Thursday 30 December 2010
Wednesday 29 December 2010
Tuesday 28 December 2010
They did not stay long though (three of the four right).
Normally a crepuscular species one was found on the snow covered lawn of two members' garden in nearby Heswall on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day afternoons (see left). Photos by SRW.
Monday 27 December 2010
Access to the north end was limited due to the ice making the rocks slippery, and the only good record from off the slipway was a Scaup drifting close in. It is probably the same bird as seen yesterday, at least it was the same plumage type.
Flocks totalling 50 Lapwings flew across and a single bird spent some time on the island (right), an unusual sight as most prefer the shore and rocks when visiting Hilbre. A Peregrine gave a good show as it doggedly refused to be beaten by the Knot it was chasing, although the latter seemed to survive.
There was only 1 Blackbird present but 6 Song Thrushes were counted, the only small overhead visitor was a single Skylark.
The Brent (above) were unable to be counted on such a short visit but seemed to be at about the 100 mark, and the usual waders were seen, including an obliging Bar-tailed Godwit just before the tide (right).
(CJ,CJW+2,PSW,SRW) photos CJ
Sunday 26 December 2010
Good movements of Lapwings were recorded with over 80 counted moving west in small groups, flocks of Scaup were seen on the sea and a small group of Tufted Duck (4) and Scaup (female) flew over the North End (see left). Another Scaup appeared below the Obs garden and drifted down the gutter as the tide flooded (see below) and a Goldeneye also flew down the gutter (below left).
Waders were again much in evidence with vast flocks of mainly Knot (below right) and Dunlin but also including good numbers of over 400 Bar-tailed Godwit (below left) and the Tanskies also held up to 350 Grey Plover as the tide flooded.
[DB and SRW]
Saturday 25 December 2010
Friday 24 December 2010
Numerous tracks have been found around the islands during this cold spell and the Rabbit has obviously been roaming the island extensively looking for food.
Thursday 23 December 2010
A superb count of 82 Scaup, 3 Tufted Duck and a single Goldeneye continued the wildfowl and wader theme for the week.
Of 8 Song Thrushes and 2 Blackbirds present four of the former and a single male Blackbird were caught and ringed.
[DB, BT + SReid] 
Wednesday 22 December 2010
A good count of 394 Curlew was made along with 140 Turnstone and both Kestrel and Peregrine were noted. The winter resident Rock Pipit was still present along with 2 BLackbirds and 8 Song Thrushes.
Two Lapwing passed over and 10 Scaup and 2 Wigeon were also noted.
Tuesday 21 December 2010
Highlights of the day were many and included a Woodcock which was flushed twice from the island once from in front of the 'Newton', a Woodpigeon passed over (along with 17 Lapwing), a single Redwing also passed over (calling) and 22 Whooper Swans passed by in groups of four and sixteen.
Monday 20 December 2010
Not to outdone waders were also well representsed with 21 Purple Sandpipers (equalling the current winter peak count), 29 Lapwing passed over in small groups and a Little Egret was noted. However, the highlight of the day was a Jack Snipe - very unusual at Hilbre and no doubt brought in due to the extreme weather currently being experienced. It flew low over the gate in the Obs garden.
Sunday 19 December 2010
On 12th December 2010 a freshly dead Oystercatcher was found on the East Hoyle Sand Bank (see blog for that date). It was found to be ringed and the ring identified it having been ringed in Norway (see left) with the words "Stavanger Museum" inscribed on it (see right). Details have been sent off to the BTO and we await news of exactly where and when the bird was ringed. Photos Oystercatcher PSW and rings SRW.
An early morning tide had one observer heading around the frozen tide edge before first light to get to the island. Others followed on the ebbing tide to enjoy an absolutely stunning day (weather-wise - see approach from Middle Eye above) on the islands...a crisp day, still snow on the ground and beautiful blue skies were complimented by some more excellent recording. Apologies for the number of photos but the islands were in sparkling form today.
It is not often that the shore is frozen and even the tide in flat calm conditions had ice floating by (see below and right).
Wader and wildfowl numbers were very impressive, and on a WeBS count day, over and after the tide. The best count was 20,000 Knot but good counts of all the regular species (including Redshank - see right) were made and no doubt encouraged the attendance of a Peregrine.
Shelduck were present on the frozen shore in their hundreds, the Brents were loafing around Middle Eye and the reef. Other geese included several skeins of Pink-feet (122) passing over and a flock of Greylag (20).
The Scaup flock was still present and had increased to 70 birds during the morning (see above), it still included at least one Tufted Duck (a drake) and nice surprise in the form of three Shovelor (including two drakes) - an unusual record at Hilbre at this time of year. More typical for the time of year were two Goldeneye and a Razorbill on the sea.
[DB, JE, CJ, PSW, TGW, SRW] Photos by PSW (Redshank, Wigeon, duck flock - mainly Scaup) and remainder SRW
Saturday 18 December 2010
The weather turned on Friday evening and brought a covering of snow to the Wirral peninsula as well as to Hilbre which is unusual. Observers made an afternoon visit on Saturday to enjoy the views of the islands blanketed in snow (view of Hilbre from Middle Eye above, Hilbre Bird Observatory below left, main island looking back from North End below right).
The cold weather movement continued well into the afternoon and included ten Lapwings heading west. Waders were much in evidence around the North End slipway with 4 Purple Sands, plenty of Turnstone (c100), Knot (25), Grey Plover, Redshanks, Oystercatchers and Curlews (see right) to name but a few.
[PSW, SRW]  Photos Skylark, Wigeon and Curlew PSW and remainder SRW
Sunday 12 December 2010
Just inside our recording area on West Kirby beach (and then around West Kirby Marine Lake) almost 500 Santa Clauses enjoyed the glorious weather on their 'Santa Dash' in aid of Hoylake Cottage Hospital (see above). Competitors of all ages heading for the finish line (right) with Hilbre in the background.
Back on the island Christmas really had come early for the Obs, although there were very few birds (albeit good numbers of Brents remain), a freshly dead Oystercatcher was found by a member on the way off the island on the East Hoyle Bank and was discovered to have a Norwegian Ring on it from Stavanger Museum - continuing our incredible run of excellent records this year. We await the details of exactly where and when it was ringed.
Saturday 11 December 2010
Birds included a good count of 152 pale and 2 dark-bellied Brent Geese and included the Canadian ringed bird.
[Front row Harriet and Marc; middle row from left to right - KMu, PSW, AS, AMC, ESCA, AAB, AEH, FD, NDW, SRW; back row DB, BSB, CJW] Photo by DGW
Friday 10 December 2010
Tuesday 7 December 2010
Besides the resident Dunnocks, Wrens and Robins there was just 1 Meadow Pipit and 2 Rock Pipits to be found, whilst overhead only a single Skylark and 3 Starlings showed all day.
The sea was well watched and produced counts of 23 Red-throated Divers (left), 92 Great Crested Grebes (a large number but well down on Sunday), and 2 Guillemots. A Great Northern Diver was seen from Hoylake near to the green buoy (JET).
Duck today included more Scaup (groups of 18, 2 and 6), 3 Goldeneye (right), and 3 Mallard flying west across the south end.
Ringed :- 1 Song Thrush.
(DB,CJ,CS+RB,CJW, et al)  photos CJ
Sunday 5 December 2010
Things started improving when a Great Northern Diver was spotted flying over the Obs garden to the West before it turned and headed towards the North End (see left). Ironic considering the impressive numbers of Red-throateds at sea yesterday.
The distinctive call of a Snow Bunting was heard over the North End and the bird was spotted flying overhead and off to the South and then West (see below left and right) - unfortunately it could not be relocated anywhere on the island later and had perhaps headed off to the Point of Ayr.