilbre brought the rain mid morning and by the time they visited the observatory it had become quite heavy at times, but they enjoyed a talk by the chairman on the work of the observatory and were able to see a Linnet ringed. A less expected visitor was a rabbit that scurried across the obs garden early in the day.
The first Willow Warblers of the autumn arrived this morning when 4 were grounded no doubt by the cloud and drizzle, 3 of them were young birds in bright yellow dress (below) and the fourth was a greyish bird which was probably an adult. A Reed Warbler which is a rare Hilbre bird was seen briefly this morning in the old obs garden but could not be located again. Other signs of autumn were a Wheatear on Middle island and the increase of wading birds on the shore, 580 Curlew and 23 Whimbrel were particularly impressive.
A Common Sandpiper was at the north end early, 2 summer plumaged Bar-tailed Godwits and 3 Gannets flew over the island. but the only hirundines were 4 Swallows with a Swift in the morning.

Among others a Garden Tiger moth (left) was trapped, a fine looking individual that was a more common sight in times past. After examination the moth lamp had brought in 354 Lesser Yellow Underwings, 51 Dark Arches, a male Drinker, 2 Buff Tips and 19 other species.
Ringed:- 4 Willow Warblers, 2 Dunnocks, 2 Linnets, 1 Meadow Pipit.
(DB,CJ,CJW+5,NDW) [316] photos CJ

Thursday 15 July 2010

15th July 2010

Two Greenshank were calling down the east side today, and the Sandwich Terns were at 330 both adults and young on the usual early autumn roost on the east Hoyle bank. Other records for the day included 2 Kittiwakes, 2 House Martins, 2 Canada Geese and 7 Whimbrel.

Wednesday 14 July 2010

14th July 2010

A good passage of Swifts today numbering 47 but no surprisingly no hirundines at all. There was a Wheatear and a Whitethroat on the island, a sign of autumn to come, and a sea watch produced 25 Gannets, 278 Sandwich Terns, 15 Common Terns, 2 Little Terns, 2 Guillemots, 50 Shelduck flying south west and a fine summer plumaged Black-tailed Godwit also travelling in that direction.

Tuesday 13 July 2010

13th July 2010

An early juvenile Wheatear was present today with a Whitethroat but best sighting was of 5 summer plumaged Black-tailed Godwits flying south west.

Monday 12 July 2010

12th July 2010

Another good sea watch today, the most exciting moments were undoubtedly the sighting of 30 Bottle-nosed Dolphins and 2 Harbour Porpoise, with the bird highlights being 50 + Gannets, 200 Sandwich Terns, 40 Common Scoters and 4 Razorbills.
Three Common Sandpipers are still about the islands with 4 Little Egrets and a Peregrine, and a Whitethroat was again seen in the obs garden.

Sunday 11 July 2010

11th July 2010

The sea watching was decent today with 300 Gannets (right), 60 Sandwich Terns and 12 Manx Shearwaters counted and the island shore held no less than 3 Common Sandpipers and 2 Whimbrel.
The good weather showed the best of the Hilbre speciality the rare sub-species of Rock sea Lavender (below) which is now flowering, mostly on the west side and near the north end.
An exceptional night with the moth lamp produced around 300 Large Yellow Underwings and 135 Dark Arches among others and including the aptly named Spectacle (right)

(DB,JE) photos JE

Friday 9 July 2010

9th July 2010

A steady passage of 44 Swifts and 6 Swallows were a feature of the day with 4 Common Sandpipers still remaining. Up to 200 Gannets were feeding on the sea.
The first 2 Gatekeeper butterflies of the year were noted.

Thursday 8 July 2010

8th July 2010

No less than 5 Common Sandpipers were around the island today, with a large total of 10 Grey Herons (some juveniles). A Mute Swan flew south west passed Little Eye.
The first Grayling butterfly of the year was logged.

Tuesday 6 July 2010

6th July 2010

A light south westerly this morning but with full cloud cover and pleasantly warm. A Common Sandpiper was seen in flight at the north end at 08.30hrs but could not be relocated during the morning despite searching all the shore. Competing for bird of the day was a young Whitethroat seen around the east side cliff fences (above), possibly the same bird as recorded on the island last Tuesday.

Fourteen Gannets (above) were distant and seemed to be all immature types, while the first young Sandwich Tern was with a parent on the shore to the south of Middle (above). Sandwich terns were the only terns about today and even they only numbered 4.

Other birds noted today were a group of 6 Pied Wagtails including juveniles, 4 Redshank, a Whimbrel and a Little Egret. A group of 6 Swifts flew south at 11.30hrs after 2 Swallows had crossed the island earlier.
The Meadow Pipit nest featured previously (see 25th June) now has young (right).

(CJ) photos CJ

Monday 5 July 2010

5th July 2010

An afternoon visit for the tide in a Strong north westerly produced 120 Gannets, 5 Sandwich Terns, 3 Common Scoter, and later in the evening 2 Manx Shearwaters were off the north end.
Seven Dunlin in summer plumage made an impressive sight.
A Harbour Porpoise made an appearance in the evening.

Thursday 1 July 2010

1st July 2010

Gannets were up to 50 today and 7 Manx Shearwaters were also seen. There was a steady movement of Swifts totaling 52 passed mostly in small numbers apart from a group of 14.
A female or juvenile Eider was off the north end. Slowly increasing numbers of waders are a sign of the autumn, Oystercatchers have increased to 220 and Whimbrel to 3.
The first 2 Meadow Brown butterflies of the year were noted today.