Tuesday, 30 June 2015

30th June 2015

Weather: SE force 2/3
An adult Mediterranean Gull was east of Little Eye on the flood tide. Eight Swifts passed through this morning, 4 Gannets were noted on the sea and amongst the gulls were the first 2 juvenile Black-headed Gulls of the year.

Monday, 29 June 2015

29th June 2015

Weather: W force 2
An adult Mediterranean gull was found between Little and Middle Eye on the flood tide. A Skyalrk was displaying by the lookout, but was chased off by the Meadow Pipits. Flood tide counts included 86 Sandwich Terns, 30 Common Terns, 470 Oystercatchers and 49 Curlew at Little eye and Tanskeys, 170 Black-headed Gulls at Hilbre and 400 at West Kirby. A Meadow Brown butterfl;y was the first this year.
(DB) + Richard Smith at West Kirby marine lake.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

25th June 2015

Weather: SW force 1, very humid at times
The Sandwich Terns are back on the east hoyle, twnety today with 8 Common Terns. A passage of Swifts was noted with over 30 through this morning. A Razorbill was off the north end. A wreck of Jellyfish aurilia aurita littered the east hoyle sands, probably from some days ago. Sheeps-bit Scabious was flowering on the island.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Hummingbird Hawk-moth

The first Hummingbird Hawk-moth on the islands this year was found above Niffy Bay in the now usual location on the Valerian by the bird hide on 12th June 2015, with two moths present the next day on 13th.

June is the best time in recent years to find this stunning migratory Hawk-moth species on Hilbre Islands LNR and Wirral BC Ranger Matt Thomas (@mattthomas966) captured this brilliant image on 18 June 2015 (see http://www.fromthemuddybanksofthedee.com/?m=1).

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

23rd June 2015

Weather: NW force 1/2, warm sun later
A straying Lesser Redpoll called over middle early in the day, but no other new
Swallow (KMc)
small birds made it to the island. The only waders found this morning were a couple of hundred Oystercatchers, 2 Redshanks and groups of 8 and 3 Curlews, not even a single small wader was around the islands at low tide. Seven Shelduck flew west, about 30 Sandwich Terns and 5 Common Terns were seen mostly out towards the uncovered west hoyle bank and there was at least 3 Little Egrets to be seen. Highlight for the observers occurred mid-morning when one of the island nesting Swallows (a male) flew into the obs building and was duly ringed before being released. Grey Seals were hauled out in good numbers (220) at low tide.
Yellow-tail moth caterpillar (CJ)
Ringed: 2 Linnets, 1 Swallow, 1 Dunnock    [ 341-34 ]

Friday, 19 June 2015

19th June 2015

Weather: NW force 3/4
Two male Mallards turned up today, none have been around for some time. Seven Lesser Black back Gulls included a pair displaying in the east gutter. Several jelly fish Aurelia aurita are on the sands of the east hoyle.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

18th June 2015

Weather: NW force 4/5
In between work on the wildlife garden, an adult Gannet was a good find at this time of year, also noted were 20 Sandwich Terns, 2 Common Terns and 7 Ringed Plover.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

17th June 2015

Weather: W force 2/3 slight rain
A Hummingbird hawk moth was again on the Valerian above Niffy bay and Yellow-tail moth caterpillars are now quite developed on the bushes. The rabbit still roams around its favoured spots on the island. An adult Robin was the first seen for some time.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

16th June 2015

Weather: S force 1
An adult Wheatear was on Hilbre today, obviously a wandering non-breeding bird, meanwhile 4 Linnets fledged in the wildlife garden and the first Blue-tailed Damselflies of the year in the form of 3 males appeared on the main pond. Other insects included a Map spider in the wildlife garden and 2 Painted Lady butterflies on Middle Eye. Nine Shelduck flew north in addition to the 4 locals around the islands today. Two Grey Herons and 2 Little Egrets were on the shore.

Monday, 15 June 2015

15th June 2015

Weather: SE force 4, cool in the morning
Lapwings in main wing moult
Another quiet midsummer day, the highlight being a pair of Lapwings that flapped lazily around the north end before heading off west. Lapwings only feature at Hilbre a few times each year, but seldom in the middle of summer. A Hummingbird Hawk Moth was again in the usual place, who knows whether they are different insects each day. It was too cool for other insects apart from a Cinnabar moth. The only waders noted apart from the Oystercatchers were 3 Ringed Plovers and 2 Curlews. A few Common and Sandwich Terns came within earshot and a single Great Crested Grebe was still on the sea.
Common Tern
Rock Pipit
Ringed Plover
Hummingbird Hawk Moth
(CJ, later BSB+3))    photos CJ      [ 337-33 ]

Saturday, 13 June 2015

13th June 2015

Weather: W turning WSW force 2, some mist

Following the first Hummingbird Hawk Moth yesterday afternoon, two were present today, again on the Valerian above Niffy bay.

Other insects included this Phyllobius pomaceus, the green nettle weevil, photographed by Allen Burton of the Friends of Hilbre.

Very little else to report apart from 5 Gannets and 6 Sandwich Terns on the sea, and the usual island birds were supplemented by a Skylark. The Rabbit still thrives on the island despite the obvious presence of a Red Fox.


12th June 2015

Weather:  SE 1, 2/8, good vis, slight haze

A Spotted Flycatcher was seen flying high above the island towards Red Rocks before it seemed to have second thoughts and 'dropped like a stone' into the lower paddock next to the SK trap where it was photographed.  A short time later it had entered the Newton trap and was caught and ringed.

As the temperature rose more insects appeared with Painted Ladies again in evidence and then the first Humminhbird Hawk-moth of the year was found in the now usual place above Niffy Bay.

Recent suspicions that a fox was still at large on the island were confirmed tonight when the Friends of Hilbre volunteers spotted one in fine health near the Telegraph Station.  This is perhaps the cause of a substantially reduced Shelduck breeding population this year and no sign of the Mallards breeding.
(DB (later), JE, SRW)

Thursday, 11 June 2015

11th June 2015

Weather: SE 1, 1/8 cloud, sunshine

Common Terns fed around the islands in small numbers but it was a generally quiet day on the island itself although the breeding birds were much in evidence including juvenile Linnets.

A flock of 36 Canada Geese was seen off the East Side; the only 'write-on' of the day.

Painted Ladies continue to arrive on the island as Spring turns to Summer.

(DB (briefly), AEH, NDW & SRW)

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

10th June 2015

Weather: SE force 2, later NNE 
Hilbre in the morning sunshine (KMc)

A beautiful bright sunny day, and although the breeze was cool, the sunshine triumphed in the end, warming the air sufficiently for a few butterflies to venture out. Three Painted Ladies were on the west side, only the second record this year, also found was a Gatekeeper, a Peacock, 4 Green-veined Whites and a Cinnebar moth. Birds were few and far between leaving plenty of time for discussion and relaxation at the obs. Most of the small waders have indeed departed now, leaving about 12 Ringed Plover, 9 Dunlin, 4 Sanderling and a flock of 10 winter plumage Knot feeding in the gutter (above,CJ). A single Whimbrel and a Curlew still called occassionally. A House Martin was the only small visitor to be noted passing through, larger species moving were over 30 Black-headed Gulls and 6 Shelduck. The only seabirds were a small number of Common and Sandwich Terns. We suspect the Rock Pipits may have fledged, we will look for the young birds in the days to come.
Ringed: 2 Linnets       [ 333-33 ]
(AEH,CJ,KMc+SD, et al)  

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

9th June 2015

 Weather: winds light and variable warming up during the morning
Two good out of season birds arrived on the island this morning, the first being a female House Sparrow (right) which toured the gardens for an hour or so, the second was a Chiffchaff which sang a few times before being caught for ringing (below). More expected were 7 House Martins and 2 Swifts passing through, a juvenile Pied Wagtail early in the day, also a Skylark displaying on the west side. Both Rock Pipits were seen carrying food at the same time, there is no doubt now that they have bred for the first time in many years. Young Meadow Pipits and Linnets are numerous now, the newly fledged Linnets calling noticeably differently for the adults. A flock of 21 Linnets on Middle was notable for this time.

Very few waders were present at the low tide, most of the Dunlin, Sanderling, Ringed Plover etc. could have finally left, the only records of note were single Grey Plovers, Dunlin and Curlew.

Ringed: 2 Linnets, 1 Chiffchaff          [ 331-33 ]

(DB,CJ, et al)       photos  CJ

Monday, 8 June 2015

8th June 2015

Weather: NNW force 3
A brief visit in the morning found 2 Little Egrets in the gutter, 10 Dunlin and 12 Ringed Plover on the shore, and a sighting of the rabbit which seems to be still thiving. Only 4 Shelducks were seen, this has been typical of the birds counted on the island this spring, it seems that for some reason they have not returned to breed in the usual numbers.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

6th June 2015

Weather: WSW 5-6, 4/8 cloud

A blustery but sunny morning saw observers enjoying a very peaceful flood tide.

Numbers of waders again were surprisingly good for this late in the Spring with late Sanderling moving through (176 counted), plus smaller numbers of Dunlin and Ringed Plovers (probably Tundrae race birds).

Five Little Egrets fished the flooding gutter but there were fewer terns today although Gannets could be seen offshore and a pair (presumably) of Great Crested Grebes loafed on the sea just east of the Obs.

Juvenile Linnets sheltered where they could from the blustery westerly wind.


Friday, 5 June 2015

5th June 2015

Weather: SE 3, backing W4 later, 5/8 cloud, sunny intervals

The day started with the much hoped for South easterly breeze and leaden skies seemed ideal for some late passage migrants.  Indeed it did produce the first Painted Lady butterfly of the year.

However, the wind soon backed to the westerly quarter where it seems to have been stuck for way too long.  Nevertheless five Eiders appeared in the flooding gutter including a female which joined a breakaway drake and spent the tide around Middle...

Terns were evident again but only the commoner two species were noted although Commons were displaying and food passing whilst their larger cousins,  Sandwich, looked on.

Waders are definitely late this Spring with numbers of Sanderling, Dunlin and Ringed Plover around the islands and two Curlew and a calling Whimbrel recorded.

The wind picking up brought in a couple of Kittiwakes in close to North End.

(DB (briefly), NDW, SRW) photos SRW (boc)

Thursday, 4 June 2015

4th June 2015

Weather: SE force 1/2, variable during the day, warm sunshine
At last a fine day for late spring/early summer, too late for any real hope of many migrants but welcome nevertheless. Highlight of the day for many was the sight of 5 or so Harbour Porpoises bounding through the waves as they progressed out of the Dee after high tide. The Porpoises can be seen in a short video of the day (Dave Bowman):

Bird highlights were also on the sea when a flock of 10 Eiders were first seen early on flying along the west hoyle bank and then towards and passed the island on the west side (right, AEH). The group later appeared again on the east side where they settled briefly before heading off to the north east. A total of 8 Swifts and 2 House Martins were logged passing through, while the local Swallows continued to feed in the better weather. An interesting observation involved one of the Rock Pipits carrying food and then a faecal sack below the east side. A single female Wheatear stayed around for the duration, possibly the bird that was here a few days ago (below CJ). 
Turnstones (Dave Bowman)

Terns were much in evidence with both Common and Sandwich terns feeding close to the island, unusually the former outnumbering the latter, and a single Little tern seen distantly. There are still 200 Sanderlings (right,AEH), most of which are in summer plumage, also a couple of late Whimbrel and many Dunlin and Ringed Plover hanging about.

Wasp Beetle, Clytus arietis(Dave Bowman)

Some insects seemed to enjoy the better weather, a Four-spotted Chaser was in the main pond, several Peacock and Green-veined White butterflies flew.
Ringed: 1 Linnet       [ 328-33 ]

(AEH,CJ,KMc,AO, plus Dave Bowman and Dave Steel)

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

3rd June 2015

Weather: WSW force 3/4
Local Swallows were found this morning to be apparently nesting in 2 different sites, this has not happened for some time, meanwhile 4 House Martins, a Sand Martin and a Skylark paid visits today. Juvenile Linnets have been seen, also the female Blackbird suspected of having a nest. A Damselfly was in the obs garden, and 2 Gannets were on the sea.
(AEH et al)

Monday, 1 June 2015

1st June 2015

Weather: WSW force 3/4
A brief visit this morning found a female Wheatear, 2 Whimbrel and 2 Little Egrets.