Thursday 30 January 2020

30th January 2020

Weather: SW 2/3, WSW 4/5 by afternoon, W 6 by early evening
Both Peregrine and Kestrel were seen today, the Kestrel has obviously been taking advantage of the good number of Short-tailed field voles seen around the island this winter. Sea birds noted were 15 Common Scoter, 3 Great Crested Grebes and 1 Red-throated Diver. keeping the Magpie company was a Blackbird, 2 Song Thrushes, 7 Wrens, 2 Robins, a Rock Pipit and a Dunnock which was singing at one stage. The full complement of 7 Purple Sandpipers roosted also 1,000 of the 2,000 present stayed at the south end of the main island.

Wednesday 29 January 2020

29th January 2020

Weather: W force 3
A typical mid winters day with snow visible on the distant Carnedd hills and a strong westerly wind whipping the waves.A seawatch was in order and observers settled in to the sea watching hide and started scanning. Good numbers of Great Crested Grebes & Common Scoter were recorded but disappointingly only 2 Red-throated Divers were seen.  Five Shags were fishing together & the group comprised 3 juvs & 2 adults. These were probably blown into the area by the strong westerly winds yesterday. Star birds in the first sea watching session were two Slavonian Grebes, loosely associating with a Great - crested Grebe, that were picked up drifting  south west before disappearing out of site down the west side of the island. After a quick lunch back at the Obs observers returned to the hide as the tide ebbed. The two Slavonian Grebes were seen again but the real surprise was a Grey Phalarope that flew in from the east, dropped on to the sea & then flew west towards Point of Ayr.
Good numbers of waders were recorded with 7 Purple Sandpipers using their high tide roost. 
Thirty two Ringed Plover roosted at the north end, 

and a good number of Turnstone and Redshank roosted in Niffy bay. Kite surfers were disturbing the roosts on bird island and as a result large numbers of Knot were seen milling around with 100 eventually settling on Middle Eye. The long staying Magpie was seen a number of times and a female kestrel hunted voles in the paddocks. A Peregrine successfully made a kill, after spooking all the waders on Middle Eye, before carrying it to the mainland to eat. Two Song Thrushes, a Blackbird, Robin and Dunnock were also recorded. A ringed Wren was retrapped and 2 others were seen. Mammels were represented by the resident Atlantic Grey Seals and a single Short-tailed Vole.  
photos PSW

Monday 27 January 2020

27th January 2020

Weather: SW force 2/3
Seven Purple Sandpipers are still present, also noted were 180 Grey Plover, 20 Ringed Plover, 9,000 Dunlin, 2,000 Knot, 5,000 Oystercatchers, 57 Curlew and 30 Redshank. Forty Scoter out to sea and were really the only birds of note on the sea this morning, and 114 Brent was the total around the islands when the observer was present. Regulars in the paddocks were 2 Song Thrushes, 6 Wrens, a Robin and the Magpie.

Friday 24 January 2020

24th January 2020

Weather: NW force 2  , light drizzle, mist early
Twelve Pink-footed Geese flew over at dawn just as the mist thickened around the islands and the observer did well to find his way. On approach to the main island the fox was seen to flee along the main path, evidence of its presence is seen almost daily but sightings are unusual. Passerines were few, just 2 Song Thrushes, a Blackbird, a Robin, a Rock Pipit and 2 Wrens to keep the magpie company. High tide found 7 Purple Sandpipers roosting at the north end,

 and 90 Turnstones resting in Niffy bay before Redshank replaced them.

A Kestrel was  about, its been here regularly in the last few weeks.
photos JE

Thursday 23 January 2020

23th January 2020

Weather: light air, bright sunshine, vis 2 miles

A calm spring-like morning spent in the sunshine over the tide turned out to be very productive for a January visit, particularly for birds on the sea. A Slavonian Grebe dived distantly off the west side, the first here for nearly 5 years, while earlier a Great Northern Diver had flown passed the north end travelling east. Other notables present on the water were 19 Red-throated Divers, 32 Great-Crested Grebes, 4 Red-breasted Mergansers, 3 Guillemot and 135 Common Scoter. Duck species were not to be outdone with a male Wigeon and 2 Teal showing, also the drake Eider from Tuesday spending the high tide roosting on Middle with the Oystercatchers and then floating up the east side as the tide ebbed to feed off the north west corner.
Seven Purple Sandpipers settled in the tide gauge at high water and flocks of 2,000 Dunlin and 400 Knot were noted. A Stock Dove flying about the island early on is a scarce visitor at any time but more often in spring, and 9 Meadow Pipits, 20 Linnets and a calling Siskin moving south this morning also brought to mind the coming season. Regular birds still here this winter are 7 Wrens, 3 Robins, 3 Song Thrushes and the Magpie.
photos SRW

Tuesday 21 January 2020

21st January 2020

Weather:WSW force 0/1
A fine male Eider was found at the north end, the first for some time after a lean period last year.

Four Red-throated Divers were seen also 18 Great Crested Grebes, 3 Red-breasted Mergansers, and 180 Common Scoter. Eighty nine Shelduck were about and a very large count of 310 Brent was made with good numbers of waders logged, especially noteworthy were 1,200 Sanderling on the east hoyle.

In addition to the the regular 6 Wrens, 3 Song Thrushes, and the Magpie, a Blackbird and a Rock Pipit were seen today.
photo SRW

Monday 20 January 2020

20th January 2020

Weather: S, force 0/1       mist
Sea birds seen were 7 Red-throated Divers, 18 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Red-breasted Merganser and 120 Common Scoter. Wader counts were impressive at 12,000 Knot including 3,000 flying south of Little Eye, 800 Sanderling and 115 Turnstone. Two Little Egrets and a Shag were logged, but the only land birds were the Magpie, 6 Wrens, 3 Song Thrushes and 2 Robins. Shelduck numbered 45 and the Brent 232, including 2 of the colour ringed individuals.

Sunday 19 January 2020

19th January 2020

Weather: S force 0/1 vis 5 miles, slight frost before sunrise.
The north shore held approixmately 1,000 Sanderling feeding there, a large number for this time of year. Also slightly unusual were 150 Black-headed Gulls drifting slowly passed the north end towards the west. Brent around the main island after the tide numbered 146, including 3 of the colour ringed birds, although only a single Purple Sandpiper was present at that time. The Magpie was there and was seen flying across from the mainland, so although it has been recorded virtually every day for over 6 months, it seems it is not present the whole time. A Kestrel, 2 Rock Pipits and 2 Song Thrushes were also noted. An Angle Shades moth lava was an unexpected sight crawling across the rocks at the north end.

photo CJW

Thursday 16 January 2020

16th January 2020

Weather: S force 5/6, later SW 6/7 with frequent squally showers.
Fresh Fox tracks were seen on the sand south of Middle, and chewed up remains of Herring Gull and Common Scoter lay on the main island, almost certainly a connection there one would think. Waders counted today at low tide included 3,800 Oystercatcher, 450 Dunlin, 45 Redshank, 57 Turnstone and 5 Purple Sandpiper. On the ground were 2 Song Thrushes, 5 Wrens, a Robin and a Rock Pipit.

Wednesday 15 January 2020

15th January 2020

Weather: WSW force 3/4
Three Red-throated Divers were seen on a sea watch, also 180 Common Scoter. Best of the waders were 8 Bar-tailed Godwits, 200 Sanderling and 4 Purple Sandpiper. On the island 8 Wrens, a Kestrel, the Magpie and one each of Blackbird and Song Thrush were the land birds round and about. Fresh evidence was obvious for the presence of Fox.

Friday 10 January 2020

10th January 2020

Weather: NW force 3   warm in the sunshine

There were 6 Purple Sandpipers feeding at the north end as observers arrived for the high tide,
 as well as lots of other waders.
With a gentle breeze from the west Turnstone, Redshank, Oystercatchers, Dunlin and a few Brent geese took advantage of the shelter provided in Niffy Bay to roost over the tide.
The middle island had the usual roost of Oystercatchers and Curlews as well as Herring Gulls and more Brent geese.
In addition to waders there were a few passerines: Crows, Robins, Song Thrushes and Wrens. One of the 7 Wrens present was caught and ringed.. This was the first new bird to be ringed on Hilbre this year.
Both Kestrel and Peregrine were noted as was the regular Magpie.
Ringed: 1 Wren     [1-1 ]
photos JE

Wednesday 8 January 2020

8th January 2020

Weather: W force 3/4
Fifteen Pintail were on the flood tide south of Little Eye, as were 125 Curlew and 105 Shelduck. The main island produced 225 Brent, 32 Grey Plover, 80 Sanderling, 70 Redshank,1,000 Dunlin and 7 Purple Sandpipers. A Rock Pipit was present, also a Kestrel, 6 Wrens, 3 Robins, 2 Song Thrushes and the Magpie. On the sea 120 Common Scoter and a Great Crested Grebe were seen.

Tuesday 7 January 2020

7th January 2020

Weather: SW force 3
A brief visit found the island very quiet with not a great deal to report although again waders were much in evidence, Redshank were numerous with 165 present as were Curlew at 620. A single drake Scoter was off the north end and 25 Shelduck and 240 Brent were around and about.
The regular 3 Song Thrushes showed as did the Magpie, which has now been here since last June, so must be finding enough to eat, despite the attention of the local Carrion crows.
photos CJ

Sunday 5 January 2020

5th January 2020

Weather: SW force 1/2
Highlight of a quick visit were 3 Wigeon showing just below the obs.

Brents were feeding on the rocks.
 Waders seen included 100 Sanderling and 60 each of Turnstone and Redshank.
Five Wrens, a Song Thrush, a Robin, the Magpie and a Kestrel were the sole land birds located on
the island.
photos AEH

Saturday 4 January 2020

4th January 2020

Weather: W force 4/5
 A breezy westerly this morning, again relatively quiet with many waders about, notably 1,500 Sanderling seen. A count of 65 Common Scoter were recorded on the sea. Seven Wrens showed themselves, also 2 Song Thrushes, the Magpie, a Blackbird and a Rock Pipit. Fresh signs of Fox on the island was not particularly welcome.

Friday 3 January 2020

3rd January 2020

Weather: NW force 4
It was windy and dark on arrival the island as 1,200 Cormorants exited the estuary, but the clouds soon dispersed and a pleasantly warm, sunny morning ensued.
Two more female type Velvet Scoter were found distantly off the north end, another good record. (thanks to Elliott Monteith)
Despite the rain being continuous since August, the weather has not been cold and the birds coming to the island for the winter have prospered. A Robin and a Song Thrush (3 on the island today), were retrapped, and both birds were in fine condition with plenty of fat.

There were good numbers of most waders, notably 600 Sanderling and 70 Grey Plover but only 1 Purple Sandpiper. A Kestrel was present and several Short-tailed field voles were seen, perhaps the Kestrel is aware they are wintering well.
photo JE

Thursday 2 January 2020

2nd January 2020

Weather: SW force 3
A brief trip across to check out the island increased the Brent count up to 310 birds, numbers are normally at their peak around this time but it is not always easy to establish a firm count as they are nowadays often scattered about the islands and the shore. Good numbers of waders were again present and the Magpie showed itself once more. Three Song Thrushes seem to be wintering here.

Wednesday 1 January 2020

1st January 2020

Weather: S force 0/1     some mist
The first visit of  2020 estimated 220 Brent about the islands with lots of waders including 8,000 Oystercatcher, 10,000 Knot, 3,500 Dunlin, 450 Sanderling, 240 Curlew, 95 Turnstone, 83 Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and 6 Purple Sandpiper. Four Red-throated Divers, 80 Common Scoter and 6 Great Crested Grebes were the first sea birds of the year. Passerines noted were 3 Song Thrushes, 2 Robins and a single Rock Pipit. The Magpie has stayed on the island now into another year.