Tuesday 31 July 2018

31st July 2018

Weather: S W 2, excellent vis

This morning’s Swallow roost in Niffy Bay had 58 birds, at least 2 of the local pairs have laid a second clutch.
Five Willow Warbler (below) were about the main island and the second ‘Autumn’ Sedge Warbler soon joined them.
The light was much better than of late and 29 Gannet were visible between Hilbre and Point of Air, with 3 Great Crested Grebe off the North End.
 Glasswort is present this year at both the north and south ends of the island.
Ringed: 1 Meadow Pipit      [ 437-31 ]
 photos AS

Monday 30 July 2018

30th July 2018

Weather: S force 2/3, later WSW 3, showers now and again

A Storm Petrel was seen briefly off to the west travelling out of the estuary in the afternoon, a good July record for the island. There were not many other sea birds of note except for 12 Gannets early on and 13 Common Scoter, later 2 Shags and a Mediterranean Gull and of course the terns roosting as the tide pushed in, today 650 Sandwich and 30 Common were estimated.
Whilst continuing to search the area for the petrel, 6 Harbour Porpoise (including a calf) were seen swimming about distantly. The immature male Eider was on the whaleback while also about the shore were 9 Whimbrel, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 44 Turnstone, 36 Ringed Plover, 15 Redshank and 120 Dunlin.

Two Willow Warblers called in the paddocks, a single Rock Pipit was noted and about a dozen Swallows still feed over the island with at least 1 pair still with eggs.
Lots of Small White butterflies today but 2 Red Admirals were the only other species.
Ringed: 1 Willow Warbler             [ 436-31 ]
photos, sunrise and sunset by AS, others


Sunday 29 July 2018

29th July 2018

Weather: ESE force 4 vis 4 miles, rain most of the day.
Terrible weather prevented much bird watching but 2 Mallard in the gutter was a surprise. A Dunnoch and Wren sang during breaks in the rain and a Willow Warbler was in the pittosporum. Eight Gannets were on the sea with 300 Sandwich Terns (below) but only 10 Common Tern and an Arctic Tern..
The Eider was in it's favourite place on the whaleback.
photos AS

Friday 27 July 2018

27th July 2018

Weather: SW force 4 vis 20 miles. in the evening NNE 1
A Mediterranean Gull was on the sand south of Middle, 500 Sandwich and 25 Common terns were around the island and 5 |Little Tern in the swash. All the tern action attracted the attention of a dark phase Arctic Skua (per Stan D). Two Manx Shearwater, 7 Gannets and the ever present Eider were the only other birds of note on the sea. best of the waders were a Golden Plover that was heard over, 16 Turnstone, 5 Ringed Plover, 7 Redshank and 168 Dunlin.
The only bird movements were 2 Swift, 2 Willow Warblers, and 70 swallows.

A few members went on in the evening for the lunar eclipse but rain and cloud meant it wasn’t visible, so here’s what the moon looked like the following night,

Ringed: 1 Willow Warbler, 2 Linnets.         [ 435-31 ]
photos AS

26/27th July 2018

A pleasant overnight visit in the hope of ringing some terns or waders. There was no wind and a full moon.
Although we did not suceed with the terns, a Turnstone and a Redshank were caught in the south cove and were the first waders caught this year. The Turnstone was in summer plumage and the Redshank a bird born this year. Two Pipistrelle bats flew in the evening light.
photos JE            [ 432-31 ]

Thursday 26 July 2018

26th July 2018

Weather: wind W 2 increasing as day progressed. Sunny & very warm.

Similar fare to recent days with about 100 Sandwich Terns around the island with many more on West Kirby shore as the tide ebbed. About 20 each of Common & Little Terns were noted along with three Gannets offshore. The Eider remained around the whaleback and waders were represented by 400 Oystercatcher, 60 Dunlin with sinle figure counts of Whimbrel, Turnstone, Knot & Ringed Plover.
About 50 Swallows were noted, many circling the island & feeding over the sea. Just one Sand Martin was seen. Other than the breeding birds, the only other passerines of note were a single Willow Warbler feeding in the brambles near the toilet block and a juvenile Rock Pipit at the north end of Middle.
A Grey Seal was hauled out on the rocks at the north end & didn't seem well. It briefly returned to the sea as the tide flooded but was back on the rocks within an hour of high tide. What was notable was that the seal was constantly surrounded by up to 12 seals in the sea which were calling to it. Two different seals came up onto the rocks to try & coax it into the sea.

photos CS

Tuesday 24 July 2018

24th July 2018

Weather:    NW2 vis 10 miles
Over a hundred Swallows appeared on the island when it started to drizzle, with up to 70 resting on the gutters with a single Sand Martin noticed amongst them.
The wet weather also brought down 46 House Martins that were feeding and settling on the west cliffs.
Three Shelduck flew out of the estuary and the Eider is still [present. Six little WEgrets and 2 Grey Herons were about the islands and 26 Gannets off the north end.
Over 500 Knot were on the sand west of Middle. Curlew numbered 92 and Whimbrel 9.
Ringed: 1 Sedge Warbler     [ 430-29 ]
photos AS

Monday 23 July 2018

23rd July 2018

Weather: NW force 1/2, then SE 1, light rain early
A Reed Warbler was found this morning, a less than annual bird at Hilbre even in recent times (although the second this year following one at the end of May). This bird was possibly the first ever July record for the island.
 The first Willow Warbler of the autumn soon joined it to feed on the island,

meanwhile 48 Swallows were also taking advantage of the abundant insect life this fine weather. Two Skylarks flew over heralding the autumn to come. The 4 Pied Wagtails present at the moment include 3 juveniles.
Two Arctic Skuas chased the terns in the east side gutter before high tide. Back to the single Eider today, also a single Whimbrel, but 7 Little Egrets in the afternoon. Two more Harbour Porpoise were noted, it is not clear if they are becoming more common or the calm conditions this year enable them to be seen more easily.
It's not often the number of birds ringed reach double figures in July.
Ringed: 1 Reed Warbler, 6 Linnets, 2 Meadow Pipits, 1 Wren.    [ 429-29 ]
photos AS, CJW

Sunday 22 July 2018

22nd July 2018

Weather: NW force 4,  drizzle
Some good records today for mid-summer, the highlights being a summer plumage Black-tailed Godwit and no less than 6 Eiders.
There has been many Swallows feeding over the island this summer and this morning 60 exited a roost in the bracken an hour after dawn, an interesting development.
On the early tide were 14 Gannets, 3 Great Crested Grebes and waders counted included 12 Whimbrel, 58 Curlew, 25 Dunlin, 3 Turnstone and 9 Redshank..

Five Little Egrets and 2 Grey Herons added to the mix and smaller visitors were 3 Swifts and a Goldfinch.
Ringed: 2 Linnets.      [ 419-29 ]
photos AEH

Wednesday 18 July 2018

18th July 2018

Weather: N force 2
An evening visit found a summer plumage Mediterrannean Gull and a Yellow-legged Gull near to Tanskey rocks. Two Little Terns were logged alongside the Sandwich and Common Terns, also a light phase Arctic Skua.

Sunday 15 July 2018

15th July 2018

Weather: E light air, SW 4 in the afternoon
A quieter day at the obs following the many people at the very sucessful BBQ. Sixteen Swallows were still feeding over the island with 2 Swifts passing through, also an unseasonal Grey Wagtail. Eight Whimbrel were present amd a Peregrine was noted.

Saturday 14 July 2018

14th July 2018

Weather: ESE force 1/2, later NE force 2  sunnny and hot

A perfect day for the Hilbre members AGM and Barbeque on the island and an ideal opportunity to renew old friendships, including 3 of the founder members from 1957.
     and relations and friends connected to Hilbre
Before the high tide divided  us all from the sunseekers on the shore a Goosander was found sitting with the regular immature male Eider on the whaleback (record shot below).

Later 2 new female Eiders joined the male that has been alone for some time.
An adult Meditterranean Gull was on the shore south of Middle, one of several around the Dee area this week.
Over 20 Swallows fed about the island, most thought to be locally breeding birds and young, although 7 Sand Martins were noted on passage today, also 6 Swifts. Lots of butterflis flying today including 60 Large Whites, several Red Admirals and Peacocks and a Painted Lady, while insects featured Bombus monticola on the Rock sea lavender.

Best counts of waders included 170 Dunlin, 24 Redshank, 3 Whimbrel and a single Turnstone.
Ringed: 2 Linnets        [ 417-29 ]
photos AEH , GB and a few other people