Saturday, 26 May 2018

26th May 2018

Weather: E force 1/2  heavy mist, hazy sun and warm.
The wind direction was variable before settling in the east and a touch of south at first provided a small flow of migrants to the island. The first Spotted Flycatcher of the year was soon followed by 2 others, a few Willow Warblers and a Chiffchaff on the ground. Three Spotted Flycatchers in a day is exceptional for us and most welcome.
Two Swifts screamed as they crossed Middle heading east early on, a rare sight this spring, but no extra Swallows or Martins joined the breeding pairs feeding over the island.
A Woodpigeon flew around the island and just as it crossed the obs garden going to Middle a Fulmar came low over the garden heading in the opposite direction. Fulmar reconnaissance visits are noted here most years in late spring. The Blue Tit from 3 days ago was glimpsed in the heli garden early morning but not later on, although it may still be there. Few waders were about at high tide, just 14 Dunlin, 4 Ringed Plover and 2 Whimbrel could be found in addition to the 300 or so Oystercatchers. The Eiders were not seen this morning but a single Common Scoter was at the north end and a  Guillemot sat on a rock on the west side as the tide approached.
Breeding birds are now seen carrying food for their young, and others nesting material.
Meadow Pipit
The island flowers are now at their very best.

An Orange Tip butterfly flew with the many Small Whites in the sunshine.
Ringed: 3 Spotted Flycatchers, 4 Willow Warblers, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Meadow Pipit.  [ 366-26 ]
photos CJ,JE

Friday, 25 May 2018

25th May 2018

Weather:NW force 1, dry early, rain in the afternoon.
Two Greenland Wheatears and a House Martin were the only true migrants on the island this morning apart from the Blue Tit which has been here since Wednesday.
Blue Tit
Meadow Pipits
Some sea watching produced records of 2 Harbour Porpoises, a Red-throated Diver, 3 Gannets, 10 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Common Scoter with 45 Sandwich and 25 Common Terns.
Best of the shore birds were 2 Grey Herons, 2 Little Egrets and 4 Whimbrel, while the 2 Eiders and 12 Shelduck were around and about.

photos AS 

Thursday, 24 May 2018

24th May 2018

Weather: E   1   vis 5mls
A Blue Tit could be heard frequently but would not show itself, presumably yesterday’s bird. A single Wheatear was again present and two extra Swallows had joined the eight breeding birds on the island, both male and female Pied Wagtail were seen.
The 2 Eider were off the west side and 4 Shelduck flew over Middle. The sea was very quiet with only 8 Gannet and a couple each of Great Crested Grebe and Guillemot, although Sandwich Tern numbers had increased to 120 with a good number on the rocks in the lagoon as the tide ebbed. Common Tern numbered 35 with a couple feeding close to the west side
A small flock of 23 Dunlin roosted at the North End over tide along with 7 Turnstone, a couple of which were in summer plumage.

Three Whimbrel were also present. A Peregrine was on the sands between the islands and Red Rocks, 1 Little Egret and 3 Heron were feeding around the islands from first light. 
photos AS

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

23rd May 2018

Weather: ESE force 2 with mist
Highlight of today was a Blue Tit, a scarce Hilbre bird and the first this year, which was caught for ringing.
Almost as scarce here was the appearance of 6 Mute Swans at the islands.
Migrants included 2 male Whitethroats, a Greenland Wheatear, 2 Sand Martins and a House Martin.
Six Little Egrets were the best number for some time, with 4 Grey Herons and 3 Whimbrel also logged.
Butterflies out today included 5 Large White, 6 Small White, 3 Green-veined White, a Red Admiral and a Common Blue.
Ringed: 1 Blue Tit          [ 357-25 ]
photo SRW

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

22nd May 2018

Weather: WNW  3-4 decreasing later, vis 5 mls

The only waders around the island today were 150 Oystercatcher and 2 Whimbrel, they were all disturbed by a Peregrine high over the north shore and probably the same bird was seen later, with prey on the East Hoyle. From a boat 250 Sanderling were seen flying west off the north of Hilbre.
The change in wind direction today seemed to have pushed in more Gannets with 146 noted along with 28 Guillemot, 12 Common Scoter and about 100 of mixed Sandwich and Common Terns. The 2 immature male Eider were on the west side and 2 Shelduck to the east of Middle, a male Mallard was on the pond at first light but soon disappeared. Two Little Egret and a Heron were also noted.
There were no migrants today but the first juvenile Meadow Pipit was seen by the Canoe Club, indeed many of the Pipits were carrying food today.
A single Harbour Porpoise was seen off the North End. Two male Orange Tip and a male Green Veined White were the best of the many butterflies around when the sun came out after the tide.
photos AS

Monday, 21 May 2018

21st May 2018

Weather: ESE   with light airs vis 8 mls with a light mist around the estuary.

A short visit after the early morning tide found the islands as quiet as expected with 2 House Martin briefly joining the breeding swallows over the island, a Collared Dove landed on the S.K trap...
  and 2 Jackdaw inspected every chimney pot on the island.
Two Goldfinch were present and it is suspected by some that they may be a breeding pair, time will tell… or not.
Six Little Egret were at the south end of the reef, (a better count than of late) and 2 Grey Heron were present. Two Shelduck were in the gutter but waders have almost disappeared with a small flock of 45 Dunlin and a few Oystercatcher about.
Terns numbered 2 Little, 40 Sandwich and 10 Common. The 2 Eider are still about along with 22 Gannet, 7 Great Crested Grebe and 2 Guillemot on the sea.
photos AS

Sunday, 20 May 2018

20th May 2018

Weather: SE force 2 mostly sunny
A late Willow Warbler was in the paddocks this morning but no sign of any of the larger warblers, and the only other grounded migrant was a single Wheatear. A Yellow Wagtail called as it passed through and 6 House Martins joined the Swallows feeding over the island and a Collared Dove flew south towards Middle being 'seen off' by the local Meadow Pipits. Despite the lack of numbers of birds it was nevertheless a very pleasant morning in the fine weather with lots of flowers now to admire.
There seem to be good numbers of breeding Linnets this year, although nationally they are in decline.

The 2 Eiders were again loafing off the west side and about 50 Gannets diving further out, with 3 Little Terns also identified amongst the other terns towards the west hoyle.
An Orange Tip butterfly flew again in the sunshine.
Ringed: 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Linnet        [ 356-24 ]

Saturday, 19 May 2018

19th May 2018

Weather: SSE force 0/1  sunny and warm
A Magpie was an early visitor, staying on the island for about an hour, but on the whole it was very quiet, and in that respect (also the weather) feeling like summer.
 Pairs of Linnets can now be seen near their nesting sites
A Goldcrest was present after dawn, but not for much longer and for most of the morning migrants were entirely absent, but just as members were moaning about the lack of warblers a Sedge Warbler found itself in the SK mist net. It became the first to be ringed this year and only the third on the island, it been a poor year here for Sedge Warblers so far.

A male Goosander sat on the tide off the north shore, an unexpected sighting at this time, while the 2 Eiders were off the west side today and 50 Gannets were still feeding in Liverpool Bay.
A Whitethroat sang briefly in the SK paddock late afternoon.
Two Goldfinches were noted, also 35 Common Terns, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Grey Herons, and a Little Egret.
Ringed: 2 Linnets, 1 Sedge Warbler      [ 354-24 ]
photos CJ,SRW,AS

Friday, 18 May 2018

18th May 2018

Weather:SE force 2
On arrival at the obs before 6am a Firecrest was heard singing in the garden, it filtered north down the island and was eventually singing again in the SK paddock where it trapped for ringing. Firecrest is less than annual at Hilbre and is more often found in autumn but spring records are generally in April/early May, and in fact this is possibly the latest ever in spring.

A nice surprise for the observers then who are always hopeful of finding a good bird despite most migrants having now completed their journey.
A Woodpigeon was trapped at the same time, providing a comparison between little and large!
A Collared Dove passed south over Middle half an hour earlier, while on the main island during the morning were male Chiffchaff and Whitethroat (both singing) also a male Wheatear. The only small passing visitor was a Redpoll although a couple of Goldfinches were again noted, we are not sure what exactly they are up to.
An unexpected treat was the sight of 5 Pink-footed Geese walking around the west hoyle sands for half an hour until the tide covered it, and even then they were reluctant to fly and just floated away (distant record shot below).
The calm sea also provided opportunities to watch the sea and log 26 Gannets and 28 Guillemots and the now almost expected Harbour Porpoise.
Fifty Sanderling flew north and 80 Dunlin were about with 3 Whimbrel on the island
Some of the Herring Gulls were lunching on Starfish at the north end.
Ringed: 1 Firecrest, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Woodpigeon.   [ 351-23 ]
photos SRW,CJ

Thursday, 17 May 2018

17th May 2018

Weather:  ENE 1, 1/8 cloud, moderate vis

A fairly quiet day with a cold start (for mid May) resulted in very few grounded migrants although single Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Whitethroat were found.  The two immature drake Eiders were  around the west side and on the ‘whaleback’ and a single Common Scoter was around the main island.

Small numbers of passage waders were found including Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Sanderling (see below).  As well as Whimbrel and terns remained very much in evidence with the highlight being 45 Little Terns which flew over the main island back west towards the Point of Ayr (where they breed).

Ringing: Linnet and Willow Warbler [347-22]

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

16th May 2018

Weather:  N 2, rain during morning, brighter afternoon 6/8 cloud, good vis

Rain stopped play!  This morning the weather did not look at all conducive for spring migration and it put observers off.  However, a brief post tide visit continued our excellent coverage of the islands this spring and the afternoon was brighter although the bluebells at the south end are fading and the predominate flowering colour of the island is rapidly becoming the pink of the Thrift.

Four Little Egrets were around the Tanskeys, the Reef and the gutter and the two immature drake Eiders sat out the tide on the rocks west of Middle.

A good passage of Swallows was noted with 65 birds counted in just a couple of hours during the afternoon.  Two Greenland Wheatears (male and female) were present on the main island between the light and the North End but there was no evidence of any other grounded migrants.

A small number of Dunlin were noted (9) and a single Whimbrel.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

15th May 2018

Weather: WNW force 0/1, mist around the estuary

The twelve Mallard ducklings have survived the night, but were last seen heading off to an uncertain future across the sands towards Red Rocks this morning. The drake was resting in the sun before flying across to join them.
There are now male and female Eiders present in addition to the 2 immatures, new birds seem to be coming and going all the time. Migrants are few and far between in this light westerly, just a singing Chiffchaff, a Goldfinch, a Collared Dove and 2 Wheatears.
There were 11 Swallows about today, one of which flew into the obs briefly, not an unprecedented occurrence at Hilbre.
A sea watch produced 43 Gannets, 105 Guillemots, 4 Little Terns and 3 Harbour Porpoise, while round and about were also 3 Whimbrel, 3 Common Scoter, 14 Shelduck, 350 Dunlin and a small number of Ringed Plovers.
As the tide came in it brought large numbers of palm oil 'bergs' from the old wreck to surround the island.
 photos AS

Monday, 14 May 2018

14th May 2018

Weather:  light air, clear sky
Clear sky last night probably contributed to the lack of visible migration this morning, although it was a very pleasant to walk around the island early morning. A Chiffchaff in the paddocks was the only new arrival there and a single Wheatear sat on the west side, but other than that it was hard work this morning, even the now ubiquitous Goldfinches were not to be heard, also absent was the trilling of Whimbrel on the rocks. An adult drake Eider was off the west side which gradually joined the 2 immatures on the whaleback.

A Common Scoter was also near the north end.

and a Grey heron on the rocks south of Middle.

A few Garden Tiger caterpiilars crossed the path on Middle, the first seen this year, perhaps we will have another Garden Tiger summer/autumn proliferation.

The Dunlin still here today seemed to be frequently giving the communal musical chatter associated with imminent departure for northern parts.
Gannets were again feeding in some numbers but today were further out to the north west.
A late evening visit had the lovely surprise of finding a female Mallard with 12 ducklings in the main island pond. Let us hope they survive the many hazards including the fox.
 The breeding Linnets were still showing well
 Looks like it may be another clear sky tonight.
Ringed: 1 Chiffchaff                                  [ 345-22 ]
photos CJ,AEH