Bright skies and North in the wind is not normally conducive to good passerine migration at Hilbre and so today proved, although 3 Wheatears passed through as did 3 Willow Warblers.
Visible migration was marginally better with a single flava Wagtail heard and 5 White Wagtails, 4 House Martin, 5 Sand Martin and 12 Swallows (including the 'summer residents') all noted.
Waders were again much in evidence with the Dunlin (650), Ringed Plover (35), Whimbrel (9), Sanderling (105) and Bar-tailed Godwit (19) counted; the latter included three summer plumaged individuals - a fine sight indeed. Amongst the Dunlin flock a partially albinistic bird was found.
Highlights of the day included a single summer plumaged Scandinavian Rock Pipit, complete with pink suffusion, seen briefly at the North End of Middle early morning, but it could not be relocated despite searching.
A telephone call early morning from the mainland prompted telescopes to be trained above the Old Nursing home at Red Rocks from the Obs balcony and prompted the second highlight of the day. Remarkably the migrant Nuthatch present at Red Rocks could be seen first circling above the building and the lone observer at Red Rocks but then landing on the chimney stack.
Of course almost as soon as it was seen the discussions ensued as to whether it could be counted for the Obs; whilst it was seen (and could be identified) from the recording area it was at that point not in or over the recording area...then it took flight again and flew some distance SW out over the shore towards Middle before turning back and re-landing on the chimney.
Nuthatch is an extremely rare bird at Hilbre with only two previous records - the first on the near coincident date of 22nd April 1962 and the second, another spring bird, on 6th May 2009 (http://hilbrebirdobs.blogspot.co.uk/2009/05/7th-may-2009.html?m=0).
Photos: Nuthatch @ Red Rocks (JET) Dunlin (SRW)
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