Saturday, 17 February 2018

17th February 2018

Weather: S force 2, sunny and feeling mild

It was a lovely day on Hilbre today, sunny and warm. It felt like Spring, There were 2 Skylarks and there were Daffodils, Snow Drops and Lesser Celandine in flower.

A wandering visitor stranded on Middle over the tide reduced the Oystercatchers roosting but a huge number of them roosted at the south end of the main island. Some of the 271 Brent Geese were around the main island over the tide which is unusual and we felt it was also due the same visitor who had moved them from their usual place near middle. Even the Eiders turned up over the tide.  Good wader counts included 16,000 Knot, 3,000 Dunlin, 453 Grey Plovers and 97 Sanderling. A sea watch was also productive with 9 Red-throated Divers, 53 Great Crested Grebes, 460 Common Scoters and best of all a Harbour Porpoise that showed several times off the north end.
Some Ringed Plover, Turnstone and a Knot were on Lion Rock in Niffy bay over the tide.
 Wintering birds retrapped were a Wren and 2 Song Thrushes and there was a new Robin ringed.
There were a couple of Pied Wagtails, 2 Meadow Pipits and a Rock Pipit about but none of them went into the potters for ringing.
Hardly any gulls were present for the Webs count over the tide, there were a few at the north end but none anywhere else. A great day on Hilbre.
Ringed : 1 Robin         [ 4-3 ]
photos JE

Friday, 16 February 2018

16th February 2018

Weather: SSE  1  visibility 10 miles with mist around the estuary early on.

Although the sea watch did not provide great variety, it did give good numbers with at least 10,000 Common Scoter coming out of Liverpool Bay in a flock that stretched half way along the East Hoyle wind farm.
There were 11 Red Throated Diver, with most flying west, and 19 Great Crested Grebe. A Red Breasted Merganser was seen flying over the West Hoyle Bank.
The Brent Geese were very spread out and only 182 were noted, but one of the Iceland ringed birds was included.
The 6 Eider were in the Gutter, as was a single female Wigeon.
There were 2 small Purple Sandpiper roosts over tide, one having 7 birds and the other 3. On the North end before tide 2 orange flagged Knot were seen, and later 2 separate flocks of 4,000 were noted, also on the North End was the colour ringed Turnstone from 2008, this bird was included in the count of 111.
Other waders noted were 583 Grey Plover but only 1 Ringed Plover, 186 Curlew, 3,000 Dunlin and 48 Redshank. Only 1 Grey Heron was present. Two Rock Pipit were at the North End.
Two Pied Wagtail flew over the observatory, there were also 2 each of Meadow Pipit, Robin and Blackbird with a single Song Thrush.
photos CS & AS

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

13th February 2018

Weather:  SSE 4, visibility eight miles decreasing to one mile with hail and sleet showers

Not the best of Hilbre days weather wise but when the hail and sleet stopped for long enough to spot two Harbour Porpoise on the east side of the island, it was all worthwhile, they are usually spotted in the Swash or out to sea.

There were 13 Great Crested Grebe around the North End and 160 Common Scoter off the East Hoyle but little else on the sea other than about 50 Cormorant.

The over tide roost on Middle held 3,000 Oystercatcher and 200 Knot were with them briefly.  Six Purple Sandpiper were present and other waders included 20 Curlew, 26 Sanderling, 300 Dunlin, 427 Grey Plover and 16 Ringed Plover.

In the ebbing gutter were the six Eider and three Wigeon (two male and a female).

The only ‘visiting’ bird to the island was a solitary Woodpigeon.  Photos by AS

Monday, 12 February 2018

12th February 2018

Weather: WSW  4/5 vis 10 mls increasing later to 20 mls

Upon arrival on Hilbre a Grey Heron was seen to be on the small island in the pond. A brief sea watch recorded 420 Common Scoter, 2 Great Crested Grebe, and 4 Red Throated Diver (all the Divers flew west). The 6 Eider were in the Gutter and 221 Brent Geese were spread out around the islands.
Three Purple Sandpiper were all that could be located today.
On the North Shore after tide were a flock of 3,000 Dunlin, also 166 Grey Plover, 11 Sanderling and 600 Knot. Eighty two Redshank was a better count than of late and 47 Curlew were on the East Hoyle.
A single Rock Pipit was at the North End and 3 Linnet were on Middle.
Two Peregrines  kept the waders agitated for a couple of hours and there was interaction between them both by the mast on the west side.
photos AS

Sunday, 11 February 2018

11th February 2018

An early start to make the island before high tide, was met with strong Westerly force 7-8 winds.

A Peregrine made use of the strong winds to make some spectacular dives at the waders roosting on Middle Eye and was later photographed sheltering from the inclement weather at the south of the island.

Nine Purple Sandpipers were at the North end and the 6 Eiders appeared after tide.  Photos by AEH

Saturday, 10 February 2018

10th February 2018

Weather:  SSE  3-4 increasing to 4-5 visibility 4mls with rain

It was a very dreich start to the day but worth getting wet for when yet another, or one of the same, Jack Snipe was flushed from bracken in the same place as Thursday!

A brief sea watch recorded a Red-breasted Merganser, 5 Red-throated Diver, a Kittiwake, 5 Great Crested Grebe and 106 Common Scoter.  A juvenile Shag was on the North End and 350 Cormorant left the estuary at first light.

Pale-bellied Brent Geese in the lagoon area as the tide ebbed numbered 252, the six Eider were in the Gutter, as were a male and two female Wigeon.

Six Purple Sandpiper were noted and 13 Bar-tailed Godwit were on the north shore, small numbers of Knot, Dunlin and Grey Plover were around the island.

A star appearance by the weasel at its usual spot in the woodpile was a highlight for some of the visitors to the Obs.

Thanks to Scott Reid and his group for their records.  Photos by AS

Friday, 9 February 2018

9th February 2018

Weather:  NW 4-5 (increasing to 6-7), 5/8 cloud, moderate vis

A wet start to the day resulted in a late arrival of observers to the islands and unsurprisingly the weather conditions were not conducive for observing.

However, small numbers of Dunlin and Ringed Plover were noted sheltering to the east of the reef between Little and Middle on the way over and the six Eider were in the mouth of the gutter.

The pale-bellied Brent Geese were more difficult to count than recently, like everything else (including observers) hunkering down out of the biting wind; this Curlew using the rock in the gutter to find some shelter.