Tuesday, 30 September 2014
Goldcrests again arrived in good numbers (16), also 2 Chiffchaffs and a Grey Wagtail, not many other records today as work on the wildlife garden took priority, but a moth discovered in the garden as the work was in progress was of great interest as it is probably the first live example seen on the island. It was a Red Sword-grass (see below, photo by Matt Thomas)
Monday, 29 September 2014
CJ), we see these infrequent visitors more often in spring than autumn and its been some years since one was ringed, and this bird also failed to comply and left without troubling the ringers. Another bird that escaped ringing was a Garden Warbler, first glimpsed near the old buildings and later in the paddocks. Although it is a very scarce visitor it is by no means unprecedented for a Garden Warbler to turn up this late in the autumn at Hilbre. Two Goldcrests were ringed out of about double that number around, and a single Chiffchaff was present while other singles noted but passing over were a Swallow, a Skylark and a Grey Wagtail. Observers became aware of a small passage of Meadow Pipits this morning. Just 2 Brent appeared today although others may be somewhere in the area. A Grey Plover called and 6 Bar-tailed Godwits and 3 Little Egrets were logged. Two Kestrels flew around again, one of which was an adult male.
(DB,CJ,NDW, et al)
Sunday, 28 September 2014
Amongst the 7 Brent Geese seen today was an individual that was colour ringed in Canada by the Irish Brent Goose Research Group and has been seen at Hilbre each winter for the last 7 years (above, SRW). Only 3 days ago it was seen feeding at Strangford Lough in Northern Island as a stopover on its way from Canada. Migrants continue to arrive in small numbers, today 5 Goldcrests, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Grey Wagtails, 65 Meadow Pipits and a Wheatear. A high tide sea watch logged a Great Skua, 25 Red-throated Divers, 15 Great Crested Grebes, 4 Sandwich Terns, 6 Razorbills and 100 Guillemots. Previously 2 Harbour Porpoises were noted on the calm sea.
Ringed:- 3 Goldcrests [ 894-36 ]
(NDW,SRW,) + Jeff Clarke and party
Saturday, 27 September 2014
|Pale-bellied Brent (CJ)|
Two Peregrines sat on the east hoyle sand between hunting trips. The sea was quiet except for the surprise of 95 Sandwich Terns flying off to the north west, an unexpectedly large number this late in the autumn.
Ringed:- 3 Goldcrests, 1 Wren, 1 Robin [ 891-36 ]
Friday, 26 September 2014
Five adult Pale-bellied Brents were logged, also counts of 16 Bar-tailed Godwits, 250 Curlew, 8 Sanderling, 42 Turnstone and 22 Redshank. Migrant passerines were at a premium, just 3 Goldcrests and a female Wheatear. A Rock Pipit seen between the islands will also probably pass on as the autumn progresses and others arrive particularly during October and November. A red-throated Diver and 2 Guillemots were on the sea. Both male and female Kestrel hunted the island today.
(DB et al)
Wednesday, 24 September 2014
The first moderate blow from the north west this September produced a species most sought after on sea watches at this time of year. Two Long-tailed Skuas appeared over the surf from Hoylake direction at 11.30am and passed west across the north end of the island. The rest of the sea watch was otherwise uneventful with just 2 Gannets, 15 Common Scoter and a single Sandwich Tern. The wind direction completely killed the steady passerine migration of the last few weeks and only a single Goldcrest still around. Visitors staying on Middle island again prevented the waders from roosting there during the high tide, they may think it is harmless but thousands of birds are prevented from accessing a valuable resting place. A single Bar-tailed Godwit was on the shore and A Black-tailed Godwit flew over observers near Little Eye. Mammal of the day was a large frog noted on the island.
Tuesday, 23 September 2014
South west winds this morning did not prevent a continuation of the presence of a small number of warblers, today there were 4 Goldcrest and 2 Chiffchaffs, also 3 Grey Wagtails and a Skylark that came down on the island. wader counts included 8,000 Oystercatcher, 310 Curlew, 75 Redshank, 50 Turnstone, 30 Ringed Plover, 100 Dunlin, and 3 Bar-tailed Godwits. Also on the shore were 150 Shelduck (at Little Eye), 4 Grey Herons and 2 Little Egrets.
Monday, 22 September 2014
The balmy September weather continues and Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests still arrive on most days, even in fairly small numbers and today was no exception with at least 14 Goldcrests and 8 Chiffchaffs feeding in the gardens, bracken and Blackthorn areas. The were no Swallows or Wheatears today and just a single Skylark. News headline of the day was the sighting of the first 4 Brent Geese of the autumn/winter to arrive as the tide flooded near the reef south of Middle, it remains to be seen if they will stay or pass on elsewhere before others arrive in the next few weeks. Other geese/duck/ wader sightings were 200 Black-tailed Godwits flying passed Little Eye and over Grange Hill, 2 Pintail flying south and 6 Canada Geese going north, 40 Sanderling travelling north east, also 400 Redshank and 450 Shelducks by Tanskey rocks. A Rock Pipit was again between the islands.
Ringed:- 5 Chiffchaffs, 4 Goldcrests, 2 Robins, 1 Linnet [ 883-36 ]
Another small fall of birds occurred overnight with crests, Robins and Chiffchaffs being present at first light. As morning progressed an unidentified ‘beaky’ looking passerine was seen skulking in the Obs garden and then later in the bracken at the south end.
Eventually it showed itself well enough and was identified as a juvenile Spotted Flycatcher. It then moved north to the garden of Telegraph House where it spent the remainder of the day before finally departing after the tide had dropped.
The male Kestrel controlled on Hilbre recently continued its stay on the island and was observed frequently during the day.
Visible migration was far more prominent today with small parties of Skylarks and Swallows passing over but the highlight was the first Pinkfeet of the autumn with a skein of 90 birds heading west over the island.
Wader numbers are increasing with good numbers of Turnstone , Redshank, Ringed Plover and Dunlin choosing to roost on the island along with two Sanderling. A leucistic Oystercatcher was picked out on the sand between Hilbre and Red Rocks but there are no Brent Geese or Purple Sandpipers yet.
Ringed: 4 Robins, 4 Goldcrest, 5 Goldcrest.
(DB&ESCA, PSW) [871-36]
An early tide meant getting to Hilbre whilst it was still dark and it was obvious immediately that there had been a small fall of migrants with crests and phylosc’s calling in the dark.
A misty morning meant visibility poor and neither West Kirby or Wales could be seen from the Island. Once the sun rose and the mist cleared most of the birds departed. Visible migration included a Skylark that briefly settled on the track leading to the look-out.
Four Greenland Wheatears spent the duration of the tide along the west side but resolutely refused to enter any of the potter trap.
After the tide the Obs was visited by a group of 40+ from Chester Zoo’s junior section led by Penny Rudd. With so many visitors there wasn’t room in the Obs so the children sat on the lawn whilst given a talk about bird ringing followed by a question and answer session that threw up some surprising questions such as ‘what is the shortest migration’.
As has been usual during this warm spell Red Admirals were plentiful and a single Small White butterfly was also seen.
Ringed: 3 Goldcrest, 2 Willow Warblers, 3 Robins & 1 Common Whitethroat
Friday, 19 September 2014
A fall of Phylloscs mostly Chiffchaff but also Willow Warblers present continued throughout the morning and was still producing new birds when observers left at 1pm.
A nice surprise was another Stonechat which was caught in the Newton Heligoland, a first year bird like yesterday's.
Two more of the Chiffchaffs caught were large birds with wing measurements of 66mm and weights of 8.5g & 8.1g respectively and resembled Willow Warbler in appearance.
Sightings included 3 Little Egret, Gannet, Skylark, 30 Swallow and male Peregrine.
Monday, 15 September 2014
Sunday, 14 September 2014
Saturday, 13 September 2014
|Grey Wagtail - it has been a good few days for this species passing over the island and today saw several bird grounded briefly (SRW)|
|Pimpla rufipes - an ichneumonid that parasitises Lepidoptera pupae was found on the Obs window during the morning (SRW)|
Friday, 12 September 2014
|Lime Speck Pug|
|Sexton Beetle (PSW)|
Two Whimbrel were noted on the shoreline and a single Golden Plover was heard passing over mid morning.
|Whimbrel - one of two seen or heard today|
|Greenland Wheatear - one of four caught today (PSW)|
|Skylark - West Side|
The sea was fairly quiet with a few terns, a single Fulmar, 8 Guillemot and a Razorbill as well as a frustrating distant skua spp. However, as the wind dropped to almost nil a single and then three Harbour Porpoise were seen.
Just as observers were on the final 'round' of the day all of the Oystercatchers and gulls took flight and once again a frantic search of the skies for a raptor produced an Osprey seen drifting between the islands and West Kirby before drifting off south down the estuary putting up more waders and gulls as it went.
|Osprey - the second of the Autumn|
Thursday, 11 September 2014
Another promising morning weather wise started slowly with a couple of Goldcrests on but very little else until about 8am when a Chiffchaff was observed flying in off. Two more appeared and it was apparent that the mist was helping to produce a nice trickle of birds.
At 940am a Firecrest appeared in Pallas's Privet and made its way along the top wall and conveniently into the Heli trap (see right).
After release it disappeared for quite some time before reappearing in the Privet and happily fed in the sycamores along the Telegraph House West Side garden all afternoon and evening allowing some photographs and video to be taken and also some visitors to see this stunning little gem of a bird.
|Firecrest - spent the afternoon and early evening feeding in the sycamores (SRW)|
Meadow Pipits were definitely passing over in numbers today with 150 counted along with 7 Grey Wagtails and 6 Albas and 3 Skylarks were noted on the main island and on Middle.
Things went very quiet around mid to late morning but the wind had died down by lunchtime and the excitement was reignited at around 1410hrs when a male Kestrel found its way into the Obs garden mist net, when extracted it was found to be a control, we look forward to finding out where it was ringed soon. The stunning bird was photographed by visitors Rob and Terry.
|Kestrel (male) - controlled (Terry)|
|Kestrel (male) - Rob Williams|
|Robin - one of many passing through the islands in the last week or so (SRW)|
Ringed: Chiffchaff (5), Willow Warbler (1) Goldcrest (2), Firecrest (1), Wren (1), Linnet (2), Robin (1) + Kestrel (control male)
(DB, CJ, SRW - PSW later + Rob W & Terry) [743-35]
Wednesday, 10 September 2014
Promising weather did not disappoint with a small trickle of Goldcrests (4) single Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler and a female Blackcap was the best of the ringing today.
'Vis Mig' was also good with single Reed Bunting, 75 Meadow Pipit, 32 Swallow, 6 Grey Wagtails and 3 Rook which flew right over the Obs.
A flock of a dozen Teal flew south down the West Side and 300 Starling flew in from North and headed over West Kirby.
|Rook - one of three passing over the Obs|
(DB, CJW et al) [730-34]
Tuesday, 9 September 2014
The lack of any definite wind direction caused uncertainty in predicting what would happen this morning, in the event very little did. Goldcrests were very few and a single Chiffchaff the only other warbler, with 2 Wheatears (one on Middle) and again a small arrival of Robins on the island. About 50 Swallows and 2 House Martins fed for a short time while passing through mid-morning and apart from a small number of Meadow Pipits that was about the sum total of passage birds. Shore birds today included 5 Little Egrets, 3 Grey Herons, 1 Whimbrel and 3 Bar-tailed Godwits. Two Kestrels were present as yesterday. On the calm sea a mini 'pelagic' in a small boat by Obs members logged 200 Common Scoters, 55 Sandwich Tern and 1,500 Dunlin.
Ringed: 2 Robins, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Wren.
(DB, CJ, KMc, PGR, CJW, NDW et al +Tony Duckels & friends) [724-34]
|Sunset over the Hilbre Islands LNR - from WKML (SRW)|
Monday, 8 September 2014
Nine Barnacle Geese flew south west early in the morning, a rare record in any conditions and at any time on the island. A female Sparrowhawk was found sitting on the 'heli' garden wall, but it soon made off towards Wales, while there were at least 2 Kestrels (male and female) present and possibly another male. Our resident rabbit made itself at home today when it was seen in the obs garden near to the building. Departing the island a member saw 6 Pintail flying south and also a Golden Plover flying north east.
Ringed: 4 Goldcrests, 1 Robin, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Linnet. [ 720-34 ]
(DB,KMc+SD) photos KMc
Sunday, 7 September 2014
The highlight of the day was the second record of Ruff this autumn which flew North East. Four Wheatears were around the island during the morning but in a moderate north-westerly there were few other migrants.
|Wheatear - upper paddock (SRW)|
|Goldcrest - East Side (SRW)|