Friday 19 April 2024

19th April 2024

 Weather:  NW force 5

An after tide visit saw the sun come out, although the fine weather did not bring many birds. A Chiffchaff was the sole small warbler present,

 ... and the only large warbler was a female Blackcap that was in the obs garden.

On arrival at the island news came through that 4 Common Cranes were doing a tour of Wirral and at one stage it seemed they were coming our way up the estuary but they headed across Wirral at Heswall and then went north to cut the corner off our section of Wirral and went off towards Wallasey, still it kept eyes to the telescope for quite a while.

Good numbers of Gannets were in the area, 145 feeding, also 6 Red-throated Divers, 18 Common Scoter, 2 Great Crested Grebes, just 2 Eiders and a Guillemot at the north end that seemed not too well. Still about 150 Brent and a dark-bellied bird. Seven Little Egrets and  4 vShelduck were also around the island. Best of the waders were 5 Purple Sandpipers, 18 Ringed Plover, 65 Redshank and a single Whimbrel.


Photos SRW 

Thursday 18 April 2024

18th April 2024

 Weather: SSE force 1/2  later WSW  6  with rain mid afternoon

A brief spell of a southerly element in the wind meant some obvious migration took place. In the padddocks and gardens were 3 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaffs and 3 White Wagtails, 4 Swallows and a Collared Dove came through during the morning. Finches also turned up; in addition to the 6 Goldfinches showing 2 Siskins and a Redpoll flew through. Small bird of the day was a Yellow Wagtail making itself known. A single Wheatear was on the ground. 


The lack of strong head winds early this morning encouraged a large movement of 5,800 Pink-footed geese north out of the estuary. 


 Other wildfowl included a total of 8 Eiders

  also 5 Canada Geese were in with the Brent in the morning.

Remaining are a single juvenile 1 dark-bellied juvenile and at least 153 pale-bellied Brent.  

Distant views of Common Scoter were estimated at no less than 10,000 birds, closer in 3 Red-throated Divers, 35 Gannets, 4 Guillemots and 2 Great Crested Grebes were logged. Waders featured still 5 Purple Sandpipers present, and 85 Curlews with an increase to 11 Whimbrel today.

There were 7 Little Egrets and 2 Grey Heron.

Ringing: 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler, 2 Linnet.

Photos AS, SRW

Wednesday 17 April 2024

17th April 2024

 Weather: NNW force 5, easing 3/4 by late evening with the lake district visible

A quiet day with no warblers present nor small migrants of any kind if we exclude the 4 Goldfinches hanging about.

 The main interest came with seeing the winter visitors heading north, there were 62 Brent today, possibly all that are still with us, likewise 4 Purple Sandpipers, but we have been fooled before. Sea bird arrivals feeding today were 70 Gannets and 279 Sandwich Terns, always a delight around the island.


Two of the scarcer Arctic Terns were also noted. Flocks of Common Scoter, about 1,500 were flying east, 3 Red-breasted Mergansers and a Great Crested Grebe wer part of a sea watch. A lot of the waders are thinking of going north now like the 95 Turnstone and 35 Ringed Plover.  In the evening there were 7 Eiders present at sunset.

 Photos AEH, SRW

Tuesday 16 April 2024

16th April 2024

 Weather: NW force 4/5

 Following yesterdays gale the strong north westerly blew sand across the foreshore as the tide was very small. A Chiffchaff was on the island but we had to wait until later in the afternoon for the bonus of a male Blackcap to ring.

Four Goldfinches  and 3 Woodpigeons visited, one of the group arrived randomly from the south. 

Earlier the sea was the main interest in these conditions, and a good list resulted from a period of watching. Counts included 176 Gannets, 200 Common Scoter, 3 Razorbills, 2 Red-throated Divers, 2 Great Crested Grebes, a Red-breasted Merganser, while terns noted were 16 Common and 3 Arctic with 280 Sandwich around all day. 


There are still plenty of Brent about, 122 counted today as they gathered with 2 of the 7 Eiders as the tide flooded.

Some were getting feisty before departure.

Four Little Egret were feeding in the gutter with some of the 65 Redshank.

No real tide today to make the waders crowd into a roost, but some others seen were 44 Knot, 45 Ringed Plover, 32 Turnstone and 5 Purple Sandpipers. Large numbers of herring (and other large gulls) were feeding on starfish and razorclam wreck following weekend storm.


 Ringed: 1 Blackcap.

Photos: SRW 

Saturday 13 April 2024

13th April 2024

 Weather: SW force 2

The early morning was without wind of rain and as usual started with the Pink-footed Geese flying out north along the Wirral shore, 40 today. A look at the trapping area saw several phylloscopus warblers about and 4 Willow Warblers and a Chiffchaff were ringed.


 It was obviously not a big 'fall' however and the next two hours only produced a few more. One of the Willow Warblers (right in photo) was darker in the hand and probably belonged to one of the northern races.

Late morning a few drops of rain was enough to drop in 3 Chiffchaffs and another Willow Warbler. Totals estimated were 15 Willow Warblers and 6 Chiffchaffs.

 Four Wheatears were on the west side of the island during the day, one was certainly of the Greenland race. 

The hoped for larger warblers and chats did not arrive but we were happy with what we had, especially in a south westerly. Six White Wagtails came through and later in the morning 5 of the 6 Swallows were seen.

Finches visiting the resident Linnets were a Siskin and 4 Goldfinches. A Golden Plover was the pick of the waders, it called mid-morning, others showing up as the tide flooded were some Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Sanderling, Bar-tailed Godwits, Purple Sandpiper etc. also a single Whimbrel and some Turnstones.

Knot meanwhile spent a lot of time this morning at the north end area. Brent (93) arrived on the flood tide. and then a group of 64 Gannets fed close in off the island in spectacular fashion.


A single Common Tern, a first for the year, rested with 85 Sandwich Terns on the west hoyle between their feeding sessions.

Earlier 2 Canada Geese flew low over the SK paddock surprising the observers. A single drake Eider was noted as were 30 Common Scoter and 4 Shelduck. Five Little Egrets were in the gutter.

 Ringing: 10 Willow Warblers, 4 Chiffchaffs, 4 Wrens.

 Photos: SRW

Friday 12 April 2024

12th April 2024

Weather: SSW  force 3, increasing 6 later

 Another quiet day.  Most of the Brent will be leaving shortly, possibly within the next few days, but there are still at least 146 around the islands. Also leaving are the Pink-footed Geese, exiting the estuary for breeding grounds further north, about 100 were calling as they went. A Canada Goose that was in the gutter will be of local origin and not planning any long journeys. Some of the 5 Eiders today may stay the summer, who knows. A Good variety of waders roosted the high tide in Niffy bay


At the north end 450 Knot were there most of the morning,


The 27 Sandwich Terns, newly arrived for the spring gave a good display,

other sea birds visible were 30 Scoter, 2 Guillemots

A Willow Warbler and 2 Chiffchaffs on the island were noticed and the best of the other migrants were 2 Siskins and 3 Goldfinches,


and a smart White Wagtail.

Wrens are around the islands in very good numbers at the moment, hoprfully there will be a strong breeding season. There were 13 Little Egrets today, the most for some time, but only 1 Grey Heron.

Photos AS

Thursday 11 April 2024

11th April 2024

 Weather:  SW force 4

On the whole a quiet day for April. Wildfowl featured early with 3 Canada Geese around the islands and about 200 Pink-footed Geese flying out of the estuary. Some of the Brent seem to have left already, 116 were counted today, while Eiders numbered 5, numbers present seem to vary slightly each day. There were 4 Shelduck and 2 Little Egrets on the shore. The only real migrants found were 4 Goldfinch and a Willow Warbler. A Guillemot was hanging around the island again and 4 Sandwich terns were seen. Good numbers of waders are still here,


 500 Oystercatchers, 250 Bar-tailed Godwit,

  2,500 Knot, 30 Ringed Plover,

 800 Dunlin, 

120 Turnstone and 6 Purple Sandpiper.

Ringed: 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Wren, 1 Linnet.

Photos  CJW