Monday 23 March 2020

23rd March 2020

Weather: SE force 2/3   cold start then sunny
Coverage from early morning until the middle of the afternoon was justified by a lot of good spring records brought by the south easterly. Main highlight of the day was the ringing of a scandinavian Rock Pipit, not only the first of its type ringed on Hilbre but also in the whole of Cheshire and Wirral.

Twelve Chiffchaffs were grounded, one even arriving on the rocks,

Throughout the morning Meadow Pipits moved south, 280 or more, while early records were 3 Woodpigeons, a Fieldfare, a Redwing and a Reed Bunting and a Stonechat,
 also 5 Jackdaw, a Common Snipe and a House Sparrow.
 Three Shoveler seen were scarce birds,
  less so the drake Eider,
while a Goosander repeated the actions of one 2 days ago which swan up the west side and stood out on the whaleback. In addition to the numerous Meadow Pipits there were 11 Starlings, 11
Siskin, also 1 Grey, 8 Pied and 3 White Wagtails also 3 Goldcrests, 2 Blackbirds and a fine male Wheatear, which was the first to be ringed this year.
Three Purple Sandpipers are still about, as was a Peregrine.

Ringed: 4 Chiffchaffs, 1 Goldcrest, 1 scandinavian Rock Pipit. 1 Wheatear, 1 Robin, [ 40-10 ]
photos JE, SRW

Sunday 22 March 2020

22nd March 2020

Weather:  SE force 1  clear overnight, later sunny
A cold early morning but as the sun rose it felt and looked more like spring,

especially with 3 Wheatears on the island again after a couple of days absence and 3 Chiffchaffs present.

Not as many Meadow Pipits moving this morning but there were records of 2 Grey and 4 Pied Wagtails, 5 Redpolls and 2 Goldfinches. A Merlin was chased off by a Peregrine

 and there was an unusual record of 3 Woodpigeons down on the island at the same time.

Another flyover House Sparrow added to the other records so far this year. A female Mallard has arrived back on the pond with 2 males.
The calm sea enabled 180 Scoter and 14 Great Crested Grebes to be easily seen,while the high tide pushed up flocks of Oystercatchers and other waders.
 More than 70 Curlew are still with us.

We have not featured any of the seals lately but we could not resist this detailed shot in the sunshine.

Some lovely pictures of the Brent which will head north over the next 2 or 3 weeks.

A few Robins have come through the island recently.

Ringed: 3 Chiffchaffs.       [ 32-8 ]
photos SRW, BT

Saturday 21 March 2020

21st March 2020

Weather: E force 1   cool wind
A slow start to the morning and the only Chiffchaff arrived in the obs garden mid-morning, although well over 100 Meadow Pipits went through on their way north including a returning local Hilbre bird which was re-trapped. Not to be outdone 4 Rock Pipits were on the island, 1 at Middle and 3 at the north end, while other small migrants were scarce but included 6 Pied Wagtails, 2 Goldfinches by Little Eye and a Reed Bunting. A male Merlin and a Woodpigeon were logged, along with 2 drake Eiders and 9 Red-breasted Mergansers. Sea watching provided records of 12 Kittiwakes, 50 Great Crested Grebes, over 100 Scoter, 7 Red-throated Divers, 2 Razorbills and a Guillemot..
Ringed: 1 Robin          [ 29-8 ]

Friday 20 March 2020

20th March 2020

Weather:  NE 1, 1/8 cloud, sunny, good vis
The early morning tide necessitated an early trip across to the island.

It soon became apparent that we had the first small fall of Goldcrests of the spring following the single bird here last Sunday. Four were ringed out of a total of 8 birds,
  and 1 of the 2 Chiffchaffs present became the first ringed this year.

Two more Robins ringed continued the recent passage.
A House Sparrow landed briefly on the fence by the bunk room but took off immediately and didn't return to the island, while a Reed Bunting came in off the sea but also decided not to stop.

Other seed eaters over were 5 Goldfinches and a Siskin. The drake Eider floated off the east side and a noisy Canada Goose made itself known by flying around distantly. Two Goosanders drifted off Middle as the tide ebbed.
Looking at the sea found 22 Kittiwakes and 16 Great Crested Grebes and a single Red-throated Diver. Only 2 Purple Sandpipers were seen this morning at high tide.
A pair of Carrion Crows seem to be constructing a nest on the chimney of the victorian building.
 Ringed: 4 Goldcrests, 2 Robins, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Wren.    [ 28-8 ]  
photos SRW

Thursday 19 March 2020

19th March 2020

Weather: NE 0-1, 6/8 cloud, mod vis

A lovely calm morning greeted the sole observer this morning and the Pale-bellied Brent Geese flock were between the islands as the tide ebbed being rather vocal before their northwards migration back to Arctic Canada.

A single drake Eider reappeared after the absence yesterday and six Canada Geese flew west between the islands.

Four of six Canada Geese - a typical March record of this species at Hilbre

A couple of Greenfinch and Goldfinch passed overhead along with a couple of alba Wagtails and a few (20) Meadow Pipits.  Two Rock Pipits were again present and a male Wheatear was along the west side, around the light and on 'Wheatear Wall' of course!

A single Woodpigeon was disturbed from the pittosporum bush in the Obs garden - another typical March record.

Several 'murmurations' of Knot could be seen distantly swirling around the skies above the Tanksy rocks and further south off Caldy.

Wednesday 18 March 2020

18th March 2020

Weather: WNW 3, 8/8 cloud, rain, drizzle and then drying up later

The day began with heavy rain becoming light rain by mid morning.
Despite the unpromising weather another male Wheatear was found and spent much of the day between the Telegraph Statio.n (‘Lookout’) and the North End even being added to the ‘new fence list’ for some!

Brents remained in good numbers with at least 280 Pale and a single Dark-bellied bird present on and around the Whaleback.
Knot were again present in good numbers with several flocks totalling 3,200 birds were noted around the ebbing gutter, the East Hoyle sandbank and flying past the island.  Also present were good numbers of Redshank.

A new female Blackbird was caught and ringed and found to have significant fat reserves.  [ 20-7 ]

Tuesday 17 March 2020

17th March 2020

Weather: SW 1, 7/8 cloud, wind backing WSW increasing 4 by afternoon

The day started with the first Wheatear of the year, found appropriately enough along ‘Wheatear Way’ and seen briefly on ‘Wheatear Hill’.

There was an obvious passage of Meadow Pipits today with 90 counted along with two Rock Pipits.  

Two Reed Buntings were noted including one which came ‘in off’ at the North End early morning and alighted briefly in the Old Obs garden and the second, a male, appeared by the Obs garden mid morning.

Two drake Eiders were seen on both sides of the main island during the morning and wildfowl was a bit of a theme with two and then a single Canada Goose passing by and a single drake Wigeon was on the sea off the East Hoyle sandbank and a scarcer drake Shoveler seemed undecided about its direction of migration when it flew north east before changing its mind and heading south west. 

Meanwhile a male Mallard returned to the island pond and discovered it had turned into a lake in its absence!

The Wheatear from earlier was joined by a second bird on Middle Eye and both were watched from the Obs balcony as they fed around the North End of Middle and in Fisherman’s Cove when they were later joined by a third bird (two males and a female).  A fourth male Wheatear appeared on the main island mid morning with three remaining in Middle when Obs members left the island at lunchtime.