Friday 31 March 2023

31st March 2023

 Weather: ENE force 3, drizzle

A damp morning but all was not lost as a Chiffchaff was singing in the rain. A Goldcrest was also present and 2 male Wheatears made a welcome return to the island after a couple of days absent. Other visitors included 2 Redwing, a Reed Bunting, 3 Goldfinch and single Chaffinch and Greenfinch. About 3 dozen Meadow Pipits moved through as they have been  in most days during late March. In addition to the Brent (220 seen) among the wildfowl there was a male Goosander, 5 Shelduck, 11 Common Scoter, 2 Greylag Geese flying west and 4 Eider. 


The only sea birds were fairly new arrivals of 3 Gannets and 4 Sandwich Terns. Waders noted were 18 Ringed Plovers, 113 Curlew, 65 Turnstone, 44 Redshank. Three Little Egrets fed in the gutter.

Ringed: 1 Goldcrest.

Thursday 30 March 2023

30th March 2023

 Weather: SW force 3    light drizzle

A post tide mid-morning brief visit was just long enough to log 2 Goosander, 35 Turnstone, 4 Purple Sandpiper and 12 Common Scoter. On the island were 22 Linnet, 5 Rock Pipit and 12 Meadow Pipit.

Wednesday 29 March 2023

29th March 2023

 Weather: SE force 4/5

Although bthe temperature was slightly above average for the season it felt cold in the very fresh breeze. A Goosander and Red-breasted Merganser were spotted flying near the island as observers approached and a Woodpigeon flew over, 3 more turned up later in the morning. No Chiffchaffs were about but 2 Goldcrests were ringed first thing, the plain yellow crown stripe marked them as females.

 Corvids made close approaches to the island, firstly a group of 13 Carrion Crows meandered slowly passed the buildings and gardens and then 12 Jackdaws were nearby off the east side.

A Raven appeared briefly by Middle Eye. Some passers-by were 6 Pied and a White Wagtail, a Skylark, a Reed Bunting and a Chaffinch. The Brent (still 237 birds including a dark-bellied individual) made several forays as a flock out to sea and returning, almost in a dress rehearsal for the coming migration north. There were 11 Purple Sandpipers, about as many as here recently, and a few Dunlin and Ringed Plover fed at the low tide. The best sighting amongst the waders however were a flock of 80 Bar-tailed Godwits seen to fly in and land with the Brent at the tide edge, the largest flock seen for some time. 



 Fourteen Shelduck were seen in total today.


A frog looked surprised as we passed him in the tiny pool in the Newton trap.


Nine Common Scoter, 2 Little Egrets and a Grey Heron were also logged.

 Ringed: 2 Goldcrest, 1 Linnet

Photos AEH, PSW

Tuesday 28 March 2023

28th March 2023

 Weather: SE force 4/5  some rain

 An afternoon visit just before the tide when the main rain fronts had passed through found 2 Chiffchaffs, a Goldcrest and a Wheatear on the island, and in the few hours available a Robin and Wren were ringed but not before the capture of a 'control' Robin (ringed elsewhere). We had suspected new Wrens and Robins on the island over the last few days, this Robin may give some clues as to where they originate.


A small movement of Meadow Pipits was passing, even this late in the day, while a Skylark was on Middle as it has been recently. A sea watch at high tide was a success, yielding 2 Red-throated Divers, an adult Gannet, 2 adult Kittiwakes, 28 Great Crested Grebes and 16 Guillemots. About 120 Common Scoters were seen, a few hung around the island at close quarters.

 The Brent numbered 280,

 and 2 Shelduck favoured the east side, Three Goosanders and a single Red-breasted Merganser were seen and then the regular 6 Eider came into view.

A good count of 220 Curlew was made, also present were 38 Grey Plover, 16 Sanderling and 8 Purple Sandpiper. Two Grey Herons and 4 Little Egret were logged.

At high tide the Grey Seals often take a look at what is happening on the island.

 Ringed: 1 Robin, 1 Wren 

Photos SRW

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,