Tuesday, 31 October 2017

31st October 2017

Weather: SSW 1 vis 20 mls

It was a very quiet morning with poor light for most of it, but after the tide there were over 200 Brent Geese around the islands and 3 Purple Sandpiper joined the 11 Eider and 1 Common Scoter at the north end.
Other waders included 23 Ringed Plover, 3 Grey Plover and 158 Curlew, also a single Heron and 3 Little Egret with one chasing the others so aggressively that it put up the Oystercatchers.
East of Little Eye were 160 Shelduck and 11 Carrion Crow. Very few passerines were down on the island but a Chiffchaff was in the Obs garden late morning with a Blackbird heard calling from the Pittosporum and 3 Starling briefly on the mast. Two White Wagtail were down by the pools on the north end and a Song Thrush in the SK paddock. 
Three Skylark, 6 Redwing and 120 Meadow Pipit passed over during the morning.
photos AS

Monday, 30 October 2017

30th October 2017

Weather: SSE force 1/2 
A good morning for thrushes with 7 Blackbirds, 2 Song Thrushes and a Redwing down on the island,
Also present first thing, a Reed Bunting, a Chaffinch and 2 Goldcrests which immediately disappeared. Overhead passage included 3 other Reed Buntings, 4 Starlings a Siskin and 6 Skylarks. A big surprise was a Wheatear found on the east side path of Middle which later transferred to the main island, a very late date for this species here.

The 11 Eiders are still hanging around and amongst the many Brent on the whaleback was the individual with 2 blue rings, showing X on the right and J on the left.
Tides were very low and waders much scattered, a single Bar-tailed Godwit was seen......
with 20 Turnstones and 43 Curlew. Five Great Crested Grebes, 27 Shelduck and 2 Little Egrets were noted, whilst the Kestrel hunted the island.
At least 8 Wrens were here, probably a small pssage through.
Ringed: 3 Blackbirds, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Wren.         [ 619-35 ]
photos AS, CJ

Friday, 27 October 2017

27th October 2017

Weather: N force 1
Despite the clear sky there was plenty of passage through the islands this morning with many parties of Skylarks totalling 50 birds, finches also featured with 8 Goldfinches, 4 Greenfinches, and a Chaffinch, alongside 2 Starlings and a Redwing. A single Goldcrest was down with 2 Blackbirds and a Song Thrush. The 11 Eiders stayed very close to the rocks at times.
 Two different Peregrines were around this morning.

Redshanks are still increasing in numbers, 256 were counted today, aslo 34 Dunlin, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Grey Plover and 30 Curlew.

The Purple Sandpiper of yesterday could not be found on the low tide.
photos AEH

Thursday, 26 October 2017

26th October 2017

Weather: SSW force 1  vis 15 mls
Two Reed Buntings were on Middle first thing and another on the main island later, while 4 Goldcrests in the obs garden early were a hopeful sign but they soon moved on and no others were found. The movements of Skylarks of the last week or so did not happen today until mid-morning after which a few dozen went through including a group of 8. A group of 10 Greenfinches dropped out of the sky and landed in the SK paddock, we have been fortunate with Greenfinches this autumn as a similar event took place a week ago.
Observers witnessed a distant flock of 77 Redwings going west towards Wales at a considerable height, the only other thrushes were a couple of Blackbirds down on the island.
 Another traveller west was a Merlin, chasing waders as it went.
A Kestrel stayed all day, giving a good show and was seen to catch a vole on one occassion.

Meadow Pipits trickled through, probably about 100, also 2 Grey Wagtails and 4 Pied Wagtails. The 2 Rock Pipits are probably semi-resident.
Nine Eiders were seen, sometimes consorting with a Red-breasted Merganser.

In the afternoon the first Purple Sandpiper of the autumn was found, a typical date for the first arrival of the wintering birds. A colour ringed Knot was only 1 of 2 on the shore.
Good numbers of Redshanks are now feeding in the gutter, today 175 were counted, also 5 Bar-tailed Godwits. Three little Egrets were on the shore and a quiet sea only produced 1 Guillemot and 3 Scoters.

Ringed: 1 Wren       [ 614-35 ]      photos AEH(most), CJ

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

25th October 2017

Weather: W ½ vis 20mls

As the tide flooded the gutter a good count of 224 Brent Geese was made and this included 2 colour  ringed birds. The the now familiar red and blue ringed bird..........
 ......and the bird returned from last winter that was ringed in Iceland in spring 2016 with yellow ring 'P' left leg and blue ring '7' right leg.
The Eider have increased to 11, also at the North end were a Merganser and 3 Common Scoter.
Thirty eight Sanderling flew along the East Hoyle towards Hoylake and 5 Bar-tailed Godwit were at the bottom of the gutter. Also present were 63 Redshank, 41 Curlew and a single Little Egret.
There was very little visible migration but 22 Skylark and 2 Pied Wagtail flew over, 4 Goldcrest and 12 Linnet were in the gardens and the Kestrel is still finding enough food to stay around. 
photos AS

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