Monday, 23 October 2017

23rd October 2017

Weather: SE force 3

A good morning on Hilbre today after the gales at the weekend. The Eiders were at the north end with a few Brent Geese and a couple of Oystercatchers. 
There was a steady migration all morning with Meadow Pipits moving through all the time, also a Reed Bunting. There were Blackbirds (3), Redwing (2) and a Goldcrest on the island at first light but only a first year, female Blackbird was caught for ringing. In the picture you can see the moult limit in the greater coverts that helped with the ageing. 
A Chaffinch turned up early on and stayed for the morning, Rock Pipits were also about with 2 first winter Pied Wagtails that were on the ground and very confiding.
A 100 more Brents were counted leaving the island.
Ringed: 1 Blackbird                       [ 613-35 ]
photos  JE

Sunday, 22 October 2017

22nd October 2017

Weather: W force 7/8
A trip to the islands on gale force winds to check on any damage over the last 2 days found an adult Pomerine Skua flying west off the north end. Others found in the difficult conditions were 7 Eiders, a Common Scoter, a Red-breasted Merganser, a Chaffinch, and 2 Bar-tailed Godwits.
photo AEH

Friday, 20 October 2017

20th October 2017

Weather: NW force 3/4
The wind was back in the west this morning bringing to halt to any visible migration with no finches or thrushes apart from 2 Blackbirds, although a single Chiffchaff was in the obs garden. Bird of the day was a Great Northern Diver which flew west passed the north end early in the morning, while 2 and then 5 Wigeon were noted and 118 Brent logged. The 10 Eiders along with several obliging Common Scoters gave a good show to the visiting birders from the south Manchester area. A Guillemot and 6 Great Crested Grebes were the others seen on the rough sea. Waders were hard to find today with 5,000 Oystercatcher, 70 Redshank, 69 Curlew the best, and only singles of Grey Plover, Ringed Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit logged.
Many thanks to our friends from the Manchester area for their generous donation

Thursday, 19 October 2017

19th October 2017

Weather: SE 1 vis 3mls, rain after the tide.
 At first light 380 Cormorants left the estuary.
A single Wigeon and a male Common Scoter were in the gutter, the 10 Eider are still present.
Over tide 90 Curlew were on Middle and c 6,000 Oystercatcher were around the islands, the roost being disturbed a few times by a Peregrine which was around from early morning, a Kestrel was also noted. After the tide 100 Shelduck were along the marsh tide edge and 2 Little Egret on the West side of Middle, Brent Geese numbered 98.
Passerine movement was much lighter than yesterday but a total of 56 Greenfinch was a good record (one group consisted of 40 birds).
A Blackbird and Reed Bunting were in the obs garden, 8 Chaffinch, a Starling and 7 Skylark passed over.
A distorted mushroom was found and is thought to be one of the Wax Gill family, possibly Scarlet Hood (Hygrocybe coccinea). 
 photos AS

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

18th October 2017

Weather: S force 1/2,increasing SE 3/4
A good migration day for late autumn started with Redwings (15), Goldcrests (22) and Reed Buntings (6) flying around soon after dawn and joined during the morning by 10 Greenfinches (scarce lately at Hilbre and the first ringed this year) and 3 Redpolls which flew south.
Over 50 Skylarks came through without stopping as did 10 Pied wagtails and a Starling, while dozens of Meadow Pipits tracked down the island with 4 being caught for ringing. Joining the Redwings today were 2 Blackbirds and a Song Thrush.
Observers were astonished to see a Kestrel ( 2 were present today) fly in the obs building through the door and then out again. It soon became apparent that it had chased a Goldcrest indoors which was found flying around the room unharmed and which was ringed and released when the Kestrel had moved on. A Chiffchaff was among the birds down this morning which was no surprise, but the appearance of a Willow Warbler certainly was, as it is very late in the autumn to find one of these.
Another late sighting were 2 Swallows which flew south over the obs near midday.
The 10 Eiders are still close to the island, but the Brent were hard to count but certainly over 100 and a Greenshank was heard calling down the west side. Small waders were scarce at high tide but 75 Turnstones were counted and a few Ringed Plovers were seen on the ebb. A female Peregrine caused chaos among the Oystercatchers before landing on the east hoyle beach.
Ringed: 9 Goldcrests, 4 Meadow Pipits, 2 Greenfinches, 1 Willow warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Wren, 1 Redwing, 1 Song Thrush.     [ 612-35 ]    photos CJ

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

17th October 2017

Weather: W 2/3 vis 10mls, both increasing during the morning

After the strange light of yesterday morning, it was good to be able to see West Kirby from the islands today.
As the sea was still very lively after the storm, a brief sea watch was undertaken and produced c 4,000 Common Scoter much nearer the North end than usual, 5 Red Throated Diver, 11 Great Crested Grebe, 3 Guillemot, 4 Gannet and after the tide a single Leaches Petrel close in. The 10 Eider were still present, in the heavy swell just off the old slipway.
Passerines were again very thin on the ground but 60 Meadow Pipit were around the lookout area for a short time, 2 Rock Pipit are still about the North end, 2 Skylark, a Pied and a White Wagtail both landed briefly. 
The Kestrel was seen leaving a perch in Niffy bay  at dawn so may well be roosting there.
Waders present included 28 Ringed Plover, 2 Grey Plover, 12 Dunlin, 94 Redshank,  and 28 Sanderling.
photos AS

Monday, 16 October 2017

16th October 2017

Weather: SSE force 2/3 with mist
The second Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn arrived this morning in the area of the Newton trap where it was subsequently caught and ringed. The 16th bird since the founding of the obs, there have now been 7 in the last 3 years.
As is often the case with these eastern visitors to Hilbre there were not many other migrants on the ground at the time, just a Goldcrest, a Chiffchaff, a Song Thrush and a small number of extra Wrens and Robins. Overhead passage was little better with flocks of 12 and 8 Starlings, 2 Pied Wagtails, 2 Skylarks, and 3 Chaffinches. The 10 Eiders continue to make the islands their abode for the time being, 3 Little Egrets were logged, also 200 Shelduck.
Ringed: 1 Yellow-browed Warbler     [ 592-34 ]

Sunday, 15 October 2017

15th October 2017

Weather: SSE force 1/2, increasing later
An early start and hour before dawn was required because of the tide, during which time the first Redwing over Hilbre was heard from the obs.
Although large numbers of grounded migrants are never expected this late in the autumn, it was quiet at first even by those standards; 2 Goldcrests were heard either end of the island, a few new Robins seemed to have arrived, while 3 Goldfinches, 4 Pied Wagtails, 4 Skylarks and about 60 Meadow Pipits moved through later in the morning as the sun came out. A bird dropped in that initially caused some excitement until it was identified in the poor light as a small Reed Bunting. Both Peregrine and Kestrel were here today.
The 10 Eiders are still present albeit split into 2 groups and 88 Brent Geese gathered between the islands as the tide ebbed. Waders located this morning included 120 Redshank, 55 Curlew, 34 Turnstone and 6 Bar-tailed Godwits. A Gannet was close in to the island, also noted were 2 Great Crested Grebes and 3 Guillemots.
photos CJW

Friday, 13 October 2017

13th October 2017

Weather:  WSW force 3, increasing to 5/6 during the morning, mostly dry with light spots of rain.
The 10 Eiders were still floating off the north end this morning, we haven't had a flock as large and long lasting here for many years.
A Common Snipe sat in the east gutter before flying away calling, a typical late autumn visitor. As expected small migrants were far between on the westerly but 2 Goldcrests made it to the gardens and a Reed Bunting was at the south end briefly, 2 Pied Wagtails also went through this morning and 2 Goldfinches in the afternoon. Waders present included 96 Redshank, 22 Sanderling, 300 Dunlin, a Knot and a Ringed Plover. A Peregrine flying across the island was the only raptor.
As high tide approached a good count of 123 Brent was made as they floated down the east gutter on the incoming tide.
None bird news today featured the sighting of a Common Seal close to the island (presumably the same as yesterday); as regular visitors will know, most of the seals here are Grey Seals.
 Best record today was a Weasel that showed by popping its head up in curiosity from the pile of wood in the obs garden. It has been suspected for some time as glimpses have been seen of a small mammal scurrying through the grass in that area for about a year now.
Yellow fungus like growths have appeared on grass in various locations recently and now in the obs garden, and it has been identified as a slime mould Mucilago crustacea, a species probably never described before at Hilbre.
photos AEH, CJ ,CJW

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

10th October 2017

Weather: W 2/3 vis 2 mls with rain early, improving later.

The young Common Seal which has been around for the last few weeks was again by the south steps onto Middle Eye with the tide well out, it was left undisturbed but was later seen travelling down the gutter bed, then attempting a spot of climbing to get onto the East Hoyle bank. It seems to be healthy, just a little confused about where it should be.
 Brent Geese numbered 95 and included our old friend the returning colour ringed bird, HDRB that was originally ringed in Canada and now back here for the tenth consecutive winter season. 
Thirty Shelduck flew South up the Estuary at dawn, the female Common Scoter was at the North end and the Eider have now increased to 10 with 9 going up the West side with the tide and 1 going up the gutter.
The Kestrel was again hunting around the islands, passerine numbers were low today but 18 Skylark flew East over the obs and a single Goldcrest was heard. Two Rock Pipits were at the North end and 26 Meadow Pipits were counted.
On the way off the islands as the tide rose 5 Grey Plover were noted with 2 Bar Tailed Godwit, a single Grey Heron and 63 Sanderling.
Flying towards Red Rocks were 1200 Dunlin and 20 Ringed Plover.
photos AS

Monday, 9 October 2017

9th October 2017

Weather: W 0/1, dropping completely later. Vis 30mls

Just after dawn, the Eider were seen to have increased to 3 feeding at the North end…….
By high tide there were 6 in the lagoon, a good Autumn for Eider on Hilbre.

 Also on the sea were 600 Common Scoter with a female in the gutter, 
 14 Shelduck, 2 Great Crested Grebe and 16 Wigeon flew west passed the noth end before the high tide.. Brent Geese numbered about 70 and included a colour ringed bird which was unfortunately too distant to read.
Roosting over the tide were 8,000 Oystercatcher with 40 Curlew on Middle, 137 Redshank and 28 Turnstone in Niffy bay.
There was a small movement of Skylark and Goldfinch through the morning with 28 and 23 
respectively, also present were 2 Goldcrest, a Wheatear, 45 linnets and 2 Rock Pipits.
 Photos AS