Wednesday, 23 April 2014

23rd April 2014

Weather :- SE force 3, very slight mist 
Another good migration day, and once again this morning the first bird caught was a Redstart (right, [SRW]), it was followed shortly afterwards by a male Whitethroat and another Redstart. The Willow Warblers did not start to drop in until about 07.00hrs and promptly stopped doing so at about 08.00hrs, although there were a couple of other smaller pulses later in the morning which brought the total to at least 30. Yet another Redstart (it's been a good early spring for this species) and a Blackcap were seen, also a flyover Tree Pipit and 5 Yellow Wagtails, 3 of which came to ground briefly on the west side. There was good sucess with the potters with 4 Greenland Wheatears caught and another in the newton trap. Corvids over included 2 Rooks and 3 Jackdaws, while hirundines were down in numbers today with 17 Swallows and 3 each of House and Sand Martins. There were no Redpolls today and only 5 Goldfinches were registered, also 2 White and 2 Pied Wagtails. First of the year records were 15 Common Terns and 2 Little Terns out distantly at the west hoyle, while Sandwich Terns are now building up with 150 noted today, also Gannets with 25 on the sea. Best waders were 4 Whimbrel, 16 Bar-tailed Godwits and 30 summer plumage Sanderlings. Late morning a House Sparrow was calling around the paddocks and the final surprise was a Grasshopper Warbler that starting singing at noon, presumably just arrived as the area had been assiduously covered many times during the morning. A Speckled wood butterfly was liberated from the Newton trapping box, the first at Hilbre this year.
Ringed:- 26 Willow Warblers, 3 Chiffchaffs, 2 Redstarts, 5 Wheatears, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Linnet.   [ 358-25 ]
(DB,CJ,SRW,TGW+1,GIW,CJW(F)) + Matt Thomas

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

22nd April 2014

Weather:  ENE 3-4, dropping to 0-1 and shifting to ESE, mist first thing turning to occasional light drizzle, 3 miles vis

The day began with little hope for grounded migrants with a cold easterly with a definite northerly touch.  However, the first round produced another female Redstart and things were looking up.  The next round produced a male Redstart and a Gropper - both in the 'Heli'; only three birds caught but all quality.

Hirundines were much in evidence with groups of Swallows, House and Sand Martins chasing through for much of the morning and then in dribs and drabs throughout the day.  Final counts being 450 Swallow, 85 House and 59 Sand Martins.

The only other visible migration was a couple of Flava and White Wagtails and a few finches.

A Fulmar prospected first Middle then the main island a couple of times during the morning.  Light drizzle starting producing a few phylloscs (mainly Willows with a couple of Chiffchaffs) after 8am; a couple of hours after the first round.  A female Blackcap appeared by the toilet blocks.

Mid morning produced a third Redstart of the morning and the first Whitethroat of the year was caught and ringed.

Another Grasshopper Warbler began singing from the lower trapping paddock and was subsequently caught.

Later in the day a second unringed male Whitethroat was found in the trapping area.

Passage waders were in evidence with Whimbrel leading the way with 6 birds noted.  Meanwhile the sea was reasonably good with Gannets and Sandwich Terns well presented and on th evening tide a pair of Eider spent some time around Middle Eye.

(SRW, TGW+2 (from over), DB, CJ, CJW(f), GIW) [318-25] Photos SRW

Monday, 21 April 2014

21st April 2014

Weather: ESE 0-1, 7/8 cloud, mist, 3 miles visibilty 

With the wind dropping overnight, turning east south east and with early morning mist burning off during the day, today was a great day on the island.  It started early with the arrival of a Redstart and a few Willows not long after dawn.

However, it was apparent that a moderate fall was occurring with Willow Warblers singing from most available bushes.  At least 65 were recorded with 39 caught and ringed.  

Overhead passage was limited but it was quality and felt a bit like early May of old with 7 Yellow Wagtails, 3 Tree Pipits and amongst a small passage of Swallows (105), 3 House Martins passed over at high tide.

Around 950am one observer leaving the island (DB) had the bird of the day which was heard and seen flying high west over the island being mobbed by Crows - a Chough (the first record at Hilbre since March 1980 and only the fourth ever record). Unfortunately for those present it could not be found from the island.

A small consolation for those who missed the Chough was the first Sedge Warbler heard singing in the lower trapping area around noon; it was subsequently found in the SK trap.

Dunlin (1,500) and Ringed Plover (85) were much in evidence as the tide flooded and Whimbrel moved about the islands during the day with at least 5 seen/heard.  Good numbers (156) Sandwich Terns were counted but little attention was given to the sea until ebb tide with the odd new Willow Warbler still being caught in the afternoon.

Off island a stunning drake Velvet Scoter was found off Meols and was still present this evening on the sand off Dove Point (see for details and superb photos).

Ringing: Willow Warbler 39, Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler, G Wheatear 2, Redstart, Goldfinch 2, Linnet 2, Meadow Pipit 

(CJW(f), GIW, SRW & TGW (from over), DB, FES, TJS, CLW) [292-24]

Sunday, 20 April 2014

20th April 2014

Weather:  ENE 5, some mist

The day start slowly with a brisk cold ENE breeze not filling observers with confidence for a good day. However, that changed at about 8am when a female Redstart was caught and ringed (see below) and 5 Wheatears arrived on the island, two of which were caught in Potter traps and found to be Greenland birds (as suspected - below young male & female respectively).

A couple of Willow Warblers and a Chiffchaff were present but there was very little in the way of visible migration.

The Rabbit was still present on the islands.

Ringing: Redstart, Greenland Wheatear 2, Willow Warbler

(DB & ESCA (from over), SRW briefly) [243-23]

Saturday, 19 April 2014

19th April 2014

Weather:- SE force 3, sunny, cool wind
Dawn following a clear night (SRW)
Osprey (picture from 16th April)
Just after 06.30hrs information was received from a member (JET) at Red Rocks marsh that a Marsh harrier had lifted off and was heading north. It was duly scoped and its progress followed from the island, becoming the second Marsh harrier of the spring. Amazingly at 08.30hrs an Osprey was seen soaring over the west hoyle bank with gulls and waders giving it plenty of attention. It drifted north and gained height and was lost to view before its final direction could be ascertained. This was no less than the 4th of the spring and still time for more yet. 
Rook (CJ)

A Raven croaked from the west side of the island and later a Rook made a close inspection before departing west. Rooks are quite rare at Hilbre, certainly more so than Ospreys this year ! 
Small bird passage may be described as moderate today, with a fair number of Redpolls (35), Goldfinches (16), and White Wagtails (15) and warblers numbered 8 Willow Warblers and a Chiffchaff. Four Wheatears were around quite early but again did not linger. Hirundines comprised 9 Swallows and a Sand Martin, while House Martins are still scarce with none today. Flocks of 100 and 130 Knot flew north, while 2 Little Egrets and a Whimbrel were noted. very little on the sea, just a single Gannet noted and no Sandwich Terns.
Ringed:- 6 Willow Warblers, 4 Lesser Redpolls,1 Chiffchaff, 1 Meadow Pipit, 1 Linnet.  [ 239-23 ]
(DB,CJ,SRW,TGW, later KMc+2)

Friday, 18 April 2014

18th April 2014

Weather:- ENE force 2, haze
A flock of 470 Black-tailed Godwits were seen to exit the estuary towards the north east, while 2 Whimbrel, 2 Little Egrets, a single Bar-tailed Godwit were on the shore and a dark-bellied Brent showed at the north end. Despite the calm conditions 10 Sandwich Terns, 16 Red-breasted Mergansers and 37 Great Crested Grebes were noted on the sea. Passerine passage was light with single Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler, a female Blackcap, and 12 Pied and a White Wagtail. Fourteen Sand Martins and 11 Swallows passed through during the day. A single Goldfinch was the only finch apart from the resident Linnets. The rabbit became creature of the day for one member who had not yet connected with him/her despite many visits to the island. In the evening star gazing in the dark Hilbre night sky unpolluted by lights became the thing to do and the sightings of the international space station and the just launched supply rocket were the highlights (right).

Thursday, 17 April 2014

17th April 2014

Weather:- SW force 2, later in the morning WNW force 6, slight mist
Migration was naturally diminished today with no east in the wind but still 8 Willow Warblers and 2 Chiffchaffs drifted through by the end of the day, and 5 Wheatears dropped in suddenly mid-morning when the wind increased and veered west but they soon passed onward. The only Redpoll recorded was the one that was trapped and there were singles only of Swallow and Sand Martin, and just 3 White Wagtails.
Ringed:- 7 Willow Warblers, 2 Chiffchaffs, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Linnet          [ 226-23 ]
(DB,CJ, et al)