Monday, 27 March 2023

27th March 2023

Weather: E force 1/2  slowly veering SW 1/2  rain showers early then sunny and warm.

 A cool and showery start gave way after a couple of hours to a fine and sunny day.

A flock of 21 Pink-footed Geese lifted off the sand off the West Kirby shore and flew north, later a single goose flew across the island. There was an arrival of about 10 Goldcrests this morning, the best of the spring thus far although few other migrants could not be found in the paddocks and gardens. Surprisingly absent considering the wind direction were Wheatears and Chiffchaffs (just one was heard), we had to make do with a slow passage of Meadow Pipits, a couple of Goldfinches, 2 Skylarks (one on Middle), 2 White Wagtails, a Siskin and 2 Reed Buntings which dropped into the old obs garden. 


A lot of Wrens seem to be about this morning, undoubtably several of which were new arrivals, also a few Robins. Bird of the day was a Common Buzzard soaring over the east hoyle towards Red Rocks early afternoon. Common Buzzard is still very scarce bird at Hilbre, for instance Marsh Harrier is a much more usual find. Fifteen Red-breasted Mergansers fished around the west hoyle at low tide but no Goosanders again today, but the 6 regular Eiders came in on the afternoon tide. Of the waders 3,000 Dunlin fed while spread all along the east gutter as the tide flooded, calling among themselves as they often do at this time before setting off north. At least 7 Purple Sandpiper and 70 Turnstone are still here.

 Only a single Grey Plover was seen at the tide.

Local to the island were 94 Common Scoter (4 close), a pair of Mallard, 2 Little Egret, 2 Great Crested Grebe and 5 Shelduck on an calm and quiet sea, while 261 Brent were counted. 

Ringed : 7 Goldcrests, 3 Linnets, 2 Wrens.

Photos AS

Sunday, 26 March 2023

26th March 2023

 Weather:   ENE force 3   backing NE 3/4  late morning

The first chance to experience the effect of a north easterly on migration this spring brought in a good passage of birds including 10 Chiffchaffs and 6 Goldcrest,


 also a White Wagtail, a Reed Bunting, 2 Greenfinch and 3 Goldfinch. Other species associated with Hilbre at times of passage were 5 Jackdaws, 3 Woodpigeons, a  Redwing, a Skylark (on Middle) and 3 Magpies which visited the obs before flying up and down the island.

 The Daffodils made a lovely show when the sun was out.

 No Goosanders again today, this time a pair of Teal off the west hoyle was the compensation. Other duck were a pair of Wigeon off the east hoyle, and then a male Eider was in the gutter on the flood and 5 others were on the west hoyle, and 4 Red-breasted Merganser, plus the Mallard pair on the pond. Brent still totalled 244, many will depart north fairly soon. Additional birds to mention are 2 Great Crested Grebes, a Grey Heron and a Little Egret. Dunlin stayed around the island before the tide, 350 gathered at the north end and 3,500 elsewhere, also 12 Ringed Plover and a few Sanderling. Just before the tide 2 Stonechats were discovered on Middle.

 Ringed: 7 Chiffchaff, 3 Goldcrest, 2 Robins, 1 Blackbird.

Photos SRW 

Saturday, 25 March 2023

25th March 2023


Weather: W force 5  decreasing force 3

 With a strong westerly focus was on the sea and a high tide sea watch did not disappoint, the highlight being 2 Black Guillemots, a less than annual occurrence normally but one was seen here about 3 few weeks ago. Three Great Crested Grebes, a Gannet, a Guillemot, 200 Scoter and 2 newly in Sandwich Tern were also noted. Although not rare a Kittiwake on the West Kirby shore later provided great photos.

 Lots of waders roosted the high tide on the island, particularly Dunlin.


 There were also 12 Ringed Plover and 12 Purple Sandpipers


No Goosander were seen today but there were 4 Red-breasted Merganser and a male Pintail in compensation and of course 6 Eider.

 Few small migrants were about, a couple of Goldfinches, a Pied Wagtail and a pair of Stonechats continuing the recent regular records over the past week or so by staying at the south end.

 Not all the Linnets have yet settled down to breed.

 A Raven visited the island briefly.

A Harbour Porpoise swan off the island and a Common Seal was noted in addition to all the Grey Seals.

Photos AEH

Friday, 24 March 2023

24th March 2023

 Weather:  SW force 5, rain early then sunny intervals, windy


A male Stonechat was again the star performer for the observers with cameras, giving a great show on the island.

In addition to the Woodpigeons (2) today, there were 6 Collared Doves which were the first here this spring. There was a small passage of over 100 Meadow Pipits,and 2 Goldcrests and 3 Chiffchaffs were in the paddocks and gardens, 


.... while other migrants included 2 Goldfinches, a Chafffinch, 2 Starlings and 2 Skylarks which were down on Middle Eye. The regular 6 Eider turned up.

and other wildfowl were 267 Brent, 25 Common Scoter, 3 Mallard. Some waders settled on the island to roost and flew when disturbed.

Counts today featured 3,000 Knot, 1,800 Dunlin, 90 Turnstone, 8 Sanderling and 7 Purple Sandpiper. There were 2 Little Egret and a Grey Heron.

Two Harbour porpoise were off the east side (which is unusual, probably due to the depth of the large tide today) and a Common Seal was in the gutter. After the tide the wind gusted to gale force 9, making our observer beat a hasty retreat.

 Photos AS, CJW, SRW,

Thursday, 23 March 2023

23rd March 2023

SSW force 6, WSW 8 by noon with rainy squalls


The strong breeze was (nearly) in the south first thing making an overnight passage of migrants more likely even though otherwise it didn't seem suitable weather. A small steady movement of Meadow Pipits (120) was obvious and there was an early arrival of 12 Chiffchaffs.

 ................. and 7 Goldcrests. 

 A few of each were ringed together with this male Stonechat, another was also on the island..


Finches also came through, there were 9 Goldfinch, 5 Redpolls and 2 Siskin, while some of the 30 Linnets seen may be passing through and not our breeding birds. Three Pied Wagtails and 2 Skylarks added to the total visitors. The regular sort of wanderers to the island at this time did not disappoint with 5 Woodpigeon and 4 Stock Doves putting in an appearance. The strong winds did not produce massive numbers of sea birds although 2 Gannets, 2 Guillemots and 3 Red-throated Divers were noted. Six each of Goosander and Eider added to the other regular duck species of 8 Shelduck, 16 Common Scoter and 2 Mallard. Roosting were 14 Purple Sandpiper and 116 Turnstone, also present were 10 Bar-tailed Godwit, 11 Ringed Plover, 60 Sanderling and 2,000 each of Knot and Dunlin. On the list today were 2 Little Egret, a Grey Heron and a Peregrine..

 Ringed :  7 Chiffchaffs, 4 Goldcrests, 3 Robins, 1 Stonechat, 1 Meadow Pipit, 1 Blackbird.

  Photos SRW  

Wednesday, 22 March 2023

22nd March 2023

 Weather: SW force 4, SW 6/7 by noon

 A good day considering the weather conditions started with 2 Canada Geese flying east and another 5 later, followed by 8 Eider (2 males). It was a very big tide this morning, Little Eye almost disappearing from view at high tide.

 Many of the 3,000 Dunlin seen roosted on the island, giving good views for observers,



 Other waders included 105 Grey Plover, 70 Sanderling, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 150 Turnstone and 7 Purple Sandpiper. The star wader however was a Golden Plover, a summer plumaged individual flying south. On the sea were 4 Red-throated Divers, a Gannet flying west and 14 Great Crested Grebes, some in summer plumage.

 As normal some of the Grey Seals came near the island with curiosity.

 There were a small number of migrants encouraged here by the south westerly, including 3 Goldfinch, a Chafffinch, 6 Pied Wagtails, 3 Woodpigeons and a Reed Bunting but chief amongst these was a male Wheatear which became ringed.

The pleasent dry weather meant some repairs were managed to the traps etc. and also scanning the sky for Alpine Swift, unfortunately none were seen despite several sightings in the area today.

  One of the many Rock Pipits now staying on the island was ringed today.


Photos CJW, PSW, SRW