Thursday, 25 May 2017

25th May 2017

Weather: light air, fog, later SE 1/2 very warm and sunny

The fog in the estuary early on soon cleared leaving a loving day to be on the island. The breeding Linnets now have many youngsters busily fluttering about the paddocks and 11 juveniles and an adult were ringed today (and there's more on the way - see below). 

A late migrant Chiffchaff was singing but was particularly elusive, unlike the Shorelark which was showing well again as usual in its favoured places although could not be found in the evening in a brief search.

A single Wheatear was on the west side, this species has been unusually scarce this spring.

A Fulmar paid a brief visit to examine the cliffs of Middle Eye and 2 Collared Doves stayed a few minutes around the buildings, while passing through were 4 House Martins, some mixing with the Swallows before they moved on and a group of 4 Swifts speeding to the south.
A Whimbrel was present, also a few Sanderling with the 150 or so Dunlin around the shore and 4 Bar-tailed Godwit rested briefly at the Middle Eye high tide roost.

As with many species Mallard is particularly elusive during the breeding season at Hilbre and the sight of a pair bathing and dabbling in a pool between the islands in the evening may be a sign that the female has been down on eggs somewhere unknown.

There were not many butterflies considering the fine weather, but a few Green-veined Whites, two Red Admirals and a Painted Lady brightened the scene.

However, by late evening over 25 Painted Ladies and 8 Red Admirals had arrived and were enjoying the evening sunshine.

Ringed: 12 Linnets, 1 Meadow Pipit

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

23rd May 2017

Weather:  NW  1, visibility 5 miles, increasing later

Another very quiet day with the only passage birds on the island being two Wheatear which spent the day on the west side, and the Shorelark which remained for its tenth day.

Fifty Ringed Plover flew along the reef as one observer approached Middle before tide, a Grey Heron looked as if it had roosted overnight on the East side of Middle and five Shelduck were present in the gutter.

Sandwich Terns on the West Hoyle numbered c300.  Also of note were 2 Whimbrel, a Grey Plover and 120 Dunlin.

Monday, 22 May 2017

22nd May 2017

Weather: SE force 3

A similar day to yesterday bird wise, the only warblers being two Whitethroats and a Willow Warbler, also a Wheatear down the west side and four House Martins passing through with a few Swallows.

One of the Swallows decided to enter the obs building and was rescued by hand, receiving a ring in the process.

Young Linnets are now fledging all over the gardens and paddocks, three of them were ringed this morning, while in addition to the main island birds a flock of 22 was on Middle Eye first thing, quite unusual at this time of year.

The Shorelark survived the ordeal by visitor invasion in the sunshine of yesterday afternoon and was happily feeding again in its favoured spots.

Also of note today were 120 Sandwich Terns and 50 Sanderling on the north shore tide edge; other waders seen included over 100 Dunlin, 20 Ringed Plover, two Grey Plover and a single Bar-tailed Godwit.

Ringed: 3 Linnets, 2 Whitethroats, Swallow, Willow Warbler [ 372-32 ]

Sunday, 21 May 2017

21st May 2017

Weather: SSW force1/2 at dawn, then SE 3/4

A small improvement on previous days with a couple of Whitethroats and a Willow Warbler present, one of the Whitethroats becoming the first bird ringed since 16th, together with a newly fledged juvenile Linnet. Three Wheatears were down the west side and passing through were 5 Swifts, 5 House Martins, 7 Swallows, also a Siskin, and a White Wagtail.

The Shorelark was finding undisturbed feeding difficult amongst the many visitors today, it remains to be seen if it is still here tomorrow.

Little sea watching took place over the early tide, just a Gannet and 3 Sandwich terns and a single Common Tern were logged. Among the moths found in the moth trap this morning was a Bright-line Brown-eye, a Treble lines, 4 Marbled Coronet, Netted Pug and a Clouded Bordered Brindle.

On the beach thousands of comb jellies were found to have been washed up.

Ringed: Whitethroat, 1 Linnet ( juvenile) [365-32] 

Photos BT (birds), SRW (moths) and visitor Lucy Charlton (clouded bordered brindle and comb jellies)

Saturday, 20 May 2017

20th May 2017

Weather:  SW 3, 1/8, good vis

The Shorelark remains around the main island and three Wheatears joined it.

Waders continued to pass through in small numbers including 5 Whimbrel, 30 Ringed Plover and two Turnstone.

A few terns were around the island early in the day but an evening sea watching produced 120 Gannet, two Manx Shearwater and an Arctic Skua (only the second of the year).

Swallows remain around the building in good numbers (4 pair) and Meadow Pipit and Linnet numbers also appear healthy this year.

Friday, 19 May 2017

19th May 2017

Weather: W 1-2, 8/8 cloud, good vis

Observers made their way to the island early which meant the tide was still well in (not advisable unless you know the tide times, heights and weather thoroughly).

There were a few waders around the tide edge and five Little Egrets and two Grey Herons.

There were very few migrants on the island but two Wheatears appeared.

The Shorelark remained around the island again today although she became a little more mobile today but was still present during the evening tide.

Photos by BT (birds) and SRW (Hilbre)

Thursday, 18 May 2017

18th May 2017

Another fairly quiet morning with the Shorelark still present, today receiving some admirers from the mainland.
Just for a change, a picture of one of the more regular residents.
Two Wheatears were again on the island but little else in the way of migrants.
A Fulmar was prospecting over the north end, as usually happens at least once every spring, while a Kittiwake sat near to Little Eye, abnormal behaviour that may indicate illness.
Photos  AEH,JE

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

17th May 2017

Weather: S force 4, later west 2

One of the quietest mornings of the spring in terms of migration, with 2 Wheatears on the island and no warblers nor any overhead passage.

If the Shorelark had not stayed to enable us to practise our photography it would have been very disappointing indeed. Up to 8 Swallows are now feeding on the island, and 4 Little Egrets and 4 Whimbrel were on view.

The sole Brent was not seen this morning although with the low tide it could still be around the estuary.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

16th May 2017

Weather; S force 2/3    cloudy some rain, mild.

The morning weather turned out not as bad as forecast but there were very few migrants about, just a couple of Willow Warblers, a Chiffchaff, a Wheatear but no overhead passage apart from a White Wagtail and about two dozen Swallows.
The Shorelark is still here feeding mostly on the north west side by the light and showing well among the Thrift and Bird's-foot trefoil.

Three Arctic Terns were identified together with some Common Terns flying passed, while around the island were 2 Whimbrel and the remaining Brent Goose.
A Grey Seal was hauled out on the rocks at the north end which is quite unusual.

Ringed: 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff.      [ 363-32 ]   photos CJ

Monday, 15 May 2017

15th May 2017

Weather: SE 6, 8/8 cloud, heavy rain, abating by 8am then showers

The morning started with very little expectation and observers considered re-scheduling the usual early start. Fortunately, plans were kept and as observers approached Middle Eye several Swallows and two Swift battled low south over the rocks.  A couple of minutes later a falcon appeared on east side of Middle Eye doing exactly the same thing low over the rocks and shot past the Landrover - a Hobby.  A great start to the day!

Several pots of tea were drunk this morning until the rain abated around 8am and surprisingly the Shorelark was seen and heard near the light, by the lookout, and then on the main track (photo from yesterday).

A trap round produced another surprise with a male Siskin in the SK and single Whitethroat and Willow Warbler were also caught.

A further round later in the morning produced a female Whinchat.

Waders numbers remain lower with just 300 Dunlin, 26 Ringed Plover and 7 Whimbrel noted.

Ringing: Meadow Pipit, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Siskin and Whinchat [361-32]

Sunday, 14 May 2017

14th May 2017

Weather: SW 2/3, 2/8 cloud, good vis, 30+ miles

Today started very quietly indeed, the wind temporarily dropping though meant it was a very pleasant start to the day but there was little in the way of migrant arrivals other than a single Willow Warbler in the Obs garden and then in Telegraph House garden.

A few Whimbrel could be heard calling around Middle and the main island but numbers of smaller waders again decreased on the last week.

With expectation at a real low in comparison with the last couple of weeks it was a great surprise when one observer walked down to the North End to check the waders and noticed an unusual bird fly along the west side and alight on the wall of the Lifeboat Station - a Shorelark!

The observer retreated realising that the Shorelark may have been feeding around the area of the Khyber Pass/Buzzard Hill/Bunting Brow.  News was quickly released via Twitter, Whatsapp and Text (as is the way these days!). Those present on the island enjoyed the bird as it showed well but intermittently in that area including at one point on Wheatear wall.

Members from the mainland soon arrived to see this very rare Hilbre bird.

Interestingly the bird was calling regularly and moved around the North End area including by the light before alighting briefly on the fence post to Telegraph House west garden and even landing on the roof of the Buoymaster's house!

The bird remained until the evening when further members of the Obs and visiting birders alike enjoyed this visitor in beautiful surroundings in the lovely evening sunshine.

Photos by AEH, CJ, PSW and SRW