Weather: light breeze, variable direction, frost early before sun.
With no discernible wind direction, this morning was entirely unpredictable, but in the event there was no passage of Meadow Pipits,Wheatears, Chiffchaffs or Goldcrests (except for one mid-morning) and we had to be content with the odd visitor from the mainland.
A Reed Bunting (right)) appeared in the obs garden early on, and later a female House Sparrow (below) landed briefly in the heli garden.
A Magpie was on the island very early and another came in to stay longer about 09.00, and was eventually caught for ringing by some judicious baiting of the heligoland traps. Surprisingly this became only the 3rd Magpie ringed at Hilbre in all those years, the other 2 were in 2000 and 2006.
Also noted (passing over the islands) were 3 Goldfinches, 2 Chaffinches and 2 Pied Wagtails, while a roaming flock of 24 Linnets may have contained some of the local breeding birds. Two un-ringed Rock Pipits (below right) were at the north end at the same time. A Merlin sat for a while on the rocks to the west of Middle Eye.
A Goldeneye flew south down the west side early in the day and 9 Red-breasted Mergansers were out by the west hoyle, but the chief event on the sea was the sighting (obs member AMC+KD) from the east hoyle tide edge of a Surf Scoter amongst the 10,000 or so Common Scoters out towards the wind farms. The bird was too distant to be seen from the island but was probably just outside the Hilbre recording area and will no doubt
become the first to be 'accepted' for Cheshire and Wirral following a drake seen flying west close inshore off the North End of Hilbre on 23rd November 1969 was not submitted to BBRC - JCG et al.
Two Mallards rested on the main pond and a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly was the first this year on the island.
Ringed: 1 Magpie, 1 Robin [ 40-13 ]
(DB,AEH,CJ,KMc+SD) Photos AEH (magpie in hand),CJ