Monday 30 October 2023

30th October 2023

 Weather: E force 3/4    drizzle early and rain showers later.

A very high tide today meant waders rested towards noon as feeding places became scarce.

 A Greenshank was in the lagoon early on then roosted with Redshank on Middle. 


 A male Merlin flew south near the light.

...... then a female/immature Merlin was robbed of its prey by a large Peregrine (immature/female), another Peregrine which was an adult was also recorded as was the Kestrel. Sea birds were had to come by apart from 3 Red-throated Divers but a count of 425 Common Scoter, mostly distant, included a small number that were close to the island.

Cormorants left the estuary before the tide, 650 in total, and a single Shag was about the island. There were 8 Eiders including an adult male. A Snipe at the south end was the best wader today, although large numbers of other species could be counted at the high tide. No less than 11,000 Oystercatchers roosted and also able to be counted were 123 Curlew, 223 Dunlin, 87 Redshank, 41 Ringed Plover, 64 Turnstone, a Grey Plover and a Bar-tailed Godwit. Passerine migration was impressive again especially 62 Siskins, several Meadow Pipits and a Redpoll. Two Goldcrests and a Chiffchaff were here, while some of the regulars present on the island were 6 Blackbirds (some may be new birds judging by one that was ringed and exhibited a long wing length), 2 Song Thrushes and 9 Rock Pipits. A young Grey Seal decided to haul out by the north end slipway.

The moth trap was not deployed this morning but a Dark Arches moth was noticed resting on the sleeve of the Newton trap.


Photos SRW

Sunday 29 October 2023

29th October 2023

 Weather: ESE force 3

A before tide brief visit provided lovely sights as the sun rose.



The glorious dawn start didn’t disappoint with Blackbirds, Meadow Pipits and Starlings moving from first light. 

A single redpoll and Reed Bunting was noted and a flock of 60 Jackdaw over Little Eye alerted observers to the possibility of a raptor. Later on a Marsh Harrier was found west of Middle heading towards the Welsh coast and could possibly have been what had upset the crows and gulls earlier.

A single Goldcrest was ringed out of 2 present. On leaving the island 2 Kestrels chased a Peregrine which landed on the east Hoyle.


  Over 8000 Knot were feeding on the Tanskeys south of Little Eye.

Three Eiders early on comprised 2 immatures/females and a single adult male. Even in the short time available 2 Red-throated Divers, 800 Scoter, a Shag and a Guillemot were found, with waders on the shore including 56 Sanderling, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits and 80 Curlew.

Three Little Egrets were also on the shore.

Photos AEH, SRW

Saturday 28 October 2023

28th October 2023

 Weather: SE force 4, mist around the estuary, ESE 3 in the afternoon

Two Redwings were heard at dawn and 3 Goldcrests were on the island and a Blackcap was another visitor in the obs garden pittosporum. Two Starlings came through and a Goldfinch arrived. Most of the 6 Blackbirds were probably resident at the moment as was the Song Thrush.

The good autumn for Siskin continued with 23 today, and a small passage of Meadow Pipits numbered several dozen.

Three raptors featured today with Peregrine, Kestrel and a Merlin. A Snipe was heard overhead as it flew west over the bungalows. Over 2,000 Dunlin were around the island, and other waders of note were 7 bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Sanderling and 60 Turnstone.

Two Red-throated Divers and a Gannet showed and about 400 Common Scoter were distant apart from a pair close to the island.


There were 9 Eider, only one being an adult male, also 182 Shelduck, and the Brent numbered about 200.


Photos:  AS

Friday 27 October 2023

27th October 2023

 Weather:  SE force 4

 A small amount of migration this morning and although only 2 Siskin were noted following a heavy passage this autumn, one was caught for ringing, showing it's impressive wing pattern.

Two Reed Buntings were over the island and on the ground 3 Goldcrests, at least one of which was here from Tuesday. The Chiffchaff was probably a new bird today.


 A large Blackbird was also ringed, it was probably a passage visitor from the continent.

 A Shag was on the sea.

and Eiders kept mostly together with a single adult drake amongst the group of 8 immature/female types.

 A group of Turnstones and Redshank were in Niffy bay but were all soon moved by the large approaching tide.

Seen during the day were a Red-throated Diver, a Great Crested Grebe, 50 Ringed Plover, 2 Little Egrets and the Kestrel.

 Photos JE

Wednesday 25 October 2023

25th October 2023

 Weather: SE force 1/2   fog/mist until about 11.00

Visibility was very poor until the tide ebbed and the mist went with it.

First bird of the day was a Short-eared Owl wafting through the fog at the South End, later 2 were again put up from the hollow west of the Old Obs.


Ten Lapwing flew south down the west side of the island and a small amount of migration was noted once the mist lifted. True to recent form 19 Siskin, 12 Chaffinch and 5 Goldfinch moved through and 6 Goldcrest and a male Blackcap were here. Twenty two Skylarks and a few Meadow Pipits drifted passed, while 7 Jackdaws flew south.

Gannet, Guillemot, 2 Great Crested Grebes, 400 Common Scoter and a Shag featured on the sea, rough counts of waders showed 200 Turnstone and 150 Redshank. The Eiders consisted of 2 adult drakes and 5 female/immature types.

Photos AS

Tuesday 24 October 2023

24th October 2023

 Weather: E force 3

 A little quieter today with no sign of continued thrush movement but there were quite a few finches. About 40 Siskins went over and 6 Chaffinches and 2 Redpolls were recorded. Two Skylarks and a Pied Wagtail were other visitors, while 5 Goldcrests were on the ground. A Merlin was sitting on the west cliff by the light first thing. 


Yesterdays Short eared Owls seemed to have left when searched for initially but at lunchtime one suddenly materialised at the south end then headed off towards the Point of Air. 


Eleven Shelduck and 4 Wigeon were at the head of the gutter north of Little Eye. A big count was made of 277 Brent Geese and there were about 400 Common Scoter distantly offshore and Eiders stood at 5 of the female/immature types and an adult male. 

 Seven Great Crested Grebes were on the sea and a Guillemot sat out at the north end.

 Shorebirds included 4 Bar-tailed Godwits, 140 Redshank and 4 Little Egrets.


Photos AS 

Monday 23 October 2023

23rd October 2023

Weather: ESE force 4 with showers mid-morning,  SE 3 in the afternoon.

The day started well with about 50 Redwing noted on the walk to Middle Eye and a couple of Blackbirds plus a Song Thrush on top of that island. Upon arrival on Hilbre 15 Fieldfare went up from the southern gardens and South End, totals of Blackbird and Song Thrush were 22 and 5 respectively. Chaffinch, Siskin and Meadow Pipit were also going through but not in the numbers recorded previously.

The biggest surprise of the day when first checking the gardens was our first Yellow-browed Warbler of autumn in the SK paddock, this then promptly vanished and was not seen again until lunch time when it turned up in the Obs garden.

It spent the next couple of hours round and about the obs garden but despite the garden mist net being deployed it stubbornly refused to cooperate. Eight Goldcrests and a Chiffchaff were on the island and a male Blackcap was found in the Newton trap after a shower of rain, also a Dunnock was a surprise find as they no longer breed at Hilbre and have recently reverted to rarity status on the islands. In addition to the early morning thrush and finch arrival, 5 Skylarks went over and a Pied Wagtail arrived. A Pink-footed Goose was noted, the strange thing was that it was on its own, we are used to see flocks flying through the estuary. The only Eider showing today was one of the males. Brent were counted at 192 but the sea was quiet with just 6 Great Crested Grebes and 2 Guillemots. A Peregrine chased a Turnstone over the top of the island, the outcome of which was not seen, and the Kestrel as usual hunted the voles. A Red Fox was seen to climb over the wall at Telegraph House east garden. The day finished as well as it began when the last 'round' of the island put up 2 Short-eared Owls from the dip east of the Old Obs, after circling low over the sea for a while one came back to the North End where it was pursued by the Kestrel which it ignored and landed. Sight was lost of the second bird which may have headed towards Red Rocks.


  Ringed: 3 Goldcrests, 2 Wrens, 1 Blackcap, 1 Blackbird, 1 Dunnock.

Photos AS