Sunday 28 February 2021

28th February 2021

 Weather: SE force 1      sligh frost


 Arriving at the islands before dawn afforded spectacular views of both the Moon and the sunrise.

 A slight frost on the ground soon made way for a pleasant morning with Great Crested Grebes off the North end and a male Eider. 


Many scoter were in the distance off the east Hoyle bank. A female Sparrowhawk moved through the island chasing pipits and a small flock of waders before it drifted off to the east. Both Grey and Pied Wagtail were moving with a pair of Pied feeding for a time on the Obs roof. 

The Linnets are back in good numbers and a Goldfinch sang briefly in the pittosporum.

A single Goldcrest moved through the blackthorn before heading to the south end of the main island. A pair of Mallard are back, loafing on the main pond (joined by another male later) 

 a lone Grey Heron sat as the sun came up.

Saturday 27 February 2021

27th February 2021

Weather: S, then NNW force 0/1    slight frost at first, sunny

A spring feel to the weather today was enhanced by Meadow and Rock Pipits singing. A pair of redhead Goosanders were one of the highlights as they flew over the obervers at the north end. In addition to the Brents other wildfowl were a male Red-breasted Merganser, a Pintail and a drake Eider. Sixteen Purple Sandpipers were amongst the usual waders, while on the sea was a Red-throated Diver, 25 Great Crested Grebes and 100 Common Scoter. A small movement of passerines included 2 Goldfinches, 4 Blackbirds, a Skylark, a Reed Bunting and 3 Woodpigeons passing through.

Friday 26 February 2021

26th February 2021

Weather: WSW force 1    clear sky, becoming warm and sunny

 A Blue Tit was heard in the obs garden first thing, and it soon became clear that there were in fact 3 in the pittosporum, although they were all gone within half an hour. Blue Tits appear about twice a year at Hilbre, usually at this time of late winter/early spring.

An extensive sea watch produced records of 2 Velvet Scoter flying passed the north end, while most of the Common Scoters were in small numbers, occasionally in groups close to the island. Good numbers of Red-throated Divers (15), Great Crested Grebes (50) and several dozen auks including at least 1 Razorbill were also in the mix. Less predictable birds seen on the sea were a Shag and 2 Mallards. Our Kestrel excelled itself this morning by sitting by the steps below the obs and dining on a Short-tailed field vole.

Some of the 15 Purple Sandpiers sat on the life boat house wall at high tide

At least 2 Rock Pipits are present, the only small 'migrants' discounting Blue Tits was a Skylark and a Goldfinch.

Thanks to Graham Jones for the sea watch records

Tuesday 23 February 2021

23rd February 2021

 Weather:  S  force 5

After singles on the last 2 days, today no less than 3 Stonechats. Two were females with 1 male, all in the garden next to the obs at the smae time.

 A male Goosander flew east passed the north end, and 2 Ravens flew south down the island. On the sea today recoreds of a Red-throated Diver, 26 Great Crested Grebes, 3 Razorbills and 88 Common Scoter.

 Waders noted included 17 Grey Plover, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Purple Sandpipers and 100 Turnstones.

Two Pied and 1 Grey Wagtail were noted, also Blackbird, Song Thrush, 3 Robins and 7 Wrens. One of the Meadow Pipits in the paddock was displaying.

Monday 22 February 2021

22nd February 2021

 Weather:  WSW  force 1/2    warm and sunny

A short mid-day visit in bright sunshine was a very pleasant experience in the month of February. The Snow Buntings here yesterday were not about by that time, neither was the male Stonechat, although a female Stonechat was on Middle.

The recent regular appearance of a Raven continued when one was on the rocks near to the pathway up onto the island. Later it flew off eastwards towards the golf course.

Sunday 21 February 2021

21st February 2021

 Weather: SE force 1

Two Snow Buntings were at the north end first thing, one without a tail, which soon disappeared leaving the other to please the members on site. The tailless bird later appeared on Middle with the 48 roaming Linnet flock.

 The first Stonechat of the 'spring' (February records are frequent) was a splendid male.

 Another sign of spring were 14 Meadow Pipits, two of which were displaying, a Dunnock was also singing, and 3 Skylarks and a Grey Wagtail were on passage. Four Rock Pipits were present and hopefully may breed again. A hundred and fifty Pink-footed Geese flew low along the marsh out of the estuary in the morning. A Raven was showing again.

 a single Bar-tailed Godwit was with the other regular waders.

Although over 300 Brent are still present, including one dark-bellied bird, a pair of Wigeon and 350 Common Scoter were the only duck today,

 The flock of Linnets (48) were on Middle.

Sea birds logged included 9 Red-throated Divers and 28 Great Crested Grebes.

Friday 19 February 2021

19th February 2021

 Weather:SE force 5/6   Rain

 A short visit on a wet and windy morning  found a Grey heron on top of the island and a total of 345 Brent (including 4 colour ringed), a single Bar-tailed Godwit,


 a single Great Crested Grebe (summer plumage)

and 16 Common Scoter     

 Three Harbour Porpoise were close in off the whaleback.

Tuesday 16 February 2021

16th February 2021

Weather: SSW force 2

The most exciting development today was the spectacle of a pair of Eider off the north shore displaying and then mating. This is possibly the earliest attempt at breeding at Hilbre. They had been suspected of breeding here in 2019, and although not proven a duckling was later seen off Heswall. 

Other duck news today was a count of 372 Brent, a single Wigeon and 70 Common Scoter. The Wigeon and 7 Lapwing were at the north end first thing, and a flock of 40 flew high over Middle after the tide.

Two 2 Raven were down by the pond and flew off south. Two 2 Rock Pipit were at the north end of Middle and 2 others on the main island.


Monday 15 February 2021

15th February 2021

 Weather: S force 2/3  fog at one stage then sunny

A pair of Teal were off the north end but not very photogenic because the fog had not yet lifted.

 Quite a few of the 220 Scoter sighted remained close about the island.

Sixteen Purple Sandpiper were noted......

While a Turnstone bathed in the pool on top of the north end

Two Harbour Porpoise swan in the swash. A huge count of 356 Brent was made and 5 Meadow Pipits included one that thought it was already spring and gave a disply flight.

Saturday 13 February 2021

13th February 2021

 Weather:  SE force 5/6

Further small parties of Lapwings totalling 58 went through in cold weather movements across the island. The only ducks were 280 Common Scoter and a single Teal. Seventeen Purple Sandpiper provided the best of the waders, also 5,000 Knot, 650 Dunlin and 75 Grey Plover. Two Red-throated Divers, 14 Guillemots and 8 Great Crested Grebes were sighted on the sea, and on the land 2 Song Thrushes, a Blackbird, Robin, Rock Pipit were resident and a Skylark went across as the only visitor.

Ringed: 1 Blackbird, 1 Song Thrush        [ 2-2 ]

Friday 12 February 2021

12th February 2021

 Weather: ESE force 4/5 below freezing at 09.00, icicles on the cliffs.

 A mute swan seemed to be struggling flying into the estuary against the wind and landed on the water, after a while it took off and changed direction and headed towards Hoylake.

Seventeen Purple Sandpiper were the best of the waders, while 180 Grey Plover were by the reef first thing in the morning.
In what was a cold weather movement 18 Lapwings flew west and 1 flew south.

There were still 250 Brent showing

On the sea were 120 Common Scoter, 16 Guillemots and 10 Great Crested Grebe.