Saturday 24 November 2012

24th November 2012

male(right) and female(left) Goldfinch
Some thrushes on the island this morning arriving in a misty dawn and a light south easterly. About 10 Blackbirds, 5 Song Thrushes and 3 Redwings went through altough most had gone in the next hour. A Fieldfare was trapped in the 'Newton' heligoland, the first captured this year, and continuing the norm of about one per year on the ringing list. Late morning a flock of 130 Fieldfares were seen travelling east towards Red Rocks. A Goldcrest was also on early and another later in the morning, while 2 Skylarks made Middle island their home for an hour or two, and a total of 4 Starlings flew about the main island. A pair of Goldfinches were ringed later, giving ringers the opportunity of comparing male and female in the hand. Fifteen Purple Sandpipers were present, the most this winter, and a fairly calm sea enabled up to 25 Great Crested Grebes to be visible off the north end. Turnstones were counted at 170 birds.
Ringed :- 2 Blackbirds, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Fieldfare, 2 Goldfinches.     [ 1086-32 ]
(DB,CJ,NDW,PSW,SRW,TGW)      photos CJ

Friday 23 November 2012

23rd November 2012

A surprise for the observer came when a very late Swallow flew low through the gardens this morning at 09.00hrs. Other small birds were scarce, 5 Skylarks and a Starling were the best logged. A more prolonged sea watch than usual at this time of year produced 8 Gannets travelling east, a Red-throated Diver and 5 Great Crested Grebes. The first ducks for a while came in the form of flocks of 6 and then 9 Wigeon, and a flock of 280 Sanderling was typical of the groups seen flying passed the north end in the last few weeks. Mammals were well represented today with sightings of 'Thumper' the rabbit, 2 Wood mice, and signs again of the presence of a Red Fox.

Wednesday 21 November 2012

21st November 2012

Very light winds today and 5 Siskins flying south were the most interesting passerines, also 2 Rock Pipits ringed here in previous years. The Brent were at another new high for the winter of 215 birds, and a good count of 350 Curlew was between Little Eye and the east hoyle. Evidence of a Red Fox on the island came in the form of some faeces found.

Tuesday 20 November 2012

20th November 2012

A visit by a second class of the Workers Education Association (Sale branch) today found all the usual specialities at Hilbre to interest the visitors:- over 200 Brent Geese, Purple Sandpipers, Bar-tailed Godwits, Great Crested Grebes etc. With no new passerines in the paddocks ringing could nor be demonstrated, however the process was explained and the day was fully appreciated by the visitors who especially enjoyed seeing a Common Seal close by Middle eye.
(DB,KMc+SD,Dave Steele)

Sunday 18 November 2012

18th November 2012

A sunny day for the visit to the island of the Salford University photographic society, and they much appreciated the good light for their pictures. Purple Sandpipers showed well and have increased to 12 birds, and the 2 colour ringed Turnstones are still to be seen. A new Song Thrush was on the island also a Blackcap in the bracken at the south end that refused to be captured for ringing.

Turnstone colour ringed at Hilbre

Purple Sandpiper
Purple Sandpipers
Ringed :- 1 Song Thrush            [ 1080-31 ]
(PSW, Scott Reid)       photos PSW

Saturday 17 November 2012

17th November 2012

A short visit logged records of 5 Blackbirds, a Redwing, 4 Starlings, a male Chaffinch and 250 Grey Plovers on the east hoyle.

Friday 16 November 2012

16th November 2012

Groups of 500 and 400 Starlings flew south, 8 Blackbirds were on the island with 4 Redwings and a Fieldfare also recorded, and finches including 12 Goldfinches and 3 Chaffinches.
Ringed ; -  2 Blackbirds.       [ 1079-31 ]
(CJW et al)

Thursday 15 November 2012

15th November 2012

Flock of Jackdaws
The weather looked promising this morning with a light south easterly and mist on the welsh coast, and indeed there were Blackbirds on the island first thing although about 7 went south soon after dawn leaving 6 or 7, some of which would be local birds and the rest new arrivals. One adult male in particular (above) had a wing length of 139 mm that suggested it could very well be of continental origin, birds from both Holland and Germany have previously been controlled at Hilbre at this time of year. A flock of 8 Lapwings and a group of 50 Starlings were logged early in the morning, other smaller parties of Starlings called in at regular intervals throughout the day, one individual escaped from a mist net which was most disappointing as we haven't ringed a Starling for a year or two. A Siskin went across Middle calling and was the only finch apart from 6 Linnets and a flock of 10 Goldfinches which arrived in the afternoon. Just 2 Skylarks were heard over the island and a single Rock Pipit at the north end. As the tide flooded 10 Wigeon flew north east and 2 Little Egrets were on the shore and then at around midday a flock of 23 Jackdaws flew south east towards West Kirby and later 2 Mute Swans flew between the islands and north east along the north Wirral shore. 
bathing Purple Sandpiper

Only 8 Purple Sandpipers could be found at high tide, but there may have been others roosting elsewhere. Among the waders today 160 + Sanderling crossed the north end in 3 flocks, also a flock of 350 by Little Eye, and as the big tide flooded 7,500 Dunlin and 120 Grey Plovers were noted while many Knot were again on the east hoyle sands on the ebb, and a single Common Snipe was on the ridge south of Middle after the tide. On the sea 11 Great Crested Grebes and 5 Red-breasted Mergansers were present and a single Red-throated Diver flew west.

Knot on the east hoyle sands

Great Crested Grebe
Ringed:- 5 Blackbirds, 2 Goldfinches, 1 Robin, 1 Wren.    [ 1077-31 ]
photos :- JE (Blackbird)  CJ (others)

Wednesday 14 November 2012

14th November 2012

Typical early winter fare on the island today. 142 Brent Geese were present before the high tide but as always, counting was difficult as they were well spread along the shore. Closer views were obtained after the tide and the two colour-ringed birds Red H;Blue D and Blue S;White H (see 12th October blog entry) were noted as was just one of the dark-bellied birds. A sea watch over the high tide produced 39 Great Crested Grebe, 8 Red-throated Diver, 5 Guillemot and 2 Razorbill, with four Little Egrets together flying to Point of Air. Eleven Purple Sandpiper equalled this winter's highest count so far.
 Passerines were thin on the ground with just 6 Robins, 3 Blackbirds, 1 Goldfinch and a solitary Skylark flying West. The regular Merlin flew through early morning

Monday 12 November 2012

12th November 2012

A small thrush movement this morning as a result of the light south easterly, 6 Redwings (with one seen 'in off' the sea) 7 Blackbirds and 3 Song Thrushes were present, while 45 Starlings flew west. On the sea were 2 Red-throated Divers, 25 Guillemots, 3 Razorbills,15 Great Crested Grebes, and after the single yesterday 5 more late adult Gannets flew north. A massive 15,000 Knot were between Little Eye and the north shore, also 100 Sanderling and 40 Grey Plover. Three Common Seals were noted in a separate haul out from the Grey Seals on the west hoyle.

Sunday 11 November 2012

11th November 2012

Several nice records today, especially for a north westerly breeze. A Black-throated Diver was the best bird of the day, also on the sea was a late adult Gannet flying south west, a Razorbill, a Guillemot and 15 Great-crested Grebes. Land birds on or over the island included 3 Goldcrests,2 Redwing, a Greenfinch, 200 Starlings flying west and a Golden Plover also flying west after the tide. Eleven Purple sandpipers are still present, also counted were 60 Ringed Plovers and 45 Bar-tailed Godwits in flight while 3 Pintail represented the ducks.

Saturday 10 November 2012

10th November 2012

Another peak in numbers for the Brent geese today with 202 counted included 2 that were seen to arrive from the north west, also 400 Shelduck were noted in the Hilbre area. Purple Sandpipers also reached a new high of 11 birds for this winter and Redshanks were more numerous with about 200 present. Four Little Egrets were on the shore. Passerines were scarce, a single Rock Pipit, a female Chaffinch, a Redwing and a Song Thrush were all that could be found.

Friday 9 November 2012

9th November 2012

The heavy rain forecast for around midday turned out to be just drizzle and so a visit by a party from a Workers Education Association class (Sale branch) late morning proved to be very pleasant. Earlier bird of the day was a Fieldfare that was found in the strong south westerly breeze, also 900 Starlings flew over the island, 550 Curlew were by Little Eye on the tide ebb and another high count of 191 Brent was made. The visitors enjoyed views of waders that are quite rare in the Manchester area, there were 3 Purple Sandpipers, many Turnstones, 11 Bar-tailed Godwits and of course Brent Geese also seldom occur inland. A female Chaffinch was a surprise capture in the 'heli' trap and to see a bird ringed was a new experience to the most of the visitors.
Ringed 1 Chaffinch                        [ 1068-31 ]
(DB,CJ,KMc +SD, Dave Steel, Dave Bowman and party)                photo CJ

Thursday 8 November 2012

8th November 2012

A female Pintail was in the east gutter, the Purple Sandpiper has been joined by 2 others and 2 Rock Pipits were on Middle.
Purple Sandpipers

Purple Sandpipers
(DB)     photos Matt Thomas

Wednesday 7 November 2012

7th November 2012

After the Buzzard recently over the island, today another was seen through telescopes at Red Rocks, a more expected way of seeing a Buzzard while on Hilbre. Brents were counted at 180 including the 6 dark-bellied birds and a Purple Sandpiper was present, the first since one here briefly a couple of weeks ago.

Tuesday 6 November 2012

6th November 2012

The Starlings continue to move over the island, flocks of 76, 110, 11, and 40 today. Fifteen Pintail flying south were the best sightings, a single Goldcrest was on the ground and the colour ringed Little Egret is again in the area.

Monday 5 November 2012

5th November 2012

A fall of Blackbirds occurred on the island this morning but as often happens, most had gone not long after dawn, although some lingered long enough to be ringed. Five Song Thrushes and a Redwing were also part of the movement which took place despite a clear night, but the south east breeze (which soon turned to the north east) certainly helped. A Woodcock was also found. Previous ringing recoveries from this time of year suggest that most of these birds are from the continent, and this seems to be the case today as the Blackbirds measured had wing lengths compatible with continental (possibly fennoscandinavian) origin. The 6 Dark-bellied Brents are still here. Waders were scattered on the low tide although 120 Redshanks was a good count.
 'Thumper' lives ! (regular readers will understand)
Ringed:- 4 Blackbirds            [ 1067-31]
(DB,JE )

Sunday 4 November 2012

4th November 2012

The wind was back in the south east this morning but it was very cold although mostly sunny. The early part of the day started with a bang when a very late Swallow flew through the obs garden, an excellent record, and there was a continuation of the constant parties of Starlings that have been flying over in the last few days, this time mostly travelling south instead of west, today totalling over 300 including a flock of 150. Five Skylarks passed over the shore. Mid- morning a Common Buzzard circled low over the obs before heading off south, and we make no apologies for including some pictures as although it is now a common sight on the mainland it is still very rare for a Buzzard to show over the islands. Three Chaffinches were in the paddocks, also 2 Song Thrushes but little else that was new. The group of 5 Dark-bellied Brent that arrived yesterday was on the whaleback with 168 of the pale-bellied form. A very brief sea watch produced 1 Red-throated Diver and 2 Red-breasted Mergansers, while 38 Bar-tailed Godwits were off the east side.
(DB+ESCA,CJ,PSW,SRW,TGW)       photos  CJ

Saturday 3 November 2012

3rd November 2012

This morning a Short -eared Owl was disturbed from a geo on the east side and headed towards Middle island but was not seen again. A party of 5 Dark-bellied Brent Geese were discovered sitting on the vehicle track between the islands, they had obviously just arrived here, the single first seen on 30th Oct was still present and not part of the group. The Merlin was here again, a Goldcrest was down and Starlings moved through again, the largest flock being 120 birds. An interesting sighting was of a Rock Pipit seen on Bird Rock that was ringed and from the slightly abnormal appearance of the bird, it is almost certain to be the one of the same appearance ringed at Hilbre 2 years ago.

Friday 2 November 2012

2nd November 2012

Starlings were again moving this morning with flocks of 300, 250, and 2 further flocks of over a hundred, 3 Skylarks did likewise and 4 Redpolls passed throuigh the island. A female Blackcap was in the trapping area. The Merlin was seen again.

Thursday 1 November 2012

1st November 2012

Two Snow Buntings were feeding at the north end for a while this morning but eventually flew off towards the Point of Air. The 12 Red-throated Divers seen on the sea watch in the strong westerly wind were more than have been around so far this autumn, also noted were 7 Guillemots, 8 Common Scoter, a Razorbill and a Pintail. A single Chaffinch fed most of the day in the obs garden. A large flock of 186 Starlings flew across the island with a few more following later, while a single Lapwing was logged flying east. At least 2 colour ringed Turnstones that were marked in previous years are with us for this winter and the largest counts from the island recently were of 500 Sanderling and 45 Bar-tailed Godwits. A interesting sighting today was of 6 Common Seals separated at the haul out of the Grey seals on the other side of the west hoyle bank, as was mentioned recently it is suspected that a small colony of Common seals may becoming established.


Colour ringed Turnstone

(DB,AEH)       photos  AEH

Ringed Plover