Tuesday, 30 January 2018

30th January 2018

Weather: WSW force 1/2    cold but dry
An early start and a stay over the morning tide was a pleasant experience especially after the weather of late.
A sea watch produced sightings of many Red-throated Divers flying here and there with some settled on the sea, and an estimate of 45 present was fully justified. As they are undoubtedly wintering in Liverpool bay it seems strange that on some days none are seen. Fifteen Great Crested Grebes and 3,500 Common Scoters were the other bird highlights on the sea. To the west of the island a total of 4 Harbour Porpoises were noted giving their typical rotary action views as they briefly surfaced, it was pleasing to see them in action with a dead porpoise still lying on the West Kirby shore.
A Grey Seal attempted to haul out near the north end at high tide but thought better of it and scampered back into the sea.
A Shag was resting on the north end cliff at high tide, always a fairly scarce bird at Hilbre and 3 Purple Sandpipers also roosted there, although another 3 were found after the tide.
The regular 6 Eiders were around before and after the tide but in addition 3 drakes were off the west side for a while.
Fifteen Bar-tailed Godwits flew passed the island but most of the 174 Grey Plovers and small wader flocks were located towards the West Kirby shore on the ebb tide. Also on the ebb 6 Pintail floated to the east of Middle before flying off west.
The roost on Middle held majority of the 8,000 Oystercatchers in the area.
As expected land birds were scarce, just 2 Song Thrushes, 1 Blackbird, 4 Wrens, 3 Meadow Pipits and 2 Rock Pipits.
photos CJ, SRW

Monday, 29 January 2018

29th January 2018

Weather:  WNW force 4/5  drizzle
A brief visit mid-morning to check the island out found the 6 Eiders still showing well.
Waders seen included 2 Purple Sandpipers, 40 Turnstone, 3,000 Knot, 6,000 Oystercatchers, 1,000 Dunlin, 26 Grey Plover, 150 Sanderling and 50 Redshank.
In addition to the waders and Brent Geese (below) a Blackbird, 2 Song Thrush, 4 Wrens and a Rock Pipit were some of the regular winter birds found this morning.
 An encouraging sign of spring was in the form of Snowdrops now showing in the obs garden.
 photos AEH

Sunday, 28 January 2018

28th January 2018

Weather:  WSW  4/5   good visibility and a warm 9 degrees

A female Teal was briefly in the gutter below the Obs as the tide ebbed, possibly attracted by the group of 6 Eider which were nearby, 56 Common Scoter were also on the sea with a group of six close in to the island.

Three Purple Sandpiper roosted on the North End over tide, other waders included 6 Grey Plover, 27 Curlew, 34 Redshank, 62 Turnstone and 10 Dunlin. A flock of 2,000 Knot flew South up the estuary as the tide rose and 3,000 Oystercatcher were around the islands.

Brent Geese were counted at 185 and 700 Cormorant left the estuary in the early morning. Six Linnets on Middle Eye were the only passerines other than the usual Wrens, Blackbird and Song Thrush. 

Photos by AS

Saturday, 27 January 2018

27th January 2018

Weather:  SW 4,  8/8 cloud, intermittent drizzle

A brief visit this morning in rather overcast and damp conditions saw the 6 Eider still present but reduced numbers of Brents.

Friday, 26 January 2018

26th January 2018

Weather: North 1-2, vis 30+ miles

It was a spectacular dawn to what turned into the most pleasant day on Hilbre this year weather wise.

Fooled by the warm day, a single Goldfinch flew by the Obs, very unexpected at this time of year. Ten Linnets were seen, 9 being on Middle, 2 Robin and a Song Thrush were also present.

Oystercatcher were estimated at 1800, including one which has taken to feeding on top of the island recently. Small waders were very low in number but counted today were 48 Turnstone, 66 Redshank, 6 Dunlin and 8 Purple Sandpiper. Five Grey Plover and a single Ringed Plover were also present along with 41 Curlew. A flock of 80 Knot passed by the North End.

Brent Geese numbered 253 and included 2 colour ringed birds and a dark-bellied bird, 6 Eider and 82 Common Scoter were on the sea and a Little Egret in the Gutter.

A Peregrine was again harassing the waders around the islands.  Photos by AS

Thursday, 25 January 2018

25th January 2018

Weather:   S 1/2  vis 20 mls

It was a promising start to the morning when an observer heard Pink-footed Geese upon arrival on the island and 82 were counted heading north, but that was the excitement of the day, other than a Peregrine chasing an Oystercatcher for some time around Middle – the outcome was not witnessed.

Brent Geese numbered 262 and included an Iceland ringed bird (see above). Five Eider were noted on the sea along with 120 Common Scoter and 2 Great Crested Grebe. Circa 800 Cormorant left the estuary early morning.

A good count of 223 Grey Plover were on the East Hoyle with 30 Curlew, around the island were 68 Turnstone, 35 Redshank, 3 Bar Tailed Godwit and a single Purple Sandpiper. A small flock of 50 Knot flew over the West Hoyle and a few more were feeding around the North End.

Seven Linnet were about the islands today with singles each of Blackbird and Song Thrush, 2 Meadow Pipit, a Rock Pipit and 6 Wren.  Photos by AS

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

24th January 2018

Weather: SW 6, 8/8 cloud, poor vis

Good numbers of waders were noted again today and included 38 Bar-tailed Godwit and 9 Purple Sandpiper.  Knot continue to feed between the Tanksey Rocks and Hilbre in good numbers along with Dunlin, Grey and Ringed Plover.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

23rd January 2018

Weather: SW 4-5, 7/8 cloud, moderate vis

Six Eiders remained around the islands and 120 Common Scoters were close enough to check but nothing else of interest was found amongst them.

11 Purple Sandpipers was the best count for a while and a partial leucistic Oystercatcher was noted for the second time this week.

The returning colour-ringed Turnstone, ringed at Hilbre in 2007/08 was seen at the North End amongst the Brent Geese.

Monday, 22 January 2018

22nd January 2018

Weather: West 3-4, 8/8 cloud, drizzle

A similarly damp morning this morning saw 312 Pale-belled Brent Geese including two of the colour-ringed birds and the five Eiders remained.

Nine Pintail flew in off the sea from the North and flew up the estuary.

Wader numbers were good with 6,500 Knot, 2,000 Dunlin, 180 Sanderling and 29 Grey Plover.  A single Peregrine was sat on the rocks south of Little Eye after the tide.

The most noteworthy record of the day was a very fresh deceased Harbour Porpoise found on the shore south east of Little Eye.  The only bird taking interest in the body was a Great Black-backed Gull which showed a passing interest.  Photos by SRW

Sunday, 21 January 2018

21st January 2018

Weather: SSE 2-3, 8/8 cloud and drizzle

320 Pale-bellied Brent Geese was a good count and the five Eider remained around the gutter and North End of the island.  Six Purple Sandpipers were noted and other waders counted included 45 Turnstone, 1,500 Knot and two Grey Plover.  A single Peregrine was also noted.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

20th January 2018

Weather: SE force 0/1  Rain mid-morning to early afternoon
For a change little wind today but steady rain which encouraged members and our visitor friends from Woolston to spend most of the time in the sea hide. Seabirds present included 350 Common Scoter (many close to the island), 4 Red-throated Divers and 6 Great Crested Grebes.
A count of 9 Purple Sandpipers was above average for this winter, while other small waders were at a premium, interestingly the only Ringed Plover seen spent most of the day actively feeding along the main island path.
A massive roost of 7,500 Oystercatchers were on the north end of Middle and the 6 Eiders stayed around the islands at high tide. The only passerines were 2 Rock Pipits, 1 Meadow Pipit, 4 Blackbirds, 1 Song Thrush, 8 Wrens and 2 Robins
photos CJ

Friday, 19 January 2018

19th January 2018

A very brief walk across recorded 6 Eiders, 3 Purple Sandpipers, 1 Blackbird and 2 Song Thrush.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

18th January 2018

Weather: NW force 6, hail showers
A brief visit in uncomfortable weather found the 6 Eiders still present, a single Shag, 1200 Common Scoter and 7,000+  Herring Gulls feeding on a star fish wreck, some of which turned up on the island!
Good numbers of waders included 5,500 Knot, 3,500 Dunlin, 26 Grey Plover, 150 Ringed Plover and 135 Redshank.
photos SRW

Sunday, 14 January 2018

14th January 2018

Weather:  SE 3/4  vis 5 mls

Today 7 Purple Sandpiper were present at the North End along with 103 Turnstone. A single Bar-tailed Godwit  and 147 Grey Plover were on the East Hoyle, other waders included 100 Dunlin, 28 Redshank, 50 Curlew. A flock of 5,000 Knot were South of Little Eye.

On the sea were 24 Great Crested Grebe, 53 Common Scoter and 6 Eider, a male Red-breasted Merganser flew west  off the North End and 4 Shelduck also went west between Hilbre and Middle.

On Hilbre were 2 Rock Pipit, 3 Linnet, 2 Song Thrush and a Blackbird.  Photos by AS

Saturday, 13 January 2018

13th January 2018

Weather: SE force 5/6  wind chill

An early start at 6am to make the tide with a strong SE wind F5-6 making it feel rather chilly.
As dawn broke 6000 Oystercatcher were roosting already on Middle Eye with over 1000 Cormorant exiting the Estuary.
Six Purple Sandpiper roosted at the North end along with 110 Turnstone which included a colour ringed bird from 2007/8.
Other waders present included a good count of 216 Curlew, 1000 Knot, 7 Grey Plover and 300 Dunlin.
Brent Geese spent the tide around Middle Eye and the East side of the main island and numbered 250.
Ten Pintail headed South and the usual 6 Eider fed around the island.
 Six Great Crested Grebes were the best sightings on the sea.
 Two Rock Pipits were on the island.
A single Robin was ringed and 2 Song Thrushes retrapped.
    Photos AEH        [ 3-3 ]