Sunday, 26 April 2015

26th April 2015

Weather:  NW 4-5, 3/8 cloud

A pleasant sunny day but with a cool blustery breeze produced very little in the way of migrant passerines.  In fact it was a quiet day all round until just after lunch.

A couple of Dunlin flocks had built up in the gutter and at the North End and these were joined by further birds and Ringed Plovers below the Obs on the flooding tide and a lovely Summer plumaged Curlew Sandpiper was found.

It was watched from the Obs balcony for at least an hour and enjoyed by all.

A short video of the Curlew Sandpiper can be found here

The St George's day parade reminded us of Hilbre Sundays of days gone by with hundreds of people enjoying the sunshine and the islands.

(DCT, PT and NDW (from over), SRW briefly)

25th April 2015

Weather:  SW 3-4, 8/8 cloud, rain at times

The only species of moth in the overnight trap was Dark Swordgrass (see below).

A few Willow Warblers dropped in during the morning and a female Whinchat was only our second of the year so far.

Frustratingly a male Black Redstart was seen briefly on top of the bird hide above Niffy Bay but after it dropped into the bay it could not be relocated despite searching.

However, during one of the searches for the elusive Black Red a Common Sandpiper was found down the sheltered East side before moving to the gutter with Ringed Plovers and Dunlin.

A few Greenland Wheatears dropped in and a single female was caught and ringed.  A singing Skylark was again present and this raised premature hopes of this species returning to breed on the island.

Little Egrets seemed to be enjoying the wind and rain more than observers!

A few hours difference in the day with rainstorms passing over from North Wales in the middle of the day...

...but by the evening the sunset was stunning over Hilbre Islands LNR.

(DCT, PT and NDW (from over), JE + JP, AEH, CJ and SRW) Photos AEH and SEW

Friday, 24 April 2015

24th April 2015

Weather: SE, light air, mist around the coasts

What could to be the last of the warm southerly days for the time being promised much, and delivered in part but without any great numbers of migrants. It was obvious immediately that there would be no large fall of warblers in the paddocks although encouragement came from overhead Yellow Wagtail and Tree Pipit, a few Redpolls calling and a flock of 4 Collared Doves. Wheatears were on the ground right from the onset but only the odd Willow Warbler. A Sedge Warbler, the first this year, was found in the main pond which later arrived in the garden mist net and amazingly was discovered to be sporting a ring from San Sebastian in Spain, details are eagerly awaited.

A stunning male Whinchat stayed around the island all morning, which was also a first of the year, as usual obliging the photographers by perching in prominent places, but frustrating the ringers by the same habits. A male Blackcap appeared in the obs garden and was ringed, one of several so far this spring. Other migrants included 10 Goldfinches, 2 Siskins, 25 Swallows, 12 House Martins and 7 Sand Martins, (many of the hirundines moving before a front arriving from the south west). A Skylark was singing over the island several times, it is probably too much to hope it may stay to breed. Waders today included 120 Dunlin, 40 Ringed Plover, and 4 Whimbrel.

Late afternoon the first Whitethroat of the year flew past observers into the SK heligoland trap and was caught and ringed rounding off another great day on the island.

Ringed: 6 Willow Warblers, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Blackcap, 1 Greenland Wheatear, 1 Redpoll, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Linnet. [ 267-31 ]

(CJ, SRW, later DCT, PT, NDW) photos  CJ and SRW

Thursday, 23 April 2015

23rd April 2015

Weather:  SSE 0-1, 0/8 cloud, slight mist

A promising looking morning weather-wise did not really produce the grounded migrants hoped for but vis-mig started well with a couple of Flava Wagtails heard passing over, a few hirundines passing through, Whimbrels could be heard calling and a Collared Dove flew south.

An unusual wader call was heard and identified as a Little Ringed Plover, a scarce but increasing species at Hilbre.  The 'LRP' was then spotted as it flew up the East Side and around the island and then circled observers before being joined by a second bird and both LRPs flew off south-west calling as they went.  A lovely start to the day.

Three Canada Geese flew over the South End and several Greenland Wheatears appeared along the West Side but apart from a single Willow Warbler very little else was noted until another Grasshopper Warbler appeared in the bottom shelf of the Old Obs mist net.

Ringed Plovers and Dunlin increased over the tide as Oystercatcher and Turnstone numbers have tailed off.

Ringing:  2 Linnets, Willow Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Wren

(AEH, CJ and SRW) [255-29]

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

22nd April 2015

Weather: SE force 1/2, later ESE 2

The morning started with a small fall of Willow Warblers (including a pale grey looking bird - see below) but surprisingly little else, no visible migration and no other species grounded, but over the next few hours it became apparent that birds were arriving unseen.

A male Blackcap was ringed and another seen at the south end where it had just arrived on the sandstone on the South West corner of the island.

A Grasshopper Warbler was glimpsed in the tea bush by the Old Obs and was later also caught in the Heli before it became clear that another was also present.

The most unusual sighting of the day was of 3 Magpies flying together south over the island, one is a scarce bird here but 3 together is rare indeed. A Sparrowhawk was mobbed by Crows over the east hoyle sands and resorted to circling to try and avoid attention.

The first Common Sandpiper of the year was at the north end in the early afternoon firstly on the slipway before moving to the Whaleback; typical habitat and timing for this Spring migrant at Hilbre.

A few Goldfinches and a Chaffinch were logged and several White Wagtails and a Grey passed through and hirundines continued to arrive in this fine weather; 50 Swallows, 12 Sand Martins and 9 House Martins. On the sea were 15 Sandwich Terns and 25 Common Terns which are now building up in numbers for the summer, and 3 Whimbrel again today on the shore, also 32 Ringed Plover.

On the butterfly front the sunshine brought out 8 Peacocks, 1 Green-veined White and 2 Small Tortoiseshells.

Ringed: 20 Willow Warblers, 4 Linnets, 2 Robins, 1 Meadow Pipit, 1 Wren, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Blackcap, 1 Grasshopper Warbler,       [ 249-29 ]

(AEH,CJ,NDW et al)

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

21st April 2015

Weather: NW force 3, haze
With the breeze being from a northerly direction overnight, little in the way of migrants was expected, and a short visit in the morning proved the case. Most surprising was a Common Snipe at the south end of the island, very unusual at this time of year. A small amount of Swallows went through, also a single Greenland Wheatear. Later in the afternoon a female Blackcap was found. The best of the other records today was a male Red-breasted Merganser and 3 Whimbrel. Six Peacock butterflies were on the wing, and a Map spider was found.
(AEH,CJW, later DB)

Monday, 20 April 2015

20th April 2015

Weather; SE force 2
Several Wheatears were noted passing down through the island ridge just after dawn but none were on the main island till some time later when 2 appeared on 'Wheatear hill'. Willow Warblers were just a trickle and finished early in the morning. Overhead a few White Wagtails called as did a single Redpoll and Yellow Wagtail, and that was about it for small migrants apart from about  8 Goldfinches flitting about. Hirundines comprised 25 Swallows, 5 House Martins and 4 Sand Martins (the first Swift cannot be very far away now). There are up to 4 Whimbrel now on the shore, and other odd visitors today included 3 Starlings that flew in low over the island, a Woodpigeon on Middle and a Rook that flew east. The pair of Rock Pipits are still present on the west side, and indeed singing. Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock butterflies showed in the sunshine.

Ringed: 5 Willow Warblers, 1 Robin, 1 Linnet, 1 Goldfinch                  [ 218-29 ]
 (ME,CJ, et al ) +
Tim Kinch                            photos  TimKinch