Wednesday, 7 December 2022

7th December 2022

 Weather: SE force 1   veering NNW 2 by noon

A bright but cold morning but as expected for this time of year it was fairly quiet on the island. Sea birds however showed in some numbers; there were 13 Red- throated Divers, 2 Gannets, 18 Great Crested Grebes, 4 Guillemots and 8 Scoter. On the shore towards West Kirby were 1,500 Knot and 5,000 Dunlin after the tide, more Dunlin were also in the mix of waders feeding below the Obs garden.

 Purple Sandpipers had increased to 17 today.

 Redshank were counted at 48 birds.

 A great many of the small number of wintering birds have been ringed, 5 Blackbirds and 2 Robins were seen.

As usual the Eiders turned up in the gutter on the ebb, 7 this time (including 2 immature males). Seventeen linnets were feeding on Middle Eye.

 Photos AS

Saturday, 3 December 2022

3rd December 2022

 Weather: NE force 4

The dawn is late these mornings and the tide was early today after which several thousand Dunlin were near the islands with 26 Grey Plovers amongst them feeding at the south end of the gutter.

 Also at the south end of the gutter were 92 Shelduck, while 3 Wigeon and the 5 Eider (including the immature male) appeared in the ebbing gutter.

 Passing through was a single Skylark and 31 Starlings while 12 Linnets flew about Middle Eye. Rock Pipits are now resident throughout the year.

 A Peregrine flew north down east side of the island at one stage and the Kestrel hunted the island. 

  Purple Sandpipers numbered 12, there were 10 at the north end and 2 below the obs. 

Photos AS

Friday, 2 December 2022

2nd December 2022

 Weather:   E force 3, fog   later ESE 3 with mist

Today started exactly like Wednesday with Hilbre not visible from the prom due to fog and a Woodcock being put up on Middle Eye, then the Pink-footed Geese were heard flying out of the estuary, they could just be seen in the fog - circa 90. Another 65 were seen to fly east later in the day.

A single dark-bellied bird was amongst the 273 Brent counted today, while the run of Eider records continued with an immature male and 3 female types. Wigeon were again just off the east hoyle and numbered 12, also 3 Teal visited the islands along with a male Goosander which flew passed the North End going west and then landed just off the whaleback.

Two Fieldfare flew over the Observatory garden and a Skylark was feeding all morning around the northern part of the island, along with a single Starling these were the only passerine migrants noted.

 A few Common Scoter and 3 Great Crested Grebes were the only sea birds

 Just 2 Little Egrets and a Grey Heron were the only ones of their kind on the shore during the day.

As the evening tide came up the Gutter over 120 Redshank and 45 Grey Plover were feeding around Little Eye.

 Photos AS

Thursday, 1 December 2022

1st December 2022

 Weather:   SE force 3

A Snipe was disturbed by the lagoon on approach to the island and then a walk down to the north end first thing discovered a lot of Brent Geese feeding with a Common Scoter swimming past them very close in.

 There were also a few waders, 3 Oystercatchers, 2 Turnstones and a Purple Sandpiper (half hidden), there were 7 seen.

Other waders today included 4 Bar-tailed Godwits, 20 Ringed Plover and a Grey Plover at the north end. A single Skylark was the only migrant, except that at least 6 Blackbirds were here. A Song Thrush was retrapped that is probably wintering here weighed an exceptional 92 grams, obviously it has found plenty of food at Hilbre.

Scoters seen out to sea numbered 120 and a Great Crested Grebe was also there. The Kestrel was on the island.

photos JE

Wednesday, 30 November 2022

30th November 2022

 Weather:  ESE force 4/5    fog early later SE 5 with mist

Pink-footed Geese could be heard calling in the dark around Tanskeys, as the sky started to lighten 140 flew over the observer on Little Eye, leaving the estuary. A Woodcock was put up from the main path on Middle, a good start to a bitterly cold day. Probably the same group of 15 Wigeon as seen yesterday were feeding at the edge of the East Hoyle, while 6 Eider were noted including 2 immature males.

 and a female Mallard flew south over the sand.

At the north end a Scoter was swimming in a pool on the Whaleback and 3 female Teal were near the slipway.

 To complete the wildfowl for the day a Greylag Goose flew south and 16 Shelduck were noted. There was scarce reward for a watch of the sea, just a Gannet, and 3 Guillemot.

Three Starlings passed through and 6 Blackbirds were present, as were the regular waders including 6 Purple Sandpipers and 700 Oystercatchers.

Photos AS

Tuesday, 29 November 2022

29th November 2022

 Weather: SE force 3

 A nice group of duck this morning comprising 15 Wigeon and a single male Teal.

About 350 Pink-footed Geese were seen distantly from the obs balcony travelling east over central Wirral. A total of 7 Eiders were eventually counted around the island when they all got together, meanwhile Brent were counted at 298 birds.

Six Red-breasted Mergansers were by the west hoyle and also found on the sea were 800 Scoter, 5 Great Crested Grebes and 7 Red-throated Divers.

An adult winter Mediterranean Gull flew west passed the north end, amongst the other gulls were 45 Greater Black Backs. Six Skylarks and an unexpected late Goldcrest visited today and among the regular birds on the island there were quite a few Linnets, Wrens, Blackbirds, Robins and Song Thrushes, a few of all these species were found on Middle Eye.

Twelve Purple Sandpipers, 110 Turnstone, 120 Redshank and 80 Sanderling featured among the waders. Two Raven and the Kestrel were the only raptors. Also of interest locally the West Kirby marine lake held 13 Goosanders, 2 Red-beasted Mergansers and a Goldeneye. 

Photos SRW

Monday, 28 November 2022

28th November 2022

 Weather:  SE force 4

 A bright morning with a south east wind brought a small passage of 9 Starlings and 5 Skylarks while earlier 3 Redwings were in the old obs garden then drifted south to the new obs garden before moving on. A Pied Wagtail and a Goldfinch were here, also 13 Meadow and at least 8 Rock Pipits.

Eighteeen Linnets were busy finding seed on Middle. There were a good number of Redshank in the flooding gutter and on the ebb the single Eider had increased to 7 with the newcomer having a white breast.


Waders today included 79 Grey Plover and 4,000 Dunlin, while Purple Sandpiper numbered 16 on the west side roost, although some had been feeding below the Obs earlier.

At high tide 6,000 Oystercatchers rested in the roost around the islands.

The Brent feeding about the shore numbered over 200 birds, including a few of them that are colour ringed are are therefore of especial interest.

Highlights on the sea were 8 Gannets, 3 Red-throated Divers and 1200 Common Scoter. Three Little Egrets showed well today for the camera.

A barrell jellyfish rhizostoma pulmo was found on the shore, the largest commonly found in British and Irish waters. It can be moderately venomous but not as deadly as some others.

 The marine lake contained a few Goosander, as they do during most days now in the winter.

 Photos AS, CJW, SRW

Saturday, 26 November 2022

26th November 2022

 Weather: SE force 3/4

A brief pre-tide visit started with a spectacular sky. No small migrants were here and a check on the sea revealed 2 Gannets, 4 Red-throated Divers, 800 Scoter, 6 Great Crested Grebes and 12 Guillemots. Brent were about the island to the extent of 235 birds counted and were putting on a good show.

Three of the recent female type Eiders were noted and waders around the island included 800 Dunlin, 400 Knot, 140 Redshank, 10 each of Sanderling and Purple Saa lot ndpiper, while also on the shore were 2 Little Egrets, 2 Grey Herons and about 1,200 Cormorants many of which came out of the estuary at dawn.

Photos CJW