Saturday 4 January 2014

4th January 2014

Following the recent gales it was hoped a few good birds might have found shelter in Liverpool Bay so with a high tide Saturday the decision was made to undertake a sea watch. The journey across to Hilbre was very bumpy over the storm rutted sand and severely tested the Landrovers suspension!
With the gales now abated the sea state was good with only a slight swell. Plenty of birds were moving and we soon picked up good numbers of Common Scoter & Red-throated Divers. 2-3 Shags were also present amongst the large number of Cormorants. Highlight of the first session was a distant adult winter Slavonian Grebe that drifted past as the tide flooded. As one if the fast service vessels sailed past the wind turbines and headed towards Moston it put up a lot of birds ahead of it and a massive flock of 73 Red-throated Divers was counted as they passed through the scopes field of view.
During the high tide lull a count of the roosting waders around the island resulted in 16 Purple Sandpipers in their usual spot , 30 Turnstones in Niffy Bay and 20 Ringed Plover on a ledge along the west side. The high tide had forced a large number of Oystercatchers off their usual roost on the rocks at the south end and onto Hilbre itself.
After a welcome lunch another sea watching session took place. Highlight of this session was a juv Great Northern  picked up to the N W and watched as it drifted out on the ebbing tide.
Notable counts were:
Red-throated Diver  84
Great Northern Diver 1
Great-crested Grebe 60
Slavonian Grebe 1
Common Scoter 200
Guillemot 3
Razorbill 2
Cormorant 850
Shag 3
Red-breasted Meganser 3
Brent Geese 199
Grey Plover   2
Sanderling 200
Knot 8000

(PSW & Mark Payne)

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