Friday 17 June 2011

17th June 2011

A blusterly south-easterly and leaden skies did little to raise hopes for an improved day, but as recent events have proved ... you just never know.

A solitary Little Egret fished the gutter on the rising tide, as did two Black-headed Gulls - something of a scarcity at this time of year, and these were joined by a single Redshank. Later a Whimbrel was heard calling - arriving or returning - that is the question now for these mid-summer waders?

Desperate to cling on to the last bit of "spring" observers had a single House Martin low over the South End and although the threatened rain did not develop beyond a few drops the fronts passing down the estuary brought 8 Swifts 'batting' across the islands.

The sea produced a few Gannets, Common Terns, single Sandwich Tern and a juvenile Kittiwake spent some time roosting on Lion Rock in Niffy Bay.

Friday is clearly the day for photographing rare mammals at Hilbre (see Friday 10th June 2011). Today produced something of a surprise to observers scoping the gulls on the edge of the tide on the East Hoyle sandbank when one observer stated "This looks like a squirrel amongst the gulls!" It was indeed a Grey Squirrel amongst the gulls, who only seemed to take any interest in the little blighter when it dashed about the sand as the tide flooded. It then became disorientated and trapped as the tide flooded behind it (and the gulls) and it made a swim for it (not sure what it would have been identified as had it been seen swimming past the North End!?!). Unfortunately for the squirrel it headed south rather than east back to dry land. After a few attempts he was lost to sight and presumed lost to Davey Jones' Locker... apologies for the very poor (distant) record shots of this rare sighting.

Coverage remains high this June (as with the last few Junes) and this has already brought its rewards with the Blyth's Reed Warbler, Hobby as well as Hummingbird Hawk Moth to name just a few of the diverse highlights from the islands this month.... is it too much to ask for one more goodie before the days start getting shorter...

A Sedge Warbler seen earlier this week (Wednesday 15th June) was another sign that odd birds are still turning up.

(DB et al)

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