Tuesday, 31 December 2013

31st December 2013

Three Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Robins, 1 Linnet.
(DB+ESCA, Brian Henshaw, Kim Baker and Simon)- all seeing in the new year at Hilbre

Saturday, 28 December 2013

28th December 2013

A quick visit to the island before the tide to check on any storm damage thankfully revealed the island & Obs had survived virtually intact. The Brent Geese flock totalled 173 birds including one Dark-bellied Brent. Both recent colour ringed birds were still present as was the obligingly photogenic Snow Bunting. The only other passerines seen were the resident Dunnocks, Robins, Wrens & Blackbirds. Despite the recent false there were no rare alcids - not even a common guillemot! However, two Great-crested Grebes & a Red-throated Diver were recorded.
(PSW)   photos PSW

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

25th December 2013

The Snow Bunting still present for Christmas, 197 pale bellied Brent and a single dark bellied.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Winter on the Dee estuary

Please see link to a short film 'Winter on the Dee estuary' made for the RSPB by budding wildlife photographer and filmmaker Scott Reid including footage taken at Hilbre.

20th December 2013

Female Kestrel, female Peregrine, 6 Purple Sandpipers, 2 Little Egrets, and the Snow Bunting at Little Eye.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

19th December 2013

Male and female Red-breasted Merganser, 140 Grey Plover (east hoyle), 270 Curlew (Little Eye), 4 Robins, 2 male and a female Blackbird.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

17th December 2013

Weather:- SSE 2/3 sun
Snow Bunting (CJ)
Two male and 1 female Pintail, the Snow Bunting still at Little Eye (a brief video of the Snow Bunting can be found here http://youtu.be/kQxJmiwTKnI).  A distant flying diver, probably Great Northern, 9 Great Crested Grebes, 5 Purple Sandpiper ( numbers low so far this winter) 1 Starling, 8 Linnets (the first for a month).
Purple Sandpiper (CJ)


Saturday, 14 December 2013

14th December 2013

Weather:- SW 5/6, reaching force 8 with squalls
Snow Bunting still at Little Eye, 1 Canada Goose, 1 Song Thrush.
(DB) RSPB party

Thursday, 12 December 2013

12th December 2013

Weather E then S 1, mild
310 Curlew Little Eye, 2,000 Knot at tanskeys, the Snow Bunting still at Little Eye, 1 Song Thrush.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

11th December 2013

Weather:- SSE 5, later 6/7 with mist, severe wind chill, visibily 1 mile
A male Snow Bunting present, a flock comprising 2 male Gadwalls, a male Shoveler, and a pair of Mallard landed below the obs on the ebb tide. There were 4 other Mallard (unusual at this time) and a Goldeneye was on the sea. 1,200 Cormorants flew out to sea after dawn.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

10th December 2013

Weather:- SE 2/3 then S 3/4
A Short-eared Owl, a Snow Bunting on Little Eye all day, 4 Common Scoter, 2 female Goldeneye, a Rock Pipit at the north end, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Redwing, 2 Song Thrushes and a Goldfinch.
(DB,CJW+PL, et al)

Monday, 9 December 2013

9th December 2013

Weather:- W 2, very mild
120 Black-tailed Godwits flew north east at Tanskeys, 1 Song Thrush, 5 Robins, 5 Wrens, 3 Dunnocks,  and on Middle Eye 8 Meadow Pipits.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

8th December 2013

Weather:- WNW 3/4 drizzle
1 Rock Pipit at the north end of Middle Eye, fresh Fox faeces found at the south end of the main island. 120 Ringed Plover, 52 Sanderling.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

7th December 2013

Weather:- NW 4/5
Brent at new high of 198 including 1 dark-bellied, 2 male Common Scoter, 110 Bar-tailed Godwits flew north east, 3 Little Egret and 1 Song Thrush.

Friday, 6 December 2013

6th December 2013

Weather:- WNW 6
Obs members inspected the damage after yesterdays severe storm and tidal surge. There was damage to the walls above the light boat house and the slipway with the door of the tide gauge completely blown out. There was some damage also to the sea hide, and some shattering of the sandstone in various areas at the north end of the island including the steps down the west side. Little Eye was particularly badly affected by the tide. The bungalows and other structures seem to be mostly unaffected.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

4th December 2013

Weather:- NNW 3/4
High counts this winter of 300 Bar-tailed Godwits, 200+ Redshank, and 250 Grey Plover. A female Peregrine, and a Little Egret.
(DB) .

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

3rd December 2013

Weather:- SW 2/3
A male Wigeon, 3 female Goosanders flew past, a Lapwing flew west, 1 Merlin and 8 Redwings. Counts of 210 Grey Plover and 250 Bar-tailed Godwits.

Monday, 2 December 2013

2nd December 2013

Weather:- S 2
1,500 Cormorants out of the estuary at dawn, 100+ Shelduck, 2 female Goldeneye, 1 Little Egret.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

1st December 2013

Weather:- NW 0/1 slight drizzle
On a brief visit ,65 Ringed Plover, 140 Redshank on the east side

Saturday, 30 November 2013

30th November 2013

Weather:- N force 1/2
A fine day for the RSPB date with nature event (left) which was well attended and served many cups of tea!
The best bird of the day was a female Goldeneye on the sea, but there were several good counts made of the regular inhabitants of the estuary at this time of year including 268 Shelduck, 7,000 Dunlin, 2,000 Knot, 150 Brent geese (with 1 dark-bellied form) and a peak for the autumn/winter of 620 Curlew. Others noted today were a Peregrine and a Little Egret. Passerines present included 6 Robins, 3 Blackbirds and a Song Thrush.
Work is progressing on repairs to the buildings on the island, and the female Kestrel took advantage of the new perching opportunities.
(DB,JE)             photos  JE

Friday, 29 November 2013

29th November 2013

Weather:- NW force 6/7 showers early
Sixty Shelduck, 3 Purple Sandpiper, female kestrel still on the island, and Goosander still at West Kirby marine lake.
(DB,CJ,KMc+SD, + Dave Steel and party of 17)

Thursday, 28 November 2013

28th November 2013

Weather:- NW1
Three female and 2 male Wigeon flying north, 100 Sanderling on the north shore, 8 Grey Herons, 5 Meadow Pipits, 2 Little Egrets.The Rabbit still about.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

27th November 2013

Weather:- NW 3, drizzle
Six Robins 5 Wrens and 4 Blackbirds present, 1 Little Egret.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

26th November 2013

Weather:- SW force 1
One male and 2 female Wigeon, 3,000 Knot south of Tanskeys.

Monday, 25 November 2013

25th November 2013

Weather:- light air, first ice on the pond
A Snow Bunting flew over the obs, a Great Skua sat on the sea, 70 Great Crested Grebes, 800 Common Scoters, 159 Brent Geese counted.  Four Little Egrets, 4 Blackbirds on the island.
(DB,et al)

Sunday, 24 November 2013

24th November 2013

Weather:- NE force 2/3 , lake district visible
Thirteen Wigeon, 147 Redshank in the east gutter, 1 Little Egret, 2 Song Thrush.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

23rd November 2013

Weather:- wind:- SSW, still air
Seen on a mirror like sea, about 2,500 Common Scoters out towards Wales, 250 Great Crested Grebes, 8 Red-throated Divers and the first Goldeneye of the winter. Thirty five Bar-tailed Godwits and 7 Purple Sandpipers.
Ringed:- 1 Song Thrush  [ 689-32 ]

Friday, 22 November 2013

22nd November 2013

Weather:- ENE,NNE force 2/3 sunshine,lake district visible
One Rock Pipit north end of Middle, no sign of the Snow Bunting, 2 Starlings, 1 Song Thrush, 60 Shelduck, the female Kesterel that has been here for some time.
(DB,CJ, et al)

Thursday, 21 November 2013

21st November 2013

Weather:- NE force 4/5 squalls
A Snow Bunting on the beach at the north end of Middle Eye, 17 Lapwings flew south west. Four Little Egret and a Skylark. Two hundred + Grey Plover at Little Eye.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

19th November 2013

Weather:- NNW force 5, then NNE force 4/5, squalls, first snow of winter seen on Lake district and pennine mountains.
Parties of 110, 95, and 10 Starlings flying to the west, 1 Redwing. two Red-throated Divers, 15 Common Scoters, 61 Ringed Plover, 120 Turnstones.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

17th November 2013

Weather:- S force 0/1, some mist
Two Black-tailed Godwits flying west, Skylark Middle Eye, plus 7 moving west, 7 Starlings going south east. Four Blackbirds, 6 Robins, 18 Meadow Pipits, 150 Bar-tailed Godwits, and in the east hoyle Little Eye area were 12 |Grey Herons, 150 Grey Plover, 540 Curlew, 7,000 Dunlin.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

16th November 2013

  An early tide meant driving across to Hilbre in the dark. As dawn broke a Song Thrush was caught in the Heli trap and was found to have been ringed on the island during a previous winter. A new Dunnock was also ringed.

 With few migrants moving seawatching was once again the order of the day. At least 450 Common Scoter were noted in a three hour seawatch over the tide. Most were heading west towards N Wales. Highlight were the  2 male Velvet Scoter heading west amongst a small party of Common Scoter. Their bigger bulk and broad white secondary patches being obvious in flight. A small group of Common Scoter did spend the time flying around between Bird Rock and the East Hoyle bank

Common Scoter
 . A few Gannets were recorded and there was an increase in Red-throated Diver numbers. An Obs member watching from the mainland had a possible Black-throated Diver which may potentially be a returning bird as one had been seen regularly over the last winter period.
Purple Sandpipers
The Purple Sandpiper flock was reduced to 6 birds and they spent the tide roosting on a rocky ledge on the west side as did a flock of about 40 Turnstones. As the tide ebbed the Turnstones started feeding on the rocky shore bellow the Obs and one was seen to be colour ringed with  red over pale green on the left leg indicating it was ringed in the winter of  2008/09.

Ringed:- 1 Dunnock    [ 688-32 ]


Friday, 15 November 2013

15th November 2013

Weather NW force 2
Count of 1830 Cormorants exiting the estuary at dawn. Eighty Grey Plover Little Eye, 10,000 Knot and 334 Curlew on the east hoyle bank. Two Wigeon, 140 Shelduck, 12 Common Scoter. Three Little Egrets including a yellow and white colour ringed bird, 7 wrens, 6 Robins.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

13th November 2013

Weather:- SW force 2/3
High count of 158 pale-bellied Brent (including colour ringed Red/Blue, White/ Blue) and 3 dark-bellied. Eleven hundred Cormorants out of the estuary in the morning, 150 Shelduck, 11 Grey Herons at Little Eye, a thousand Dunlin flying south, 2 Ravens flying south west and 2 Lapwings flying east. Four Little Egrets, 1 Song Thrush, a Skylark and 3 Starlings.
(DB, with Matt Thomas, Rob Williams)

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

12th November 2013

Weather:- NW force 4/5
Party of 28 Starlings flying west, 1 Redwing, 1 male Common Scoter

Monday, 11 November 2013

11th November 2013

Weather:- SE force 3/4
Three dark-bellied Brent, 2 Little Egrets, 32 Shelduck, 3 Blackbirds.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

10th November 2013

Weather:- north 4
Brent counted at 141, 56 Redshank, 1 Skylark.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

9th November 2013

Weather:- S force 2 then W 3
Parties of Starlings totaling 149 including 100 moving south, a Skylark and 3 Goldfinches on the feeders. A female Kestrel and a Peregrine.

Friday, 8 November 2013

8th November 2013

An early morning visit was followed later by an afternoon trip staying over the tide. A maximum of 9 Purple Sandpipers were seen - 8 roosting in the tide gauge & 1 seen flying off to Middle to roost with the Turnstones. A small flock of 10-12 Common Scoter spent the time splashing around on the sea near HE52. Surprisingly 4 Gannets were seen fishing throughout the period between Hilbre and the wind farm. Less surprising were the Great-crested Grebes and single Red-throated Diver.
The colour ringed Turnstone from winter 2007/08 was photographed just before high tide- see photo.
The ringed female Kestrel spent the afternoon hunting Short-tailed Field Voles and was seen to be successful on at least two occasions - see photo where you can just make out the ring on the right leg.

Purple Sandpipers
(PSW)  photos PSW

Thursday, 7 November 2013

7th November 2013

Purple Sandpiper (CJ)
Weather:- SW force 3 increasing to 6, bright and sunny

Seventeen Red-throated divers, 15 Guillemots, 10 Great Crested Grebes, 73 Common Scoter, 120 Sanderling, 3 Starlings, 2 Skylarks, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Goldfinch. One Small Tortoiseshell butterfly.


Wednesday, 6 November 2013

6th November 2013

Weather:- W force 3 , drizzle
The male House Sparrow still about the obs garden feeders. Six Little Egrets, 152 Brent Geese, 7 Wigeon, 11 Grey Herons, 13 Purple Sandpipers, 90 Bar-tailed Godwits, 3 Blackbirds, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Rock Pipit.
The corpse of a Red Fox found drowned on the bank between the islands, probably the source of Fox faeces found on the island recently.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

5th November 2013

Weather:- NW wind force 6/7, heavy rain and squalls
A House Sparrow spent all day near the feeders in the obs garden. Two Redwings, 3 Starlings, 1 Song Thrush, 5 Robins, 1 Rock Pipit, 10 Grey Herons, 49 Bar-tailed Godwits, 270 Turnstones, 1 Gannet.

Monday, 4 November 2013

4th November 2013

Weather:- wind N force 3
1 female Pintail, 150 Grey Plover, 2,500 Dunlin

Friday, 1 November 2013

1st November 2013

Weather:- wind S at dawn then WSW force 3, rain from mid-morning
Very little in the trapping area, just the Chiffchaff from the last 2 days, 2 Blackbirds and a Song Thrush, although a Reed Bunting called overhead for a short while, and a single Starling and Pied Wagtail passed south. A few Gannets fed off the north end, and also noted there were 2 Razorbills and 8 Great-crested Grebes. Eight Purple Sandpipers sat out the high tide as did a new high number of 250 Turnstones. A Kestrel was often seen hovering and 2 Peregrines were hunting the waders. Bird of the day was not on the island but on the West Kirby marine lake after high tide, a red headed Goosander that was soon unfortunately flushed by a boat. In the afternoon a Mute swan flew towards Hoylake shore.
Details just received of the ringed Black-headed Gull that was on the West Kirby marine lake on 30th September (see blog for that date) reveal that it was ringed as a second year bird in Sweden in 2001, and has been seen in Denmark in March in 2010 and 2011 before appearing with us this year.
Ringed:- 1 Wren      [ 687-32 ]

Thursday, 31 October 2013

31st October 2013

Weather:- light winds from the south west later veering west.
Two Redwings arrived in the night and the Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest were still present from yesterday. During the morning 4 Wood Pigeons flew to the south west. The 2 Red-throated Divers that drifted passed the obs yesterday did exactly the same today. A dark phase Arctic Skua were identified resting on the west hoyle bank for some time, but other seabirds were scarce with just 2 Gannets, 2 Guillemots and 5 Great-crested Grebes. Purple Sandpipers increased to 10, while Turnstones also reached a new high of 206. Only 2 of yesterdays 3 Rock Pipits appeared to be present.Two Little Egrets were on the shore.
Ringed:- 1 Goldcrest            [ 686-32 ]
(DB,AEH,AW, et al)

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

30th October 2013

Weather:- light winds  S/SW
At high water (at about 07.15) 2 Great White Egrets flew south across the east gutter at Middle Eye and continued down the estuary. This is the second record of this species at Hilbre. There was a small movement of Goldcrests overnight with 6 in the trapping area, while a Chiffchaff, 5 Skylarks, 3 Rock Pipits and a Pied Wagtail were also noted. Two Red-throated Divers swan down the east side of the island and showed well from the obs. The Brent were counted at a record high for this season of 121 pale-bellied and 1 dark bellied and Shelduck increased to 420 in this part of the estuary, other duck seen today was a party of 5 Wigeon.  Purple Sandpipers numbered 6 at the north end and no less than 14 Grey Herons were in the Little Eye area. A late Red Admiral butterfly was on the island.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

29th October 2013

Weather, wind WNW force 6 frequent showers
A low tide visit by a party from the Manchester area battled the wind and driving rain in their faces but thoroughly enjoyed their time on the islands. A late Sandwich Tern was on the West Kirby beach and was probably the Netherlands ringed tern from yesterday, although its legs were in the water and so we could not be certain. The Brent were scattered in small parties so could not be counted, unlike a flock of 8 Wigeon that flew south of Middle. The sea was again quiet despite the windy weather apart from a drake Scoter that hauled out at the north end.

  A single Purple Sandpiper was glimpsed at the north end, but the big surprise was finding one at Little Eye on the way off the island.
Also by Little Eye a lone Golden Plover rested from the wind (right), possibly the bird that has been around the Wirral north shore for some time.

(CJ,KMC+SD, + Dave Steele and party)
Photos CJ

Monday, 28 October 2013

28th October 2013

Weather:- Wind NW force 7
Not quite the storms of southern england, nevertheless more was expected on the sea than transpired. The best seen were 2 Arctic Skuas and 25 Gannets, also a Red-throated Diver, 6 Guillemots, 5 Great Crested Grebes, 4 Scoter and a Razorbill. Waders included 130 Turnstone and 93 Redshank. A Mute Swan was seen to fly over little eye (AEH).
Meanwhile back at West Kirby a very late Sandwich Tern was found on the West Kirby lake pontoons. It was seen to be colour ringed and showed antenna for some sort of tracking system.
Enquiries have now revealed it was ringed in the Netherlands and printed here below for those that are interested (especially ringers) is an e-mail from the ringers in Holland.

Thank you very much for reporting your sighting of White N3N. Thank you for also sending that picture of the bird and its tag. This is a data-logger powered by a solar-panel. 

W-N3N was caught on the nest during the 2013 breeding season and has been seen several times before you saw it at West Kirby. This bird is certainly following a course all of its own.  In July of this year it made a brief visit to the island of Texel in the north of the Netherlands, then to Wales and now, five days after the last sighting it flew at least 300 miles north, maybe helped a little by the storm?. We hope to find out more about the routes and timing of these movements if it returns to a colony with its datalogger intact.
W-N3N (NLA ...1583878), >2cy, nest, 28 May 2013, de Scheelhoekeilanden, near Stellendam, Zuid-Holland, NL (51.48.46 N / 04.04.20 E), CR placed.

W-N3N, 2 July 2013, de Petten, Den Hoorn, Noord-Holland, the Netherlands (53.00.42 N / 04.45.20 E), photographed, CR read by Bob Loos & Pieter Duin

W-N3N, 7 October 2013, Nevern Estuary, Newport, Pembrokeshire, Wales (52.01.29 N / 04.50.38 W), colour-ring read by Sam Baxter

W-N3N, 25 October 2013, Burry Port Beach, Newport, Carmarthenshire, Wales (51.40.34 N / 04.15.29 W), photographed, colour-ring read by Adam Dare

W-N3N, 28 October 2013, West Kirby, Wirral, Cheshire, England (53.22.17 N / 03.11.27 W), photographed, colour-ring read by Colin Jones

In 2013 we have managed to place nearly 400 colour-rings on Sandwich Terns, 28 of those on breeding adults like N3N. We have used a three-digit code always starting with an "N". The N can be followed by two numbers (N86), two letters (NHN), one letter and one number (NV7) or a number and a letter (as with your bird N3N). In most cases the colour-ring has been placed on the right tarsus and the metal (NLA) ring on the left tarsus. In some cases these positions have been reversed, for example when a bird already wore a metal ring.

These Sandwich Terns have been ringed in two colonies in the southwest of the Netherlands by a joint research group composed of the Research Institute for Nature and Forest/INBO, Bureau Waardenburg and the Ringgroep Delta. Through these colour-ringed birds we hope to gain a better understanding of habitat use, dispersion of juveniles and adults, age of first breeding and recruitment to the various colonies in the southwest of the Netherlands and beyond.

This year there have already been sightings of "our" birds from the North of the Netherlands, Belgium, England, Scotland, Denmark and France.I will let you know if there are any new readings for this birds over the coming months.

Thank you again, also on behalf of the other members of the Tern-Team and the previous observers of W-N3N

all the best,

Pim Wolf
(DB (on the island),CJ (on the shore))         photo CJ

Sunday, 27 October 2013

27th October 2013

Weather:- wind W force 7/8 squalls
Three Great Crested Grebes, 1 Guillemot, 1 Razorbill. A Little Egret on the shore with 4 Bar-tailed Godwit and 64 Redshank, 2 Starlings going south.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

26th October 2013

A short visit before the high tide was rewarding with a flock of 8 Eiders ( 2 males & 6 female / 1st winter types) seen flying past the north end and down the west side. Brent numbers are up to 77 with a single Dark-bellied amongst them. 
A female Kestrel was busy hunting at the south end and evidence from photos (to be posted) later showed it to be the ringed individual controlled earlier this autumn.
There was a small passage of birds overhead with Skylarks, Grey Wagtail and a Chaffinch being recorded. There was also a small passage of Meadow Pipits through the morning. The only other birds of note were 3 Little Egret in the gutter and an increase in the number of Redshank. 
Two new Blackbirds were ringed and one of the island born juveniles ringed earlier in the year was retrapped.       [ 685-32 ]

Thursday, 24 October 2013

24th October 2013

Weather:- S/SE force 2
A pleasant morning with a decent passage of over 100 Meadow Pipits, 86 Starlings, 5 Skylarks, 4 Greenfinches, 2 Goldfinches, 7 Pied and 2 Grey Wagtails, with a Goldcrest and a Reed Bunting around the trapping area. The first Whooper Swan of the autumn flew south west after dawn, and good counts were made of  39 Bar-tailed Godwit, 66 Redshanks and at least 86 Brent Geese.
Ringed:- 4 Meadow Pipits, 1 Rock Pipit, 3 Greenfinches, 1 Blackbird, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Linnet, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Wren,             [ 683-32 ]

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

23rd October 2013

Weather:- SW 3 increasing to NW 6/7, and then WSW 5/6. Torrential rain early.
Two Red-throated Divers, 300 Common Scoter, 4 Great Crested Grebes, 10 Gannets, 2 Razorbills, 1 Manx Shearwater, 25 Kittiwakes, 8 Guillemots, 1500 Knot on the east hoyle, 1 Wigeon, 1 Redwing, 4 Goldfinches.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

22th October 2013

Weather:- SE force 3/4
1 Snipe at Little Eye, 1 Redwing, 4 Redpoll, 6 Robin, 10 Grey Herons, 1 Little Egret.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

19th October 2013

Weather:- SE force 4
Four Blackbirds, 1 Song Thrush, 2 Goldcrests, 3 Starlings, 2 Pied and 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 Rock Pipit, 380 Cormorants, 50 Common Scoter.
Ringed :- 2 Blackbirds                                 [ 670-32 ]

Friday, 18 October 2013

18th October 2013

Weather:- SE force 3/4 rain later
Good migrants numbers early in the day:- 2 Blackcap, 5 Goldcrests, 6 Blackbirds, 3 Song Thrushes, 2 Pied and 2 Grey Wagtails, 12 Starlings, 3 Chaffinches, 1 Greenfinch, 6 Robins, 1 Skylark, 1 Reed Bunting. The 59 Brent including one dark-bellied bird, 1 Little Egret. Fox droppings were seen on the west side, but the rabbit is still present.
Ringed:- 4 Blackbirds, 4 Goldcrests, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Wrens, 2 Song Thrushes.   [ 668-32 ]

Thursday, 17 October 2013

17th October 2013

Weather:- W force 2
4 Common Scoter, 4 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Skylark, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Starling
(MSC +2)

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Some sightings from 9th to 16th October 2013

9th October :- wind WNW force 7/8.  3 Leach's Petrels, 2 Great Skuas, 1 Gannet, 6 Great Crested Grebes, 4 Sandwich Terns, 15 Guillemots, 27 Brent Geese, 1 Wheatear, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest.
Ringed:- 1 Goldcrest.     [ 635-32 ]  (RAE,NDW, + 6 LOC members, + John Coupe)

11th October :-  wind NE force 5/6. 21 Brent Geese, 3 Blackbirds 1 Song Thrush, 1 Skylark, also more than 350 Redwings over West Kirby at 08.00hrs (SRW)

12th October:- wind NE force 5.  8 Grey Herons, 80 Turnstone, 200 Redshank. (CJW,RTW,NDW)

13th October:- wind NE force 4.   6 Mute Swans between the islands and landing on the sea. 2 Wheatears, 1 Goldcrest.  
 Ringed:- 1 Dunnock      [ 636-32 ]     (NDW,PSW,SRW)
Mute Swans (PSW)

Colour ringed Little Egret

Stonechat (CJW)
14th October:- wind NNW force 6/7.    1 Merlin, 2 Goosanders, 6 Red-breasted Mergansers,1 Stonechat, 1 Little Egret, 56 Brents including the red and blue colour ringed individual returning again from previous years, 1 Goldcrest.  (CJW)

Brent Geese (CJW)
Redwing (CJ)
15th October:- wind;- NNE force 1/2.  1 Red-throated Diver, 5 Great Crested Grebes, 50 Common Scoter, 18 Wigeon, 79 Brent, a colour ringed Little Egret, 14 Starlings, 6 Skylarks, 2 Reed Buntings, 4 Goldfinches, 3 Goldcrests, 3 Song Thrushes, 2 Blackbirds, 56 Linnets 5 Robins 4 Wrens.
Ringed:- 3 Wrens, 2 Goldcrests,1 Linnet, 1 Robin, 1 Song Thrush.  [ 644-32 ]
(CJW+PLN, et al )

16th October:- wind SE force 4 strengthening to 7/8 mid-morning with heavy rain. 13 Redwings, 18 Chaffinches, 2 Greenfinches, 3 Grey and 5 Pied Wagtails, 2 Song Thrushes, 1 Starling, 2 Rock Pipits, 30 Meadow Pipits, 2 Goldcrests, 1 Peregrine.
Ringed:- 6 Chaffinches, 3 Redwings, 1 Blackbird  (CJ,CJW et al )     [ 654-32 ]

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

8th October 2013

Weather:- W force 2/3, mild for October
Another search of the island pre-tide with little expectation now the westerlies are in full charge found few migrants of note. Two of the 3 Wheatears were ringed on previous days and obviously found it to there liking, as did the Goldcrest of yesterday, however a new Goldcrest was about also a Chiffchaff.
Passing through again were small numbers of Meadow Pipits, 4 Skylarks, a Grey Wagtail and a Starling. Four Wigeon flew about the shore where 43 Bar-tailed Godwits fed, but only 8 Brent could be seen this morning.
Ringed:- 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Wren.                 [ 634-32 ]
(CJ, et al)

Monday, 7 October 2013

7th October 2013

A brief visit before the tide found 2 Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest on the island and 68 Bar-tailed Godwits feeding the east hoyle. The Meadow Pipit movements of recent weeks continued and 2 were ringed out of a flock of a dozen or so as they made there way south. Seventeen Brent were west of the ridge south of middle on the flood tide. A Peregrine earlier sat undisturbed on the cliff west of the north end.
Ringed :- 2 Meadow Pipits, 2 Chiffchaffs, 1 Goldcrest (left)          [ 631-32 ]

(CJ,CJW, et al)           
photo CJ

Sunday, 6 October 2013

6th October 2013

Weather:- WNW force 4, 16 degrees by noon
Some insect activity with 2 Migrant Hawker dragonflies, 6 Small Tortoiseshells, 2 Peacock and 2 Red Admiral butterflies, also several Small and Large Whites.
The observatory hosted an advertised general public visit and bird ringing demonstration during the day, and although as expected there were not many migrants, we were able to show some ringing and talk about our work at the observatory. Two Wheatears a Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest were on the ground and flyover movement included 36 Skylarks, 4 Starlings, 2 Pied and a Grey Wagtail and a passage of well over a hundred Meadow Pipits during the day. Most Sandwich Terns have now departed south but a single was logged today. At high tide 2,500 Dunlin were recorded with 5 Guillemots and 4 Common Scoters on the sea.
Ringed :- 1 Wren, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Meadow Pipit.  [ 626-32 ]

Saturday, 5 October 2013

5th October 2013

Blackpool tower (including scaffolding) as seen from Hilbre through a telescope
Weather NW force 3/4, clear visibilty, Blackpool tower visible
No warblers present, but  the wheatear ringed previously is still on the island, also 2 Rock Pipits and a Grey Wagtail plus 2 albas. The Brent Geese increased to 18 birds, but the scarcest birds of the day were a pair of Tufted Duck. A leucistic Oystercatcher stood out amongst the flock resting by the obs (bottom), Oystercatchers are estimated at 9,500 around the islands at this time.

Brent Geese

(DB,SRW,TGW)                       photo SRW

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

1st October 2013

"Weather: wind SE force 3/4 increasing force 5, mist, cloudy with brighter intervals
Observers were greeted with a stunning sky this morning but expectations had been lowered over recent days as to what birds may be found.

October is the month when special birds are expected in the coastal hotspots, however the headline today must be the finding of a new insect for the island. Mid morning a Black Darter dragonfly was found on the main track near the Heli and was seen three or four times along the centre of the island, unfortunately it was too mobile to be photographed but was very welcome in what has been generally a poor year for dragonflies on the islands.
One or two Rock Pipits have evaded the potter traps in the last week or so but two succumbed today to the tasty meal worms on offer and indeed another was trying to enter the traps at the same time proving there were three present today, a fine reward for the Obs members persistence over the previous two weeks. We have not ringed a Rock Pipit for some time and two together is a bonus indeed.

A Song Thrush was in the trapping area early but little else, the only warbler being a Chiffchaff ringed yesterday. A Merlin was in the south cove for a while; a strange mixed flock flew between the islands consisting of 8 Wigeon, 4 Teal and a single Brent (which could not be refound). Late morning a Greenland Wheatear landed (left), the first on the main island for many days now and was duly ringed.
On the sea were noted 3 Gannets, 3 Guillemots, 5 Scoter and a Great Crested Grebe, while on the shore a Little Egret and 35 Bar-tailed Godwits.

Ringed: 2 Rock Pipits, 1 Greenland Wheatear, 1 Song Thrush,1 Wren [ 622-32 ]
(DB,CJ, + SRR&LPL et al)  

Monday, 30 September 2013

30th September 2013

Weather:- wind ESE force 3/4, cloudy with mist around the coasts, sunny intervals later.
Just a few Chiffchaffs around the island this morning (right), and as has been the case over the last few days there were 2 ringed. The main feature of the day were the duck with six flocks of Wigeon totalling 78 birds with a group of 11 Pintail and 27 Teal including a flock of 25, also a gathering of 190 Shelduck south of the islands just after the early high tide. Eight Grey Herons around the islands were notable as was another group of 4 flying high west to Wales. Two Rock Pipits were seen at the north end today after singles had been in the same area on previous days. A very short sea watch produced 3 Gannets, a Merganser and several flocks of Common Scoter with a total of 56 moving east in front of the wind farms. The sun appeared at about 10.00 and butterflies noted included 4 Red Admirals, 5 Small Whites, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, and scarcest of all in a Hilbre context was a single Speckled Wood. A Migrant Hawker dragonfly flew on middle mid-morning.

Rock Pipit
 The Black-headed Gull on the marine lake that is sporting a ring (above), has been found (thanks to modern cameras), to be of Swedish origin and the ring number will now be reported to the appropriate authorities to obtain details of the movements of the bird.
Ringed:- 2 Chiffchaffs          [ 617-32 ]
 (DB,CJ,KMc, et al)           photos  CJ (Chiffchaff), KMc (others)

Sunday, 29 September 2013

29th September 2013

Weather: East 2 backing South East and increasing to at least 4 later, mist clearing leaving a lovely sunny if blustery day.

It felt good this morning and observers were not surprised to find at least five Chiffchaffs in the paddocks and gardens. However, there was no hoped for Yellow-browed Warbler and migration petered out as the mist cleared and the wind picked up.

Visible migration was slow but produced an interesting mix of species including Mipits, 2 Reed Buntings, Skylark, Siskin, Greg Wagtail and a few alba Wagtails.

The highlight of the day were the insects - several butterfly species (at least 10 Red Admirals) were observed coming in off the sea during the morning including a Comma which was found later in the SK paddock (see photo).

A male Emperor Dragonfly was also seen down the West Side and was later found sheltering out of the increasing south-easterly wind a very impressive sight zooming up and down the fenceline but was too lively for the cameras!  Several other dragonflies (Common Darters) and a single blue damselfly species were noted.

During the afternoon a skein of 15 Pink-footed Geese passed over.  

(DB, NDW, SRW & TGW, later AMC & friends) photos Pinkies (AMC) & Comma (SRW) [615-31]

Saturday, 28 September 2013

28th September 2013

Contender for quietest day of the autumn despite the promising wind direction again.

However, a return visit in the afternoon produced the first birds ringed for a couple of days when two Chiffchaffs were caught.

(SRW (from over) & CJ - early morning shift; DB & SRW afternoon shift) [613-31]

Friday, 27 September 2013

27th September 2013

Grey Dagger caterpillar
Weather:- wind SE force 4, high cloud early, sun later
Despite scarce migrants piling in on the east coast of Britain, Hilbre couldn't even muster any of the commoner migrants in the trapping area this morning, and for the second day in succession there were no birds ringed which is quite unusual for these winds in the last part of September. A Merlin was present at first light and 2 Peregrines hunted the waders, while there were several duck sightings including flocks of 9, 5, 20, and 3 Wigeon, 15 and 1 Pintail, 7, 11, and 6 Shelduck and 3 Teal. Meadow Pipits continued to appear in off the sea though in slightly lesser numbers than yesterday, and as yesterday the only Wheatears (2) were on Middle island.The Rock Pipit was refound at the north end, but proved elusive as did 2 Grey Wagtails passing through. A large flock of about 60 Linnets roamed the islands, the only other finches were 2 Goldfinches. Waders seen today before the tide included 180 Redshank, 80 Turnstone, 60 Knot and a Grey Plover. A single Shag was noted along with the 350 or so Cormorants. Other creatures found were a Red Admiral butterfly, a Grey Dagger caterpillar and the resident rabbit.
(DB,JE,CJ,KMc,BT,CJW, et al)

Thursday, 26 September 2013

26th September 2013

Weather: wind ESE force 3/4 cloudy, less mist and slightly cooler than of late
A very quiet morning considering the wind direction and time of year, the only real movement was amongst the Meadow Pipits with about 100 arriving in off the sea and passing through in small parties, also single Grey Wagtails moving over on 4 occasions and 5 Pied Wagtails and a Skylark doing the same. A Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest were present, but the latter bore a ring from yesterday and the former may also have been here for a day or two. Wigeon were the only duck of the day with groups of 18, 3 and 8.
A Golden Plover flew south west across the island, as did a Common Snipe. Linnets moved about in a flock of 22 and a single Little Egret was in the gutter and todays count of Bar-tailed Godwits numbered 35. Two flocks of 30 and 40 Common Scoter flew distantly over the sea.
(DB,CJ,KMc,CJW, et al)

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

25th September 2013

Weather: wind WSW force 0/1 rain and drizzle with mist, clearing late morning, wind light and variable.
Variable wind direction made it uncertain what was going to happen this morning, and it was obviously not going to be as productive as yesterday from the start. Three Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest were in the paddocks with a few Robins and a Whitethroat which was probably the bird from 2 days ago. Meadow Pipits still past through in small numbers but there were only 6 Swallows seen. Two Pintail duck (the first of the autumn) flew south down the east side and 11 Teal were also logged, and a Common Snipe flew over towards the south west. Single Pied and Grey Wagtails flew through but declined to stay. At about 10.00hrs after some rain 3 Willow Warblers appeared as if by magic, they were most unexpected and late migrants for this species. A common Toad was an unusual find in the SK trap. We should mention (as we haven't bothered recently) that the rabbit is still being seen early morning on the island.
Ringed:- 3 Robins, 3 Wrens, 2 Dunnocks, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Goldcrest     [ 611-32 ]
(DB,CJ et al)

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

24th September 2013

Weather: wind SE force 4, mist early, later backing NE
A fine migration day with over 50 species logged by members from early morning to late afternoon. There was no large fall of migrants but a steady number to keep interest going throughout the day. Some of the first to arrive were 2 Blackcaps followed by a Spotted Flycatcher (the first ringed this year), at least 5 Chiffchaffs and 2 Goldcrests. Another Spotted Flycatcher was found later about the gardens and posed well for photos (right) and video, see http://youtu.be/oDkf01plyjw. A Song Thrush on the ground was the first of the autumn, 2 Reed Buntings spent some time near the obs, and 2 Wheatears were on Middle but none on the main island, while the small passage of Robins continued today with 7 being ringed. Also impressive was the number of species merely passing through (or over), including 100+ Meadow Pipits, 57 Swallows, 6 House Martins, 5 Skylarks, 3 Lesser Redpolls, 2 Siskins, 1 Chaffinch,7 Grey Wagtails, 6 Pied Wagtails, 1 Wigeon, 3 Teal, 2 Snipe, 1 Golden Plover. Regular birds were not ignored and also featured on the log for the day:- 332 Curlew were on the east hoyle, 83 Sandwich Terns still remain, there were 7,000 Oystercatchers, 70 Turnstone and 65 Redshank but no sign of the 6 Brent present the other day.
A Kestrel (below right) that has been about the last few days was trapped and proved to be a female ringed previously by the Merseyside ringing group. It is several years since a Kestrel has been ringed at Hilbre.
 The juvenile Great Skua that was mentioned yesterday at Little Eye was still present intermittently in the same place. The pleasant weather brought out some insects on the island including 2 burying beetles, a Migrant hawker and Common Darter dragonfly, a Green Lacewing, (below) 7 Small White and 4 Red Admiral butterflies.
Ringed: 7 Robins, 5 Chiffchaffs, 3 Wrens, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Meadow Pipits, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Blackbird, 1 Song Thrush.    [ 601-32 ]
(DB,AEH,CJ,KMc,SRR+1,CJW+PLN, et al)

Monday, 23 September 2013

23rd September 2013

Weather:- wind SSE force 0/1 cloudy and mild
female Goldcrest
The westerlies have ended for the moment giving hope of some migrant passerines, today was just a trickle but a small fall of Robins in double figures was welcome, as was a Whitethroat and a Chiffchaff, also the first Goldcrest to be ringed this autumn (and only the fourth to be seen on the island  this autumn). Other firsts of the autumn were a Rock Pipit at the north end, and a Merlin on the east of side of Middle as the tide flooded which flew off towards Wales. A small passage of Meadow Pipits, a pair of Skylarks that landed briefly on the island and a flyover Reed Bunting completed the morning migration scene. Bird of the day was a Great Skua that was found mid-morning devouring a carcass of a Cormorant on Little Eye, it is probably the bird seen intermittently over the last few days. It seemed reluctant to leave its meal even when approached enabling members cameras to be deployed (see also short video at http://youtu.be/vE93XMIbLO0).  From the main island could be seen 55 Bar-tailed Godwits and a Little Egret in the east gutter. 


 Ringed;- 5 Robins, 2 Wrens, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Meadow Pipit,
[ 578-31 ]
(DB,CJ, et al)              photos CJ