Sunday 30 August 2015

30th August 2015

Weather: wind variable force 0/1
Another quiet day with no migrants grounded and not even the consolation of a Wheatear being present. A group of 6 Pintail flew into the Dee and were the first of their kind to arrive this autumn. A couple of Arctic Skuas showed distantly and 7 Shelduck flew west over the island, while a female Peregrine was seen twice to chase its prey. At least 2 Whimbrel were still around the island and a Bar-tailed Godwit on the tideline. Other records today included a Shag, a Little Egret, 3 Grey Herons, 5 Little Terns, a Rock Pipit at the south end, 2 Pied Wagtails, 4 Robins and at least 11 Swallows hawking insects over the island as a result of local breeding.
(DCT,PT,NDW from over,AEH,CJ,SRW)       Photo Whimbrel SRW, Rock Pipit CJ

Saturday 29 August 2015

29th August 2015

Weather: SW force 3
Both Kestrel and Peregrine were present today, a Gannet was noted on the sea and 208 Cormorants were counted but no migrants were to be seen.
(DCT,PT,NDW from over)

Friday 28 August 2015

28th August 2015

Weather: SSE force 1, later W force 3/4 then 4/5
Best record of today was of a Black-tailed Godwit feeding with 30 Redshanks. Three Willow Warblers were the only migrants present this morning. The (family?) party of 3 Peregrines were again around the islands, while 2 juvenile Rock Pipits were on Middle Eye. As the wind increased during the tide, 250 Manx Shearwaters were noted on the sea together with 207 Gannets, 110 Common Scoter, 2 Kittiwakes, 2 Guillemots and a Fulmar. Seventy Five Turnstones and 7 Whimbrel were around the island and 256 Curlew on the east hoyle. A single painted lady was amongst the small number of butterflies present.

(DB,AMC,AEH)     view and Turnstone photos  AEH

Thursday 27 August 2015

27th August 2015

Razorbill and Guillemot

Weather: SW force 4
Another Spotted Flycatcher appeared on the island today,(or possibly the same bird from Tuesday) but this was the only small migrant and the main interest turned to the sea which produced about 100 Manx Shearwaters, 30 Gannets, 3 Arctic Skuas, 200 Common Scoter, 3 Guillemots, 1 Razorbill, 2 Shags, and best of all a female Goosander flying south west. Other good records today were 6 Ravens flying south from the Red Rocks area and 7 Black-tailed Godwits. Shore birds included a single Whimbrel, a Little Egret and 250 Curlew on the east hoyle.
Ringed: 1 Wren.    [ 373-34 ]
(DB,AMC,AEH)      photos  AEH

Wednesday 26 August 2015

26th August 2015

Weather: SW force 3
A light south westerly produced a few sea birds including 14 Manx Shearwaters, 12 Gannets, 27 Common Scoter and an Arctic Skua. A Black Tern was again logged on the day sheet.
(AMC +2)

Tuesday 25 August 2015

25th August 2015

Weather: WSW force 2, later S force 4
One of the best days for some time, although still only one Willow Warbler and 1 Wheatear grounded but in compensation the first Spotted Flycatcher of the autumn. Waders were also the highlight with Ruff (very scarce bird for Hilbre), Common Sandpiper and Greenshank. Three Swifts passing were late birds as most have now left the country, while 3 Peregrines (male, female and juvenile) were noted, also a Merlin that flew from Red Rocks to North Wales gaining height as it crossed the island.

Monday 24 August 2015

24th August 2015

Weather: SSE force 1, later NNW 1
A welcome window in the wet weather this morning did not improve the migrant situation, with again no warblers and just the suggestion of a very small passage of Robins, while a single female Wheatear arrived and stayed at the northern half of the island (right, posing on the lookout roof). Two Teal flew in from the west briefly, which was the only significant sighting to distract observers from watching the many Sandwich and Common terns diving into the flat calm sea, and seemingly having a good rate of success.
As the sun appeared mid-morning 2 Small Whites and a Red Admiral flew in the warmth.Still at least 1 Whimbrel calling, but waders were naturally scarce at the low tide with a summer plumaged Grey Plover, 350 Dunlin, 30 Ringed Plover and 6 Redshank the highlights. Three Little Egrets and 2 Grey Herons were on the shore.
In the late afternoon a juvenile Black Tern was resting on the sand below the obs, a good find and definitely bird of the day.
Ringed: 1 Robin          [ 372-34 ]
(DB briefly,CJ,AMC(pm))                 photos CJ

Saturday 22 August 2015

22nd August 2015

Weather: SSW force 2, later S force 2 with drizzle

Another damp day on the island, flocks of cormorants moved out of the estuary as the sun battled to make an appearance, a fox ran down the lower West side cliff path towards the South End. Later a female Wheatear appeared and a single Teal arrived, a juvenile Shag was present for a short time and 6 Bar-Tailed Godwits fed on the tide line. Good numbers of Terns were again observed and two dark phase Arctic Skuas sat for a while on the East Hoyle, 4 Whimbrel fed below the rocks on the West side while 1800 Dunlin, 4500 Oystercatchers, 65 Curlew and 32 Ringed Plover were counted. Linnets numbered 28, and 2 Rock Pipits were present, The resident Swallows sat on the roof of the lookout and an Adult was observed to be ringed on the left leg, possibly a Hilbre bird.
Ringed: 1 Linnet                             [ 371-34 ]
(NDW,RTW,CJW & family)

21st August 2015

Weather: S 5/6 dropping to 2/3 by midday, and SW 1 in the evening, rain showers merging all day.

The day consisted mainly of rain! Early morning was clear but devoid of any migrants, the distant squalls soon arrived and made observing difficult, a couple of Wheatears made it in between the showers and waders gathered around the island as the tide flooded, the roosting terns were temporarily disturbed by a dark phase Arctic Skua.The visibility improved on the evening ebb for a short time and revealed four more dark phase and two light phase Arctic Skuas, over 1000 Sandwich & Common terns, 28 Great Crested Grebes and 4 Gannets, also a Peregrine patrolling the west side of the island. Whimbrel dropped in bringing the day's total to 10, Curlew numbered 60 around the islands and 27 Shelduck flew into the estuary. An additional 7 Wheatears were the only migrant passerines of note and the two Rock Pipits remained around all day.
Ringing: Dunnock 3. Meadow Pipit 1      [ 370-34 ]
(CJ,NDW,RTW,CJW et al)           photo  CJW

Thursday 20 August 2015

20th August 2015

Weather: SW force 2/3, later WSW

The morning had a quiet start until a small fall of willow warblers (c10) about 0830 followed shortly by 9 Wheatears that seemed to congregate together by the light on the West side. Three Golden Plover were noted on the way back from a trip to the mainland and wader numbers, mainly Dunlin, continue to increase with 4500 present, 500 of which rooster on the West side over the tide. As the tide flooded three dark phase Arctic Skuas harassed the terns, 450 Sandwich and 500 Common were recorded. Later the Terns were joined by 46 Gannets of various plumages feeding on what appeared to be large sand eels.
A small movement of hirundines moved through around mid afternoon with 40 Swallows and 8 House Martins, two Rock Pipits remain and a juvenile Shag sunned itself on the North End, 3 common blue butterflies were noted and only a single short-tailed field vole. Two Peregrines were present and the big female was seen by members to take a Redshank.
 The Rock-sea lavender (above right) is doing extremely well this year and together with the Heather provides a beautiful purple look to the western cliff tops.

  A tour of the Little Eye and Tanskies area on the flood tide found 3,500 Oystercatchers, 160 Curlew and 550 Dunlin flying north, while 1,000 Black-headed Gulls were by the West kirby shore (DB)
Ringed: 4 Willow Warblers, 1 Linnet    [ 366-34 ]
 (AEH,RTW,CJW& family)                    photos CJW

Wednesday 19 August 2015

19th August 2015

Weather: SSE force 1/2, later SW4 with rain
A Willow Warbler seen at Little Eye on approach to the island raised hopes of a small passage, and indeed there were about 9 birds found, together with a male Wheatear (left). There is still a Whimbrel around the island and a Rock Pipit was at the north end after a couple of blank days. As on most visits this year, very few butterflies, although a Painted Lady and a Red Admiral today could be classed as migrants. A search of the east hoyle found 2 male Peregrines lingering there, with waders including 3 Knot, 100 Dunlin, 30 Sanderling and 30 Curlew.
Ringed: 5 Willow Warblers, 2 Linnets, 1 Meadow Pipit    [ 361-34 ]
(DB,CJ,NDW,CJW et al)     photo  CJ

Tuesday 18 August 2015

18th August 2015

Weather: WNW force 4/5
Two Common Snipe were flushed from the east gutter this morning, the first record this autumn. Some of the Swallows seem to have moved on, there were only 5 today feeding around the island. Sandwich Terns just exceeded Common Terns in the roost, 300 to 250 with just a single Little Tern. Forty Sanderling were by the clay pits on the east hoyle, seemingly their favourite location. At least 4 Common Seals hauled out on the west hoyle.

Monday 17 August 2015

17th August 2015

Weather: NW force 1
Beautiful weather today for the visit of the Woolston stalwarts, but the north westerly breeze did us no favours with migrants. A dedicated sea watch over the high tide was hard work, the highlight being a darkphase Arctic Skua, 3 drake Eiders flying distantly east, 2 Gannets and close flypasts of Dunlin flocks and 29 Little Terns. The only small migrants were 2 Wheatears and a few Swallows. At least 2 juvenile Robins were noted. Waders featured as follows: 2,000 Dunlin, 45 Turnstones, 200 Redshank (at Tanskies), 2 Bar-tailed Godwits and 2 Whimbrel. The tern roost today appeared to contain nearly as many Common Terns as Sandwich. Two Common Seals were hauled out on the west hoyle.
Cormorant  (KMc)
Wheatear with Rock Sea-lavender   (CJ)
(DB,CJ,KMc+SD,AO) + from Woolston DB,DS,HA,GD,SW

Sunday 16 August 2015

16th August 2015

Weather: S force 2
A lovely summer plumaged Black-tailed Godwit was the star on the shore (right and below), earlier 120 had flown over south west towards Gilroy park. Three Ravens flew around the island bungalows until being chased off by Carrion Crows and flying off to the north east. A small trickle of migrants came through this morning with 4 Willow Warblers, a Chiffchaff and 3 Wheatears. Four Red-breasted Mergansers flew north, while on the shore were 5 Little Egrets and 4 Whimbrel.
Seabirds seen from the West Kirby lifeboat whilst in the Hilbre recording area included 65 Manx Shearwaters (with 300 further out), a dark phase Arctic Skua, also 2 Harbour Porpoise (per CJW).

juvenile Robin
juvenile Pied Wagtail
Ringed: 1 Willow Warbler              [ 353-34 ]
 (DB+ESCA,AEH)                          photos  AEH

Saturday 15 August 2015

15th August 2015

Weather : NW force 2/3
A waterspout drew attention at about 20.30hrs this evening in the north west sky descending out of a black cloud down to the sea, a rare if not unprecedented sighting. Later that night a Red Fox cub appeared on the obs veranda outside the window, another rare sighting ! A wreck of Lion's Mane Jellyfish (approximately 100) occurred on the east hoyle bank mainly around the Red Rocks area.
Below is a photograph of the Red Fox cub found in the 'wendy hut' next to Whiteleys bungalow on 6th August (see blog for that date).

Friday 14 August 2015

14th August 2015

Weather : E force 1, later NE 1/2, rain
Constant rain all morning did not prevent 160 Swallows floating south through the island, also 80 east through Red Rocks. A single Willow Warbler probably arrived yesterday, but a male Wheatear was new today. Seven Dunnocks were on the island including some juveniles. About 800 Dunlin flew north.

Thursday 13 August 2015

13th August 2015

Weather:  SE force 1
Five Willow Warblers and a Whitethroat were grounded this morning and a female Wheatear was also on the island. Two juvenile Rock Pipits and 2 juvenile Pied Wagtails were still present, also 10 local Swallows were over the island and 70 others were feeding over the east hoyle on the Hilbre side of the spartina. Fifty Sanderling were by Tanskies. A Comma butterfly was a scarce visitor.

Wednesday 12 August 2015

12th August 2015

Weather, SW 1, later N 1,  warm sunshine
The fine weather did not produce many migrants, just a single Willow Warbler in the paddock early on and a Whitethroat that arrived from the sea and dived into the bracken on Middle Eye. Four House Martins went through but no real Swallow passage to add to the feeding local birds. Three Arctic Skuas were around the island, a dark phase went down the east side and scattered the other birds present, another dark phase seemed to drop down and feed a juvenile waiting on the sea. Seven Great Crested Grebes and 2 Common Scoters were the only other attraction on the sea apart from the many terns feeding there. Shore birds included a Little Egret, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 20 Sanderling, 60 Ringed Plover and 132 Curlew. Belated news today of a Purple Sandpiper present at the north end slipway for a while on 19th July (John Coupe), single summer occurrances such as this happen most years. A female Peregrine came low over the island after chasing the waders on the east side. Highlight for the observers staying the tide was a Hummingbird Hawk Moth that fed on the Buddleia in the obs garden for 5 minutes.
Ringed: 1 Linnet         [ 352-34 ] 
(DB,CJ,NDW)  also John Coupe.      photo  CJ

Tuesday 11 August 2015

11th August 2015

Weather: W force 2
Lots of juvenile birds seen today, most or all the result of breeding on the island, Dunnocks (3 young), Pied Wagtails (3 young), Robin (1 young), Rock Pipit (1 young). A third successful Swallows nest seems to have been located, probably explaining the double figures of Swallows noted feeding over the island of late. Little Terns are now a post breeding feature at Hilbre, 200+ were logged today with 250+ Common Terns. Turnstones reached their highest total so far this autumn with 78 at the north end. The drake Common Scoter continues to stay close to the shore, and 2 Gannets were out to sea. Singles of Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff  were on the island (perhaps from yesterdays arrival) and a Wheatear was also present.

Monday 10 August 2015

10th August 2015

Weather: SE force 2, heavy squall 08.30hrs.
A small fall of warblers occurred this morning, 15 Willows and 3 Chiffchaffs (first of the autumn), but no Wheatears nor any other of the larger warblers. Thirty one Turnstones gathered at the north end, also recorded were 6 Whimbrel and 35 Ringed Plover, while a dark phase Arctic Skua  and a juvenile Shag were the only significant sightings on the sea. Groups of 12, 8 and 11 Shelduck flew south during the morning, and a female Peregrine was at Little Eye. A Red fox cub was seen, calmly washing itself at only 20 yards distance from one lucky observer for about 20 minutes.

Sunday 9 August 2015

9th August 2015

Weather: W force 2
A late morning visit after the tide found a Willow Warbler to be ringed, 20 Swallows present a a Swift over. Two Arctic Skuas and a Kittiwake were logged.
Ringed: 1 Linnet, 1 Willow Warbler       [ 351-34 ]

Saturday 8 August 2015

8th August 2015

Weather: SSW force 1, later N 1
A beautiful sunny day with lots of visitors to the island. As the tide ebbed in the morning at least 3 Arctic Skuas were on the east hoyle making life difficult for the terns. There were no migrants this morning as expected with a clear sky last night. A Common Scoter sat on the calm sea off the west side (right). Only 1 Whimbrel could be found, in contrast to 10 birds present in the week. Dunlin are now here in numbers with an estimated 4,000 today.
(CJ,NDW)            photo CJ

Thursday 6 August 2015

6th August 2015

Weather: WNW force 4/5 rain and squalls
The first ever proved successful breeding of Red Foxes was confirmed today when a juvenile was helped out of a shed by one of the bungalows. Previously in 2008 small fox cubs were found dead in the obs garden etc.
(DB) & thanks to the Billington family

Wednesday 5 August 2015

5th August 2015

Weather: S force 6
A hint of south easterly overnight brought the first small fall of Willow Warblers of the autumn, and the first to be ringed on their return journey to Africa. Twelve is a very moderate number but then we are a very small island and are grateful for any arrivals. Willow Warblers often make up as much as a third of all birds ringed at Hilbre during the year. Four or five Swallows moved through in addition to the birds that have bred, also a House Martin showed on passage. Ten Whimbrel and 67 Ringed Plover were on the log with 2 Sanderling, with flocks of Dunlin numbering 5,000. A Lion's Mane jellyfish was on the east hoyle and a Painted Lady butterfly put in an appearance in what has been a generally poor season for butterflies lately.
Ringed: 3 Willow Warblers          [ 349-34 ]
(DB,AEH,CJW)                       photos AEH

Tuesday 4 August 2015

4th August 2015

Weather: SW force 5/6
Only one Willow Warbler present this morning in a brisk south westerly, if the conditions are right then a fall is possible at this time in August. A male and female Pied Wagtail were on the island together with the now well studied Rock Pipits. Two Kestrels, one of each sex improved on the single seen recently and Whimbrels continue to find the shore to their liking with 10 counted today, other waders were scarce at the low tide except for 2,500 Dunlin, although 15 Ringed Plover were noted. Five Common Seals recognised on the tip of the west hoyle bank lend support to the theory of attempted breeding this year, (see 30th July). Later on the sea 6 Manx Shearwaters and 2 Little Gulls were noted.

Monday 3 August 2015

3rd August 2015

 Weather: SE force 4, veering WSW force 4/5 with showers
The two young Rock Pipits were being fed by both parents at the north end and are thriving so well that they were occasionally picking up insects on their own (above and below, CJ).
  It was generally very quiet this morning with no migrants in the trapping area, although a single Willow Warbler stayed around the obs garden (left, CJ), the only other small visitors were 2 Pied Wagtails. Fourteen Swallows were feeding over the top paddock early in the morning, it was uncertain how many of these were local breeding birds, and then 3 rather late Swifts went through after a sharp shower of rain. Seven Whimbrels still call around the shore, while Turnstones continue to increase to 21 as we progress towards
 the autumn.
Whimbrel (AEH)
Bar-tailed Godwit (AEH)
Showers early this morning (CJ)