Sunday 29 January 2023

29th January 2023

 Weather:  WSW force 4

 An immature Long-tailed Duck was the prize sighting of the day, a scarce species at Hilbre and usually found at a distance with Common Scoters etc. Just 4 Eiders today and about 100 Scoters. Two Ravens were displaying around the islands. Two Grey Plover and 8 Purple Sandpiper were noted.

Friday 27 January 2023

27th January 2023

 Weather: NNE force 1, W 1 by noon.

Upon arrival on Middle Eye early morning a flock of 14 Linnet seemed very jittery and wouldn't settle, this was explained when a juvenile Sparrowhawk was discovered perched on the cliff. This bird stayed around the islands most of the day, including having a good preen in the Heli trap !

Six Red-breasted Merganser were in the swash along with a pair of Goosander and 3 more Goosander drifted up the east side of the island on the tide.

 The Brent were counted at 322 and the Eider had increased to 7 birds including 2 immature males.

Also noted on the sea were 45 Common Scoter, 1 Red-throated Diver and 11 Great Crested Grebes. In addition to 6 Purple Sandpipers there were 184 Turnstone, 34 Grey Plover, 1,700 Knot and 600 Dunlin.

 A military transport aircraft flew low to the island, probably in training.

 The evenings are now starting to drawing out but the sun still sets over the welsh coast. 

Photos AS

Tuesday 24 January 2023

24th January 2023

Weather:  SE force 3,  mist around the estuary

Three Goosander were recorded separately today, the first male flew south up the west side just after dawn then after the ebb a female did the same, at dusk the second male was fishing in the lagoon.

 The 2 immature male and 4 female Eider were again present in the gutter along with 3 Shelduck.

Meanwhile on the sea to the west of Middle Eye there were 14 Pintail sadly out of camera range, as were 36 Common Scoter and a Great Crested Grebe. Views of Brent however at this time are always available.

 Waders today included 181 Curlew, 110 Turnstone, 400 Dunlin, 48 Redshank, 10 Grey Plover and 10 Purple Sandpipers about the north end;


There seemed to be Wrens singing all around the island despite the overcast weather, with at least 10 noted, and 8 Linnet were in the blackthorn in the SK paddock.

Photos AS 

Saturday 21 January 2023

21st January 2023

 Weather: SE force 4,, ESE 5 in the afternoon

A lovely day right from dawn over the islands.

Beautiful weather however does not necessarily mean special birds, although even the regular species are well worth seeing. Seven Great Crested Grebes floating on the sea and their were 4 Common Scoter on view around the island.

Only 3 Purple Sandpipers were found as their high tide roost was not seen; there were 40 Grey Plover, 90 Turnstone and 35 Ringed Plover.

Curlew numbered 230,

and Redshank 60,

Photos AS

Friday 20 January 2023

20th January 2023

 Weather: WNW force 2,  N 1 in the afternoon

Six Eiders were still about the island and other sightings on the sea were 20 Common Scoter, 2 Red-throated Divers, 2 Guillemots and 8 Great Crested Grebes. There were possibly one or two more thrushes here as 5 Blackbirds and 3 Song Thrushes were seen. A good count was made of 15 Purple Sandpipers. The Fox continued to show its residence by leaving clues.

Thursday 19 January 2023

19th January 2023

 Weather:  NW force 4

 Highlight of a brief visit late morning was probably this Kittiwake by the island light.

Eight Purple Sandpipers, 90 Turnstone and 70 Sanderling were amongst the waders, also 85 Redshank, 2,500 Knot 3,500 Dunlin and 120 Curlew.

On the sea were a Red-throated Diver, 20 Common Scoter, 3 Great Crested Grebes and 4 Guillemot. Gulls featured 190 Common, 45 Great Black-backs and 2,500 Herring.

A Raven gave a nice flying display.

Just 100 Brent could be seen at the state of the tide.

Photos CJW

Tuesday 17 January 2023

17th January 2023

Weather:  NNE force 3    snow showers

 It seemed at daylight it was going to be a lovely day until snow showers appeared.

The highlight of a short visit were a pair of Teal in the gutter followed by 4 more flying west between the islands.

 A single Shelduck and a pair of Eider were also in the gutter.

The regular waders were all about in small numbers, including 53 Curlew.

Two Skylarks flew north and landed just west of the 'bunker', while there were 6 Linnets on Middle. Just for the record the regulars present were 4 Blackbirds, 1 Song Thrush, 7 Wrens, 2 Robins, 6 Meadow Pipits and 4 Rock Pipits. About 280 Brent were seen. 

It appears the Fox is still moving around the island.

Photos AS 

Saturday 7 January 2023

7th January 2023

Weather: SE force 4 with rain, later SSW 3 sunny intervals with showers

 Brent are often at their winter peak at this time and today 335 were counted.

 Also in large numbers were 1,500 Cormorants, while passing through 225 Pink-footed Geese flew by. The regular Eiders (2 immature males and 3 females) are still here. Six hundred Common Scoter were mostly distant, but as often one or two came close to the island.


 Lots of waders around the island included 18 Sanderling, 40 Grey Plover, 68 Ringed Plover, 120 Redshank, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 118 Turnstone,

 and 13 Purple Sandpiper roosting the tide.

 while the largest flocks were 6,000 Oystercatcher, 4,000 Knot and 1,500 Dunlin

 Wintering land birds included 5 Blackbirds, 2 Song Thrushes, 6 Wrens and 2 Robins, 2 Meadow Pipits and 5 Rock Pipits.

Adding a small splash of colour at this time of year was a clump of Gorse.

Photos CJW

Friday 6 January 2023

6th January 2023

 Weather:  SSE force 2

 It was a spectacular dawn as often it is here, and 1100 Cormorant left the estuary at first light. It was a very spring like morning with a Linnet singing in the observatory garden and 2 Wrens also in song, the Blackbirds are claiming their territory with one being  noted on Middle.

Forty seven Ringed Plover roosted on the north end and a good count was made of 338 Curlew on the East Hoyle after the tide. Turnstone were counted at 86.

Fourteen Purple Sandpiper roosted at the North End, more could be heard on the East side but sadly not counted.

The 5 Eiders were still around and later in the day 25 Pink-footed Geese flew into the estuary from the north.

Signs of 3 different mammals today in the form of a Short-tailed Vole, a Harbour Porpoise and the Fox.

Photos AS

Monday 2 January 2023

2nd January 2023

 Weather:  WSW force 3

 A flock of 17 Linnet fed upon Sea Purslane seed on Middle Eye at dawn.

 The 5 Eider still stayed around the island.

 Brent were counted at 248 birds.

Some wader counts were 3,500 Knot, 450 Dunlin, 160 Grey Plover, 80 Turnstone, 11 Sanderling, 85 Ringed Plover, 13 Purple Sandpiper and 230 Curlew. 

 Later on 2 Raven were briefly about the islands as they have been many times recently.

Photos AS