Monday 31 October 2022

31st October 2022

 Weather:  ESE force 4

The Brent's were closer around the island in numbers than they have been of late, with over 100 at the North End and another 100+ west of the lagoon.

Three Mute Swan flew from the east between Hilbre and Middle, they looked like they would continue to Wales but were later spotted in the swash west of the island.

About 70 Starlings came through including a flock of 40. Two Skylarks passed and a  late Chiffchaff travelled around the island calling but was too elusive for photos. There were about 10 Blackbirds around the island today and finches also featured with 6 Chaffinches, a Goldfinch and 14 Siskins. Mid-morning a Pallid Swift was found flying at Hoylake and observers at Hilbre were able to pick it up through a telescope at a distance ! (image below from the mainland).


A moribund Wigeon was a strange find in the paddocks. The Kestrel was about and a Peregrine was on the sand east of the Gutter. A single Grey Plover was heard calling but not many small waders were about, although as the tide made 5,000 Oystercatcher went up between the Tanskeys and Little Eye.

Ringed: 1 Blackbird, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Chaffinch

Photos AS

Sunday 30 October 2022

30th October 2022

 Weather:  SE force 4/5

 Hilbre did not disappoint this morning with the first round of the traps producing 3 splendid birds to ring including this Brambling which is a less than annual ringing 'tick' for the island.

Three others passed thorough calling overhead, while other finches on passage were 25 Chaffinches, 2 Goldfinches and 6 Siskin. Another infrequent visitor to the heligoland traps was this Sparrowhawk.

 More regular was a male Blackcap which appears at most times of migration.

 A Redwing was still here from some days ago, and today some 15 Blackbirds and 2 Song Thrushes were noted. The visible passage also included over 20 Starlings, a Reed Bunting, several dozen Meadow Pipits and a Skylark flying south. Eight hundred or so Cormorants flew out at first light. Mid-morning a late Wheatear appeared on the island.

Photos AEH, SRW

Thursday 27 October 2022

27th October 2022

 Weather: SE force 5, rain showers

A fairly quiet day for migrants, the best sightings were elsewhere, in particular 38 Red-throated Divers were noted off the north end, a really good count, also 13 Great Crested Grebes, 5 Razorbills, 3 Guillemots and 50 other unidentified auks plus 3 Arctic Terns (1 adult and 2 first winter), probably the same birds as seen here recently. The single Purple Sandpiper from yesterday was still the only bird present.

Twenty Ringed Plover roosting on the island in the sunshine gave a nice show to observers.

Five Grey Plover, 65 Turnstone, 53 Sanderling and 80 Redshank were counted.

Chief among the few small migrants were 13 Starlings, a Skylark, 2 Siskins and a Chaffinch.

 Photos AS

Wednesday 26 October 2022

26th October 2022

Weather: SE force 5, rain showers, later SW 6

The weather seemed not sure what to do this morning with rain showers early and then sunny intervals with a rainbow.

A Redwing was found in the net in the new obs garden, there had been 9 records of birds calling over before sunrise. Several Blackbirds were on the island and one was also caught for ringing.

A skylark, 2 Starlings, 2 Chaffinches and a Siskin came through and later in the afternoon a male Blackcap was caught in the SK, followed by a new Blackbird. Highlight of the waders was the first Purple Sandpiper of the winter at the north end (below with Turnstone), there will hopefully be many more to arrive very shortly.

The supporting cast of waders included 3 Bar-tailed Godwits, 32 Ringed Plover, 50 Turnstone, 110 Dunlin, 40 Redshank and 1 Grey Plover. The increasing wind brought some sea birds inshore, there were 7 Great Crested Grebes, 30 Common Scoter, a single late Sandwich Tern and 10 Gannets. 

Eighty seven auks were logged, 7 of them being definite Razorbills. At the end of the day 95 Brent had been seen, also 13 Shelduck and a Wigeon, but only singles of Little Egret and Grey Heron.

The Kestrel was still here, and a late Red Admiral butterfly was out and about.
Ringed : 1 Redwing, 2 Blackbirds, 1 Blackcap.

Photos: JE & AS

Friday 21 October 2022

21st October 2022

 Weather: ESE force 3, later SE 4

Although the visibility was much better than yesterday there were still Redwing (300) and a few Fieldfare passing over, but none on the ground. There were a goodnumber of Blackbirds down though, with 14 rising up from the South End alone.  


There were more finches going over today but only a few of the 24 Chaffinch were inclined to land, there were also 24 Siskin, 6 Redpolls, 4 Greenfinch, 2 Goldfinch and a Brambling was heard calling as it passed over. More Skylarks were seen than yesterday with 14,

....while Starlings numbered 755 and nearly 300 Meadow Pipits passed through. A Goldcrest was the only migrant small bird down in the gardens, although some of the 9 Wrens could also be in this catergory. Both Kestrel and merlin hunted the islands today. Sea birds were surprisingly good today. Chief among these were 200 Guillemots and 35 Razorbills.

 Seven Great Crested Grebes, 5 Red-throated Divers and 14 Common Scoter were on the sea.

 while 14 Gannets competed with the gulls for food.

 Three Arctic Terns today after the single yesterday.

On the way off the islands 148 Brent were counted.

 Photos AS

Thursday 20 October 2022

20th October 2022

 Weather:  SE force 2/3 decreasing S 1 later, rain drizzle and mist during the day

A very impressive day of migration on the island. For most of the morning neither the mainland nor little eye were visible, members following the tide out found a flock of over 100 Wigeon and 16 Teal on the ebbing water just east of the reef, the largest duck flock seen here in many years.

Other duck today included another 44 Teal, 22 Shelduck, a Mallard and  2 Pintail. Large numbers of Redwing (over 1,000) and Starling flew south low over the islands with some landing to rest and feed, there were good numbers of Fieldfare and Blackbird amongst them.

  A Ring Ouzel flew down the west side and then over the observatory but sadly didn't land.

Forty Blackbirds had arrived at the island also 8 Song Thrushes, some of both species were on the ground with the odd Redwing and Fieldfare.


A Merlin put up from the east side was probably responsible for one of the Redwing showing signs of a skirmish. It was well enough to continue on its way. Some of the 250 Starlings came down to feed.


 One of the 6 Skylarks were also on the ground.

There were 2 Reed Buntings paying us a visit, one was calling from the garden next to the obs.

Apart from the 14 Siskin, finches were scarce with just 2 Chaffinches and 23 Linnet. A Common Snipe and 5 Lapwings were an additional scarce species on the shore.

 Sea birds were not really on the agenda for today, but in passing 3 Great Crested Grebes, 17 Common SCoter and 4 Guillemots came into view.

A late Arctic Tern hung about on the island rocks today, we were not sure whether it was sick in some way.

 Not mentioned so far but always notable were 12 Little Egrets, 2 Grey Heron, the Kestrel, 123 Redshank and 2 Bar-tailed Godwits.

Photos AEH, AS, SRW