Saturday 6 April 2024

6th April 2024

 Weather: ESE force 6,  later in the morning SSW force 8 gusting 9/10

Things did not look promising at dawn until a walk along the island found a small group of warblers on the way from the obs, this turned out to be a prelude to a very exciting day on the island. It soon became apparent we've had a sudden fall of phylloscopus warblers.


Our member present summoned the assistance of another ringer who managed to make the island before the big tide, and it was just as well as it would have been a lot to handle alone.


Before long a Ring Ouzel arrived and then another, it was realised there were 4 in total about the island,


  one entered the Newton trap and was caught for ringing.

The Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs continued to arrive, there were estimated to be 90 Willow Warblers and 40 Chiffchaffs today. One of the Chiffchaffs wore a ring from elsewhere and we later discovered  it was ringed on 11th August 2022, and we await with anticipation to hear of the location. Four Blackcaps, two of each sex and which were the first arrivals at Hilbre this year were ringed. Today was far from being just a single species day, a Grasshopper Warbler was heard reeling in the SK paddock, another first for the island this year, and 3 Tree Pipits were recorded calling over, again a first for the year. Not a first for the year but not to be forgotten were 11 Wheatears on the island.

 and 10 White Wagtails also landed, these at the north end.


 A House Martin was yet another first, unlike the 23 Swallows and 16 Sand Martins passing through today. The 2 Woodpigeons were here and a Jackdaw and a Starling made appearances.


 Four Siskins were heard and Goldfinches came in numbers today, 90 in total.

At least one unringed Rock Pipit and an old one - CAD, were down the east side.

Also seen was a Cormorant near Little Eye which was ringed at Puffin island.

On the ebb tide more members arrived to share in the bird fest, meanwhile the ringing total reached 83. The gale strengthened by noon and it soon became impossible to even birdwatch on the island, standing up was difficult enough in the storm. Most of the sea records were seen earlier before being outside was possible for more than a few minutes. Big numbers of Sandwich Terns (175) were counted.


Eighty Gannets were another welcome sight with 250 Common Scoter and 2 Guillemots. Before all the excitement 120 Pink-footed Geese flew out of the estuary at dawn, 5 Eider floated about, 295 Brent were still here and 2 Goosander showed late in the morning. There was no much time to be photographing waders but the usual species were noted including 13 Purple Sandpipers. Days like today is what keeps us going, little can be better than a proper 'fall' on the island.

Ringed:  44 Willow Warblers, 29 Chiffchaffs, 1 Ring Ouzel, 4 Blackcaps, 2 Goldfinch, 2 Meadow Pipits, 1 Wren.  

Photos  AEH, CJW, PSW

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