Monday 31 May 2021

31st May 2021

Weather: ESE force 4  later SSE 5

The promising weather at the start of the morning soon went downhill as the wind strengthened and it became quite cool and dull with mist. The only real passage bird was a single Swift. The Whitethroat still sings and there was evidence that Rock Pipits may have fledged. The Eider pair are still about, 2 Guillemots were noted on the sea, also 18 Sandwich and 4 Common Tern. Attention turned to the moth trap, this morning 6 species were identified including Shears and Bright line Brown eye.

 photos CJW

Sunday 30 May 2021

30th May 2021

 Weather: SE force 0/1     very misty around the coast

 A still and misty early morning start and observers were impressed with the other worldly light as the sun rose. 

For the first hour there was very little to report but as daylight increased things improved somewhat. Two Redpolls passed over and a Collared Dove arrived and flew around the island for about 15 minutes or so and was pursued by a determined Meadow Pipit which managed to keep pace with the dove the whole time it was flying, even when it left for Middle and returned, we are uncertain what it thought the dove was.

 Three Swifts arrived from the south and flew north west passed the obs, they have been scarce this spring.

In the calm conditions it was unexpected to view a close pass by a sub-adult Gannet, no other sea birds were evident apart from 40 Common Terns and 65 Black-headed Gulls. Despite being missing first thing the pair of Eiders showed up on the whaleback as they have been doing lately. The Whitethroat still sings lustily when not disturbed, and Wrens as always were trying their utmost to attempt to compete.

A juvenile Blackbird was seen with the adult male. Waders were almost entirely absent at low tide but a Whimbrel was recorded, while 5 Little Egrets fed in the gutters. A Peregrine landed on the sands of the east hoyle. A Common Seal sat on the west hoyle keeping apart from the Grey Seals there. The Thrift is now looking it's best on the island.

 In the late afternoon a Painted Lady appeared, perhaps the precursor of an invasion ?

In the evening the sunset was spectacular from the island.

Ringed : 2 Linnets.

 photos AEH, CJ, KMc, CJW

Saturday 29 May 2021

29th May 2021

 Weather: SSE force 1, then N 1 later in the morning, mist around the coast

 A lovely morning but quiet bird wise, a couple of Goldfinches came through but little else until a Collared Dove flew swiftly down the island, scaring our member who was pointing the obs chimney !

The Whitethroat was still singing, this time at one stage from the roof of "Gus Lowe's" house. The moth trap (below) was deployed last night and came up trumps with Lime Hawk Moth, a new species for Hilbre !

 Eight other species included Marbled Coronet, Brown Silver line, and Foxglove Pug.


 photos CJW

Friday 28 May 2021

28th May 2021

 Weather: ESE, force 0/1  cloudy, drizzle at times in the morning, NNE 2 in the afternoon

A much cloudier and warmer morning than of late and the slight drizzle gave hope of late spring birds arriving. It turned out to be a rather quiet affair again. A Peregrine was plucking a kill on the east hoyle sand attended by the Hilbre Crows. A House Martin appeared despite the lack of Swallow passage and a late Greenland Wheatear popped up on the wall near the old obs, the first here for 3 days. 

Two Redpolls flew over calling and then landed in the SK paddock but could not be relocated. The paddocks are now buzzing with Linnets, while the Whitethroat does it's utmost to compete vocally.The pair of Eiders were eventually found in their usual place at the north end and 12 Shelduck flew over apparently heading towards Wales. Waders at the tide included 2 Whimbrel, 27 Ringed Plover, 1 Grey Plover and 14 Dunlin. Later in the afternoon 2 more Wheatears arrived and several Little Egrets showed to make a total of eight.
Ringed: Nil

photo CJ

Thursday 27 May 2021

27th May 2021

 Weather: SSW force 1  then NNE 1 by noon

It was a lovely day on Hilbre, warm and sunny with hardly any wind. It was quiet for birds however, similar to yesterday. The regulars were there; the pair of Eider, the Whitethroat and of course species that are breeding and are now carrying food etc. like Swallows, Meadow Pipits, Wrens, Rock Pipits and Linnets. 


The only newly fledged bird caught for ringing was a Blackbird in the area we suspected them to be breeding, so confirmation was welcome indeed. 

The sole migrant passerine was an elusive Goldfinch. The very calm sea produced a Shag, the first here for some time, but little else apart from 12 Sandwich and 8 Common Terns. Four Little Egrets were on the shore, also a few waders, best of which were 2 Whimbrel, 14 Sanderling, 12 Ringed Plover and a couple of Turnstone. Three Short-tailed Voles were noticed scurrying through the grass, there seems to be plenty for the Kestrel to feed on at the moment.

  The RNLI also turned up in their hovercraft it was quite an unusual sight at this stage of the tide. 

Out in the sunshine today were 2 Cinnebar moths, 3 Common Blue butterflies and a Red Admiral

Ringed: 2 Linnets, 1 Blackbird

 photos JE, AS

Wednesday 26 May 2021

26th May 2021

 Weather: NE force 1  WNW 3 in the afternoon

A quiet day on the island, the only real migrants (apart from a single Goldfinch) were 2 House Martins that stangely were headed north (migrants nearly always pass south over Hilbre, even in spring). The local Swallows included the one that had been ringed in a previous season.

 The breeding Linnets are showing well now in the gardens and paddocks.

 A Grey Heron scavened on top of the island over the tide.

Unlike the Grey Heron the 4 Little Egrets stuck to the shore. Views of 5 Gannets, 10 Common and 5 Sandwich Terns were distant. The Whitethroat was still present. Waders were extremely hard to find, just 20 Dunlin, 6 Ringed Plovers and about 200 Oystercatchers. The blood moon rising was a pretty sight from the island.

photos AS

Tuesday 25 May 2021

25th May 2021

 Weather: WNW force 6/7

A westerly near gale at any time of year is worth a look for sea birds passing off the north end. Right from the off Manx Shearwaters were moving west into the wind, 75 made the log sheet, most of them before the high tide.

Other good sightings on the sea included 22 Gannets, 28 Guillemots, 2 Kittiwakes and 2 Little among the 15 Sandwich and 2 Common Terns. A single Greenland Wheatear was the only new small migrant of the day.

The first young Linnets fledged in the SK paddock where the male Whitethroat likes to be. A single Whimbrel is still here and 18 Ringed Plover and 180 Oystercatchers showed on the high tide.

Also present but not yet mentioned were the pair of Eider, a Kestrel, 2 Little Egrets and a Grey Heron.

photos AS

Monday 24 May 2021

24th May 2021

Weather:  SE force 2/3   WNW 3/4 later in the afternoon

For the second time recently a fox was seen early morning leaving the island for the mainland, it could be bad news for the breeding birds, although a quick look around did not see any obvious disturbance at this stage.

It appears the Eiders (2males+1female) are determined to stay the breeding season here as are a few Shelduck. The pair of Pied Wagtails may produce another brood given time.

The Swallows may do likewise if the food supply is plentiful.

The high tide produced 8 Gannets, 45 Common and 10 Sandwich Terns, single Great Crested Grebe and Common Scoter, while a Guillemot stayed local to the island.

A Kestrel was on the island and a Peregrine was seen to catch a medium sized prey over the sea off the north end. Waders were short in total numbers; 70 Dunlin, 37 Ringed Plover and 3 Turnstone. A Chiffchaff joined the male Whitethroat but were the sole warblers present and a Goldfinch was the only migrant finch. Three passing House Martins went through while the local Swallows were feeding.

photos AS

Sunday 23 May 2021

23rd May 2021

 Weather: SSW  force 4, SSE 5 by noon, cloudy but mostly dry

 A late Brent was in the gutter as the tide approached but it soon moved on,

  the 3 Eider (2 males) however are still here as are 4 Shelduck (2 pairs)

 A touch of south in the wind brought a Willow Warbler to the 'heli' garden, a Greenland Wheatear and a Redpoll flew across the island. The male Whitethroat still sings. Fourteen Gannets were seen near the time of high tide, and a Grey Heron and 4 Little Egrets were noted.

 Both of the Blackbird pair were carrying food, and a Rock pipit was doing the same.

A single Whimbrel was about as were 22 Ringed Plover, 30 Dunlin, 4 Turnstone and a couple of Grey Plover.

 After observers had left the island, one member reported an Osprey over the north shore that was heading west and entered the Hilbre recording area, a late record for the island. 

photos AS