Thursday 31 May 2018

31st May 2018

Weather: SE force 1/2, heavy mist
A Willow Warbler was trapped first thing and then continued singing throughout the morning in the paddocks, a late record of a male. A female Blackcap and a Reed Warbler ended up in the obs garden mist net before long. Reed Warbler is truly a very scarce bird here, there have been less than a dozen ever and is therefore rarer than Yellow-browed Warbler on the island!.

 It's congener Sedge Warbler, often a companion in reeds was also caught a little later.
From early in the day Swifts were hawking over the island, not in large numbers but at least a dozen passed through before noon.

A Tree Pipit called overhead, as did a Redpoll, more late records for the last day of May, and just as unexpected was a male House Sparrow that flew constantly around the top end of the island and caused some consternation at first by the very white cheeked appearance of this individual in the sunshine. It is also an unusual Hilbre bird, but nowhere near so as Reed Warbler.
The 2 Eiders were today again on the whaleback and 4 Grey Herons and a Little Egret were present.
Just before the tide about 35 Canada Geese flew north between Little Eye and the West Kirby shore.
All in all, a good day for so late in spring.

Ringed: 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Meadow Pipit  [ 394-28 ]
photos SRW,CJ

Wednesday 30 May 2018

30th May 2018

Weather:  East 0-1, 8/8 cloud, moderate to poor visibility
A very quiet day, as is often expected at this time of year, was livened up by the capture and ringing of two Willow Warblers a single Wren (with a brood patch - obvious signs of breeding on the island) and perhaps most surprisingly for the second day running a new male Linnet.
Thirty Eight Dunlin, 3 Sanderling and a single Turnstone were noted around the islands along with 6 Ringed Plover but little else of note bird-wise was observed apart from the two immature drake Eider.
Four Shelduck remained around the islands early in the day but focus was once again on insects with a single Painted Lady noted along with a Common Blue butterfly.
 Ringed: 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Wren, 1 Linnet                   [ 389-27 ]
photos SRW

Tuesday 29 May 2018

29th May 2018

Weather:  ENE 0-1, 0/8 cloud, poor visibility (with slight mist) first thing
Two Willow Warblers were caught and ringed during the morning and a single Whitethroat was noted around the island during the day between the Obs garden and the Buoymasters House but evaded the heligoland traps and the Obs garden mist net.
A single adult male Linnet was caught and ringed which is noteworthy as it has been a good spring for Linnets but we would not expect to be still catching new birds at the end of May.
Two Shelduck were on Wheatear Hill at dawn - let’s hope like the Mallards they successfully manage to get their young off the islands before the fox intervenes.
Insects were again prevalent with Common Blue (below), Painted Lady, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral and three species of white butterfly noted along with a Brimstone moth.
The overnight light trap produced a nice array of species including ‘the usual suspects’ at this time of year such as Marbled Coronet and Common Swift, and (shown below) Netted Pug, Willow Beauty, Flame Shoulder  to name a few and the junior team of ‘mothers’ diligently recorded them for the Obs.
Ringed: 2 Willow Warblers, 1 Linnet       [ 385-27 ]
photos SRW

Monday 28 May 2018

28th May 2018

Weather: No wind first thing, then variable but light, warm and sunny
A clear sky almost guaranteed there would be less migrants this morning, and so it proved. A Whitethroat, a Wheatear, a couple of Willow Warblers and a Chiffchaff were the sum total apart from the 6 House Martins and a Sand Martin passing through. The Chiffchaff caused some puzzlement as in some ways it was atypical of the collybita subspecies we normally see and thoughts were given to a more exotic origin. Full biometrics were taken and enquiries are on going and time may tell.

Two Yellow-legged Gulls were off the west side soon after dawn, an adult and a second summer. A Merlin was on the ridge south of Middle mid morning, an unusual time of year to be here.
The same could be said of the 2 Eiders which seem out of place in the early summer sunshine.
A Woodpigeon flew towards Middle, odd ones have been present on may days recently. Waders still here included 120 Dunlin, 61 Sanderling, 3 Whimbrel and a Bar-tailed Godwit. A Fulmar flew passed the island and dozens of Gannets were feeding with the terns and 2 Harbour Porpoises swan up the west side. Another new moth species was identified today after the 3 yesterday, this time it glories in the name Blastobasis lacticolella

Butterflies enjoyed the fine weather and showing today amongst others were 2 Painted Ladies, 2 Red Admirals, 2 Hummingbird Hawk Moths.

Ringed:  2 Meadow Pipits (juvenile), 1 Whitethroat, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff.   [ 382-27 ]
photos SRW,GB,LC

Sunday 27 May 2018

27th May 2018

Weather:  East 1-2, 2/8 cloud, light showers early on
The day began with a singing Sedge Warbler in ‘Pallas’s Privet’, a sign of things to come with 5 Sedge Warblers recorded throughout the day including 4 birds caught.  It is quite late in the spring for numbers of Sedge Warbler to be arriving or indeed Whitethroats of which 3 were trapped and ringed.
A Spotted Flycatcher was present early but didn't stay long enough to be ringed but in compensation the first Garden Warbler of the year appeared in the SK trap mid morning and completed the usual set of summer visitors for the island this year.
A prominent feature of today was the passage of Swifts, until now very scarce this spring, 75 in total moving through with a few Swallows and 2 House Martins. A Raven flew out of the estuary early on and other records today were 18 Gannets, 3 Whimbrel, the 2 Eiders and a single Wheatear. A Hummingbird Hawk Moth fed on the Valerian.
Three species of White butterfly were also out, also Orange Tip and lots of Silver Y moths, and with our own expert entomologist on the island it was no surprise that 3 new insects for the island were found.
Below in order; Timothy tortrix (larva), Miller moth, Grapholita compositella.
 While nice pictures were also taken of less rare but colourful species today below; in order Cuckoo bee, Yellow-tailed moth caterpillar, and a species of ruby-tailed wasp.
Ringed: 4 Sedge Warbler, 3 Whitethroat, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Linnet.
{ 377-27 ]
photos, SRW,BT,GB+LC

Saturday 26 May 2018

26th May 2018

Weather: E force 1/2  heavy mist, hazy sun and warm.
The wind direction was variable before settling in the east and a touch of south at first provided a small flow of migrants to the island. The first Spotted Flycatcher of the year was soon followed by 2 others, a few Willow Warblers and a Chiffchaff on the ground. Three Spotted Flycatchers in a day is exceptional for us and most welcome.
Two Swifts screamed as they crossed Middle heading east early on, a rare sight this spring, but no extra Swallows or Martins joined the breeding pairs feeding over the island.
A Woodpigeon flew around the island and just as it crossed the obs garden going to Middle a Fulmar came low over the garden heading in the opposite direction. Fulmar reconnaissance visits are noted here most years in late spring. The Blue Tit from 3 days ago was glimpsed in the heli garden early morning but not later on, although it may still be there. Few waders were about at high tide, just 14 Dunlin, 4 Ringed Plover and 2 Whimbrel could be found in addition to the 300 or so Oystercatchers. The Eiders were not seen this morning but a single Common Scoter was at the north end and a  Guillemot sat on a rock on the west side as the tide approached.
Breeding birds are now seen carrying food for their young, and others nesting material.
Meadow Pipit
The island flowers are now at their very best.

An Orange Tip butterfly flew with the many Small Whites in the sunshine.
Ringed: 3 Spotted Flycatchers, 4 Willow Warblers, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Meadow Pipit.  [ 366-26 ]
photos CJ,JE

Friday 25 May 2018

25th May 2018

Weather:NW force 1, dry early, rain in the afternoon.
Two Greenland Wheatears and a House Martin were the only true migrants on the island this morning apart from the Blue Tit which has been here since Wednesday.
Blue Tit
Meadow Pipits
Some sea watching produced records of 2 Harbour Porpoises, a Red-throated Diver, 3 Gannets, 10 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Common Scoter with 45 Sandwich and 25 Common Terns.
Best of the shore birds were 2 Grey Herons, 2 Little Egrets and 4 Whimbrel, while the 2 Eiders and 12 Shelduck were around and about.

photos AS 

Thursday 24 May 2018

24th May 2018

Weather: E   1   vis 5mls
A Blue Tit could be heard frequently but would not show itself, presumably yesterday’s bird. A single Wheatear was again present and two extra Swallows had joined the eight breeding birds on the island, both male and female Pied Wagtail were seen.
The 2 Eider were off the west side and 4 Shelduck flew over Middle. The sea was very quiet with only 8 Gannet and a couple each of Great Crested Grebe and Guillemot, although Sandwich Tern numbers had increased to 120 with a good number on the rocks in the lagoon as the tide ebbed. Common Tern numbered 35 with a couple feeding close to the west side
A small flock of 23 Dunlin roosted at the North End over tide along with 7 Turnstone, a couple of which were in summer plumage.

Three Whimbrel were also present. A Peregrine was on the sands between the islands and Red Rocks, 1 Little Egret and 3 Heron were feeding around the islands from first light. 
photos AS

Wednesday 23 May 2018

23rd May 2018

Weather: ESE force 2 with mist
Highlight of today was a Blue Tit, a scarce Hilbre bird and the first this year, which was caught for ringing.
Almost as scarce here was the appearance of 6 Mute Swans at the islands.
Migrants included 2 male Whitethroats, a Greenland Wheatear, 2 Sand Martins and a House Martin.
Six Little Egrets were the best number for some time, with 4 Grey Herons and 3 Whimbrel also logged.
Butterflies out today included 5 Large White, 6 Small White, 3 Green-veined White, a Red Admiral and a Common Blue.
Ringed: 1 Blue Tit          [ 357-25 ]
photo SRW

Tuesday 22 May 2018

22nd May 2018

Weather: WNW  3-4 decreasing later, vis 5 mls

The only waders around the island today were 150 Oystercatcher and 2 Whimbrel, they were all disturbed by a Peregrine high over the north shore and probably the same bird was seen later, with prey on the East Hoyle. From a boat 250 Sanderling were seen flying west off the north of Hilbre.
The change in wind direction today seemed to have pushed in more Gannets with 146 noted along with 28 Guillemot, 12 Common Scoter and about 100 of mixed Sandwich and Common Terns. The 2 immature male Eider were on the west side and 2 Shelduck to the east of Middle, a male Mallard was on the pond at first light but soon disappeared. Two Little Egret and a Heron were also noted.
There were no migrants today but the first juvenile Meadow Pipit was seen by the Canoe Club, indeed many of the Pipits were carrying food today.
A single Harbour Porpoise was seen off the North End. Two male Orange Tip and a male Green Veined White were the best of the many butterflies around when the sun came out after the tide.
photos AS

Monday 21 May 2018

21st May 2018

Weather: ESE   with light airs vis 8 mls with a light mist around the estuary.

A short visit after the early morning tide found the islands as quiet as expected with 2 House Martin briefly joining the breeding swallows over the island, a Collared Dove landed on the S.K trap...
  and 2 Jackdaw inspected every chimney pot on the island.
Two Goldfinch were present and it is suspected by some that they may be a breeding pair, time will tell… or not.
Six Little Egret were at the south end of the reef, (a better count than of late) and 2 Grey Heron were present. Two Shelduck were in the gutter but waders have almost disappeared with a small flock of 45 Dunlin and a few Oystercatcher about.
Terns numbered 2 Little, 40 Sandwich and 10 Common. The 2 Eider are still about along with 22 Gannet, 7 Great Crested Grebe and 2 Guillemot on the sea.
photos AS

Sunday 20 May 2018

20th May 2018

Weather: SE force 2 mostly sunny
A late Willow Warbler was in the paddocks this morning but no sign of any of the larger warblers, and the only other grounded migrant was a single Wheatear. A Yellow Wagtail called as it passed through and 6 House Martins joined the Swallows feeding over the island and a Collared Dove flew south towards Middle being 'seen off' by the local Meadow Pipits. Despite the lack of numbers of birds it was nevertheless a very pleasant morning in the fine weather with lots of flowers now to admire.
There seem to be good numbers of breeding Linnets this year, although nationally they are in decline.

The 2 Eiders were again loafing off the west side and about 50 Gannets diving further out, with 3 Little Terns also identified amongst the other terns towards the west hoyle.
An Orange Tip butterfly flew again in the sunshine.
Ringed: 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Linnet        [ 356-24 ]