Monday 23 January 2012

23rd January 2012

Typical winter fare today. At least 220 Brent Geese were around the island but, as usual, proved very difficult to count accurately. Two drake Scoter were close in shore just off the east side as the tide flooded but only a further 9 were noted during a 3 hour seawatch in a strong westerly breeze which also produced 10 Guillemot, 13 Red-throated Diver, 30 Great Crested Grebes & one Shag. Eighteen Purple Sandpipers sat out the tide in Niffy Bay. The usual resident passerines, including one Rock Pipit, all seemed to bear testament to recent ringing activity on the island.
(CS +DS)

Wednesday 11 January 2012

11th January 2012

Some time was spent today on sea watching with the hope of maybe seeing the Black-necked grebe seen off Hoylake yesterday or a Long-tailed duck, but the results were mainly routine. A Goldeneye and 3 Scaup were the only ducks apart from small parties of Common Scoter which totalled 121during the day. Logged were 6 Red-throated Divers, 25 Great Crested Grebes and 4 Shags. The Brent were about but well scattered and the most located at one time were 140. Just a single Meadow Pipit and no finches on the island at all, and the same 5 Blackbirds and a Song Thrush are still present and they all seem to have been previously ringed. A Peregrine gave a good display over the east hoyle wader roost as the tide flooded.

Tuesday 10 January 2012

10th January 2012

A light south westerly for a change and a more pleasant day for birding. A female Goldeneye and 8 Teal were the best sightings, but quite a few regulars on the shore and sea were also noted:- 1 Red-throated Diver, 3 Red-breasted Mergansers, 4 Shags, 2,000 Knot, 40 Bar-tailed Godwits, 20 Purple Sandpipers (seeing the tide out by the lifeboat station),10 Turnstone, 100 redshank and 30 Ringed Plovers. Passerines seen included winter regulars like 5 Blackbirds and a Song Thrush although a single Starling paid a brief visit and a flock of 18 Linnets were about the island.

Sunday 8 January 2012

8th January 2012

No new passerines in today so observers concentrated on sea-watching. Four Shags were roosting on top of cliffs on the way to the hide at the North End and sadly one was found dead. Very poor visibility to start with but cleared as squalls moved through. Sea-watching highlights included 100+ Common Scoter and two drake Velvets. 7 Little Gulls (see right) just before high tide including 2 juveniles and 5 Kittiwakes including a single juvenile. Plenty of birds on the sea with a flock of 20 Goldeneye and another flock of nine Scaup. A Great Northern Diver was found along with 5 Red-throated Divers and around 20 Great Crested Grebes were logged. Two Guillemots were also seen on the sea.

However, the bird of the day was a 'monster' juvenile Glaucous Gull (see below) which appeared from the west (one had been reported from the Point of Air before high tide). It attacked a Greater Black-backed Gull but then got chased off by three other GBBGs. It briefly landed on the rocks between Middle and Hilbre then flew back west.

Finally, 21 Purple Sandpipers (see below left) roosted on the rocks above the tide gauge, the best count of the year so far (on a day when twelve were at New Brighton) and three Grey Plovers flew past the hide - a fine day all round for January and continuing the fine start to 2012.

(PSW +MP) Photos by PSW

Saturday 7 January 2012

7th January 2012

The strong winds continued and a brief afternoon visit produced 3 Shags at the North End, a single Great Crested Grebe on the sea, 6 Purple Sandpipers keeping low around the rock pools and 4 Blackbirds, a Song Thrush and single Wren and Dunnock around the gardens.

(CJW, SRW +EKW, NLW, TGW briefly)

Radio 3 - The Dee

A radio programme on the Dee was broadcast on Radio 3 on New Year's day including interviews with the Obs. See link below for more details and to listen to the broadcast (Hilbre is the last ten minutes or so). To quote from the linked article '...A monastic cell used to inhabit Hilbre Island when it was a point of pilgrimage. Today Paul finds a different kind of brotherhood looking after the island.'

Thursday 5 January 2012

5th January 2012

One intrepid observer braved the force ten wind (force eleven overnight) but was rewarded with fine views of an adult winter Sabine's Gull. Another incredible record - Sabine's Gull being exceptionally rare in British waters in winter, although not unprecedented at Hilbre with three previous Jan/Feb records in 1983/84.

Other notable records on 5th included 9 Kittiwakes, 650 Cormorants and wader counts included 8,000 Knot, 3,000 Dunlin and 300 Bar-tailed Godwit.


Wednesday 4 January 2012

1st to 4th January 2012

Good numbers of Brent Geese (almost 200) have been seen and the first bird of year, a Blackbird, was ringed on 2nd.
A single Greylags was present also on 2nd.


Sunday 1 January 2012

1st January 2012

Happy New Year to all our blog followers!

The year started with a bang - a Barn Owl was watched hunting over the shore just before dawn. An incredibly rare bird at Hilbre (only two-three records)....what a start to the year!