Wednesday 30 June 2021

30th June 2021

Weather: W force 3  

A quiet day birdwise but a single Raven made an appearance and the female Eider and Whitethroat are still here. Nine Little Egrets and the Kestrel showed and a number of terns fed off the island. We were honoured by having Steffan Walton and partner Becky from Sandwich Bay bird observatory as guests. Sandwich Bay is one of our fellow observatories scattered around the coasts of Britain which are all members of the bird observatories council.

Brown China Mark was one of the moths in the trap this morning while many Cinnabar moths are now flying and 2 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies joined them today.

Photos CJW


Tuesday 29 June 2021

29th June 2021

 Weather:  NW force 1

 The female Eider was diving for food off the whaleback first thing this morning this morning.

 Also at the north end an adult and 2 juvenile Pied Wagtails were feeding not far from where they bred this spring.

In Niffy bay there were 2 juvenile Rock Pipits

A Wren was retrapped that was ringed here as a juvenile in 2019.

Two adult and 2 juvenile Linnets were ringed,

 The female Linnet was just starting its post breeding moult, with primaries 1 and 2 just starting to grow.

 Kestrel, Little Egret and Shelduck were all present today. Three Cinnebar moths flew about.

 photos JE


Sunday 27 June 2021

27th June 2021

Weather: ENE force 1   

It was striking how little rain there has been recently when the pond looked almost dry this morning.

 On arrival very early in the day 2 Lapwings dropped into the gutter briefly and then another flew across the island. Lapwings are usually associated with autumn and especially winter at Hilbre but are always scarce, while the 5 Starlings that landed in the obs garden are more often birds of passage, particulary in late autumn when they can pass overhead in large numbers.

The other feature of the morning were the fly through of several Swifts arriving from the north west, initially a group of 5, and then 2's and 3's totalling 16 birds.

 Waders continue to arrive back, a couple of hundred Oystercatchers, 3 Whimbrel and 10 Curlew were noted.

Breeding carries on apace, with young of Blackbird, Pied Wagtail and Rock Pipit seen.

It was warm this morning and this dragonfly appeared near the pond, it is a probable Yellow-veined Darter, but difficult to be certain as it is so teneral. It is only the second record, the first was on 8th August 1997.

Just when we thought that the Whitethroat had gone for good, it started to sing in the obs garden at 09.00hrs and then moved north to the paddocks. No Eiders were spotted, but often they appear later in the day.

photos CJ (pond) AEH (rest)

Saturday 26 June 2021

26th June 2021

 Weather: NE force 2, N 3 later in the afternoon

A Goldcrest was the best record on the island today, while 2 Goldfinches were in the privet in Telegraph house garden. A Whimbrel was here in addition to 8 Curlew, and sea birds noted were 19 Scoter, 16 Sandwich and 8 Common Terns. Two Grey Heron and 7 Little Egret made the log sheet. The Whitethroat was singing again. Rock Pipits are now a regular species in summer at Hilbre.

photo AS

Friday 25 June 2021

25th June 2021

 Weather: W force 6, later NE 5,  rain and drizzle most of the day.

A strong westerly gave the opportunity of seeing something different from the mid-summer fare of the last few weeks. And sure enough Manx Shearwaters started passing the islands, the first few were just about visible in the mist but it soon cleared and a steady stream ensued, the majority moving east. Sixty seven were counted during the day.


Other sea birds were not as forth coming; 18 Sandwich and 54 Common Terns were feeding during the day, and 8 Common Scoter were spotted before the tide, although it took 2 hours after the tide before 8 Little Terns and a Gannet were recorded. 

A Whimbrel was heard calling and was later seen near the lagoon between the islands, 18 Curlew also made the list today as did the Kestrel, 7 Little Egrets, 2 Shelduck and the female Eider. A juvenile Pied Wagtail was on the lifeboat slipway first thing and was still possibly flightless.

The progeny of the island pair, let us hope it survives the rain today.

photos AS

Thursday 24 June 2021

24th June 2021

 Weather: WNW force 3, some rain and drizzle

Small signs of wader movements this morning with a summer plumaged Turnstone flying west at the north end and 14 Curlew seen early but they did not stay. 

Four Little Egrets also headed towards Wales before the evening tide. There was a slight increase in tern sightings with 12 Sandwich and 27 Common terns and also on the sea 2 Guillemots and 2 Gannets showed in the mist.

 The female Eider drifted up the gutter on the morning tide. 

The regular breeding birds were all there (Blackbirds, Swallows, Wrens, Meadow Pipits, Linnets, Rock Pipits and Pied Wagtails) while the Whitethroat continues to sing alone. There are still sufficient voles about the island to keep the Kestrel interested in staying. A colourful insect often seen at Hilbre at this time is the Ruby-tailed wasp Chrysis ignita.

 photos AS

Tuesday 22 June 2021

22nd June 2021

 Weather: E force 3

Sunrise is at its very earliest just now but it is well worth getting up to see. It was another lovely warm day today and the early tide meant members were undisturbed on the island. Most unexpected find this morning was a Small Heath butterfly, unusual at Hilbre, although one was found on Saturday which was the first since 2008 ( per Matt Thomas)

 The Pied Wagtails are still busy around the island.

The breeding Linnets also seem to be doing well this year, and another of the breeding Meadow Pipits was retrapped today and they and the Rock Pipits are very active.

 Meanwhile both Swallow nests now have young

No sign of any Eiders this morning but the Whitethroat still sings. The Thrift is now well past its best, just as the first flowers of Rock-sea Lavender are appearing.

  Terns seen feeding over the sea today were 12 Common and 8 Sandwich terns.

 No less than 9 Little Egrets were noted around the island today.

 Ringed: 3 Linnets

photos JE & AS

Monday 21 June 2021

21st June 2021

 Weather:  E force 1, later in the afternoon ENE 2   mostly cloudy

Two Peregrines were on the sand towards Red Rocks, while the Kestrel was still on the island today. Both juvenile Blackbirds were seen, and the Whitethroat was still about the paddocks, although as elusive as ever to the attention of any cameras. 

 Two visiting Goldfinches dropped briefly into the gardens.

There has been very few waders present as expected at this time, but 2 Redshank called and flew up the west side today and there were 4 Curlew noted, more returning waders are likely to be here very soon. Two Gannets and 18 Sandwich Terns were the only sea birds. Five Little Egrets showed and a Grey Heron roosted on Middle, while just the female Eider was noted. Four Shelduck have been here recently, in addition today 6 and then 10 flew west early on. Five Rock Pipits were recorded today and of course the pair of Pied Wagtails are still here.

  Among the flowers out this morning was Sheep's-bit Scabious.

photos AS

Saturday 19 June 2021

19th June 2021

A dawn start for the tide was rewarded with our 17th Treecreeper record. The bird was ringed and an exciting find for June. 

A pair of Sandwich Tern spent the tide displaying at the south end of the main island. 


A single Swift flew south and 6 Canada Geese headed east.

photos AEH 

Friday 18 June 2021

18th June 2021

Weather:  N force 4

Just a male Eider showing this morning, while that other regular this summer, the Whitethroat still sings. The Kestrel was here as were 4 Little Egrets, a Grey Heron and a small number of terns. All the island breeding birds were about the island today, including 4 Rock Pipits and Pied Wagtails, but the moth trap from last night proved unproductive (list below) after the wind turned northerly and cool overnight.

photo CJW

Thursday 17 June 2021

17th June 2021

Weather: NW force 2/3

A Raven made another appearance on the island, they have been seen regularly over the last few months. The pair of Eider are still here, as is the singing Whitehroat. After a spell of Canada Goose records, a single was recorded again today. A single Swift was the sole 'migrant' visitor and as usual in mid-summer just 18 Common and 6 Sandwich Terns were feeding. The West Hoyle bank at low tide hosted 1,400 Herring Gulls, with other counts of 20 Lesser Black-backs, 6 Great Black-backs, 4 Common Gulls and a single Black-headed Gull. The Kestrel was on the island, as were at least 8 Short-tailed Field Voles that had evaded it. Seven Little Egrets were among the shore birds today, also 2 Grey Herons.

Tuesday 15 June 2021

15th June 2021

 Weather: SW force 1, SE 3 by noon, sunny

The breeding birds were busy around the islands, the Swallows are still both on eggs and the Pied Wagtails were busy getting food for their brood.

Young Linnets have been about for a while now, but it was pleasing to ring a juvenile Meadow Pipit this morning.

The pair of Eider were still loafing on the rocks.

Over 200 Grey Seals were counted on the west hoyle, not so many as would be expected at this time a few years ago.

Five Little Egrets were in the gutter (one had left before the picture was taken). 

The Whitethroat was still present, as were 4 Rock Pipits. Quite a few butterflies and moths flew today in the sunshine, also Common Darter and this rarer Broad-bodied Chaser on the trap wiring.

 Ringed: 4 Linnets, 1 Meadow Pipit

Photos JE

Sunday 13 June 2021

13th June 2021

 Weather:  SE cloudy, warm early morning

A typically quiet June morning with female Eider, Peregrine, Swallows and Whitethroat.

Two hundred Grey Seal hauled out on the West Hoyle was a good count.

photos AEH