Saturday 30 November 2019

30th November 2019

Weather: SE 2  gloom at first then sunshine
Pre-dawn Redwing were heard overhead. A Woodcock was put up from the west side below the light, then shortly afterwards flew again near 'Wheatear wall' over towards the 'heli' trap and away to the south. Still early morning a Shag was close off the west side, a Goosander flew south over the island and a Goldeneye was just off the north shore and 12 Teal near the north end.
Over a hundred Pink-feet geese flew west over Little Eye. A Peregrine sat on the sand towards bird rock. Later on at high tide a Merlin was at Middle Eye and 6 Purple Sandpipers roosted a count was made of 110 Turnstone, while on the sea 8 Great Crested Grebes, 180 Scoter and 6 Red-throated Divers were the highlights. Brents peaked today at 245. Three Song Thrushes, a Blackbird and the Magpie were on the island and visitors included a Chaffinch, 2 Siskin, and 12 Starlings moving north.
photos AS

Friday 29 November 2019

29th November 2019

Weather: Flat calm most of the day with good visibility.

The calm conditions made it easy to see the birds on the water around the North End and 68 Great Crested Grebe were counted along with 450 Common Scoter, 9 Red-throated Diver, and a Shag again off the west side. There were 200 Brent Geese about and a male Teal first noted in the gutter stayed around the island all day.

Over 7,000 Oystercatcher roosted the tide but were frequently disturbed by kayaks, a good count was made of 64 Bar-tailed Godwit, a couple of Grey Plover were seen and 34 Ringed Plover roosted on the west side.
Unusually, some of the 680 Knot recorded were also roosting there.
Twenty eight Sanderling flew west passed the North End and Purple Sandpiper numbered 7.
At least 9 Wren were present as was a single Rock Pipit, fly overs included Siskin and Goldfinch. There were 2 each of Grey Heron and Little Egret, a female Kestrel was about and a visiting birder reported 14 Eider.
 photos AS

Sunday 24 November 2019

24th November 2019

Weather: SE 1 vis 2 mls with heavy mist.

 Not an ideal day for photos but the mist brought 14 Redwing and 3 Song Thrush to the islands.
 Three Rock Pipit were present around the North End and later on the west side of Middle.
A flock of 4,000 Knot were in the air between Little Eye and Middle, 7 Grey Plover were noted and Purple Sandpiper have increased to 6.
 A few Turnstone roosted on the west side but 105 were noted in total.
A Shag was off the west side, 71 Shelduck were over towards the marsh as the tide ebbed and 180 Brent Geese were counted , including a Dark bellied bird.
The female Merlin was again around the island disturbing the waders.
photos AS 

Friday 22 November 2019

22nd November 2019

Weather:  SE 3, 8/8 cloud, moderate vis

A brief visit to the islands saw good numbers of Brent Geese again but birds were well scattered along the reef and down the west side of the main island.  The sea produced 480 Common Scoters at mid distance with the vast majority of birds being apparent females.  Six Red-throated Divers and 15 Great Crested Grebes were also noted.

Meanwhile, nearby on West Kirby Marine Lake seven redhead Goosanders were present.  Formerly a very scarce bird at Hilbre and West Kirby Marine Lake Goosanders have increased locally and sightings are beginning to outnumber the declining Red-breasted Merganser.

Thursday 21 November 2019

21st November 2019

Weather:  SE 5, 8/8 cloud, moderate vis

An cold wind greeted the sole observer today but an excellent count of 324 Pale-bellied and a single Dark-bellied Brent Goose were recorded.  The flock included at least five colour-ringed birds including this pair with their six young that arrived at Hilbre this autumn having been ringed on Anglesey in February 2019 probably spent the summer in Arctic Canada and passed through Northern Ireland at Stangford Lough in September on their way to Hilbre.

Five Wigeon were found on the sand off the west side between Hilbre and Middle and the sea produced 450 Common Scoters, 8 Red-throated Divers and a couple of Great Crested Grebes.

Two Purple Sandpipers were noted along with a single seal pup hauled out at the North End; the latter unusual here but which looked fit and healthy.

A single Redwing was caught and ringed which was a late autumn bonus.

Ringing: Redwing [767-36]

Wednesday 20 November 2019

20th November 2019

Weather: SSE  3-4  vis 10 mls

The best birds of the day were the first, 3 Snow Bunting put up from below the south end of Middle which flew along the reef towards Little Eye calling. Other visitors were few with just 2 Chaffinch, 2 Blackbird and a Starling, the Magpie is still about. A Grey Heron and 13 Carrion Crow were by the Tanskies.         
Off the North End of Hilbre were about 500 Common Scoter with a pair of Wigeon and 3 Red-throated Diver in amongst them, 2 Guillemot and 5 Great Crested Grebe were also noted. Only 130 Brent Geese were around the islands and the remains of one were found north of the pond along with possible fox scat.
Wader numbers were low today but two Purple Sandpiper were present, 80 Knot, 8 Sanderling and 27 Bar-tailed Godwit were at the bottom of the Gutter, 100 Turnstone and 25 Redshank were around the island.
 photos AS

Tuesday 19 November 2019

19th November 2019

Weather: SE   1-2 increasing later, vis 8 mls with mist around the estuary.
A good start to the day (apart from the sunrise) was a Brambling flying over the Lagoon calling, later were a couple of Skylark, a Reed Bunting and 6 Starling but none dropped in.
The Kestrel was hunting over the island and a Merlin spent some time on the east side putting up waders.
The Brent Geese numbered 287 and included 5 ringed birds, a flock of 60 Pink-footed Geese flew low up the estuary .
 A few Knot (24) were at the North End as was a single almost invisible Purple Sandpiper.
 Other waders included 22 Bar-tailed Godwit and 52 Dunlin.
 photos AS

Wednesday 13 November 2019

13th November 2019

Weather:  Wind SE force 3. Heavy rain early morning, brightening up as the day progressed.

With the only passerines present being the resident birds, attention turned to the sea and shore. Some 250 Brent Geese were noted but were widely scattered, making accurate counting difficult. Four colour-ringed birds were amongst them.

An immature Shag appeared off the east side before high tide.

A 90 minute seawatch was undertaken over the tide with 190 Common Scoter, seven Great Crested Grebes and five Red-throated Divers counted. The seawatch was drawing to an undistinguished close when a male Velvet Scoter flew east, fairly close to the North end. This was immediately followed by a single Whooper Swan that flew upriver.

Wader and gull numbers are increasing with 5000 Oystercatchers roosting the high tide on Middle and 3500 Herring Gulls on the shore prior to the tide.

Sunday 10 November 2019

10th November 2019

Weather:   NE
A Merlin sat on the old light boat house at the north end, yards from our observer.

Two Goosanders were about, these seem to be more frequent visitors of late. Bar-tailed Godwits numbered 108, a really good count, while 133 Shelduck were also noted. Two Skylarks and 2 Rock Pipits were on the list for this morning, plus regular wintering? birds including 3 Song Thrushes, 8 Wrens and a Blackbird.
Ringed: 1 Blackbird
Photo AEH

Friday 8 November 2019

8th November 2019

Weather:  N  3-4  good visibility

 A quiet day with just singles of Blackbird, Song Thrush and Skylark noted along with a Goldfinch which came down in the Obs garden mid- morning. A Kestrel and a Peregrine were also about.
Just 8 Great Crested Grebe and a Red-throated Diver were noted along with the 140 Common Scoter  off the North End and a Wigeon flew up the Swash . The ebbing tide saw 7 Little Egret fly in to feed in the Gutter, it also left a freshly dead Guillemot on the east side.
There were good numbers of Turnstone (135) and Redshank (126) along with 77 Curlew and low numbers of Dunlin, Knot and Grey Plover.
 photos AS

Wednesday 6 November 2019

6th November 2019

Weather:  SE force 1, intermittent rain and drizzle.
Following some light rain overnight, a short visit found that there were no migrants present apart from a single Goldcrest and the only passer- by was a Skylark. Three Meadow Pipits were around but no Rock Pipits showed this morning. Three Teal floated off the east side as the tide ebbed and a short time later 2 Harbour Porpoises surfaced off to the north. The Brent were highly scattered but the 2 new ringed birds found on the 31st October were identified. As many as 1,500 Common Scoter were within telescope view towards the wind farm while others on the sea were 12 Great Crested Grebes and 4 Red-throated Divers, one very near to the island. Two Grey Plovers and a Purple Sandpiper were the best of the low tide waders, while 6 Little Egrets fed and the Magpie still flies about. 

Sunday 3 November 2019

3rd November 2019

Weather: W force 2, some mist

If felt a bit like a warm winters day, with not many passerines were about but plenty of waders. 
There were a selection of most waders including a couple of Purple Sandpipers, a big flock of starlings at the start of the day (200) and the Merlin from yesterday to chase them off.

A Blackbird and Song Thrush were on the island also a couple of Goldcrests which were ringed today.
Also noted were 55 Common Scoter, 4 Great Crested Grebes, a Razorbill, 20 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Little Egrets and a Kestrel.
 Ringed: 1 Song Thrush, 2 Goldcrests.       [ 766-36 ]
photos JE, BT(Merlin)