Friday 30 August 2013

30th August 2013

Weather;- light air, later in the afternoon wnw force 3/4
The westerlies over the last few days have done us no favours and migrants have been almost non-existent although very still conditions last night brought in a Garden Warbler to be ringed (right), extremely welcome but the only warbler on the island. Four Wheatears included 3 Greenland types were also on the ground while the only other migrants were hirundines, 65 House Martins, 50 Swallows and 12 Sand Martins. Two Harbour Porpoise seen from the obs balcony were moving west.

Treble Bar
Gold Spot
The calm air last night made the moth traps very productive with a
catch of over 40 species including a Dark Spectacle, the first seen here since 1970 !
Ringed:- 1 Garden Warbler            [ 542-31 ]
(DCT,PT,NDW et al)

Tuesday 27 August 2013

27th August 2013

Weather:  NW light and variable, cloud thinning to give brighter periods at times.

The mood was slightly depressed when the S E wind forecast did not materialise, nevertheless a Whitethroat was new in this morning to be ringed, the third of the autumn with hopefully more to come in the next week or so.

There were no Willow Warblers on the island, the first blank day for a while and no other obvious migrants except for 2 Wheatears and also perhaps for 2 Robins which are quite likely to be birds moving through.

A Peregrine chased some waders at the north end and then spent some time on the rocks on the east side, while a total of 4 Little Egrets were in the flooding gutter. Best sighting of the day by far was of 6 Goosanders swimming in the shallow water of the west hoyle bank, and although distant they were clearly 'redheads' of this species.The Sandwich Tern roost appears to be down to around the 300 mark at the moment.

Ringed: 1 Whitethroat, 1 Meadow Pipit, 2 Robins. [ 542-31 ]

(DB+2,CJ,KMc+SD,CJW,TGW et al ,DCT,PT,NDW)  photo CJ et al

Monday 26 August 2013

26th August 2013

Weather: ENE 0-1, misty and warm!

It was a beautiful morning and the light easterly influence and the mouth of the estuary draped in mist meant that observers were positive this morning.

However, the old adage of "quality rather than quantity"  certainly applied with only 4 Willow Warblers and 5 Wheatears seen throughout the day (and only one Willow Warbler caught).  This was all forgotten when around 720am a Pied Flycatcher was found in the Obs garden showing well enough to be iPhone scoped (see below). 

It disappeared North but was fortunately caught in the Newton on the next 'round'. The first Pied Flycatcher to be ringed on the island for some years.

A Little Egret landed in amongst the gulls at the North End mid morning but flew off east and two Teal were noted.

Waders were again in evidence with a single summer plumage Grey Plover, 45 Ringed Plover, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Whimbrel.  Tern numbers increased again with 450 Common, 320 Sandwich and 125 Little Terns - many of the latter feeding in the gutter in the ebbing tide.

(CJW (f), GIW, SRW & TGW (from over), DB, NDW, + CLW&FPW)  [538-31]

Sunday 25 August 2013

25th August 2013

Weather: NNW 2, 1/8 cloud, vis 25 miles 

A lovely morning but very quiet bird wise. However, waders were noticeable with 10 Grey Plovers noted including some in splendid summer plumage, 16 Bar-tailed Godwits, only 20 Curlew and a single Whimbrel.

A single Willow Warbler was the only one of four present to be caught and ringed and a Greenland Wheatear graced the potter trap on Wheatear hill (to give it its polite name).

425 Grey Seals were counted on the West Hoyle sandbank and two Teal appeared on the East Hoyle on the flooding tide. On a quiet day the inshore lifeboat hovercraft was noted circuiting the island; some in the Obs commented that a vehicle like that would be useful for the Obs when the next big one turns up!

Butterflies were evident as the day warmed up including this Red Admiral in the Obs garden.

(CJW (f), GIW, SRW & TGW (from over), JE) [533-30] Photos JE (Grey Plovers and Willow Warbler) & SRW (others)

Saturday 24 August 2013

24th August 2013

NW 5-6, rain early clearing 

A return to fewer migrants today although 4 Willow Warblers arrived over the high tide period with the only bird ringed a single Willow Warbler which was not caught until 3pm.

Focus turned understandably to the sea with good numbers of Sandwich (350), Common (125) and Little Terns (35) seen occasionally harassed by up to three Arctic Skuas.

Eight Eiders were seen from the Obs veranda just off the North End but had flown east by the time Obs member got to the hide (apologies for record shots as we get used to the limits of iPhone scoping!).

A single Red-breasted Merganser flew in and landed below the Obs on the ebbing tide and the first Little Egret for a while appeared in the gutter early evening.

The day ended with the weather continuing to improve.

(SRW et al) [532-30]

Friday 23 August 2013

23rd August 2013

Weather:- south easterly force 3 to 4

After a very poor warbler passage so far this month a return to more normal form with 16 Willow Warblers on the island this morning.

The day started well with a sighting of a Spotted Flycatcher (see below) in the paddocks, the first seen this year after a blank spring, but the bird did not stay long enough to be ringed.

A small number of Wheatears were found most of which stayed for the high tide, one was ringed making it the first ringed this autumn, Swallows floated through in small numbers, about 35 during the day with 4 House Martins and a single Sand Martin. On the shore there were good records of 2 Black-tailed Godwits (with ten more flying SW on the flooding tide), a small flock of 7 Common Snipe and a Common Sandpiper on the east side, none of which stayed long enough to be photographed. The very high tide meant small waders went elsewhere to roost and few were logged today. Twenty five Gannets were on the sea and 2 young Peregrines were south of Middle early in the morning.

Ringed: 11 Willow Warblers, 1 Wheatear, 1 Linnet        [ 531-30 ]

(DB,AEH,CJ,KMc +SD, et al) 

Thursday 22 August 2013

22nd August 2013

Weather:- south east early, east north east in the afternoon, very light breezes
Six Wheatears this morning which was pleasing after a dearth of these birds this month, one was a male of the greenland race, the first such recorded this autumn. Another sign of autumn were 3 Willow Warblers on passage. Three Black-tailed Godwits were at the north end and there were still 2 Whimbrel to be seen.Other records included 145 Ringed Plovers, 65 Turnstones and a single Shag bearing a ring.
Perhaps the most exciting entry on todays log sheet were at least 13 Common Seals hauled out on the west hoyle bank. A pup that was amongst them would have been born here as Common Seal pups can swim immediately after birth, unlike the regular Grey Seals who have to go elsewhere to breed. It appears that we are finally in a situation were we have a mixed colony, after many decades of Common Seals being rare sightings here. A Hummingbird hawk Moth was noted.
(DB, + Matt & Ron Thomas)

Wednesday 21 August 2013

21st August 2013

Weather:- South west force 2/3
Good records today from a brief visit included 104 Black-tailed Godwits in summer plumage travelling south west, an adult Yellow-legged Gull at the south end and 5 Little Egrets on the shore with no less than 10 Grey Herons counted. On the passerine front, nothing to show, no warblers and just a single Swallow.

Sunday 18 August 2013

18th August 2013

An international flavour to the Obs on Sunday with Australian & Polish guests both signing the visitors book.
Birds on the island were scarce with only a new juvenile Blackbird and a Common Whitethroat being ringed. A Willow Warbler that has been present for a few days was re-trapped and obviously finds the island to its liking at the moment.
An adult Yellow-legged Gull was seen on the Landrover track between Middle Eye and Hilbre and there was a good gathering of both Sandwich Terns and Little Terns on the tide edge.
The heligoland traps are looking good after all the hard work put in clearing the lanes so all that is needed now is the birds to start moving! 
(DB,PSW et al)                             [ 518-30 ]

Thursday 15 August 2013

15th August 2013

Weather:- wsw/ssw force 4/5 drizzle later
Good sea totals today including 82 Gannets, 2 Great Crested Grebes, a Red-breasted Merganser, 7 Arctic Skuas and a Bonxie. Terns are still remaining at the recent numbers arouns the island (225 Common, 800 Sandwich and 68 Little). No grounded migrants but 42 Swallows and 2 Pied wagtails were logged. About 50 Small White butterflies put on a good show.
Ringed:- 1 Meadow Pipit       [ 515-30 ]
(NDW,CJW et al ,DGW,RTW)

Wednesday 14 August 2013

14th August 2013

 Weather:- south east force 3, sunny early, showers later.
Burying beetle
After the unfriendly weather of the last 3 days, a pleasent morning  to be on the island. At least 6 Willow Warblers were present (when trapped one proved to be a bird from 5 days ago). A light passage of 87 Swallows saw some resting on the bunkhouse roof momentarily (above), but there were no other migrants, except for a single Pied Wagtail. Two Arctic Skuas flew south west down the west side, one of which was a well marked pale phase that looked stunningly black and white in flight, 3 others were noted later. Butterflies thrived in the sunshine early in the day, with many Peacock and Grayling in their prefered habitat, while the overnight moth trap (in addition to moths) unexpectedly produced the large burying beetle necrophorus investigator.
Ringed:- 4 Willow Warblers, 1 Blackbird      [ 514-30 ]

Tuesday 13 August 2013

13th August 2013

Weather:- wnw 3
No migrants and also a disappointing day on the sea. The waders and terns were recorded in the same numbers as recently.
(CJW,RTW et al)

Monday 12 August 2013

12th August 2013

Weather:- wind wnw force 6
Attention was again on the sea, and the log shows 30 Gannets, 10 Arctic Skuas, 6 Common Scoter, 650 Sandwich Terns, 250 Common Terns and a Fulmar. There are still 1200 Dunlin and 6 Whimbrel on the shore. A Brown Hawker dragonfly was a welcome sight as dragonflies have been scarce this year.

Sunday 11 August 2013

11th August 2013

Weather:- showers early, wind force 6 from the west
As expected no migrants again apart from 10 Swallows counted during the day. Two Arctic Skuas were on the list with 2 Great Crested Grebes and the usual numbers of terns. Small waders continue to increase, 150 of both Ringed Plover and Sanderling were about the island with 2 Whimbrel.

Saturday 10 August 2013

10th August 2013

Weather:- wind wnw force 4/5 dropping light westerly by noon
Willow Warbler
Conditions were much the same today and therefore similar birds, 2 Willow Warblers arrived ( 1 ringed) and only 3 Swallows passed by. The calmer sea around noon enabled obs members and friends to get close to the sea action (left) and they managed to count 72 Little terns, 3 Arctic skuas and 2 Harbour porpoises on their trip. The seals tend to reach their peak count around this time of year (although the numbers vary over time and have shown a decline in the last few years), the haul out on the west hoyle bank is shown above. Three Little Egrets were on the shore today and a Peregrine rested on the west side cliff .
Ringed:- 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Wren, 1 Dunnock.
 (JE, CJW + family and friends)            [ 509-30 ]       photos JE (except RIB)

Friday 9 August 2013

9th August 2013

Little Tern

Little Tern
Weather:- wind north westerly force 4/5, light showers early then dry.
It was no surprise that there were no migrants this morning considering the weather, although a single Willow warbler was seen, it was maybe one of yesterdays birds.Hirundines also failed to appear except for a couple of Swallows. The main interest was therefore offshore and obligingly 2 Arctic Skuas spent over an hour at low tide close to the tern roost on the east hoyle, chasing flying terns but failing to disturb the settled birds which seemed to accept their presence (above).Two other Arctics were also close in to the tide edge. The sight of 48 Little Terns feeding off the north end was the other attraction for observers, there appears not to be any shortage of food available in this area of the coast. An attempt at an accurate count of Common Terns totalling 255 is in line with previous recent estimates.Other records today included a Shag, a summer plumaged Grey Plover and 2 Whimbrel.
(AEH,CJ,KMc+SD,NDW,CJW,JEW,NLW,RTW,DGW,EKW) plus friends   photos CJ

Thursday 8 August 2013

8th August 2013

Weather:- very light south south east breeze, clouding over with drizzle late in the day.
Just a trickle of 5 Willow Warblers today together with 2 Whitethroats, a Chiffchaff, single White and Pied Wagtails and a drift of 4 Swifts with 45 Swallows passing through. Two Arctic Skuas were on the sea, also 4 Great Crested Grebes and 25 Little Terns plus the regular roost of up to 300 Common Terns and 800 Sandwich Terns, while the waders continue to build up, about 200 Ringed Plovers are now to be seen. Two groups of 3 and 5 Harbour porpoises were off the north end giving a good show and delighting visitors to the island who saw them. A single Little Egrets was on the shore. Of interest was a juvenile Blackbird in the paddocks.
Ringed:- 1 Wren, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Meadow Pipit, 1 Blackbird    [ 506-30 ]

Wednesday 7 August 2013

7th August 2013

 The heavy cutting gear was moved in today to clear the undergrowth in the traps and the paths through the paddocks, it was heavy going in the warm sunshine but the task was completed in a morning, the trapping area now being ready to receive the autumn migrants. The first two large warblers of the autumn appeared during the day, a Whitethroat and a Blackcap. The obvious build up of the waders continues with 5,500 Dunlin and about 120 Sanderling around the island at high tide(above). It was another good butterfly day with many species on show including Peacock, Red Admiral, Grayling, Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Small White and Green veined White.
Ringed : 2 Linnets, 1 Meadow Pipit, 1 Dunnock, 1 Blackcap, 1 Whitethroat.  [502-30]
(DB,CJ,CJW+PLN)     photos CJ

Tuesday 6 August 2013

6th August 2013

5,000 Dunlin, 3,000 Oystercatcher, 7 Whimbrel, 200 Common Tern, 800 Sandwich Tern, 4 Little Tern,
2 Peregrine, 1 Wheatear, 1 Willow Warbler,
A Hummingbird hawk Moth was present and a massive amount of butterflies- mainly Small Whites (150), also 12 Grayling and 6 Peacocks.

Monday 5 August 2013

5th August 2013

1 Wheatear, 190 Sanderling, 9 Black-tailed Godwits in summer plumage in the east gutter.

Friday 2 August 2013

2nd August 2013

5 Gannets, 18 Whimbrel, 80 Little Terns, 1 Wheatear, 1 Willow warbler, 60 Swallows.

Thursday 1 August 2013

1st August 2013

6 Gannets, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 250 Common Terns, 800 Sandwich Terns, 130 Ringed Plover, 80 Sanderling, 40 Swallows, 2 Little Egrets, and the first Willow Warbler of the autumn.