Wednesday 31 August 2016

31st August 2016

Weather : SSW force 2/3
Present this morning was a Wheatear, 2 Pied Wagtails, 3 Robins, 2 Rock Pipits, and counts of 41 Redshanks, 250 Dunlin, 18 Turnstones, 2 Little Egrets and a Shag.

Tuesday 30 August 2016

30th August 2016

Weather: SW 3 then NW 1 later
A single Wheatear was at the south end early, 29 Turnstones roosted over the tide and 4 Gannets were on the sea. Three Little Egrets came to the east gutter after the tide.

Monday 29 August 2016

29th August 2016

Weather: W force 2
Three Wheatears and a Pied Wagtail were the only migrants today.

Sunday 28 August 2016

28th August 2016

Weather: N force 1 later W 2/3
Best today were 4 Little Terns, 5 Bar-tailed Godwits and a Wheatear.

Saturday 27 August 2016

27th August 2016

Weather: SE force 2/3

The south easterly brought another Spotted Flycatcher to the island but little else apart from 32 House Martins and a single Willow Warbler. A count of 5 Shags was exceptional.

Ringed; 1 Willow Warbler         [ 353-27 ]

Friday 26 August 2016

26th August 2016

Weather: SW force 2
Single Willow Warbler and Whitethroat were in the paddocks. A surprise today were 6 Mallards.

Thursday 25 August 2016

25th August 2016

Weather: WNW force 1
A Black Tern was again present also a single Mediterranean Gull and a Curlew Sandpiper on the shore. The only small migrants were 2 Sand Martins, about 30 Swallows, a Whitethroat and a Wheatear. Others seen included 2 Gannets, 2 Shags, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Rock Pipits, a Peregrine and a Red-breasted Merganser.
Ringed: 2 Robins                     [ 352-27 ]

Wednesday 24 August 2016

24th August 2016

Weather: WNW force 2
Four Mediterranean Gulls and a Black Tern (this time an adult) were again noted this morning. Considering the westerly wind direction a surprise was a few migrants turning up in the form of a Sedge Warbler, a Willow Warbler, a Whitethroat and 3 Wheatears. Two Rock Pipits are still on the island. Also noted were 171 Redshank, 2100 Knot, 2 Whimbrel, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits, a Shag, a Great Crested Grebe and a Guillemot.
Ringed: 1 Robin                        [ 350-27 ]

Tuesday 23 August 2016

23rd August 2016

Weather: SE force 1/2
A decent day with 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 4 Willow Warblers, 5 Wheatears and a Whitethroat all appearing and 2 House Martins and a few Swallows passing through. On the shore was a juvenile Black Tern and 4 Mediterranean Gulls, while on the sea were 2 Gannets, a Kittiwake and a Shag.
Ringed: 1 Willow Warbler         [ 349-27 ]

Monday 22 August 2016

22nd August 2016

A juvenile Wheatear was on the island.

Friday 19 August 2016

19th August 2016

Weather: W force 4
Highlight of the morning were 2 dark phase Arctic Skuas. Among the waders seen were 1,500 Dunlin, 100 Knot and 30 Sanderling.

Thursday 18 August 2016

18th August 2016

Weather: ESE force 3, veering SW in the afternoon, some cloud, warm and sunny later
A most interesting day, the highlight being a large (Sandwich size) tern with very dark upperparts, capped appearance with white underparts that was seen briefly passing the north end towards the west and then picked up in telescopes from the obs feeding and heading towards the Point of Ayr. Not enough detail could be seen at this distance to identify it to species level, but whatever it was (possible Sooty Tern ?) it will be an extremely rare bird.
A fair amount of cloud this morning made it good migration day all round with a dozen or so Willow Warblers, 3 Whitethroats and 2 Wheatears to be found, also a Spotted Flycatcher seen briefly on the rocks at the west side.
Swallows (AEH)
Up to a hundred Swallows passed through, many stopping to feed, also noted were 3 Goldfinches and 2 Pied Wagtails. A large Peregrine hunted the east side early in the day.

Curlew Sandpiper (left foreground)
Dunlin and Ringed Plover (AEH)
Not to be outdone waders roosting the high tide proved worth searching through when a Curlew Sandpiper was found amongst the 3,500 Dunlin and 300 Ringed Plover settled at the south end of the island.
Sea Holly ( the only piece on the island) (PSW)
Four Short-tailed Field Voles on the log today is an encouraging sign after a dearth of records lately.
A surprise was a juvenile Robin in the old obs mist net, as there was no suspicion that they had bred, but this is often the case with this secretive breeder on Hilbre.

It was good to see long standing member Alan Wraithmel at the obs today (right, CJ) as he is shortly leaving to live in the U.S.A. We wish him well with this new adventure in his life.

Ringed: 8 Willow Warblers, 3 Whitethroats, 3 Robins, 3 Linnets.      [ 348-27 ]

Wednesday 17 August 2016

17th August 2016

Weather: ESE force 3/4.  Sunny and warm
A Tree Pipit was calling early morning around the top paddock area, and (that or another) was still present mid-morning, while 2 Willow Warblers were found early and another 2 later on. A tight flock of 40 House Martins was an unexpected sight moving low down the west side, while smaller groups of Swallows fed as they went through.
Dunlin and Ringed Plover roosting the tide (JE)
One of the 2 Rock Pipits present was found to be the juvenile raised on the island this year and ringed at the end of July (left JE).

Over the tide 280 Dunlin, 132 Ringed Plover and 30 Redshank were counted around the islands.
Curlew (AEH)
Swallows over the lookout (AEH)

Heather (JE)

Red Admiral (AEH)
Large numbers of Red Admirals (about 30) were conspicuous again today, also 10 large Whites were flying.
Ringed: 1 Willow Warbler                   [ 331-27 ]

Tuesday 16 August 2016

16th August 2016

Weather: ESE force 2/3   sunny and warm
Similar weather to yesterday morning but less migrants arriving, in fact a pretty quiet day all round. A single Willow Warbler was found, a large individual at 11.6 grams, considerably heavier than the average and carrying plenty of fat in preparation for migration. Several Red Admiral butterflies were seen coming in from the sea and there were at least 10 in the trapping area. About the island were 2 Rock Pipits and 3 Pied Wagtails. Waders continue to build up in numbers, seen today were 50 Ringed Plover, 110 Dunlin, 25 Redshank, 14 Curlew and 4 Whimbrel. A sea watch had 9 Great Crested Grebes, 8 Gannets and a Commmon Scoter.
Shag (CJ)
Tormentil (CJ)
Ringed: 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Meadow Pipit                     [ 330-27 ]

Monday 15 August 2016

15th August 2016

Weather: SE force 2 ,sunny and warm
The breeze backing to the south east this morning brought a trickle of migrants to the islands, including 6 Willow Warblers, a Whitethroat and a Wheatear. About 40 passing Swallows and a House Martin joined the local breeding birds and their recently fledged offspring to feed over the highest part of the island. The 2 Robins that were ringed were undoubtably also migrants as none had been seen here for some weeks now. Other records today were 3 Pied Wagtails, a White Wagtail, a Goldfinch and a Rock Pipit. Six Gannets were the only significant sightings on the sea.
young Swallow (CJ)
Wheatear (CJ)
Magpie moth (CJW)
Lepidoptera this morning included 3 Red Admirals, 6 Small Whites, 2 Silver Y moths and a Magpie moth.
Ringed: 4 Willow Warblers, 2 Robins, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Linnet,1 Dunnock    [ 328-27 ]

Sunday 14 August 2016

14th August 2016

Weather: NNW force 3  cloudy, sunny and warm later
A morning visit to do a few repairs to the heligoland traps managed to ring a Willow Warbler, the only warbler on the island, although with the winds forecast from the south east hopefully more will arrive this coming week. Turnstones were counted at 32 (including a bird colour ringed in 2007/2008), with 40 Ringed Plover, 200 Dunlin, 12 Redshank and a Sanderling, all seen at low tide, also a group of 6 Little Egrets standing together on the east hoyle. An unusual sight was a juvenile Kittiwake flying west between the main islands, more normal were 2 Gannets and 5 Great Crested Grebes out to sea and an Arctic Skua just off shore. As the day warmed up 6 Small White butterflies flew.
young Short-tailed Field Vole (CJ)
Short-tailed Field Voles have been very scarce this year so it was most encouraging that an adult and 2 very young animals were seen proving there has been at least one litter on the island recently.

Ringed: 1 Willow Warbler.                           [ 319-27 ]

Friday 12 August 2016

12th August 2016

Weather WNW 4/5
A breezy morning on the island produced no surprises although there were 2 Willow Warblers in the 'heli' garden to raise the spirits. The Sandwich Tern roost contained 6 Little Terns, while 2 Whimbrel and 4 Little Egrets were among the birds around the shore. Up to 1,000 Black headed Gulls are now to be seen to the east of the islands.

Wednesday 10 August 2016

10th August 2016

Weather: NW force 3
Two small highlights in a basically quiet morning were the finding of a single Willow Warbler in the paddocks and the passage of a Tree Pipit calling over the island. An Arctic Skua flew slowly west along the tide edge at low tide barely disturbing the Sandwich Tern roost of some 500 or so birds.
Willow Warbler (JE)
Linnet (CJ)
A little time was spent looking at the various plants on the island, most of which are now past their best.

Yarrow (JE)
Tufted Vetch (JE)
Sea Purslane (JE)
 Ringed: 1 Willow Warbler.         [ 318-27 ]

Sunday 7 August 2016

7th August 2016

The main purpose of Sundays visit was to carry out some essential repairs to the heligoland traps but a brisk N W force 5 wind meant there was quite a bit to see on the sea as well. 
Good numbers of Gannets, Manx Shearwaters and terns (including one flock of 52 Little Terns) were recorded along with a single adult pale phase Arctic Skua. Two juvenile Wheatears dropped in over the high tide and another was seen on the rocks at the south end of the island as the observers approached. Apart from the Wheatears there were no other grounded migrants present. Wader numbers are building up with 300 + Dunlin,  32 Ringed Plover, 7 Sanderling, 7 Whimbrel and 3 Turnstone being logged in the roost on Middle Eye. For the first time for ages a Short-tailed Field Vole was seen near the heli trap but the only butterfly present was a Red Admiral. 302 Grey Seals were counted hauled out on the West Hoyle bank before the rising tide forced them off. 
A brood of young Meadow Pipits were being fed by their parents and one provided a good photo opportunity as it was photo-bombed by a bee! 
There is an archaeological dig taking place on the island at the moment that is turning up some interesting finds. We look forward to hearing more about them at a future date. 
 Ringed: 2 Linnets            [ 317-27 ]

Friday 5 August 2016

5th August 2016

Weather: NW force 3
Arctic Skua passing the Grey Seal haul out (CJ)
A dark phase Arctic Skua flew off the west side this morning and at the same time a Collared Dove went through towards the south. Three Willow Warblers made it to the islands on the westerly but did not make themselves available for ringing, also the odd Swallow arrived. A Kesrel hunted over the south end and a Peregrine the rocks south of Middle. Six Little Egrets were in the east gutter. Waders were scarce at the low tide, 10 Curlew, 6 Whimbrel, 8 Turnstone, 6 Redshank and 200 Dunlin were the pick.

Tuesday 2 August 2016

2nd August 2016

Weather SE force 3/4
The south easterly did not bring a large fall of migrants, although a Whitethroat was on the ground and 5 Swifts went through. Sea watching produced an Arctic Skua, 9 Gannets, 10 Great Crested Grebes, 49 Common Scoters, 6 Guillemots and 3 Manx Shearwaters. Turnstone and Whimbrel numbered 16 each.

Monday 1 August 2016

1st August 2016

Weather: S force 2
A juvenile Wheatear and a Sedge Warbler were present and a Blackbird was the first for some time. Twelve Gannet and 17 Guillemot were counted on the sea, although the best sighting was of a Bottle-nosed Dolphin. There are still 11 Whimbrel around the shore.