Thursday, 18 August 2016

18th August 2016

Weather: ESE force 3, veering SW in the afternoon, some cloud, warm and sunny later
A most interesting day, the highlight being a large (Sandwich size) tern with very dark upperparts, capped appearance with white underparts that was seen briefly passing the north end towards the west and then picked up in telescopes from the obs feeding and heading towards the Point of Ayr. Not enough detail could be seen at this distance to identify it to species level, but whatever it was (possible Sooty Tern ?) it will be an extremely rare bird.
A fair amount of cloud this morning made it good migration day all round with a dozen or so Willow Warblers, 3 Whitethroats and 2 Wheatears to be found, also a Spotted Flycatcher seen briefly on the rocks at the west side.
Swallows (AEH)
Up to a hundred Swallows passed through, many stopping to feed, also noted were 3 Goldfinches and 2 Pied Wagtails. A large Peregrine hunted the east side early in the day.

Curlew Sandpiper (left foreground)
Dunlin and Ringed Plover (AEH)
Not to be outdone waders roosting the high tide proved worth searching through when a Curlew Sandpiper was found amongst the 3,500 Dunlin and 300 Ringed Plover settled at the south end of the island.
Sea Holly ( the only piece on the island) (PSW)
Four Short-tailed Field Voles on the log today is an encouraging sign after a dearth of records lately.
A surprise was a juvenile Robin in the old obs mist net, as there was no suspicion that they had bred, but this is often the case with this secretive breeder on Hilbre.

It was good to see long standing member Alan Wraithmel at the obs today (right, CJ) as he is shortly leaving to live in the U.S.A. We wish him well with this new adventure in his life.

Ringed: 8 Willow Warblers, 3 Whitethroats, 3 Robins, 3 Linnets.      [ 348-27 ]

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

17th August 2016

Weather: ESE force 3/4.  Sunny and warm
A Tree Pipit was calling early morning around the top paddock area, and (that or another) was still present mid-morning, while 2 Willow Warblers were found early and another 2 later on. A tight flock of 40 House Martins was an unexpected sight moving low down the west side, while smaller groups of Swallows fed as they went through.
Dunlin and Ringed Plover roosting the tide (JE)
One of the 2 Rock Pipits present was found to be the juvenile raised on the island this year and ringed at the end of July (left JE).

Over the tide 280 Dunlin, 132 Ringed Plover and 30 Redshank were counted around the islands.
Curlew (AEH)
Swallows over the lookout (AEH)

Heather (JE)

Red Admiral (AEH)
Large numbers of Red Admirals (about 30) were conspicuous again today, also 10 large Whites were flying.
Ringed: 1 Willow Warbler                   [ 331-27 ]

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

16th August 2016

Weather: ESE force 2/3   sunny and warm
Similar weather to yesterday morning but less migrants arriving, in fact a pretty quiet day all round. A single Willow Warbler was found, a large individual at 11.6 grams, considerably heavier than the average and carrying plenty of fat in preparation for migration. Several Red Admiral butterflies were seen coming in from the sea and there were at least 10 in the trapping area. About the island were 2 Rock Pipits and 3 Pied Wagtails. Waders continue to build up in numbers, seen today were 50 Ringed Plover, 110 Dunlin, 25 Redshank, 14 Curlew and 4 Whimbrel. A sea watch had 9 Great Crested Grebes, 8 Gannets and a Commmon Scoter.
Shag (CJ)
Tormentil (CJ)
Ringed: 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Meadow Pipit                     [ 330-27 ]

Monday, 15 August 2016

15th August 2016

Weather: SE force 2 ,sunny and warm
The breeze backing to the south east this morning brought a trickle of migrants to the islands, including 6 Willow Warblers, a Whitethroat and a Wheatear. About 40 passing Swallows and a House Martin joined the local breeding birds and their recently fledged offspring to feed over the highest part of the island. The 2 Robins that were ringed were undoubtably also migrants as none had been seen here for some weeks now. Other records today were 3 Pied Wagtails, a White Wagtail, a Goldfinch and a Rock Pipit. Six Gannets were the only significant sightings on the sea.
young Swallow (CJ)
Wheatear (CJ)
Magpie moth (CJW)
Lepidoptera this morning included 3 Red Admirals, 6 Small Whites, 2 Silver Y moths and a Magpie moth.
Ringed: 4 Willow Warblers, 2 Robins, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Linnet,1 Dunnock    [ 328-27 ]

Sunday, 14 August 2016

14th August 2016

Weather: NNW force 3  cloudy, sunny and warm later
A morning visit to do a few repairs to the heligoland traps managed to ring a Willow Warbler, the only warbler on the island, although with the winds forecast from the south east hopefully more will arrive this coming week. Turnstones were counted at 32 (including a bird colour ringed in 2007/2008), with 40 Ringed Plover, 200 Dunlin, 12 Redshank and a Sanderling, all seen at low tide, also a group of 6 Little Egrets standing together on the east hoyle. An unusual sight was a juvenile Kittiwake flying west between the main islands, more normal were 2 Gannets and 5 Great Crested Grebes out to sea and an Arctic Skua just off shore. As the day warmed up 6 Small White butterflies flew.
young Short-tailed Field Vole (CJ)
Short-tailed Field Voles have been very scarce this year so it was most encouraging that an adult and 2 very young animals were seen proving there has been at least one litter on the island recently.

Ringed: 1 Willow Warbler.                           [ 319-27 ]

Friday, 12 August 2016

12th August 2016

Weather WNW 4/5
A breezy morning on the island produced no surprises although there were 2 Willow Warblers in the 'heli' garden to raise the spirits. The Sandwich Tern roost contained 6 Little Terns, while 2 Whimbrel and 4 Little Egrets were among the birds around the shore. Up to 1,000 Black headed Gulls are now to be seen to the east of the islands.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

10th August 2016

Weather: NW force 3
Two small highlights in a basically quiet morning were the finding of a single Willow Warbler in the paddocks and the passage of a Tree Pipit calling over the island. An Arctic Skua flew slowly west along the tide edge at low tide barely disturbing the Sandwich Tern roost of some 500 or so birds.
Willow Warbler (JE)
Linnet (CJ)
A little time was spent looking at the various plants on the island, most of which are now past their best.

Yarrow (JE)
Tufted Vetch (JE)
Sea Purslane (JE)
 Ringed: 1 Willow Warbler.         [ 318-27 ]