Friday 30 September 2016

30th September 2016

Wind SW 3 to NW 4 and showers  later
On arrival at the north end of Middle eye 12 Carrion Crows could be seen ‘buzzing’ something on the ground on the south end of Hilbre, which turned out to be a female Kestrel, 3 Rock Pipits were also at the south end. At least 3 Goldcrest were calling in the old obs and single skylarks flew over during the morning totalling 7. There was a good movement of passerines but unfortunately most were too far off the north end to be identified, however 61 Linnets were around the island with 21 Goldfinch and 18 Meadow Pipits. Two Greenfinch flew over, also 7 Pied Wagtail and 9 Swallows, while 3 Chiffchaffs were in the Newton trapping area.
Over the tide 150 Dunlin roosted on the south end with a single Sanderling and 3 Grey Plover. On the sea a Red-throated Diver was just off the north end with 12 Guillemot , 2 Razorbill and 15 Great Crested Grebe.

Wednesday 28 September 2016

28th September 2016

Weather: SW force 2  rain shower
Middle Eye (SRW)
 A spell of sea watching was very productive this morning with sightings of 1,500 + Common Scoter, 8 Red-throated Divers, 17 Gannets, 95 Great Crested Grebes, 17 Guillemots and 6 Razorbills. Four Goldcrests made it to the island this morning together with a Wheatear and a Skylark. Rock Pipits numbered 4, some of which will be new arrivals, but a bird was retrapped that was ringed in July. Typical scarce Hilbre autumn birds found on the shore included a Snipe and  3 Golden Plover, while the more regular species were represented by 8 Little Egrets, 5 Grey Herons, 550 Curlew 56 Bar-tailed Godwits and a large count of 671 Shelduck (some of which below, SRW).

Rock Pipit (JE)
The newly arrived 3 Brent (including a juvenile) are still about the islands (right,SRW), as are 3 Sandwich Terns that are staying late with us.

Ringed: 2 Goldcrests [389-28] (left,SRW)

Tuesday 27 September 2016

27th September 2016

Weather: SSE force 3
Highlight of a decent day was a flock of 12 Curlew Sandpipers that flew across the island calling and continued out to the west. Almost as exciting (but this time expected) was the arrival of the first 3 Brent Geese of the autumn (below, AEH)).

 A Grey and 2 Pied Wagtails and a Chiffchaff were the only small migrants of note, although 7 Swallows were present, also 3 Rock Pipits and 20 Meadow Pipits. Others on the fairly extensive log list today included 14 Wigeon, 400+ Shelduck, a Whimbrel, 12 Grey Plover, 64 Bar-tailed Godwits, a Shag and 3 Little Egrets. Some seabirds were noted despite the calm conditions, notably 14 Gannets, 30 Common Scoter and a Red-throated Diver. 
Pied Wagtail (AEH)
Whimbrel (AEH)

Shelduck after the tide (AEH)

Sunday 25 September 2016

25th September 2016

A pleasant walk on and off the islands but very little present.

A single drake Common Scoter was sat by the South End of Middle (see below, TGW).

However, Bar-tailed Godwits remain in good numbers around the gutter edge and along the East Hoyle sandbank.

Highlight of the morning was found when observers approached the salt marsh between Red Rocks and West Kirby when a Lapland Bunting flew up calling before alighting back in the marsh towards the West Kirby end.

Saturday 24 September 2016

24th September 2016

Weather: S/SW force 4/6
A brief mid-morning visit found no migrants present on the ground but there was a record of a Jackdaw over the island. A few Swallows still continue to feed around the paddocks.

Thursday 22 September 2016

22nd September 2016

Weather: WNW force 4, sunny from mid-morning
A Green Sandpiper was in the channel north east of Little Eye in the morning, although it flew immediately over to the ridge south of Middle Eye and could not be relocated. Green Sandpiper is a very scarce visitor to Hilbre and has not appeared over the last few years. The rest of the visit was mostly pleasant but uneventful, with records of a Grey Wagtail flying low over the east hoyle, a Wheatear on Middle, a single Goldcrest arriving later on the main island, a flock of 7 Wigeon flying in from the north, and a count of 92 Bar-tailed Godwits on the east hoyle. Other waders today were 30 Knot, 20 Sanderling, 225 Dunlin, 150 Ringed Plover and 2 Grey Plover.

Wednesday 21 September 2016

21st September 2016

Weather: SE force 3/4       cool
It felt like autumn was truly here this morning as the south easterly wind was quite cool, but there was no noticeable improvement in the arrival of birds. Single Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and Wheatear gave some hope of better things arouind the island but little else was forthcoming. About 15 Swallows were feeding furiously over the island for a while, a few Pied Wagtails went through and there seemed to be at least 7 Robins ticking regularly about the island, otherwise all was quiet.
Wigeon with Curlew and Oystercatchers (CJ)
A Wigeon stood on the sand off the north end, (and flocks of 38 and 70 passed south in the afternoon), while 3 Sandwich Terns still flew by the tide where 21 Bar-tailed Godwits fed on the shore. Both Peregrine and Kestrel were present today.
Late news from the afternoon tide was of a Great White Egret flying south west across Middle Eye.
Ringed: 1 Goldcrest, 1 Linnet, 1 Meadow Pipit            [ 387-28 ]

Tuesday 20 September 2016

20th September 2016

Weather: ENE force 0/1
Another quiet morning with just 3 Goldcrests in the trapping areas and gardens and a Grey Wagtail over, although some of the 5 Wrens and 7 Robins may be migrants. Best of the waders were 28 Turnstones and 18 Bar-tailed Godwits. A Shag was on the whaleback and a Peregrine was noted.
Ringed: 1 Goldcrest.          [ 384-28 ]      

Sunday 18 September 2016

18th September 2016

Weather SSE force 2/3

A beautiful warm and sunny September's morning greeted observers who stayed over the tide for the regular WeBs count. Despite the clear conditions it became clear that a few birds had dropped in to the island with Robins heard ‘ticking’ from the Obs balcony and a Goldcrest present in the Obs garden. Surprise of the day was a juvenile Swallow that flew into the obs and was caught by hand for ringing! (below, PSW)
The heat haze didn’t help with with observations but as the cloud cover increased later in the afternoon huge numbers of Common Scoter were seen out towards the wind farms. A conservative estimate of 4-5000 birds was made with many being invisible on the sea. Two Guillemots and a Razorbill were also picked out with the Guillemots drifting close by the north end. Good numbers of waders roosted on Middle Eye but were disturbed on several occasions by sea kayakers. Star bird was a single male Ruff picked out in flight in with a small flock of Whimbrel but it couldn’t be picked out on Middle Eye where it appeared to land. The warm weather meant a few late butterflies were on the wing with Painted Lady, Red Admiral and Small White all being recorded.
Ringed: 3 Robins, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Linnet. 1 Swallow            [ 383-28 ]

Friday 16 September 2016

16th September 2016

Weather: NW force 5/6
With strong winds from the north west, focus was clearly on the sea, and was rewarded with records of 2 Great Skuas, 100 Gannets, 40 Guillemots, 10 Razorbills, 1,000 Common Scoter, 2 Kittiwakes, a Manx Shearwater and a Red-throated Diver. Waders at the high tide included 5,000 Oystercatchers, 500 Dunlin, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits and a Whimbrel. Single Chiffchaff and Goldcrest were the only small migrants present this morning, and most terns have now moved on, just 14 Sandwich and 4 Common Terns could be found today. A Peregrine made a spectacular kill of a Ringed Plover, carrying away in view of the members.
Ringed Plover (AEH)
Peregrine with kill (AEH)

Dunlin (AEH)

Thursday 15 September 2016

15th September 2016

Weather:  NW force 0/1  warm and sunny
Thick mist around the coast this morning brought autumn migrants to the islands. Three Common Snipe were present early morning and it was soon evident that a few Chiffchaffs (8), Willow Warblers (3) and Goldcrests (6) were in the trapping area and gardens. A Spotted Flycatcher was found at the south end which then proceeded to tour the island for the rest of the morning but somehow avoided being caught for ringing. A Tree Pipit also stayed around for a considerable time; most Tree Pipits at Hilbre are recorded as a result of birds calling as they pass overhead.
Tree Pipit (CJ)
Six Wheatears today were a good number for autumn, as were the 50 or so Swallows, while 2 Grey and 4 Pied Wagtails, 7 Robins and a Song Thrush were also present. Three Razorbills and 26 Guillemots were found on the tide, while on the shore a Common Sandpiper was at the north end and wader counts included 12 Bar-tailed Godwits, 75 Turnstone, 250 Dunlin and 5 Grey Plover. Two Canada Geese flew west between the islands. The warm weather suited the invertebrates, flying today were about 30 Red Admirals, a Painted Lady, a Peacock, 2 Speckled Wood, quite a few Small Whites and a Common Darter dragonfly.
Ringed:  5 Chiffchaffs, 2 Willow Warblers, 3 Goldcrests, 3 Robins, 1 Wren.    [ 377-27 ]

Wednesday 14 September 2016

14th September 2016

Weather: Warm and sunny
EIght Wheatears and about 15 Willow Warblers came in when the mist arrived and the first 2 Song Thrushes of the autumn were noted. A Migrant Hawker dragonfly was in the process of egg laying.
(thanks to Matt Thomas)

Tuesday 13 September 2016

13th September 2016

Weather: SSE 1-2, 6/8 cloud, muggy, heavy rain arrived 1.30pm

A lovely morning greeted observers who had stayed overnight but there were again very few migrants to be seen with single Wheatear and Goldcrest present and a very small Robin passage (4 birds).

A few of the local Swallows remain around the islands taking advantage of the unusually warm September weather and drinking from the guttering around the buildings before the rain arrived.

A single Whimbrel was heard and seen and later 80+ Curlew were noted and there was an increase in Redshank to 47 which were harrassed along with Oystercatchers by an immature Peregrine.

Late morning we said goodbye to our visitors and friends Tim Cleeves (previous Hilbre custodian - see below doing the log call last night) and Steve Holliday.

At around 1245pm a ringtail Hen Harrier was noticed flying west high over Middle Eye as one observer approached from the mainland just before the rain arrived from Wales.  Apologies for the poor record shots but the bird was distant and flying away from the observer!  However, it is the first record of any harrier species at the Obs this year.

Ringed:  Robin & Linnet [363-27]

Monday 12 September 2016

12th September 2016

Weather: SSE force 4 increasing 5
A breezy morning with few small migrants but with autumn ducks to mark the coming season. A Wigeon flew south down the west side followed by 4 Teal and then 3 Pintail south down the Dee off the west side.
Teal (AEH)
Wigeon (AEH)
 A single Chiffchaff was ringed, also a new Rock Pipit and a Robin, and later a Goldcrest was in the old obs garden. A Wheatear was on the island for a while and a Grey Wagtail called overhead.

 At about 10.45hrs an Osprey was seen from the mainland at West Kirby to fly out over the Hilbre recording area, but could not be found looking from the island. Three Razorbills were off the north end, earlier 3 Gannets had flown south off the west side, and 30 Common Scoter added to the duck list.
 About the shore at low tide were 11 Little Egrets (following 13 yesterday and 16 the day before), 11 Bar-tailed Godwits and a Whimbrel.
Little Egrets (AEH)
Oystercatcher (AEH)
A welcome visitor today was ex-custodian of the island Tim Cleeves (right,CJ) and companion, Tim was here from 1977 to 1981 and noticed many changes on the island from that time.
Ringed: 1 Rock Pipit, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Robin       [ 361- 27 ]

Sunday 11 September 2016

11th September 2016

Weather: S force 2

Five Wheatears were through today, also 2 Goldcrests which were the first ringed this autumn. A Grey and 3 Pied Wagtails were noted but little else except for the odd Meadow Pipit and Swallow on passage.

A Razorbill was close in at the north end and 13 Little Egrets still feed on the east hoyle and gutter. Wader counts included 26 Bar-tailed Godwirs, 35 Turnstones and 40 Ringed Plover.

A scarce sighting was a Comma butterfly, while others seen were 6 Painted Ladies, a Red Admiral and 2 Speckled Woods.

 Ringed: 2 Goldcrests, 1 Meadow Pipit     [ 358-27 ]

Saturday 10 September 2016

10th September 2016

Weather: WNW force 2

A look into the east gutter this morning found the surprisingly high number of 16 Little Egrets (above, CJ) in addition to massive number of Black-headed gulls (c.2,000) in the gutter and over the whole east hoyle area.

Despite the westerly a few migrants were going through in addition to the single Willow Warbler in the old obs garden, including 2 Grey Wagtails, 3 Pied Wagtails, 20 Meadow Pipits and 6 Wheatears.

A Mediterranean Gull was seen distantly amongst the Black-headed Gulls on the north shore tideline, also there were 36 Bar-tailed Godwits, while other waders included 40 Redshank and a Whimbrel.

Five Painted Lady butterflies were on the wing, and 3 Speckled Woods also made an appearance. At least 20 Gannets were out to sea.

Thursday 8 September 2016

8th September 2016

Weather: W force 2, increasing W 5 after early heavy rain
Brooding sky before the downpour (JE)
Heavy rain in the morning was followed by small signs of migration (a Willow Warbler, 2 Wheatears, 3 Pied Wagtails and about 30 Meadow Pipits) and first signs of the autumn duck influx (5 Wigeon and 3 Teal). A few Robins and Wrens were also probable migrants. Others noted this morning were a Peregrine, a Rock Pipit, 51 Ringed Plover, 200 Dunlin and 50 Curlew.
Ringed: 1 Willow Warbler           [ 355-27 ]

Wednesday 7 September 2016

7th September 2016

Peregrine (CJ)
Weather: S force 1     warm
A fair number of Swallows were passing through with about 80 seen over the island and a single House Martin. Three Pied and a White Wagtail were noted, also a Wheatear towards the north end. A Peregrine sat on the rocks west of the lifeboat house for a few minutes, then late morning a Willow Warbler appeared in the old obs garden and a Whimbrel called from the shore.

Tuesday 6 September 2016

6th September 2016

Weather: W force 2/3
A brief late afternoon visit logged 2 Wheatears, 2 Pied Wagtails and a Rock Pipit on the island and 10 Gannets on the sea. Unusually for recent times Grey Herons outnumbered Little Egrets by 8 to 3.

Monday 5 September 2016

5th September 2016

Weather: S force 4/5 rain and drizzle early

An adult winter Mediterranean Gull was in the recording area north of the marine lake. Two Wheatears were on Middle and another on the north of the main island with 2 Rock Pipits also there. A Willow Warbler appeared in the paddocks after the rain, the first for some days. An Arctic Skua chased terns distantly to the north while waders included a Whimbrel and a Bar-tailed Godwit.

Ringed: 1 Willow Warbler       [ 354-27 ]      

Saturday 3 September 2016

3rd September 2016

Weather: W then S force 2, light rain later
Another quiet day, 2 Gannets and a Common Scoter were on the sea, a surprise was a Grey Wagtail on the island.

Friday 2 September 2016

2nd September 2016

Weather: W force 3/4
A House Martin and a Wheatear were the only 2 migrants today, but a record of 2 Razorbills was the first for some time.

Thursday 1 September 2016

1st September 2016

Weather: Sw force 2/3
Highlights today were a Peregrine and 2 Wheatears.