Tuesday 31 December 2019

31st December 2019

Weather: E force 2
A short visit on the last day of the year was made during a cold but light easterly. Predictably birds were at a premium at the low tide. About 150 Brent were at the north end of the island. Three Shelduck and 40 Common Scoter completed the ducks, 3 Great Crested Grebes were also off the north end. Waders logged included 6,500 Knot, 2,500 Dunlin, 52 Grey Plover, 100 Ringed Plover, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and 100 Redshank. A Kestrel roamed the island, as did the Magpie. Single Little Egret and Grey Heron were on the shore, while on the ground were 2 Song Thrush, 3 Robins, 1 Rock Pipit and 2 Meadow Pipits.

Sunday 29 December 2019

29th December 2019

Weather: SE force 2/3
A spectacular dawn greeted observers this morning for a brief pre-tide visit.
 About 600 Pink-footed Geese flew north over the Wirral shore.
Two Pintail and 4 Shelduck were the only duck to be seen, Brent were scattered and only around 70 were in view. A Peregrine off the west side was the sole raptor, while flocks of 1,5000 knot and 1,000 Dunlin whirled about and 300 Sanderling flew passed the north end from Wales to the north shore and over 50 Grey Plover gathered before the tide. Just 3 Purple Sandpipers were at the north end, there would probably be more later at high tide. Sixty Scoter were very distant and 2 Mergansers and 2 Little Egrets also made the log sheet. On the ground, 2 Song Thrushes and 3 Rock Pipits are still present, and of course the Magpie. Three Shags are still on the pontoon at the marine lake.

Photos AEH

Saturday 28 December 2019

28th December 2019

Weather: SE 1 increasing 3
Some duck were found for a change in the form of 2 male Eiders, 7 Pintail and 3 Teal. As many as 34 Great Crested Grebes were off the island, also 160 Scoter and a Red-throated Diver. Best of the waders were 6 Purple Sandpiers, 35 Ringed Plover and 4 Bar-tailed Godwits, while Little Egret and Grey Heron were also on the shore. In addition to the Magpie and a Song Thrush, 3 Meadow Pipits, 6 Wrens, 2 Robins, and a Song Thrush were present. A Harbour Porpoise showed on the sea.

Friday 27 December 2019

27th Decmber 2019

Weather: SSE force 4/5 rain
Following the appearance of 4 birds 2 days ago, a female Velvet Scoter flew passed the north end at close range. Also logged in the rain today were 9 Great Crested Grebes, a Red-throated Diver, 400 Scoter, 32 Grey Plover, 100 Turnstone, 899 Dunlin, 65 Redshank and a Purple Sandpiper. Both Kestrel and Peregrine made an appearance and of course the now resident Magpie. There was again evidence of the fox still being around.

Thursday 26 December 2019

26th December 2019

Weather:  SE force 4/5 later 3, Rain
Dedicated coverage over the holiday period continued with a mostly quiet boxing day in miserable weather. Sea watching produced 240 Scoter, 7 Red-throated Divers, 6 Great Crested Grebes. A Kestrel, a Blackbird, 3 Song Thrushes and the Magpie were noted and 6 Purple Sandpipers roosted at the north end.

Wednesday 25 December 2019

25th December 2019

Weather:NW force 3
Very good sea records on the high tide today. Four female type Velvet Scoters were off the north end and a Black-throated Diver flew west (thanks to Elliott Monteith). Others seen on the sea watch included 6 Red-throated Divers and 4 Great Crested Grebes. Sixteen hundred Dunlin were on the shore as were 83 Redshank and 3 Grey Plover. Four Wigeon were off the east hoyle while on the ground were noted the Magpie, 2 Song Thrushes, a Blackbird and 3 Rock Pipits.

Tuesday 24 December 2019

24th December 2019

Weather: SW force 2
The highlight for some days came with the appearance of a Black Guillemot which flew west passed the north end at mid distance; a bird that is not always annual at Hilbre. The rest of the bird records were more routine: 3 Song Thrushes, a Blackbird, the Magpie, a Kestrel, 80 Scoter, 44 Brent, 6,500 Oystercatchers, 80 Turnstone, 116 Curlew, 45 Redshank, 200 Knot, 300 Dunlin and 2 Grey Plover. There were 7 Purple Sandpipers at high tide, just about the maximum we have had this winter.

Sunday 22 December 2019

22nd December 2019

Weather: NW force 2/3    good vis
A mid afternoon look arouind produced a count of 157 Brent, a Kestrel and the Magpie.

Saturday 21 December 2019

21st December 2019

Weather:SE force 3/4  coastal fog
A short visit found 2 Blackbirds on the island, also a Song Thrush, while waders noted included 10 Bar-tailed Godwit, 30 Sanderling, 60 Redshank and 2 Grey Plover. Others logged were 2 Little Egrets, 60 Scoter, 4 Great Crested Grebes and 40 Brent.

Friday 20 December 2019

20th December 2019

Weather: SSE  1  vis 10 mls, by mid day NW  3-4 vis 5 mls with drizzle becoming rain.

Redwing were moving above the shore before dawn and 2 Blackbird with  at least 3 Song Thrush were on the island. The only other passerines about were 2 Meadow Pipit.

The calm sea enabled a count of 460 Common Scoter but just 1 Great Crested Grebe. A single Purp was at the north end, 65 Bar-tailed Godwit came down and landed briefly with the 500 Dunlin on the North Shore.
Five  Wigeon were at the bottom of the gutter, again only briefly before flying north.
A solitary Shoveler was found on the sea just west of the Lagoon, it seemed to have a damaged wing.
 photos AS

Wednesday 18 December 2019

18th December 2019

Weather: SE  4-5  Fog with visibility 1 ½ mls max and often much less.

As well as having the fog to contend with, it was freezing with a high wind chill so low numbers were recorded of Turnstone, Redshank, Knot, Dunlin etc., between many breaks for tea and biscuits!
Surprisingly though there were a good number of Brent Geese on the Whaleback with 270 counted, unfortunately they were put up by a Peregrine before they could be checked for colour rings.
Three Pintail flew out of the fog , over the North End and disappeared up the estuary. 
photos AS

Tuesday 17 December 2019

17th December 2019

Weather: SW force 2

It was cold first thing but the lack of wind meant that when the sun came out it turned into a very pleasant, bright day. A snow covered Cwm Eigiau in the Carneddau could be seen clearly.
However the cockle pickers were out in force on the West Hoyle and there weren’t many seals hauled out.
A Blackbird was ringed and 3 Song Thrushes were present. One of the song thrushes and the wren were first seen on Hilbre in 2018, this is their second winter on the island. They were both doing very well with plenty of fat and a good weight. The blackbird was a first year, female and she was in good condition too.
There were good numbers of Turnstone about with lots of evidence at the north end that they had roosted there overnight.
There were no really big numbers of birds, there were only 120 Brents and some Cormorants leaving the estuary as it was getting light but not unusual numbers.

Ringed: 1 Blackbird    [ 772-36 ]
photos JE

Monday 16 December 2019

16th December 2019

Weather: SW  2-3 Good visibility

 A Heron was on the west side and 3 Little Egrets were around Middle Eye,
There were 7 Purple Sandpiper and a Rock Pipit at the North End, wader numbers were low and just 80 Brents counted.
However, it was a beautiful day for a vegetation management session.
 photos AS

Sunday 15 December 2019

15th December 2019

A before tide visit saw 1,500 Pinkfeet heading north east over West Kirby, and 940 Cormorants exiting the estuary after dawn.
A Song Thrush was ringed this morning and 3 others were present. Some other images from today.
Ringed: 1 Song Thrush   [ 771-36 ]
photos AEH

Wednesday 11 December 2019

11th December 2019

Weather: SW  2-3  Good visibility

There was a count of 9 Purple Sandpiper today, the highest so far this year but a sad reflection of past numbers.
Other waders recorded included 3,000 Knot, 600 Dunlin and 75 Ringed Plover (these were towards Little Eye after the tide along with 20 Grey Plover), 140 Turnstone roosted in Niffy Bay.
There were just a handful of Brent Geese around the island and 60 Common Scoter off the north end.
After the tide 170 Shelduck moved from in front of the marsh and flew up the estuary.
A single Rock Pipit was noted, the Kestrel was about the island and a Peregrine sat on the sand east of Little Eye after the tide.
 photos AS

Monday 9 December 2019

9th December 2019

Weather: NNW  7-8  vis 10 mls

This morning 2,600 Cormorants battled their way out of the estuary at dawn, compare the sea conditions to the photo taken Saturday 7th !
There were a few more Common Scoter about with 450 counted, but little else on the sea other than 8 Red-throated Diver. The Brent’s seemed to have sought shelter elsewhere as only 50 were about until well after the ebb when another 100 arrived.
A few large flocks of Knot totalled 3,500 and a good count of 335 Sanderling were on the north shore, small numbers of Redshank and Turnstone sheltered in Niffy bay….
 …and just 3 Purple Sandpiper roosted, unusually they were on top of the North End by the pools.
Over 3000 Herring Gull were logged, 75 Common Gull were in the gutter but only 1 Black-headed Gull. A Peregrine upset the waders a few times and a fresh Oystercatcher kill was found, the Kestrel was also about the islands.
 photos AS

Saturday 7 December 2019

7th December 2019

Weather:WSW  2  vis 25 ml

At daybreak 1500 Cormorant came out of the estuary.
Brent Geese numbered 239 and Common Scoter 220. Best of the waders were 1400 Knot, 120 Sanderling on the north shore with 5 Grey Plover and 22 Ringed Plover also present.
Just 5 Purple Sandpiper roosted the tide, it’s looking like they will not make double figures this year.
As is usual at this time of year very few birds were on the island but 2 Song Thrush are still about the gardens and a Rock Pipit was on Middle.
photos AS

Thursday 5 December 2019

5th December 2019

Weather: SW  2 increasing to 6-7 later, good visibility

The best part of the day was the stunning sunrise, well worth getting up early for!
Birds though were sadly lacking with a few Redwing passing over, a couple of Song Thrush in the gardens and a Kestrel hunting over the south end. Only 2 Purple Sandpiper were found and 800 Dunlin were on the North Shore with a few Sanderling amongst them. The Brent Geese were spread out in the rocks on the west side of Middle and difficult to count, hence the low number of 150 logged, 160 Common Scoter were off the north end.
Thirty eight Cormorant were counted out on the North Shore, then the wind speed increased dramatically and an hour later there were over 500 present, a Shag was again noted on the west side. 
photos AS