Tuesday 30 January 2024

30th January 2024

 Weather: NNW force 3/4,  backing W 3/4 later

Despite the north-norwesterly giving a wind-chill temperature of 3 degrees there was a small sign of spring with a pair of Mallard on the pond.

  Eight Common Scoter were about the island with the 3 Eider still present.


On the shore of East Hoyle after tide were 34 Grey Plover and 15 Sanderling, also noted were 2,500 Knot and 350 Dunlin.

Turnstone numbered 90, Ringed Plover 18, Sanderling 15, Purple Sandpiper 11 and Redshank 28.

A dark-bellied bird was amongst the 169 Brent, and singles present were the Kestrel, a Little Egret and a Grey Heron.

  Photos AS

Sunday 28 January 2024

28th January 2024

 Weather: SE force 4

A fiery sunrise this morning in a cool breeze.

 Several flocks of Pink-footed Geese flew around the estuary, heading in various directions.

Only about 150 of the Brent were close to the island this morning, such as this young bird.

Others were on the whaleback with the 2 Eiders, Dunlin and Turnstones.

Also at the north end a pair of Common Scoter were showing well as they swan off the rocks.

Best wildfowl of the morning were 4 Pintail on the sea off the west hoyle, possibly the same birds as had been noted yesterday. Slightly unexpected arrivals were 2 Stock Doves flying over the island in a south westerly direction.

Common and Black-headed Gulls are not always settled on the island rocks, but both were here this morning for comparison.

Our ever reliable Kestrel as usual gave good hunting poses for the camera.

A single Bar-tailed Godwit fed in the gutter and 20 later flew off the north end.

Photos AEH

Saturday 27 January 2024

27th January 2024

 Weather: SSW force 4, later S 3

A single Shelduck was between the islands as the tide rose, 6 Common Scoter were noted, a male Red-breasted Merganser flew south over the swash, 4 Pintail were on the sea west of Middle, a single dark-bellied were among the Brent seen and 3 Eider were present today.

 Three Linnet dropped into the lower paddock but only stayed briefly.

A Rock Pipit was on Middle, also 2 at the North End of the main island both with Darvic rings fitted as part of our study.

The high level of the pond is still attracting a couple of the 45 or so Redshank around the islands.

Other waders were 12 Purple Sandpipiers and 3 Bar-tailed Godwits. There were 4 Blackbirds here today

 Photos AS

Friday 26 January 2024

26th January 2024

 Weather: W force 6  then WSW 7   sunny   some haze

 A strong westerly made for plenty of froth in the tide gauge.

 A quiet day all told but with a few birds on the sea to interest observers. Two dark-bellied were among the 322 light-bellied Brent Geese.

A single Eider was present, with 3 Wigeon, 20 Common Scoter and a Red-breasted Merganser the only other duck species. Three Great Crested Grebes were also on the sea. Many of the 60 Redshank present rested the tide in Niffy bay.

with most of the 65 Turnstone and 17 Purple Sandpiper choosing the 'steps' by the bay.

 A Raven was logged for the day.

Photos CJW

Thursday 25 January 2024

25th January 2024

 Weather: SE force 4   rain showers

 Just before dawn 180 Pink-footed Geese flew out of the estuary. A Peregrine was around over the tide and was in conflict with the 2 Carrion Crows at the north end. 

 Also at high tide 12 Purple Sandpipers were noted

 also 75 Curlew and 60 Turnstone,

Forty Ringed Plovers were present, some roosting on the island.

 The Kestrel sheltered from the rain under the eaves of the lookout.

Three Eider were here, and a single Skyark was the sole small 'migrant' of the day. Signs of the Fox were still evident.

Photos AS 

Saturday 20 January 2024

20th January 2024

 Weather: SE force 4   light rainspots

An afternoon visit was made as part of the BTO winter gull survey with members on the main island and at little Eye.

A Merlin was a bonus at Little Eye apart from the gulls logged, likewise on the main island were 5 Eiders including a couple of drakes,

Other birds outside the scope of the survey were a pair of Goosanders, and waders including 200 Bar-tailed Godwits on the east Hoyle, 6,000 Knot, 280 Curlew, 250 Dunlin, 140 Sanderling and 38 Turnstone. A Common Scoter and Grey Heron were also there.


Photos AEH, SRW

Friday 19 January 2024

19th January 2024

 Weather: WSW force 4, ground frost, SW 3 by afternoon

Six hundred Cormorant flew out of the estuary at dawn. There was no sign of the Smew that was on the marine lake yesterday, the best ducks around the island were 2 male Eiders, 36 Common Scoter, 2 Shelduck and 3 Goosanders in the gutter as the tide flooded. Brent were estimated at 380 birds this morning.

A slight surprise were 2,000 Pink-footed Geese flying north just after midday. A single Red-throated Diver made the sea watch list. A Peregrine gave close views from the island.

Not to be outdone the Kestrel hunted as usual.

Wader counts were 120 Grey Plover, 35 Sanderling, 10 Bar-tailed Godwit 6 Purple Sandpiper, 3,500 Knot, 160 Dunlin, 35 Redshank, 80 Curlew.


A Raven was recorded in the afternoon.

Photos CJW 

Thursday 18 January 2024

18th January 2024

 Weather: ENE force 2/3    later N 3

 Flocks of Pink-footed Geese totalling 1400 left the estuary at first light, flying N.E over Caldy Hill. A Dark-bellied Brent was present amongst the 358 Pale-bellied birds, many of which had a good wash and preen in the calm water of the Gutter.

A Red-throated Diver was distant but 12 Common Scoter were around the island with 3 Goosander (1male)


Three Eider were also at the North End and included an adult male.

Two of the 3 Song Thrush recorded today were on Middle, along with 1 of the 3 Robin present.

Waders today featured 100 Grey Plover, 6 Bar-tailed Godwits, 16 Sanderling and 11 Purple Sandpiper.

An exciting day for Hilbre members on the shore when one found a Smew diving with a couple of Goldeneye on the marine lake. Other members were first on site and captured superb photos to record the event. It was the first to appear on the lake since 1972 !  It was seen at one stage to fly out over the lake wall with a Goldeneye and return, thus making it into the Hilbre recording area. A few Hilbre records are in the archives but apparently not since 1980.





Photos: AEH, AS, CJW, SRW