Sunday 30 September 2018

30th September 2018

Weather:  W 4-5, 6/8 cloud, drizzle

A wet and windy start to the morning but a single Wheatear appeared after the rain stopped. Two family parties of 5 each Pale-bellied Brent Geese were new in, comprising of 2 adults and 3 juveniles in each group.

A very approachable Kestrel afforded great views and at one point perched on the Obs roof and balcony.

One of the Peregrines harassed the waders most of the morning and eventually caught a Knot.

Photos AEH

Saturday 29 September 2018

29th September 2018

Weather: SSW 1-2, cloud 1/8, very good vis

Another stunning sunrise over the island on what was a very quiet start to the morning before the gradual appearance of a few interesting birds, mainly wildfowl. Three Pintail flew west over the sea as did 4 Wigeon before 180 Pink-footed Geese travelled north over the Wirral shore and 2 Teal were found at the north end before flying off west.

Fourteen Brent were present but the colour ringed bird seemed not to be among them. There were fly-bys of 3 and 8 Shelduck.

A Raven was over the island before being chased off by 2 of the regular Crows, then a group of 16 Crows flew in from the east and stayed about for a short time.

Two scarce autumn birds were heard somewhere in the gutter in the form of a Common Snipe and a Greenshank.

Passage of passerines was minimal but included a Grey Wagtail, a Skylark, a Goldcrest, up to 50 Meadow Pipits and 5 Linnets, while 2 Rock Pipits were on the island.

Two Sandwich Terns and a Razorbill were the only significant seabirds, while on the shore 200 Knot fed in a flock on the tide edge, 2 Bar-tailed-Godwits on the north shore, also 80 Redshank strung all along the gutter with a single Grey Heron and Little Egret.

Ringed: 1 Wren [501-31]
Photos CJW and SRW

Friday 28 September 2018

28th September 2018

Weather:  NE 1, 1/8 cloud, excellent visibility

A bright and clear morning with a fresh north-easterly breeze greeted observers this morning and you could even see the hills of the Lake District in the distance to the north.

It was therefore no surprise that there were few grounded migrants although at least four Wheatears were noted.  Visible migration was a little better with a few wagtails (3 Grey and 4 alba) passing overhead along with at least 50 Meadow Pipits, 12 Linnets and a single Siskin.

A couple of skeins of Pink-footed Geese (totalling 250) passed south of Little Eye in the distance early morning with 35 seen overhead during the afternoon and five Pale-bellied Brent Geese were found off the West Side and increased to 12 birds over the tide, when 2 Sandwich Terns were also noted.

Five Black-tailed Godwit flew south over the island; presumably to join the large numbers that feed on the estuary (south of the Marine Lake at West Kirby down to Thurstaston.

A Merlin was seen from the Obs balcony over the South End before flying off south over Middle Island being pursued by Crows as it passed right over another Obs member arriving between the islands.  There were two Peregrines around during the afternoon.

Several Little Egrets remained around the gutter and the reef including this obliging green-legged, presumably juvenile, bird.  Much more obliging than yesterday's Great White Egret!

Thursday 27 September 2018

27th September 2018

Weather: S force 0/1, later increasing and veering west, warm and sunny.

First thing this morning a Great White Egret was seen on the muddy tracks east of Middle, soon transferring to the edge of the rocks west side of Middle, then walking into the creeks and disappearing. Although now regular in the marshy parts of the Dee, it is still a rare bird here, probably the sixth or seventh record for the island (record shots in poor light) all of which have been seen since 2009.

Less than an hour later there was another good sighting for the observers of a Marsh Harrier cruising in from the north west and crossing between the islands and off towards the mainland. It travelled too fast to get a good photo.

Another highlight of the day was the finding of the first Purple Sandpiper of the autumn/winter (by visiting birder SD), among the Turnstones resting at the north end.

At least two Reed Buntings flew around calling for a while but other migrants were scarce, a single Goldcrest was in the paddocks, and a Swallow flying over. Four Pied Wagtails and more than normal Meadow Pipits and Robins probably indicated a small passage through. A Sparrowhawk flew down the east side, possibly the same as yesterday, and in general Sparrowhawks have been scarce this year so far. A Peregrine seen briefly early on  and another attacking the roost on Middle were the only other raptors.

The now almost adult Eider flew in from the Formby direction as the tide flooded, maybe a pointer to where it sometime spends low tide. Only 8 Brent were seen this morning with 6 Little Egrets about and 84 Knot at the tide edge, also 40 Sanderling flying east passed the north of the island, later 5,000 Oystercatchers and 200 Dunlin were logged at high tide.

Photos JE, CJ and SRW

Wednesday 26 September 2018

26th September 2018

Weather:  SW 3, good visibility

During a short pre-tide visit a Raven was noted over the South End heading towards Middle where it flew around briefly before moving off up the estuary.  A Sparrowhawk flew down the west side but was not seen again.

Four 'female-type' Eider were seen at the North End from the Obs balcony but flew along the west side before a photo of them on the sea could be obtained, the immature male was also present.

Passerines only consisted of a few Robin, Wren, Linnet etc. Best of the rest were 104 Curlew, 35 Ringed Plover, 75 Knot, 46 Redshank and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit.

Two Sandwich Tern flew over the lagoon as the tide made and 9 Little Egret were on the reef south of Middle.

Photos AS

Tuesday 25 September 2018

25th September 2018

Weather: SE force 2, cold at first, clear overnight

A stunning dawn heralded a small trickle of migrants arriving this morning, a Reed Bunting in the obs garden, a Chiffchaff, a few Robins, a couple of Grey Wagtails, a brief Skylark and later when the sun came up 2 Goldcrests appeared in the paddocks. A small number of Meadow Pipits came through, also a flock of about 30 Linnets, while a Rock Pipit was about the north end.

Ten Brent were feeding on the whaleback and another 3 between the islands, while the 2 Eiders swan together for a time on the east side, and 2 Teal rested near the north end rocks. At least 9 Little Egrets flew about the islands and 23 Knot fed on the tide line.

An Angle Shades moth flew in near the north end and rested on the west cliff edge.

Ringed: 2 Robins, 2 Goldcrests [500-31]
Photos SRW

Monday 24 September 2018

24th September 2018

Weather:NW force 2/3
The Brent have now increased to 14 birds including the colour ringed individual which was ringed in Iceland in May 2016 and was seen briefly here in November that year and then again through last winter. Some of the Brent seen here with Curlew on the west side.
A Peregrine was sheltering on the cliff at the south end and a few Robins were around the gardens. Eight Goldfinches were noted but otherwise a quiet morning.
The Eider was joined again by the other (immature) bird.
photo SRW

Sunday 23 September 2018

23rd September 2018

Weather: N force 2/3  light rain at times,  mostly cloudy
A shower may have been responsible for a small group of migrants on the island this morning including a few Robins, 3 Chiffchaffs, 2 Wheatears, 2 Skylarks (on the ground) and a male Stonechat. It was unusual to get a photo of 4 of these species and Dunnock in the one frame, even if the focus leaves a lot to be desired !

A Grey Wagtail and a couple of Pied Wagtails were overhead early, then 3 Goosanders flew in to join the regular male Eider (now looking very much more like an adult) in the gutter alongside the obs.

Seven Pink-footed Geese flew west directly over the obs building in 2 groups,
while the Brent from yesterday now number 7 birds, on the rocks west of the lagoon, before flying south.
 Two Peregrines sat east of Middle, both feeding on a kill.
Following the good seabirds over the last 2 days, today's tide was a little disappointing, although it did include 17 Red-throated Divers, 3 Kittiwakes and a Shag.
 Sadly a Harbour Porpoise calf was found washed up.

Ringed: 2 Robins, 1 Chiffchaff    [ 496-31 ]
photos AEH,CJ,SRW

Saturday 22 September 2018

22nd September 2018

Weather: WNW force 5 dropping W 2 by the afternoon
First thing this morning while the wind was still strong Leach's Petrels were passing, 7 by 08.30, after which time none were seen. Best of the rest were 8 Manx Shearwaters.

also 1150 Common Scoter, 4 Red-throated Divers, 11 Guillemots, 11 Great Crested Grebes, 7 Wigeon, 5 Pintail.
 A Rock Pipit visited the sea watching hide

While the seals are always curious as to what we are looking at.

Good news today of the arrival of the first 5 Brent for the winter, including an iceland colour ringed bird.
The Eider and it's 'mate' stayed about with a good count of 217 Shelduck also no less than 14 Little Egrets and 4 Grey Herons. Forty two Meadow Pipits were in a small movement, as were 30 Swallows, 5 House Martins, with 2 Goldcrests and 3 Robins on the ground, also recorde were 2 Pied Wagtails, 3 Dunnocks and a Rock Pipit. Many species of wader showed today including 4,600 Oystercatchers, 260 Curlew, a single Whimbrel,48 Ringed Plovers, 60 Dunlin, 26 Knot, 22 Sanderling, 54 Redshank, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits, 
Ringed: 1 Goldcrest, 1 Robin       [ 493-31 ]
 photos GB,SRW

Friday 21 September 2018

21st September 2018

Weather: NW 7/8, 8/8 cloud, variable visibility with regular squalls

Fifteen Leach’s Petrels were counted this morning with all but one seen on the ebb tide.  Two Arctic Skuas were seen and at least 13 Manx Shearwaters were noted along with good numbers of Gannets, 6 Kittiwakes, lots of Sandwich and Common Terns as well as several Arctic Terns.  Golden Plovers were observed during the seawatch as were Teal and Pintail.

A large number of Guillemot (162) and small numbers of Razorbill (16) were noted.

Later in the afternoon 15 more Manx Shearwaters were added to the sea watch count and 12 Blacktailed-Godwits were noted.
photos SRW

Thursday 20 September 2018

20th September 2018

Weather:  SW 1-2, vis 15 mls

A much calmer day weather wise and the call of a Reed Bunting quite early raised hopes of a productive day and there was indeed a better variety of birds than of late. The Reed Bunting was thought to be a fly over but a short while later was heard calling from the south end, eventually moving into the Obs garden where it was seen for the first time and photographed.

There was a small passage of Linnet and Meadow Pipit along with 2 Swallow and the first Rock Pipit to be seen for a while also arrived. Just ahead of a rain shower 10 Goldfinch came down in the SK paddock, moving to shelter in the Pittosporum as the rain became heavier later. Four Wheatear were about the islands with one very confiding bird in sparkling plumage on the bungalow fences.

Curlew numbers were high with 617 recorded, other waders included 74 Redshank, 60 Ringed Plover, 137 Dunlin and 45 Knot.

There were 51 Shelduck on the sand between West Kirby and the islands, 5 Wigeon flew west passed the North End and the Eider was between the islands along with a female Common Scoter (another 600 moved west out to sea). Also on the sea were 2 Red-throated Diver (one in summer plumage), 7 Great Crested Grebe, 5 Guillemot and 2 Razorbill, Tern numbers were low.

Grey Heron numbers were greater than Little Egret today (9-2), unusual of late.  A Peregrine was around the islands and a surprise was a Raven which appeared over Middle and upset the local Crows as well as putting up all the gulls.