Sunday 30 July 2023

30th July 2023

 Weather:  W force 7/8, decreasing 5 by noon.

A blustery day, and needing to to transport some maintenance equipment over to the island an early visit to be there at the high tide gave the opportunity to scan for sea birds blown in on these unusually strong late July winds. Six Arctic Skuas were noted, also 20 Manx Shearwaters, 280 Gannets feeding in Liverpool Bay, where 50 Common Scoter could be seen.  Five Great Crested Grebes made up the numbers with 3 Guillemots and and best of all a Black Guillemot; recalling events in the spring when many sightings were logged. A Willow Warbler was battling the gale in the obs garden, another was found a little later plus a surprise juvenile Whitethroat was in the 'heli' trap

On the flood tide there were lots of waders around including 11 Turnstone and 18 Sanderling.


also 3 Whimbrel, 12 Curlew, 800 Dunlin, a Bar-tailed Godwit and 4 Ringed Plover.

Terns showed nicely with 250 Sandwich, 50 Common and 3 Little. Apart from the 3 warblers on the island the sole other 'migrant' was a Swift. A female Eider was present and 7 Little Egrets were around the shore.

A Shag was amongst the 600 Cormorants today. Flying insects were a migrant Hawker Dragonfly, 4 Small White and a Gatekeeper Butterfly.

Photos CJW

Friday 28 July 2023

28th July 2023

 Weather:  SW force 3   

Following on from the first Willow Warbler of the autumn seen in the obs garden on the 20th, another was here this morning in the SK trap and became the first to be ringed this autumn. It was a typical juvenile with yellow covering most of its undersides.


It was a visit that followed out the early tide. A group of 17 Little Egrets were between Little Eye and Middle, there may have been a few more around the islands but it was hard to tell after they had flown.


An immature male Eider was off the west side of Middle


and a couple of hundred Dunlin or so settled on the rocks by the ebbing gutter.

A few Turnstone were amongst them and 8 Redshank flew by the lagoon. The Sandwich Terns about the island as the tide receded numbered about 250, but a least 100 or more were earlier between Little and Tanskies, they were not the same birds. If the Swallows are still here they were not obvious to find, the Blackbirds however were still showing signs of nesting. Butterflies were very scarce this morning, 1 or 2 Small Whites flew, but a nice surprise was a Comma in the 'heli' paddock.

Photos CJ

Saturday 22 July 2023

22nd July 2023

 Weather: SE force 3/4

Highlight of a very quick visit to the island late morning were 3 Whimbrel and a couple of hundred Sandwich Terns.

Thursday 20 July 2023

20th July 2023

 Weather: WNW force 3

 It was a pleasure to see the first Willow Warbler of 'Autumn' in the Obs garden upon arrival, but unlike the family of Linnets it wouldn't pose for photos.

Another good sighting for the islands breeding bird records was a juvenile Goldfinch following one of the adults around the island, 2 juvenile Blackbirds were also recorded and one of the young Pied Wagtails is still about.

 Six Swallows are still around the island.

 A Whimbrel was heard calling over the Swash, 13 Curlew were about the islands and 200 Dunlin roosted at the north end of Middle. Two Grey Herons were at the North End along with 2 immature male Eiders.



Fifty Samll White butterflies were featured around the island, also 3 Gatekeepers. Water Crowfoot is in flower in the pond.


Photos AS

Saturday 15 July 2023

15th July 2023

 Weather: S  force 6 , rain squalls

A return to more normal summer weather complete with strong winds encouraged a look at the sea. It was nice to see the first juvenile Gannet of the year, also a second year bird.

The Sandwich Terns were all around the island after the tide, about 600 now, with lots of juveniles, although only 2 Common Terns were seen.




There were 10 Ringed Plover and some juvenile Dunlin with adults, also Sanderling resting on the shore.

 Two immature male Eiders were noted and 8 Little Egrets were no surprtise, they are in good numbers now.

 Among the residents, Rock Pipits were very noticeable and a Robin was lurking in the Blackthorn, they are elusive at this time and often a juvenile will turn up without us being aware they were nesting. A Wheatear was found down the east side of Middle, a mid-summer bird is not especially unusual, we suspect it could be a failed breeder. An Emperor dragonfly was found near the 'air raid' shelter.


Butterflies noted today were 4 Large Whites, 3 Red Admirals , a Peacock and a Gatekeeper

 Photos CJW

Thursday 13 July 2023

13th July 2023

 Weather: WSW force 3, later WNW 2

 Syrprise of the morning was a Whitethroat that made its way into the SK trap, but with no ringers present at that stage it soon found its way out again and was not seen subsequently.

The 8 Meadow Pipit recorded today included 3 juvenile birds, one of which was calling loudly for it's food and ignored the parent birds attempt to entice it away from the viewer.


Many birds are now on second broods and the island now has juvenile birds everywhere, seen today were Meadow and Rock Pipit, Wren, Linnet, Pied Wagtail and Blackbird.


 The Golfinch are still being myserious.

 In the early afternoon a group from the friends of Hilbre were given a talk and presentation from our ringer now present which seemed to go down well, many being impressed with juvenile Linnets that were ringed.

The sound of summer on Hilbre was provided by the expected Sandwich Terns, one was particularly interested in our observer and encouraged them very loudly to avoid its young which was sat on the beach nearby. Other sightings today included 5 Little Egrets, a Great Crested Grebe, 31 Common Scoter and the Kestrel..Two adult Short-tailed field Voles were seen, also a very tiny young one which sat in the middle of a path as they often do !  A very large frog was found in the SK paddock.

Photos JE, AS 

Wednesday 12 July 2023

12th July 2023

 Weather:  W force 5

An arrival the evening before, mainly with the intention of setting the moth trap for the morning. There were 40 moths of 17 species including the following:-

True Lover's Knot

Lime-speck Pug

Buff Ermine

Eudonia mercurella (a moss feeder)


The Sandwich Terns continue the build of their autumn roost on the east hoyle, 328 were counted, about 10%.were juveniles.


Amongst the waders the Bar-tailed Godwits stood out as 3 of them in summer plumage flew in east of Middle as the tide rose with another between the islands, while a general increase among the other waders was noted with 480 Oystercatchers, 7 Curlews, 18 Dunlin on the edge of the east hoyle and 35 Redshank feeding in the gutter and flying around the north end.

The Black-headed Gull numbers (about 280) are also increasing towards the autumn peak, 2 Grey Herons flew up the west side and 9 Little Egrets were in the gutter. 


Passerines recorded were all breeding species if you include a Robin and the 2 Goldfinch which are probably nesting. A Common Scoter and 2 Eiders were here.



Photos AS, SRW

Tuesday 11 July 2023

11th July 2023

 Weather: W force 3 light rain

An afternoon visit had 10 Swifts over the island, these are often associated with rain fronts as was the case this afternoon. A single Redshank was the sole wader present apart from 5 Curlews and 66 Oystercatchers. There were 4 Little Egrets and a Grey Heron. Sandwich Terns counted were well over 150. but later in the evening there were 280 including 20 juveniles south of Middle after the tide. It was a bumper day for butterflies. Around 150 large and Small Whites were over the south end of the island with about 70 over the thistles outside the obs gate at noon.

Sunday 9 July 2023

9th July 2023

 Weather: SSE  force 2

 A calm and warm morning on the island. The increasing Sandwich Terns were calling everywhere on the journey to the island, and although small wading birds were not evident, there were a few Curlew about and Oystercatchers fed around the muddy shore. Little Egrets appear more regularly as we reach the middle of summer, 9 were about this morning. A Rock Pipit that has been a part of the new Hilbre colour ringing scheme (ring CAB) was very vocal near the north end.

  Immature and sub-adult male Eiders swan up to the north end at the low tide late morning.

 Butterflies came alive by mid-morning with plenty of Small Whites, Green-veined Whites showing, also 2 Red Admirals, a Small Tortoiseshell and at least 5 Gatekeepers.

 Photos CJ


Thursday 6 July 2023

6th July 2023

 Weather:  S force 3/4

Five Shelduck flew passed the North end whilst the observer was watching a Sandwich Tern feeding a Juvenile, 120 more Terns were on the East Hoyle along with 6 juveniles.

 Seven Wren were recorded with at least 3 juveniles in the east gardens.

The same 2 Goldfinch are still about and it would be a good record if we knew for sure that they were breeding, it would also be interesting to know where the ringed bird was from, Hilbre ring on the left leg and this bird's is on the right.


There were 2,000 Oystercatcher noted, most at the edge of our recording area by the marsh, 46 Curlew were west of Little Eye but of the smaller waders only a single Redshank remained. Soldier Beetles are to be found on many of the Ragwort plants.


It was a great pleasure for one of our members to meet and chat to Ian Butler in the derelict lifeboat station today, he had visited during his sponsored sea kayak trip to raise money for the RNLI, a very worthy cause and one close to our hearts.


 He is paddling from his home in Sussex to John O'Groats in Scotland, please visit his Just Giving page at for further details and to donate if you wish. There is also a link to track his journey, it's good to see he made it passed the shipping lane to Fleetwood !


Butterflies flying today were a gatekeeper, 2 Red Admirals and 2 Small Tortoiseshells.

 Photos AS