Thursday 30 November 2017

30th November 2017

Weather: NNW 5-6, good vis, 1/8 cloud

A brief visit produced the usual suspects with 250+ Brent Geese all hunkered down sensibly sheltering from the bitingly cold blustery northerly wind as well as 10 Eiders split into smaller groups around the East side and off the North End.

Waders were again evident around the ebbing gutter but counting was difficult today.

A single Little Egret was also sheltering behind the reefs before temporarily sitting out by the gutter.

At least three Song Thrushes and a single Blackbird were noted on the island but there had been no obvious cold weather arrival yet. 

Wednesday 29 November 2017

29th November 2017

Weather: NNW force 3/4,  35 mls vis, wind chill

A very cold feeling morning but with a bright and cheerful look to the islands. Eleven Eiders were still off the east side as the tide receded although there was little else to excite on a brief sea watch, just a distant 300 Common Scoters. Shorebirds about the island today included 80 Common Gulls, 3 Little Egrets, 25 Shelduck, 18 Ringed Plover, the odd Dunlin and Curlew also a Bar-tailed Godwit.

The Brent co-operated by massing on the west side after the tide and enabling a good count of 309 plus a dark-bellied bird. A Peregrine was near Little Eye early on this morning. Flocks of Knot totalling about 4,000 passed over the sea north of the island apparently heading from North Wales to the Lancashire shore.

In the paddocks 4 Song Thrushes and a Blackbird escaped the ringers.

Saturday 25 November 2017

25th November 2017

Weather: NW force 4/5 gusty with hail showers, wind chill
A short visit in uncomfortable weather found 11 Eiders still at the north end of the island, but only 3 Purple Sandpipers were evident at the low tide. A group of 38 Bar-tailed Godwits fed off the east side with 40 Redshanks and a Grey Plover. A Common Snipe flew up from the east gutter and went off towards the West Kirby shore.
The choppy sea was hard to scan in the wind, but a Red-breasted Merganser flew west as did an adult and juvenile Kittiwake. Forty Common Scoter were seen at distance.
Several small groups of Starlings went through in addition to a flock of about 250 seen off the east side. In the paddocks were 2 Blackbirds and 2 Song Thrushes and a few Wrens and Robins.
Later in the morning a juvenile Peregrine sat by Little Eye and seemed unconcerned by any nearby activity.
Ringed: 1 Blackbird                                 [ 626- 35 ]
photo CJ

Thursday 23 November 2017

23rd November 2017

Weather: WSW force 6/7
An uncomfortable windy day on the island found 12 Eiders still hanging about, it is some years since so many have spent so long here, hopefully they may now winter. Waders counted on the high tide included 3,900 Oystercatchers, 60 Grey Plover, 250 Knot, 60 Redshank, 80 Turnstone, a Bar-tailed Godwit and a single Purple Sandpiper. Numbers of Purple Sandpipers have been so erratic so far this early winter it is possible they are moving around the coasts of north Wirral. Four Starlings went through and on the island were 3 Song Thrushes, a Blackbird and 3 Wrens, all of which may be wintering, also a visiting Chaffinch.
Ringed: 1 Song Thrush              [ 625-35 ]

Monday 20 November 2017

20th November 2017

Weather: WSW 5-6, 7/8 cloud, mild, good viz

A thoroughly pleasant late autumn/early winter's day saw the now regular flock of Eider in the gutter with eight birds present in addition to three others just off the North End over the tide.

A single Snipe flew over the sole observer as they approached the island as the the tide flooded and, unusually, it landed on the rocks but skulked off and could not be relocated for a photograph.

Nine Purple Sandpipers were roosting at the North End sheltering out of the blustery westerly breeze.

The three Eiders seemed to be enjoying riding the waves and swimming and diving in the frothy sea and likewise several flocks of Common Scoter were noted totally 350 birds.

Other sea watching highlights included single Red-throated Diver and 3 Great Crested Grebes but not a single auk.

As the tide dropped the Pale-bellied Brents moved up from Little Eye and began to feed between the islands and to the west of the pool with a minimum 280 birds counted including a colour-ringed bird previously ringed on Iceland on passage to/from the Canadian Arctic breeding grounds.

Two Song Thrushes and a single Blackbird were noted on the island but no pipits of any species were seen today. 

Sunday 19 November 2017

19th November 2017

Weather: S E force 1/2

The weather could not have been better for a November day and despite the temperature never getting above 8 centigrade it felt warm. It was a 'webs' count day so it was pleasing to find 8 Purple Sandpipers in two different roosts. There were 5 in a roost on the north west cliffs (first picture) but the second picture shows the second roost of 3 birds at the north end.
 Three Eiders turned up over the tide, 
There was also a single Common Scoter lounging about but no Red-throated Divers, Grebes or Auks and it was very quiet approaching the high tide, just a few Cormorants about, although some Brent Geese roosted on the south end of the main island with the Oystercatchers.
The southerly wind probably accounted for the movement of 4 Blackbirds, 2 Song Thrushes and 9 Meadow Pipits. One of the Song Thrushes was an adult, the majority we get are first years, but this one can be seen to have no thorn shaped orange tips to the greater coverts, one of the indicators of an adult.
A Merlin made an appearance and was the only raptor noted today.
Ringed: 1 Blackbird, 2 Song Thrushes       [ 624-35 ]
photos JE

Sunday 12 November 2017

12th November 2017

Weather: NW force 6/7  showers

                                                  A stormy morning first thing, 
               Eleven Eider still loafing between Middle and the North end.

              A Single Blackbird and 4 Robin were all keeping low in the inclement weather.
              Sixty Starling headed west passed Little Eye with a Peregrine sitting on the rocks there too.
             The tide was still covering the top path 2 hours after tide, the wind keeping the tide in.

            One hundred and twenty Shelduck were east of the island.
 photos AEH

Wednesday 8 November 2017

8th November 2017

Weather: W force 2, later NW 3 clear, cold and sunny
Early in the morning there was a massive flyover of Starlings low over the island towards the north west, the first flock comprised over a thousand birds and smaller groups followed making approximately two thousand in total.
Eleven Wigeon were on the north shore tide edge and 12 Eiders were eventually found when they all gathered at the north end. Only a single Purple Sandpiper was seen, the best waders were a flock of 14 Bar-tailed Godwits flying and another sat by the slipway.  

Generally the paddocks were very quiet although a single Blackbird and 2 Song Thrushes were about and passing through 2 Goldfinches a Chaffinch, 2 Pied Wagtails and about a dozen Meadow Pipits.
photos CJ

Tuesday 7 November 2017

7th November 2017

The wind was SE 2 on the walk over with visibility of 5 mls, upon arrival on the island the wind switched to the west, the rain started and visibility dropped to 1 mile.
It was a strange dawn below  the low raincloud and the glow reflected on the rocks below the observatory.
Starlings were moving despite the weather and over 600  (in 1 hour) were seen to come out of the estuary in small groups and travel north down the islands.
The only other birds noted were 8 Eider and a Purple Sandpiper on the north end and 3 Song Thrush, a Blackbird and Chaffinch in the gardens.
photos AS