April redeemed itself on the very last day of the month with a splendid fall of warblers on the island. It was obvious to those staying on the island and arriving early that it was going to be a good day when numerous Willow Warblers were seen on Middle first thing and then soon afterwards on Hilbre where a stunning male Redstart appeared near the Lookout. The mainland was alerted and several Wheatears floated across the sands against the strong easterly breeze. Bird of the day for the team was one of the 50 or so Willow Warblers present that was trapped and carried a ring from the Spanish ringing scheme (left and above left). A warbler control from southern europe is a very unusual event, much rarer than finding a bird that was ringed elsewhere in Britain. If that wasn't enough excitement, a Lesser Whitethroat appeared in a mist net (above right), a scarce arrival at Hilbre, we average about one a year if we are lucky, early May being the best time to find one. Three Redstarts were on the island, 2 males (below) and a female, also the first Sedge Warbler of the year (below right), a Whitethroat, 20 Greenland Wheatears (mostly going through soon after dawn) and 2 Chiffchaffs. Other than a dozen Goldfinches there was also 2 Siskins and a Lesser Redpoll flying through. Overhead 3 House Martins and 13 Swallows made low passes to avoid the wind, also 2 Swifts hawking around the top of the island (bottom left). The sea was quiet with a strengthening south easterly, but 20 Sandwich Terns were noted, while Whimbrel were only in low numbers, possibly 1 or 2.
Ringed:- 38 Willow Warblers, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Redstarts, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Greenland Wheatear, 2 Robins, 2 Meadow Pipits, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Linnet.