Friday 29 December 2017

29th December 2017

Weather: W force 7
An afternoon visit in a near gale found 80 Common Scoter and the Eiders up to 6 in number.

Wednesday 27 December 2017

27th December 2017

Weather: NNW force 5

A cold wind greeted observers this morning with a wind chill of -2C.
The Eiders, now back up to 5 in number were favouring the East channel as normal.

A Peregrine patrolled Middle Eye and amongst the Brent Geese was the Icelandic colour ringed bird.

A flock of 300 Knot also had 6 Grey Plover with it and other waders logged included 35 Bar-tailed Godwits, 60 Redshank and 65 Curlew.
photos AEH

Sunday 24 December 2017

24th December 2017

Weather: WSW 3/4  vis 30 mls
A brief pre Christmas visit found 293 Brent Geese, mostly around the north end and including 2 colour ringed birds. 
The Eider count was back up to 5 and 40 Common Scoter were off the East Hoyle.
Sixty four Curlew were noted but there were few small waders about, although 20 Redshank were in the gutter, also a single Little Egret.
A Kestrel was seen hunting on the south end of Hilbre and the usual Wrens and Robins were about, along with 3 Song Thrush and a Blackbird.
photos AS

Saturday 23 December 2017

23rd December 2017

Weather: SW force 2, fog for the first 2 hours after dawn, then sunny

It was a pleasantly warm after the sun burnt off the fog, and the presence of a  few Meadow Pipits and a Woodpigeon made it seem almost like early spring. A Starling that sat on top of the mast may also be considered a migrant of a kind.

North Wales looked like an island itself poking above the fog just after dawn (see below).

The Eiders are now down to four, they have steadily declined in numbers over the last few weeks, while other ducks today included a group of 6 Pintail flying off the west side and a female Wigeon closely passing the north end. 

Best of the waders this morning were 269 Bar-tailed Godwits feeding on the north shore. Unfortunately no Purple Sandpipers were logged at low tide, while other wader numbers were unremarkable, although 60 Redshanks were in the east gutter until a Peregrine did a spectacular swoop to reduce them to 59.

Also present this morning were 250 Brent, 18 Shelduck, 2 Great Crested Grebes, 40 Common Scoter, 1 Little Egret, 1 Grey Heron, and of course the regular small semi-residents on the island including 6 Robins, 4 Song Thrush, 1 Blackbird, 5 Wrens and a Rock Pipit. 

Meanwhile, the maintenance team took the opportunity to make some much needed repairs to the ringing room roof.

Friday 22 December 2017

22nd December 2017

Weather: Calm, thick fog vis 20 yards

Very little could be seen in the thick fog, nevertheless one observer braved the weather (not a good idea for the inexperienced) and logged a few birds:- 2 Song Thrushes, 1 Blackbird, 4 Meadow Pipits, 2 Robins, 7 Wrens, 1 Grey Plover, 1 Grey Heron.

Wednesday 20 December 2017

Tim Cleeves 1951-2017

The following link is an obituary for Tim Cleeves who sadly passed away in the early hours of Saturday 16th December 2017.

(Photograph by BSB) 

Tim was warden of Hilbre Islands LNR between 1977-1981 and was a great friend to the Obs and many of its members.  "The big one travels alone" has certainly become part of the Obs' parlance each year to keep us going during those quiet days (and weeks!) and it will forever be remembered in Tim's broad Bristol accent.

(Photograph by SRW - Tim doing the log call during his last visit to Hilbre in September 2016) 

The obituary is written by Obs member Andy Stoddart and published on the Rare Bird Alert website; Tim was a big part of the rare bird scene in the UK for many decades.

Our thoughts are with Tim's wife Ann and their two daughters Sarah and Ruth and his grandchildren.

Monday 18 December 2017

18th December 2017

Weather: WNW 1/2  calm later, vis 5 mls

There were 2 Grey Herons present, with one flying up from the pond as observers arrived.

Brent Geese spent the tide on the water around the islands and a good count of 311 was made, also about were six Great Crested Grebe, five Eider, 24 Common Scoter and 18 Shelduck.

A Herring Gull on the North End looked like it had been stood up, although it waited with a gift for about 10 minutes.

Roosting over the tide were 6,500 Oystercatcher, 100 Turnstone and three Purple Sandpiper.

On the East Hoyle after tide were 300 Dunlin, 100 Grey Plover, 30 Ringed Plover, 94 Curlew and 80 Redshank. A flock of Knot estimated at 7,000 were in the air just south of Little Eye.

A male and a female Blackbird, together with four Song Thrush were around the gardens, also 18 Meadow Pipit.

A single Skylark flew overhead.  

Sunday 17 December 2017

17th December 2017

Weather: SSE 1-2, rain arriving during the morning

A red sky dawn soon made way for rain but didn’t dampen efforts in the field.

Great numbers of waders were making the best of no disturbance on all 3 islands with 6000 Oystercatcher, a dancing Ariel display by 8000 Knot over West Kirby beach, 250 Redshank, 175 Turnstone and 9 Purple Sandpipers which again favoured the North end roost sites.

It was also very much a duck day too with the first 3 Goldeneye of the Winter below the Obs, 2 Wigeon, 6 Scaup West of Little Eye, 5 Eider, 6 Teal and a female Goosander which drifted out with the tide towards Red Rocks.

Passerines on the main island included 7 Song Thrush, 2 Blackbird and 3 Rock Pipit.  Nine Linnet were on Middle Eye.

A single Snipe was a bonus heading off the island.

Friday 15 December 2017

15th December 2017

Weather:  NW 3, with almost full cloud cover, but good visibility

It was a very quiet day but there was a large gathering of gulls (mostly Herring) on the East Hoyle sandbank after the tide, no signs of a wreck of either Starfish or Razors could be seen so the attraction remains a mystery.

Brent Geese were counted at 282 and over the tide they were very flighty with two separate groups looking as if they were flying out of the area but then returning.

Only 25 Common Scoter, 18 Shelduck, two Great Crested Grebe and the five Eider were observed on the sea.

Turnstone numbers had risen today to 152, but counts of other waders were lower than yesterday, with 2,200 Oystercatcher, 91 Curlew, 1 Grey Plover, 4 Sanderling, 150 Dunlin and 48 Redshank. However, 5 Purple Sandpiper were found hunkering down out of the wind on the west side.

A Rock Pipit was at the North End and the usual Wrens, Robins, Song Thrushes and a Blackbird were about the island.