Wednesday 27 February 2019

27 February 2019

Weather: no wind, 0/8 cloud, poor vis (<5 miles)

c170 Pale-bellied Brents were present today and a pair of Mallard were in the pond during the afternoon.

At least three Jackdaws were heard passing over the island - a typical 'early Spring' record.

The highlight of the day was the first Short-eared Owl of the year seen on the way off in the early evening.

Tuesday 26 February 2019

26th February 2019

Weather: SE force 1, increasing 3 later, mist around the coast, sunny and warm.
A quiet morning despite the south easterly, the feature today was the arrival of 5 Goldcrests in the paddocks and gardens, one of which became the first ringed this year. The only finches passing through were a total of 9 Siskins calling overhead and there were 2 Linnets on the ground. Three Pied Wagtails and a single Skylark flew over. Just 2 Eider today, the adult male could not be seen, but 2 male and a female Mallard were flying around, possibly they are preparing to breed. A Peregrine hunted the ridge south of Middle early on, circling low over the observer several times. Purple Sandpipers were not seen, and meaningful counts of other waders could not be made at low tide.
photo CJ
Ringed: 1 Goldcrest.        [ 6-6 ]

Sunday 24 February 2019

24th February 2019

Weather:   ESE force 0/1 later 4. thick fog at dawn, mist later
A peasouper first thing made sighting birds difficult, for instance a flock of Pink-feet Geese flew over calling but could not be seen. Good records were still recorded with a Golden Plover, 7 Scaup on the sea, and a Lapwing.
A small arrival of single Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Goldcrest arrived in addition to the Chiffchaff from yesterday. Also noted were male and female Blackbird, Song Thrush, Pied Wagtail and Robin.
The 2 Eiders were still here, but 3 Mallards about the island were new, as were 2 male and 3 female Wigeon. Brent were counted at 183. Best of the waders seen were 47 Grey Plover and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit. The moth trap was in use last night and it yielded a Satellite moth, the first at HIlbre since 1970 !
photo GB

Saturday 23 February 2019

23rd February 2019

Weather: SE force 3/4

A good early spring migration day. Two Common Snipe were seen early on, followed by a Woodpigeon (spring migrant at Hilbre), a Stock Dove, 2 House Sparrows, a Chaffinch, 3 Pied Wagtails and a Chiffchaff which became the first to be ringed this year at Hilbre. A Skylark and a small number of Meadow Pipits passed through to augment those already making song flights. A male and Female Stonechat arrived and a Sparrowhawk went through. Just 2 Purple Sandpipers were found but other waders showed well including 750 Knot, 150 Dunlin, 80 Turnstone and 24 Ringed Plover. A Red-throated Diver and 33 Common Scoter were the highlights of the sea. The adult male Eider was still with the other 2 birds.

Ringed: 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Robin        [ 5-5 ]

Friday 22 February 2019

22nd February 2019

Weather: SE  3-4  vis 5 mls increasing later.
The movement of passerines continued today with 10 Skylark recorded, at least 3 of which came down on the main island. A Lapwing flew south over Little Eye and 2 Siskin called over the obs early morning.A flock of Pink-footed Geese flew over calling. Dunnock had increased to 4 with 3 displaying on the obs fence and the male singing with gusto. 
The first Goldcrest of Spring called briefly in the obs garden, 2 Woodpigeon and 3 Linnet were also ‘down’, the obs tea break worked it’s magic with a female Stonechat appearing in the Pittospurum then staying quite a while in the garden.
Two Rock Pipit and 10 Meadow Pipit were logged,
Four Goldfinch flew over, also the first 2 Reed Bunting of Spring , 12 Jackdaw and 5 Pied Wagtail. A female House Sparrow was in the old obs garden calling.
As the tide started to make, 8,000 Knot moved over the East Hoyle
 ... along with 1,000 Dunlin, 170 Grey Plover and 165 Curlew and some Ringed Plover. 
 A Great Northern Diver flew passed the north end where 7 Purple Sandpiper were roosting.
  and on the sea a Red-throated Diver, 11 Great-crested Grebe and 15 Common Scoter were noted. 
The pale-bellied Brent included this colour ringed bird.
 Two Shelduck flew up the estuary and the Eider were back down to just 3 birds including the adult male.

 Thanks to Elliot Monteith for some records and photos
 photos EM & AS

Thursday 21 February 2019

21st February 2019

Weather: SW  2-3 good visibility.
There was a very good variety of passerines today, with a feel of March rather than February. A male Stonechat was found early, followed by singles of Greenfinch and Chaffinch.

Passing over the island were a Siskin,  both Pied and Grey Wagtail, also a Skylark. Quite late in the morning a Blue Tit was heard calling, then located in the Heli garden where it remained for a while before flying south.
Twenty Linnet were seen to fly over to the island from the east,7 Meadow Pipit were recorded and 3 Rock Pipit.
Just after dawn circa 800 Pink-footed Geese were seen to fly NE over Caldy Hill, Brent Geese today numbered 205, 2 Wigeon were on the water west of Middle as the tide rose and the now regular 3 Eider were joined after the tide by a second male. Off the North End were 170 Common Scoter, 7 Red-throated Diver were also noted.
At high tide there were 6,000 Oystercatcher on Middle along with 167 Curlew, 6 Purple Sandpiper were in their usual roost at the North End. Ringed Plover numbered 21 and amongst the 1,000 Knot noted was a colour flagged bird.
 some other photos from after the tide

photos AS & BT

Tuesday 19 February 2019

19th February 2019

Weather: SW force 2
The adult male Eider was missing today, but the other 2 were still about. Eight Meadow Pipits were present, 2 of which were making display flights but may have been young birds. A first year Meadow Pipit was ringed,

and a Dunnock and Robin were retrapped, the Dunnock was ringed here as long ago as 2015 and the Robin late last year.

The only definite migrants were 3 Skylarks , one of them on Middle Eye,while 2 Song Thrushes were also on the island.

Wader counts at the high tide included 3,200 Oystercatchers, 800 Dunlin, 40 Ringed Plover and 142 Knot.

Also 91 Redshank, 5 Purple Sandpipers and 2 Bar-tailed Godwits.

...and 50 Turnstone.

Brent seen today were estimated at 150 birds, and a Red-throated Diver was seen on the sea in addition to 800 Common Scoter.
Ringed: 1 Meadow Pipit       [ 3-3 ]

photos JE & AS

Monday 18 February 2019

18th February 2019

Weather: SSW force 3, increasing during the morning.
A big surprise at first light was a Fulmar lifting off the west cliff and flying south towards Middle. Fulmar is more associated with prospecting flights around the islands in spring and during sea watching in autumn gales. A single male Stonechat remained from yesterday, spending most of it's time around the paddocks and the old obs area.
A Sparrowhawk was glimpsed briefly as it carried prey over the centre of the island, possibly the same bird that has been seen in the last few weeks.
A Skylark called when passing over but there was little other visible migration, apart from a small number of Meadow Pipits, 3 Linnets and a Pied Wagtail. Residents noted included Song Thrush, Wren, Robin, Dunnock and a Rock Pipit.
Six Purple Sandpipers roosted the high tide at the north end,

while 26 Ringed Plover stayed on the east side, then on the ebb tide large groups of waders fed on the east of the island chain towards the shore, mostly Knot (6,000), Dunlin and about 200 Grey Plover.
Three Eiders are still present.
Today the adult male seemed more interested associating with a male Common Scoter sitting close to the island than the other 2 of its species.
The Brent were too scattered to count but are still probably over 200 in number.

photos CJ , AS & PSW

Sunday 17 February 2019

17th February 2019

Weather:ESE force 5/6

An early start was needed due to the tide and with the southerly airflow the single observer was not disappointed with the first Stonechat of the Spring appearing shortly after dawn quickly followed by 2 more.

A couple of Grey Wagtail flew over continuing the early Spring theme and a party of Common Scoter chased a lone female Scoter close into the East side of the island enabling the observer to hear the calls of the displaying birds.

8000 Oystercatcher roosted on an undisturbed Middle Island with 250 Redshank and 210 Brent Geese.

The 3 Eider spent the high tide roosting and preening in Niffy Bay, the Male in resplendent plumage.

 Resident Wren and Dunnock were ready for spring.
 A pair of Peregrines gave a good display.
Whilst Grey Plover showed well amongst the waders.

photos AEH