Tuesday 30 May 2023

30th May 2023

 Weather:SE force 3, strengthening to E 4   sunny

The fine weather continues, but the variety of species is erratic in the present benign conditions. The only migrants this morning was a House Martin and a late but welcome Yellow Wagtail which unforunately did not settle for pictures despite coming briefly to ground. The morning commenced with a flight of 6 Canada Geese travelling north and later a flock of 37 resting west of the lagoon before flying off east.


A Peregrine harrassed the small number of waders off the east side of Middle. There was a repeat performance of the feeding frenzy of yesterday with large numbers gulls and terns off the west side of the island. Gannets were more in evidence on the sea, 28 this morning. Three Eiders were made up of a pair and an immature male, while Shelduck totalled 19 seen. More waders appeared after the tide; 31 Sanderling, 7 Turnstone and a few dozen Dunlin. Three each of Little Egret and Grey Heron were among the shorebirds. Thrift has had a good season, the best in some peoples memory. A Linnet was feeding on it.

After midday 2 Ravens flew calling from West Kirby towards Little Eye (Liam Langley) A Common Blue was the sole butterfly flying this morning, although Brimstone was seen in the afternoon

Photos SRW

Monday 29 May 2023

29th May 2023

 Weather:  ESE force 1/2

Our first long awaited Spotted Flycatcher of the year appeared on the island but was seen only only briefly, a late Chiffchaff was also here but was more cooperative and was ringed. 

A Sedge Warber was another late comer, but it was quite  elusive but revealed itself with its song in the Blackthorn. A spectacular event on the sea was a feeding frenzy amongst the  gulls and terns. It seems that large shoal of fish was moving in the Dee off the west side which attracted the birds and also the fishermen.

 Estimated involved were 265 Sandwich Terns, 34 Common Terns, 650 Herring and 83 Black-headed Gulls.

 Waders today were all in single figures apart from the over 100 Oystercatchers. Just 3 Turnstone.

and a single Dunlin at the north end.

A male and a female Eider and a Guillemot were noted on the sea.

In the afternoon the islad was invaded by the usual massive influx of visitors on a fine weather Bank Holiday weekend.

 A Red Admiral was seen today and the moth trap among others produced:--

Treble Lines

Brown-Line Bright-eye


Shoulder-striped Wainscot 

 A Cinnabar was out and about the island.

Meanwhile the Valerian is now in full flower ready to receive the first Humming-bird Hawkmoth of the year.

The Observatory hosted a visit by "The Merseyside Fire service Retired Members Walking Group". The records secretary gave them a talk about our activities.


 Photos: SRW

Sunday 28 May 2023

28th May 2023

 Weather: W force 2

 An afternoon visit in the sunshine was productive in an unexpected way

For many years Hilbre bird observatory has been ringing Wheatears and although for a period even colour ings were used, we have had no recoveries at all. It would be nice to report one of 'our' birds had been sighted but the second best thing occurred today when a colour ringed Whteatear was seen down on the island.

After enquiries were made it proved to be a bird ringed at the Calf of Man (isle of Man) in June 2022. A very late arrival for a northern Wheatear at Hilbre, it transpires that it was also seen at Bardsey island on 8th May this year. British northern Wheatears are normally the first to arrive, so goodness knows what this individual is doing hanging around the Irish sea at a time when most are anxious to settle down to breed. A notable record for us at Hilbre. The rest of the records are less exciting, a single Swift did a fly-by late afternoon.

The remaining passerines appeared to be all island breeders, Wrens, Blackbirds, Linnets, Meadow Pipits, Rock Pipits, Swallows and Pied Wagtails.  There were 3 Eiders today and 7 Little Egrets, while 8 Ringed Plover stood out amongst the very low numbers of other waders at the low tide.

 Photo SRW

Saturday 27 May 2023

27th May 2023

 Weather: SE force 4/5   slight most. veering NW 3 later

Although a south=easterly the wind was stronger and colder than expected, as so many have been  from this direction this spring. As can be seen from the pictures today was very much about the nsects. The headline from the moth trap this morning was a Small Elephant Hawk, the third record for Hilbre after individuals previously in 1970 and 2021



 Other species today included such as Brown Silver-line, several Marbled Coronet, Vine's Rustic and Brimstone. Butterflies were not numerous but the first Painted Lady of the year was found on the Thrift.

The only small migrants were 3 House Martins and several Goldfinches.


Young were being fed by the Pipits and it was nice to see juveniles of Meadow and Rock Pipit.


Some kind of sailing race off the north of the island was taking place, that was unusual to see.



 More interesting to the observers looking in the same direction were about 90 Gannets feeding and especially a Fulmar flying west, a quite scarce sighting in recent years. The Common Terns (125) are  now outnumbering the Sandwich Terns (25)

Three of the 4 regular Eiders eventually showed up,


.......... in the meantime a flock of 22 Canada Geese flew north away from the island. There were a large number of Ringed Plover present (85) considering the proximity of the breeding season and 2 late passage Whimbrel called this morning. A few Dunlin are also still about, Five Little Egrets made the island the home for the day.

Photos AS, SRW.

Friday 26 May 2023

26th May 2023

 Weather: WSW force 2   some haze later

Ten Canada Geese were on the East Hoyle tide edge early morning and the only small waders seen all day fed in the ebbing Gutter, 45 Dunlin, 24 Ringed Plover with a single Turnstone amongst them.


  On the morning ebb 90 Gannets were noted, most were in the swash off the west side.


Further out were a similar number of  Sandwich Terns and just a handful of Common. A pair of Pied Wagtail were also present and looked like they might have been prospecting for a nest site.

The only small migrants today were a couple of Skylarks. The 4 regular Eiders are present. At high tide 2 Kestrel flew over from the golf course but only stayed very briefly.

Among the breeding birds both Rock and Meadow Pipits were busy finding food for their chicks and 3 Wren displayed around the island.



Photos AS

Wednesday 24 May 2023

24th May 2023

 Weather: NNW froce 4

A brief visit noticed the pair of Eider present, also 3 juvenile Linnets (the first this year were seen 3 days ago), 6 Sanderling, 4 Shelduck, 4 Rock Pipits and a Little Egret..

Monday 22 May 2023

22nd May 2023

 Weather:  W force 4

A brief report covering the early morning after an overnight stay recorded the Common Seal in the east gutter, a Goldfinch, a Raven also 7 Gannets out to sea.



Sunday 21 May 2023

21st May 2023

 Weather: SE force 3, mostly cloudy at firs,t sunny and warm later

There was slightly more cloud and less mist this morning but it didn't seem to improve matters as regards any new bird arrivals at this time in late spring. We still await our first Spotted Flycatcher (which is normally the harbinger of the start of the summer). There was a Chiffchaff singing intermittingly but it was very elusive. A few Goldfinches called around the island and a Starling made a visit.

A Jackdaw and a Skylark flying over and a Woodpigeon landing were other unseasonable visitors.

Four Eiders seen today, 3 males (2 adult) and a female, while Shelduck appeared in small groups this morning (3,6,10 and 11). Gannets stood out on the sea with 36 feeding, there were also 20 Common Scoter, 7 Great Crested Grebes, 20 Sandwich, 70 Common and a Little Tern. Two Porpoises also made the sea watching list. A few butterflies were out and about, notably  a Common Blue and 3 Orange Tips (male below)

Waders increased as the tide approached, and 6 Whimbrel were the highlight with a supporting cast of 69 Ringed Plover, 67 Sanderling, 115 Dunlin and 11 Turnstone. Thewre were just 3 Little Egret.

Photos SRW

Saturday 20 May 2023

20th May 2023

Weather:  ESE force 2

 A beautiful calm and mild morning but very quiet for birds at first but as time passed a few things were found. A Willow Warbler was singing, possibly the bird from yesterday and then a Chiffchaff was caught which was definitely the individual that was ringed here two days ago. A couple of Goldfinches arrived and 4 Jackdaws flew flew from the mainland, turned about and returned to the south east. Mid-morning a Sedge Warbler gave a blast of song from the SK paddock which confirmed an earlier possible sighting. A Common Blue butterfly was in the heli paddock, and the moth trap revealed a total of 7 Marbled Coronets.


 The was also a Shuttle-shaped Dart, a Shears and a Common Pug.


  Photos SRW