Thursday 31 March 2022

31st March 2022

 Weather: N force 4/5    cold

 A brief visit in the afternoon found very little as expected in this cold northerly airflow. The clouds were spectacular and looked threatening especially after a forecast of 'thundersnow' in some areas, they looked as though they could have dropped anything on Wirral any time soon.

There are still plenty of Brent around including a dark-bellied bird on the whaleback. 

 There was a Grey Plover in the gutter and 3 Purple Sandpipers were seen, also 22 Turnstone and 6 Shelduck. No migrants were found, just a few of the local wintering birds.

Photos SRW

Wednesday 30 March 2022

30th March 2022

 Weather:  SE force 2, misty, E 4 with some rain by mid-morning and cooler than of late

The star bird of the day and a first for the year was a male Ring Ouzel which was found as it landed on the path past the bungalows and the SK paddock. It ducked under the fence into the paddock and members spent the next few hours searching the island trying to re-find it. There were a few sightings but frustratingly it failed to be caught for ringing or even photographed. Two Wheatears and Goldcrest were down on the island but finches were limited to 3 Goldfinches and 2 Redpolls, with another House Sparrow, this time a female, however another male Blackcap was ringed following the one yesterday.

 The drake Eider was still present as were the 4 Goosander.

The Brent count was 234 plus a dark-bellied and 6 Wigeon were here today, also single male Scoter and Red-breasted Merganser. Four Mallard and 4 Shelduck completed the wildfowl. Nine Purple Sandpipers roosted the tide and about 150 Turnstones did the same, although Oystercatcher numbers were not notable today.


Apart from the Blackcap, ringed today were a Goldcrest, a Robin and a Meadow Pipit, which showed well how distinct they are from the now regular Rock Pipits on the island, 2 of which were retrapped.


  The increasing numbers of Little Egrets are always an impressive site around the islands.


 Photos JE, PSW, SRW

Tuesday 29 March 2022

29th March 2022

 Weather: E force 1,  heavy mist, later NNE 2


Redwings were again heard over the island at dawn, this time about 30, and today 8 came down in the misty conditions, resulting in the first ringed on the island this year.

 Another first was a male Blackcap, the other warblers on today were 6 Chiffchaffs.

 It was also another Wheatear day, 6 graced the island.

There was a good passage of Meadow Pipits, also 3 Goldcrests, 2 Chaffinches, 2 Siskin and 14 Goldfinches.


Although not often thought of as migrants certain species are always associated with Hilbre in sping, and there were quite a few today, such as a Rook, 5 Jackdaw, 6 Woodpigeon, a Magpie, and the first 3 Collared Doves of the season.

House Sparrow is also on this list even though we've had a few this last week, today there were 2 females and a male.

The regulars from yesterday were still about, 4 Goosanders and the male Eider. There were 2 Kestrels today, a Grey Heron and 9 Little Egret. Only 128 Brent counted today, some may have already left to go north. A Harbour Porpoise was sighted offshore, while unusually a Grey Seal was out on rocks at the north end.

Three Small Tortoiseshell butterflies were encouraged to come out in the sunshine.

  A really good day on the island.

Photos SRW and TGW

Monday 28 March 2022

28th March 2022

 Weather:  SE force 2/3     slight mist

An early start to catch the morning tide enabled 12 Redwing to be heard overhead before daybreak. It turned out to be a quieter day as regards passage of finches than of late, but many other species provided good compensation. Shortly after 7 am the sound of trumpeting swans approaching the island from the south heralded a line of 12 Whooper Swans flying low directly over the obs building and off towards the north and then east.

A male Wheatear arrived shortly after by the lookout, the first for a few days and was followed later by 6 others as well as a female, 

  The potter traps were deployed but only managed to attract 3 previously tagged Rock Pipits.

There were no Goldcrests in the gardens today until one turned up in the afternoon, but 3 Chiffchaffs were ringed.

As mentioned few finches came through, just 2 Siskin and 6 Goldfinches, also a Reed Bunting. A single drake Eider possibly the one that has been seen several times reccently was at the north end and later it was joined by 2 other males and a female, until the new birds departed at noon towards the Point of Air,
leaving the regular single male behind

 Three Goosander were in the lagoon between the islands most of the morning and relocated to the north end in the afternoon,

not to be outdone 2 Canada Geese also spent some time in the lagoon area. There seemed to be more Linnets around today, with many now singing in preparation for breeding, while Blackbirds are in similar mode with males singing on both main islands. There were lots of Curlew mostly south of Little Eye making a total of 320 birds and a total of 8 Little Egret fed in the gutter.

 Only 6 Purple Sandpipers could be found roosting at high tide.

Photos CJ, AS, SRW

Sunday 27 March 2022

27th March 2022

 Weather: ESE force 1, slight haze    warm and sunny later.

 The Daffodils on the island greeted the sun that rose on yet another beautiful day in March.

Few migrants were grounded, notable among these were a Reed Bunting, the odd Goldfinch and 2 Chiffchaffs.

Passing by were just a couple of Siskin this morning and several Goldfinch. Large wildfowl fared better: 2 Greylags were here, 3 Canada Geese made themselves known, the Brent numbered 286 plus 2 dar-bellied, 3 Mallard were in the pond and another drake Eider was off the north end before drifting south down the west side.

No Wood Pigeons today but 3 Jackdaws called as they flew overhead.

It was probably too misty to detect any Little Gulls, however during the search 2 adult Kittiwakes flew fairly closely south down the west side, and 3 Red-throated Divers and 5 Red-breasted Mergansers were also out in a westerly direction. Ten Purple Sandpipers roosted the smallish early morning tide at the lower north west cliff and over 100 Curlew were logged. Despite the human disturbance on the islands in the fine weather a Common Snipe was still found to be present in the afternoon. The larger numbers of Little Egrets over the last few days continued with 9 in the east gutter after the tide. A Kestrel was again the only raptor.

Photos CJW

Saturday 26 March 2022

26th March 2022

Weather:  ESE  1, slight mist, clear sky.  warm and sunny later.

A nice morning as the early tide ebbed and 9 Purple Sandpipers fed at the North End, 105 Curlews also took advantage of the freshly exposed banks and fed along the edge of the gutter, a Merlin harassed the residents briefly after first light until it gained height and headed South West. Female Eider and Goosander were present and a small flock of Common Scoter continue to drift about to the East, 290 Pale and 2 Dark bellied Brents are becoming more vocal as they fed around the islands. 

Redpoll, Siskin and Goldfinches moved through and another (female) house Sparrow dropped in.

About 65 Meadow Pipits continued to move as well as a single White Wagtail among the more numerous Pied Wagtails.

A welcome Wheatear dropped in by the light, the first for almost a week. 

 .....and a small number of Goldcrests arrived along with a couple of Robins. The Blackbirds continue to mark out territories and  two Song Thrush are still present. Two lots of Jackdaws (7+3) moved across the island and 8 Carrion Crows headed west in addition to the few local birds.

 Calm weather overnight were ideal conditions to deploy the moth trap on the island.

Small Quaker
Common Quaker

Brindled Pug

Early Grey
Photos CJW