Tuesday 31 August 2021

31st August 2021

 Weather: NE force 5 decreasing 3 during the day

A partly cloudy and cool start to the day and no warblers on the island did not prevent a couple of Wheatears arriving as the only small migrants today. A female Sparrowhawk putting in an appearance therefore gave extra pleasure to our observer, while both Kestrel and Peregrine completed the trio of raptors. Notable today were 15 Little Egrets, surely close to a record for the island, and also seen were 12 Shelduck, 2 Grey Herons and 2 Gannets on the sea with 5 Scoter and 4 Great Crested Grebes. Waders are unobtrusive at the low tides just now but in addition to the Oystercatchers (2500), there were 650 Dunlin, 43 Curlew, 40 Ringed Plover and 10 Sanderling. A few of the likely breeders are still about, for instance 6 Swallows, 2 Blackbirds, 2 Robins, 6 Rock Pipits, 6 Meadow Pipits and a Pied Wagtail. Only 3 Small Whites and 2 Red Admirals flew representing the butterflies but moths fared better in the trap this morning.

Smoky Wainscot

White-line Dart

 Photos CJW

Monday 30 August 2021

30th August 2021

 Weather:  NE force 4

Following on from the Little Stint which was here on Friday, another sought after scarce wader showed this morning with a Curlew Sandpiper among the other small waders that were feeding.

Curlew Sandpiper (centre right)


                                           Curlew Sandpiper with Dunlin and Sanderling

Other than the star wader, present were 1650 Dunlin, 30 Sanderling, 110 Ringed Plover, 40 Knot, 10 Redshank, 25 Turnstone, a Whimbrel and a Bar-tailed Godwit. The tally on the sea was 5 Gannets, 1 Guillemot, 17 Scoter, 120 Sandwich Terns and 1 Great Crested Grebe. There were a few more Little Egrets today (10) and 2 Grey Herons. No warblers today but at least there were 3 Wheatear down and a few extra Swallows in the air. Not so many butterflies today, 3 Small Tortoiseshell, 3 Small Whites and a single Red Admiral. The moths from last night as follows:


Rosy Rustic
Mouse moth

 Photos CJW

Sunday 29 August 2021

29th August 2021

 Weather: NW force 3, NE 3/4 in the afternoon

It was quiet this morning with a lone Willow Warbler about (as there has been frequently recently), and there was also a single Wheatear. The only other real evidence of passage was in the form of a couple of dozen Swallows flying through. A scattering of sea birds were found; 6 Gannets, 6 Guillemots, 3 Great Crested Grebes and around 250 Sandwich Terns and 10 Common Terns. About the island fed 6 Little Egrets, 3 Grey Herons and a small number of waders including 40 Ringed Plovers. There still seems to be a large number of Short-tailed Voles present (15 seen) despite the Kestrel making an appearance on most days recently. Butterflies flying were 3 Small Tortoiseshells, 1 Small White, and 3 Red Admirals, while as on many a quiet day the moth list gave added interest:

Lime-spec Pug

Green Carpet

Garden Carpet

Flame Shoulder(s)
 Photos CJW

Saturday 28 August 2021

28th August 2021

Weather: E force 1 at dawn, NW 1 by noon

A clear sky first thing meant low expectations of an arrival of any migrants overnight and there were no warblers at all today.

 Two Sand Martins, 5 House Martins and a single Wheatear were a small compensation. The best sighting was probably the 2 Black-tailed Godwits which were likely to be connected to the large gathering of over 5,000 at Caldy just now. Sea watching has been a challenge in these very light breezes but still 4 Gannets, 4 Guillemots, 1 Great Crested Grebe and 30 Common Scoter were recorded. Seen from around the island were 6 Little Egrets, 3 Grey Herons, 8 Shelduck, 1100 Dunlin, 60 Ringed Plover, 180 Sandwich Tern, no less than 3500 Herring Gull, 800 Black-headed Gull, 34 Great-blacked Gull, 21 Lesser Black-backed Gull, and not forgetting 5 Mallard. At low tide 415 Grey Seals were counted, the only other wild mammals seen today were 10 Short-tailed Field Voles, while the only amphibians were 6 Common Frogs. Butterflies making the list were 4 each of Small Whites and Small Tortoiseshell and 5 Red Admirals. This mornings moth list is below:

 Photos CJW 

Friday 27 August 2021

27th August 2021

Weather: E force 2, NW 2 at noon, NE 3 in the evening

 A decent day of ringing with several birds caught including  a Whitethroat,

..........and a Wheatear, there were 6 present today.

Several Robins were ringed, also a Willow Warbler

 At high tide 1,500 Dunlin were estimated and with them was a Little Stint, a scarce migrant that passes through at this time, and a nice find. Ninety Ringed Plover were logged ,also 25 Sanderling and 21 Turnstone. There were no Gannets today, just a couple of Guillemots to be seen on the sea and 6 Little Egrets on the shore. The flock of Linnets now numbers about 60 moving around the island.

Rock Pipits (4) and Meadow Pipits (6) are still staying about. Pictures of juveniles of both species made for an useful comparison.


 A Peregrine and the Kestrel hunted today.

In the evening a Whinchat arrived unexpectedly in the soft light

The butterflies flying today included 6 Small White, 4 Small Tortoiseshells, 4 Red Admirals and the moths from the trap were as below:

Square Spot Rustic

Common Wainscot
No Southern Migrant Hawkers could be found around the pond today.
Photos JE, CJW

Thursday 26 August 2021

26th August 2021

 Weather: W force 1, NNE 2 by midday

 A quieter day than yesterday but the star attraction was still there, indeed there were now 2 Southern Migrant Hawker dragonflies at the pond. So rare are they in this part of the country that at least one member twitched the insects from the mainland, that does not happen often !


 There were no Sand Martins today but about a dozen extra Swallows passed through while in the paddocks a single Willow Warbler fed and 3 Wheatears did likewise in the open areas. Ten Gannets, 3 Guillemots, 2 Great Crested Grebes and 16 Scoter kept the 300 or so Sandwich Terns company on the sea, and an adult Mediterranean Gull was on the shore with 600 Black-headed Gulls. The best of the waders were 80 Ringed Plovers, 25 Turnstone and 25 Sanderling. Only a limited number of moths last night as below:

Eleven Small Whites, 9 Red Admirals and 6 Tortoiseshells comprised the butterfly total. A pair of Peregrines showed today as well as the Kestrel. Six Little Egrets and 3 Grey Herons explored the gutters. The setting sun was very impressive this evening.

Photos CJW

Wednesday 25 August 2021

25th August 2021

 Weather: SE force 2, later  NE 1

More waders rested on the island over the tide than has been the case recently including 2 Whimbrel, Dunlin (1500 logged today), Sanderling (50) and Ringed Plover (160).

About 450 Sandwich and 21 Common  Terns were here also but most seem to leave early morning. An adult and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull were on the shore and both Peregrine and Kestrel showed up ( 20 voles and 4 frogs were logged). It was a decent migration day in general with 6 Willow Warblers present (4 were ringed), a continuing passage of 27 Sand Martins, 20 or so Swallows and 2 Wheatears. Additional individuals on show were a Wood Pigeon, a female Sparrowhawk and a Reed Bunting.
Sea watching produced 20 Common Scoter, 4 Gannets, 3 Guillemots, 2 Great Crested Grebes and a Shag; more unexpected was a flock of 10 Teal. Two Painted ladies were among the butterflies but Small Whites and Red admirals were the most numerous with 16 each.

 Three Small Tortoiseshells were here, there are not as many now as they were in times past.

The most exciting event of the day we have kept to the last - a sighting of a Southern Migrant Hawker dragonfly on the pond, a first for Hilbre !


This species is a rare migrant from the Mediterranean region which has gradually become a more frequent visitor to Britain in recent years.

 Photos CJW

Tuesday 24 August 2021

24th August 2021

 Weather:  E force 1 increasing 3 later

 Sand Martins continued to move through today, there were over 60, and about half that number of Swallows arrived to briefly keep the island birds company.

Seven Wheatears were around the island but again there was just a single Willow Warbler present. An adult Mediterranean Gull was seen in the vicinity of Little Eye among the many hundreds of Black-headed Gulls in the area at the moment. Ten Gannets, 4 Guillemots, 2 Shags and 4 Great Crested Grebes were logged on the sea, while 30 Sanderling were among the waders. Three Common Frogs were out and about.
Most spectacular of the insects was this burying beetle Nicrophorus investigator

Butterflies seen included 2 Red Admirals, a Small Tortoiseshell, only 4 Small Whites today but in recompense a Painted Lady showed up. Items from the moth trap below:

Gold Spot

Flame Shoulder

Some distraction from the wildlife came in the form of a RAF Hercules making a low pass of the island.

Photos CJW