Friday 29 June 2018

29th June 2018

Weather: East  1 with good visibility early but heat haze later.

The islands are looking very parched due to the lack of rain.
The Rock Sea Lavender can cope quite happily with little water and is looking good despite the drought.
A line of 38 Common Scoter  flew east just after the tide, followed by 3 more later. Fourteen Curlew and a Bar-tailed Godwit were west of Middle, 2 Little Egret and a Heron fed in the Gutter.
Eleven Swift flew over the North End early in the day all going east. All that could be seen on the islands were the usual breeding birds.
 A Harbour Propoise was seen off to the west from the north end.
photos AS

Thursday 21 June 2018

21st June 2018

Weather:  NW 4-5, 4/8 cloud, good vis

A brief visit on a fine day produced an excellent count of 583 Atlantic Grey Seals on the West Hoyle sandbank.

There was a slight increase in Black-headed Gulls with 13 noted along with 85 Common Terns and 12 Sandwich Terns feeding around the mouth of the estuary.

Linnets were very much in evidence with recently fledged youngsters of varying ages around the gardens and paddocks.

The islands are looking very arid at the moment.

Wednesday 20 June 2018

20th June 2018

Weather:  SW 4, backing NW 5, 7/8 cloud increasing to 8/8 with showers later

The highlight of an otherwise quiet day was 11 Manx Shearwaters noted on the seawatch and the single Eider was still present around the 'Whaleback' at the North End.
Ringed: 4 Swallows    [ 411-29 ]

Tuesday 19 June 2018

19th June 2018

Weather: WNW  3 increasing to 5 later with good visibility

Curlew which have failed to breed are starting to return and nineteen were around Little Eye following the morning tide, with 3 Heron looking like they had roosted on Middle. A Little Egret was wing flapping in the rock pools to startle fish into movement  and three more fished in the Gutter.
There were singles of Ringed Plover, Turnstone and Bar-tailed Godwit. Eleven Swallows were around the islands and 7 Swift flew over. As the wind increased following the afternoon tide, 10 Manx Shearwater were seen from the obs balcony, also on the sea were 13 Gannet and 7 Great Crested Grebe.
Although the mass of  floral colour has now gone from the island, there are still little gems like the Sheep’s -bit  to be found.
 Also found but not quite as photogenic, was a mass of  brown algae probably washed up by last Thursday’s storm (still attached to its rock anchor). This is thought to be of the genus Desmarestia, possibly Mermaid’s Hair.  
 photos AS

Monday 18 June 2018

18th June 2018

Weather: WNW force 5 decreasing slowly
 From the moth trap last night: Peppered moth and Buff Arches, both relatively common but scarce on this small island.

In the morning a Swift flew briefly around sheltered by the east cliffs.
The high tide in the middle of the afternoon produced 2 Manx Shearwaters and 2 Arctic Skuas, also 44 Gannets and 11 Guillemot.
The immature Eider appeared as the tide came in.

Ringed: 2 Linnets, 1 Meadow Pipit.                    [ 407-28 ]
photos GB

Sunday 17 June 2018

17th June 2018

Weather: SSW force 2/3
The Swallows in the lookout fledged today with 5 or 6 juveniles seeing the world for the first time.
Lots of Gannets were on the sea, 113 seen today, also 9 Common Scoters, 45 Common Terns, 8 Sandwich Terns and a Guillemot. Meanwhile the immature Eider stays with us.
 photos AS

Saturday 16 June 2018

16th June 2018

Weather:SSE with rain at dawn, soon veering SW force 3/4
Very little to report today; on the log were the immature Eider, 21 Black Headed Gulls, 200 Herring Gulls, 23 Common and 10 Sandwich Terns, a Little Egret, 4 Grey Herons (2 of which were the first juveniles to appear around the islands),
also a Shelduck, a Great Crested Grebe, 900 Oystercatchers, 2 Curlew, 18 Meadow Pipits and 28 Linnets. There are still many Garden Tiger caterpillars amongst the grassy areas.
photos AS

Friday 15 June 2018

15th June 2018

Weather: WSW force 2
A sea watch today was productive when a Storm Petrel flew west passed the island. June is known to be a good month to find  a wandering Storm Petrel in the Irish sea. Sixty Six Gannets were also a good reward in fairly quiet winds. Eight Shelduck went north over tide with seven going west later, the regular pair were around the island. It has been an excellent year for the Swallows with at least 4 active nests, the latest found is in a totally natural site on one of the cliffs, an very unusual occurrence anywhere and surely the first such at Hilbre. The Pied Wagtails seem to have been successful with 2 juveniles present this morning.

An accurate count of Oystercatchers came up with 455, and they are just about the only waders present at Hilbre at the moment.
Thanks to Paul Slater for his seawatching records including the Storm Petrel 
photos AS

Thursday 14 June 2018

14th June 2018

Weather: SW  5- 6 reaching gusts of 7 later, good visibility

It was a great day for a sea watch and bird of the day was certainly Manx Shearwater with 328 counted going east towards Liverpool Bay, with the wind behind them they moved through very fast in groups of up to 30. Returning later and flying into the wind they were a bit easier to photograph.

Also logged were 9 Common Scoter and a good count of 9 Fulmar, 69 Gannet, 10 Guillemot and 10 Kittiwake.
A day that was worth being ‘trapped’ in the sea watching hide over tide for.
Thanks to Stan Davidson for his counts.
photos AS

Wednesday 13 June 2018

13th June 2018

Weather: SE force 1, rain later in the day
An adult male was on the sea today in addition to the regular immature male.
Lady's Bedstraw in flower
 Flocks of 18 and 12 Canada Geese were logged and 4 mute Swans flew up the estuary off the west side.

 photos AS

Tuesday 12 June 2018

12th June 2018

Weather:  E  1-2 vis 10 mls

A Woodpigeon flew over early and a juv. Pied Wagtail was on the obs fence late afternoon.
Three Black Tern flew east and one each of Manx Shearwater and Little Tern were off the North End. Two Knot roosted with 40 Dunlin on the north end of Middle over tide.
Nine Shelduck displayed on Wheatear Hill for about 15 mins.
photos AS

Monday 11 June 2018

11th June 2018

 Weather: NNW force 2
 A very quiet day. The Pied wagtails are finding plenty to feed their brood.
 The Sea Plaintain is at its best.
Two Canada Geese flew east between the islands.
Ringed: 1 Meadow Pipit, 1 Linnet.                [ 404-28 ]

Sunday 10 June 2018

10th June 2018

Weather:SSE fiorce 1/2     mist around the estuary
A single Swift was over again, and a Collared Dove passed through.......

Also more Canada Geese, this time just 2 birds. Two Dunnocks were singing.
The single male Eider showed again and 5 Gannets were out to sea. Also logged today were 23 Shelduck, 3 Little Egrets, 26 Sandwich Tern and a Whimbrel.
photo AS 

Saturday 9 June 2018

9th June 2018

 Weather: SE force 1/2 mist
 A Willow Warbler was present, also a single immature male Eider.
The pair of Goldfinches and the pair of Pied Wagtails are still here.
There are now of course many pairs of Linnets with young including this nest of 5 chicks in the Blackthorn.
  There were 3 Little Egrets and 3 Grey Herons this morning.
 This particular pair of Swallows may have been unsuccessful, although others have certainly been doing well.
 A single Swift flew through.
 Meadow Pipits are feeding young.
A Painted Lady butterfly was on Middle.
photos SRW

Friday 8 June 2018

8th June 2018

Weather: SSE force 2
A Willow Warbler was singing at the south end and was later trapped for ringing. Five wandering Greylag Geese were noted today. A Peregrine, 11 Shelduck and 7 Little Egrets also made the log.
The froglets were showing well in the pond again.

Ringed: 1 Willow Warbler.    [ 402-28 ]

Thursday 7 June 2018

7th June 2018

Weather: light air, no cloud vis 7 miles
Two Chiffchaffs were present with one of them singing. A male Greenland Wheatear dropped in at about 16.00hrs. A flock of 18 Canada Geese was logged and 2 House Martins and a Swift came through.
Ringed: 1 Chiffchaff                                      [ 401-28 ]

Wednesday 6 June 2018

6th June 2018

Weather: ESE force 3
Two Swifts went through this morning, also 5 Starlings, otherwise a quiet day. Five Gannets were noted and a female Peregrine was present, and 4 Little Egrets on the shore.
The observatory was visited by a school party from West Kirby who were given a talk on our work on the island.

Tuesday 5 June 2018

5th June 2018

Weather: E force 3, later NNE force 1
A Magpie was at Little Eye early in the day and a late Greenland Wheatear was present, a single Wheatear is often seen in early summer fuelling speculation as to why it is here at this time. The 2 Swifts passing through are easier to explain in early June. An exciting Hilbre event is the presence of 2 Goldfinches at a certain site on the island carrying nesting material, perhaps the first ever breeding attempt.
Seventeen Gannets and 72 Sandwich Terns were seen on the sea watch.
There were lots of froglets in the main pond today.

Also on the island today were the 2 Eiders, 3 Little Egrets, a flock of 15 Sanderling and a female Peregrine.
In the evening 2 Noctule bats hunted over the island.
photos AS

Monday 4 June 2018

4th June 2018

Weather: NNE  1 visibility 5 mls with a heat haze from early morning.

 A flock of 25 Canada Geese came off the sea and up the estuary, followed later by 14 which also arrived from the sea but landed on the East Hoyle where they stayed for some time until forced off by the incoming tide.
The 2 Eider are still around and a Heron on the west side was harassed by Herring Gulls.
Tern numbers were low with just 28 Sandwich and 12 Common noted, a lone Gannet was off the North End.  A Grey Plover was heard calling, 2 Curlew and a Whimbrel were present along with a few Oystercatcher, but no other waders.
Mid morning a Wheatear appeared at the North End but flicked over the east side and was not seen again, a total of 7 Swift passed over the island but there were no other ‘visitors’.
Both the male and female Pied Wagtail were seen with food, so their brood have hatched. The 2 Goldfinch were also noted around the island.
Despite the Bluebell being over and Thrift almost so, the island is still colourful with Dog rose, Sea Milkwort and Water Crowfoot in flower 
  photos AS

Sunday 3 June 2018

3rd June 2018

Weather: light air
The Black-tailed Skimmer (or another male) was still around. Two Collared Doves passed through and a Chiffchaff was on the ground. A Whimbrel, a Little Egret and the 2 Eiders were on the shore.

Saturday 2 June 2018

2nd June 2018

Weather: light air, mist around the estuary, rain from about 8.00
After the relatively warm, dry and settled weather this morning was cooler and decidedly wet, and the several breeding pairs of Swallows would struggle to find many insects for the young following the good conditions this week. Four young Linnets were abroad and the Pied Wagtails and Meadow Pipits were carrying food. Two Chiffchaffs (below) and a Sedge Warbler (bottom) were in the paddocks and 3 House Martins passed through but little other evidence of migration.
The 2 Eiders still stayed, as did a Whimbrel and 6 Shelduck, while on the sea a Gannet was logged with a couple of Scoters.
Ringed: 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Meadow Pipit.    [ 400-28 ]
photos JE

Friday 1 June 2018

1st June 2018

Weather:  SSE light air, mist
Two Black-tailed Skimmer dragonflies were found flying about the area of the SK trap today, possibly only the second record for the island.
About 150 Silver Y moths flitted about the grassy areas and 3 Painted Lady butterflies landed on the thrift.

A female Whitethroat, a Chiffchaff and a Redpoll were late migrants for the spring, the first 2 were trapped for ringing. A Fulmar flew across the obs garden while prospecting the island, as one had also done a week ago. The 2 Eiders are still present and waders seen included 35 Sanderling and a single Whimbrel.
Ringed: 1 Whitethroat, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Linnet.   [ 397-28 ]
photos SRW