Wednesday 30 November 2016

30th November 2016

Weather: W force 2, vis 30 miles

A very quiet day on the island but the Scaup was still on the east side, also a Little Egret. Eleven Purple Sandpipers roosted on the west side over tide.  A Song Thrush and 3 Redwing were in the sk paddock, 5 Robins and 8 Wrens were noted. A Dunnock and a Meadow Pipit were on middle.

Tuesday 29 November 2016

29th November 2016

Weather: SE 0/1, clear

A single Whooper Swan was seen going south, there was a Blackbird on middle and a Song Thrush on the north end with 10 Starling and a Redwing also noted. Three Pied Wagtails flew over separately and there were 3 Rock Pipits.
A male Scaup was close in on the east side as the tide rose, 163 Common Scoter  were counted with 1 Red-throated Diver and 5 Great Crested Grebes. Only 1 Purple Sandpiper was found but there were 130 Bar-tailed Godwit on the north shore with 120 Dunlin.
In the afternoon a Short-eared Owl was glimpsed briefly dropping behind the fence at the back of the heli trap, it was relocated in the bracken on the north end where a spectacular view was gained.

Monday 28 November 2016

28th November 2016

Weather: NE force 1/2
Best bird of today was a male Scaup that was off the north end after the tide. The only small migrants were 2 Skylarks and a Pied Wagtail overhead, with just the regular birds, (4 Robins, 4 Wrens, 1 Blackbird, 2 Rock Pipits etc.) on the ground. Only 6 Purple Sandpipers could be found, a meagre number compared to years gone by. Up to 5,000 Knot were between the islands and the shore after the tide.
Grey Plover  (CJ)

Brent Geese flying up the east side  (CJ)

Sunday 27 November 2016

27th November 2016

Weather: E 0/1 increasing to 2 later, vis 5mls, mist.

On the walk over in the dark, 48 Redwing were counted by call although no thrushes were found on the islands. A single Red-throated Diver was on a very calm sea with 7 Great Crested Grebes and about 2,000 Common Scoter .
Over the tide 2,500 Oystercatcher roosted on middle and after the tide there were 80 Redshank, 54 Bar-tailed Godwits, 124 Turnstone and 2 Grey Plover feeding at the bottom of the gutter. Twenty one Curlew were also noted.
The only passerine movement seen was a single Pied Wagtail going East over the north end, a Kestrel was viewed briefly over the south end and there were 7 Wrens, 3 Robin, 2 Rock Pipit and 3 Meadow Pipits on the island.
The flat calm was ideal for spotting 2 Harbour Porpoise in the swash, they were observed for 5 mins circling around in the same area (probably feeding) before heading out to sea.
A count of 19 Grey seals on the haul out was very low and possibly due to the cold east wind.

Saturday 26 November 2016

26th November 2016

Weather: light air, some thick fog
A very brief afternoon visit found the new colour ringed Brent (see 23rd) still present.

Friday 25 November 2016

25th November 2016

Weather: E force 1
A better than average day for this time of year. Twelve Redwing were heard on the journey over first thing with another 2 seen later, also 2 Song Thrush and 8 Blackbirds present on the island with a Goldcrest in the obs garden. Other migrants were 6 Skylarks, 4 Starlings, a Chaffinch, a Sparrowhawk, and most unusual was a flock of 28 Lapwings settled at the tide edge near Little Eye. Pink-footed Geese passed over in a flock of 160 and another group of 60 moving to the north east. Shelduck were counted at 450, and 4 Wigeon were also recorded. Seven hundred and forty eight Cornorants exited the esatuary at dawn. Four Little Egrets and 2 Grey Herons were present and some wader counts were 520 Curlew, 79 Redshank and 105 Turnstone.

Thursday 24 November 2016

24th November 2016

Weather: ENE force 3, frost, wind chill.
Three Redwings were heard going over early morning, and during the day groups of 3, 10 and 12 Skylarks did likewise. A Goldcrest was in the new obs garden first thing with 4 Blackbirds on the island, one of which was caught for ringing (below,JE).
Ninety Turnstones and 120 Sanderling were noted but just 2 Purple Sandpipers were logged this morning, together with the now regular Rock Pipits (2) and Little Egrets (4).
On the West Kirby marine lake this morning, the 2 Goosanders were still present, also 5 Red-breasted Mergansers.
Ringed: 1 Blackbird, 1 Wren     [ 520-30 ]

Wednesday 23 November 2016

23nd November 2016

Weather: NE 3 rain early
A Brent Goose with colour rings that we have not seen before was found this morning. It was ringed in Iceland this spring and has a blue ring on the right leg with a number 7, and a yellow ring on the left with the letter P. Two Skylarks passed over and 25 Bar-tailed Godwits flew west, earlier 380 Cormorants flew out of the eastuary at dawn. The 2 Goosanders that were found yesterday were still on the West Kirby marine lake.

Monday 21 November 2016

21st November 2016

Weather: NE force 3/4
A Chaffinch was on the island and 2 Mute Swans flew east. Fifty five Redshanks were in the gutter.

Sunday 20 November 2016

20th November 2016

A cold NE wind greeted observers this morning at first light. 13 Black-tailed Godwits moved West overhead, with several flocks of Knot numbering 4000 in total moved through the estuary during the morning.
A Grey Seal was hauled out at the North End of the island, above, and the colour ringed Brent Goose HDRB was feeding on the Whale Back, below.

A Kestrel was the only raptor of note, below.
All photos  AEH

Wednesday 16 November 2016

16th November 2016

Weather: SW 5/6 vis 10 mls, later W 7/8
Cormorants counted  leaving the estuary on the walk over numbered 221 and a Peregrine was disturbed on Middle eye.
Circa 7,000 Oystercatcher roosted on the islands over the high tide but were frequently disturbed by waves breaking over the top of Middle and the west side of Hilbre. About 50 Dunlin and 21 Redshank tried to roost on the top of the north end but again were driven off by the heavy seas and were later found in Niffy bay along with 23 Turnstone and 4 Purple Sandpiper. The only other waders noted were 23 Bar-tailed Godwits.
The rough conditions and waves breaking over the north end made a sea watch unwise.
The only other birds noted on this blustery day were a Rock Pipit, 3 Crows, 7 Wren, 3 Robin and a Dunnock.

Monday 14 November 2016

14th November 2016

Weather: S 2/3 vis 10 mls, light rain clearing later

Another seal was found hauled out today, this time in the cove at the south end of Middle Eye – a very unusual spot but it was a young Grey Seal and may have just made a mistake, no injuries were noted and it was gone after the tide.

A 2 hour sea watch yielded c 5,000 Common Scoter, 500 Cormorant 3 Red-throated Diver and 14 Great Crested Grebe.

There were more Wrens about today with 12 counted along with 2 Blackbirds 7 Robin and 2 Rock Pipit.

The Brent geese were strung out between Little Eye and Red Rocks over the tide with a good count of 1 dark and 207 pale bellied along with 14 Shelduck.
Oystercatchers numbered 8,000 over the tide and 39 Turnstone roosted along with 10 Purple Sandpipers in purple pockets on the west side of the island.

After the tide 5 Grey Plover, 20 Curlew, 21 Bar-tailed Godwits and 45 Redshank were counted . Three Little Egrets and a Grey Heron were also present.

Photo by CCS

Sunday 13 November 2016

13th November 2016

Weather:  NW force 3
Shore birds counted on the island today included 7,000 Oystercatchers, 65 Bar-tailed Godwits, 50 Turnstones and 7 Purple Sandpipers, while sea birds seen were 1 Red-throated Diver, 5 Great Crested Grebes and 3 Guillemots. The only obvious small arrivals were 2 Skylarks, others on the island would probably be winter visitors such as Song Thrush, Robins and Wrens.
Our own insect specialist was joined today by 2 colleagues from Stockholm Museum who enjoyed a pleasant day on the island.
Ringed: 1 Wren, 1 Song Thrush.       [ 518-30 ]

Saturday 12 November 2016

12th November 2016

Rain and fog in the morning but a Snow Bunting livened up the North End.

Three Scaup flew past. Waders on the tide edge included 55 Bar-tailed Godwits; c.6,000 Knot flocked over Little Eye.

The only downed migrants were 7 Blackbirds and a Goldcrest.

Highlight of the evening was a Short-eared Owl hunting over the South End by moonlight, presumably the same bird that had been flushed from Middle Eye in the afternoon.

Sabellaria reef

Photos by GB

Tuesday 8 November 2016

8th November 2016

Weather: South 1 vis 35mls decreasing as rain came in later, the first snow was on the Carneddi


A male and 2 female Pintail were seen flying west early on and Bar-tailed Godwit numbers had increased to 105 with 7 Little Egrets and a single Grey Heron. 

Purple Sandpipers now number five and 240 Dunlin were seen in two separate flocks, the Pale-bellied Brents were difficult to count today but 120 were noted, also 25 Shelduck and 250 Oystercatcher; one with what was probably a very old worn colour ring difficult to read.

Three Whooper Swans flew over the island going east.

Gull numbers had fallen today after yesterday's razor shell feast with 100 Black-headed and 400 Herring.

There was a small thrush passage with a male and female Blackbird, a Song Thrush and 2 Redwing, 6 Skylarks also flew over.

Seven Crows were around the islands with the usual small numbers of Wren, Robin and Dunnock.  A flock of 28 Linnets came in just before the rain started.

The unwell Grey Seal was still hauled out on the rocks at the North End.

Monday 7 November 2016

7th November 2016

Weather: NE 3, 4/8 cloud, good vis

A razor shell wreck on parts of the east Hoyle led to over 1,000 Herring Gull and 100 Black-headed Gull on the sands at the bottom of the gutter feeding on them.

A single Jackdaw flew high over the island going west but the only other bird movements noted were 2 Skylark, 5 Goldfinch, a Blackbird and 9 Linnets.

A nice surprise was a family of Whooper Swans on the sea just off the North End, 2 adults and 4 juveniles (see photo above).

Also on the sea were 450 Cormorants and a single Purple Sandpiper was noted on the tide edge.

There were 3,500 Oystercatcher, 48 Bar-tailed Godwits and the Brent Geese were counted at 181 with the Canadian ringed bird present again.

A Grey Seal was hauled out on the North End all day and, sadly, looked to be ill.

Belated news came of a single Snow Bunting seen at c9am; perhaps the bird first seen at West Kirby salt marsh two weeks ago.

Photos by JE

Saturday 5 November 2016

5th November 2016

Weather: N 5/6 vis 10mls increasing to 25mls

The Brent numbers today were 197, they seem to be arriving in small groups each day now. Fifty six Bar-tailed Godwits and 102 Redshank with 1 Grey Plover were feeding at the end of the gutter before the tide, and over the tide 4 Purple Sandpiper roosted on the west side. A quick look at the sea only found 2 Great Crested Grebes and 8 Common Scoter whilst just 1 Goldcrest, 3 Wrens and 3 Carrion Crows braved the main island in the strong northerly.

Thursday 3 November 2016

3rd November 2016

Weather: S 2 vis 30mls, decreasing with rain later.
The Brent geese today numbered 188 pale and 1 dark bellied, counted before the tide. Thirteen Wigeon were noted flying west at the  north end with 6 Great Crested Grebe and 45 Common Scoter on the sea. A Kestrel was around the islands but passerines were sadly lacking with a single Goldcrest and yesterdays Chaffinch briefly joined by a second bird. Only one Skylark was heard flying over but around high tide 2 Whooper swans flew west to east over the centre of the island, coincidentally about the same time in relation to the tide as the 13 birds on 1st Nov. Sixty Nine Bar-tailed Godwits were counted with 5 Little Egrets and a single Grey Heron, on the way off 2 Grey Plover were calling and 74 Shelduck  flew north up the estuary.