Friday, 12 February 2016

12th February 2016

Weather: Wind NE 2-3, cold with sunny intervals & occasional light rain.
Brent Geese remain in large numbers but were typically dispersed & difficult to count. As one observer left after the tide, numbers between the islands were estimated at 200 with three colour ringed birds noted (White H; Blue S) (Blue D: Red H) (Green/Red/Silver; Yellow T). Common Scoter numbers remain high, although nowhere near yesterday's levels, with an estimated 1000 birds noted, mostly at a distance but with a few birds close in around the island. Eight Whooper Swans were on the sea close to the windfarm, with one of these being later seen flying in off the sea at Hoylake.  Nine Goldeneye were in a single flock on the sea with 3 Wigeon and 4 Red-breasted Mergansers also noted. Two Red-throated Diver, 2 Guillemot and 40 Great Crested Grebe were seen. A Peregrine hunted the wader roost & appeared to have been successful when the freshly eaten remains of a Knot were found on the West side. Three Purple Sandpipers were seen after the tide with 400 Knot on the rocks at the North end early morning. 2 Stock Dove briefly flew around the island and several Skylarks passed through during the day.
A colour-ringed juvenile Cormorant was seen roosting on the whaleback & appears to have been ringed during 2015 at Puffin Island, although exact details are still awaited. The Shag seen around the island in recent days was unfortunately found dead.
 (DB, RE+1, AEH, AS. CS, CJW + 1)

Friday, 5 February 2016

5th February 2016

Weather: SW force 2/3 cloudy mild

The Brent flock were on the west side of the islands on the early ebb tide, and contained our old friend the blue and red ringed bird which was ringed (as an adult male) on its breeding grounds on Axel Heiberg Island in Arctic Canada on 2nd August 2007 and first appeared at Hilbre on 24th December 2008 and has returned to Hilbre each winter since (having been seen in Northern Ireland, Anglesey and Iceland on its travels to/from its breeding grounds).  The map below shows Axel Heiberg Island (author Kennonv on Wikipedia) - amazing to think this bird that winters around our small island in the mouth of the wonderful Dee estuary has probably flown in excess of 100,000km in its lifetime so far! (Information on movements of all our colour-ringed Pale-bellies Brents is from the Irish Brent Goose Research Group).

Also on the ebb were 190 Curlew near Little Eye and moving flocks of 4,000 Knot, 2,500 Dunlin and 19 Shelduck. On the sea were noted 8 Scoters, a Shag and 4 Great Crested Grebes. A Song Thrush, a Rock Pipit and a roaming flock of 17 Linnets were the best of the land birds while shore birds included 3 Little Egrets and a Grey Heron.

(AEH,CJ and SRW)

Saturday, 30 January 2016

30th January 2016

Weather: W force 6/8

During a short visit in poor weather adjustments were made to a trapping area with little opportunity to do any bird watching.


Friday, 29 January 2016

29th January 2016

Weather: WNW force 7/8  gusting winds

A short pre-tide visit found little on the rough sea except a Great Crested Grebe and 82 Common Scoters, a walk through the old obs garden however flushed a Short-eared Owl from underfoot that was obviously sheltering form the westerly wind. It flew south towards Middle Eye and seemed to land between the islands but was not seen again. Two Purple Sandpipers were at the north end; a Song Thrush and a Rock Pipit were noted, and a pair of Teal were in the gutter east of the obs (right, CJ).

(AEH,CJ and SRW)

Thursday, 28 January 2016

28th January 2016

Weather: WSW force 5
A brief visit logged 4 Common Scoter, 60 Grey Plover and 40 Sanderling going west, a Song Thrush and a Little Egret.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

27th January 2016

Weather: Force 8, gusting 9-10 (waves coming over the top of the old lifeboat station at times!) regular squalls but brightening up after the tide.

A tough day weather wise for the single brave observer but 157 Pale-bellied Brent Geese were counted (146 off Middle and 11 on Little Eye around high tide) and 3 Purple Sandpipers were noted.

Seawatching was difficult in the circumstances but records included c220 Common Scoter moving (including two on the water off  the Obs garden for the majority of the day) and a single Greater Scaup (with three Common Scoter).

A single Fulmar was a great winter record for recent years. Other species recorded included Red-throated Diver (2), Kittiwake (5), singles of Gannet and Guillemot.

Highlight of the seawatching was a mixed flock of duck including 21 Pintail, 3 Wigeon and a single Shovelor (always a good record for Hilbre more often recorded in spring or autumn).

It was too windy for counting the waders however a flock of 24 Ringed Plover spent the majority of the high tide on the rocks/grass towards the North End.

(SRR) Photo SRR

Monday, 25 January 2016