Monday, 22 September 2014

22nd September 2014

Weather:- S force 1, veering north west force 2 before midday
The balmy September weather continues and Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests still arrive on most days, even in fairly small numbers and today was no exception with at least 14 Goldcrests and 8 Chiffchaffs feeding in the gardens, bracken and Blackthorn areas. The were no Swallows or Wheatears today and just a single Skylark. News headline of the day was the sighting of the first 4 Brent Geese of the autumn/winter to arrive as the tide flooded near the reef south of Middle, it remains to be seen if they will stay or pass on elsewhere before others arrive in the next few weeks. Other geese/duck/ wader sightings were 200 Black-tailed Godwits flying passed Little Eye and over Grange Hill, 2 Pintail flying south and 6 Canada Geese going north, 40 Sanderling travelling north east, also 400 Redshank and 450 Shelducks by Tanskey rocks. A Rock Pipit was again between the islands.
Ringed:- 5 Chiffchaffs, 4 Goldcrests, 2 Robins, 1 Linnet    [ 883-36 ]

21st September 2014

Weather:   Wind NNE. Force ½


Another small fall of birds occurred overnight with crests, Robins and Chiffchaffs being present at first light. As morning progressed an unidentified ‘beaky’ looking passerine was seen skulking in the Obs garden and then later in the bracken at the south end.

Eventually it showed itself well enough and was identified as a juvenile Spotted Flycatcher. It then moved north to the garden of Telegraph House where it spent the remainder of the day before finally departing after the tide had dropped.

The male Kestrel controlled on Hilbre recently continued its stay on the island and was observed frequently during the day.

Visible migration was far more prominent today with small parties of Skylarks and Swallows passing over but the highlight was the first Pinkfeet of the autumn with a skein of 90 birds heading west over the island.

Wader numbers are increasing with good numbers of Turnstone , Redshank, Ringed Plover and Dunlin choosing to roost on the island along with two Sanderling. A leucistic Oystercatcher was picked out on the sand between Hilbre and Red Rocks but there are no Brent Geese or Purple Sandpipers yet.

Ringed: 4 Robins, 4 Goldcrest, 5 Goldcrest.

(DB&ESCA, PSW) [871-36]

20th September 2014

Weather:  ind NNW Force 1/2

An early tide meant getting to Hilbre whilst it was still dark and it was obvious immediately that there had been a small fall of migrants with crests and phylosc’s calling in the dark.

A misty morning meant visibility poor and neither West Kirby or Wales could be seen from the Island. Once the sun rose and the mist cleared most of the birds departed. Visible migration included a Skylark that briefly settled on the track leading to the look-out.

Four Greenland Wheatears spent the duration of the tide along the west side but resolutely refused to enter any of the potter trap.


After the tide the Obs was visited by a group of 40+ from Chester Zoo’s junior section led by Penny Rudd. With so many visitors there wasn’t room in the Obs so the children sat on the lawn whilst given a talk about bird ringing followed by a question and answer session that threw up some surprising questions such as ‘what is the shortest migration’.


As has been usual during this warm spell Red Admirals were plentiful and a single Small White butterfly was also seen.


Ringed: 3 Goldcrest, 2 Willow Warblers, 3 Robins & 1 Common Whitethroat


(PSW) [858-36]

Friday, 19 September 2014

18th September 2014

Weather:  Wind SE f1-2

A fall of Phylloscs mostly Chiffchaff but also Willow Warblers present continued throughout the morning and was still producing new birds when observers left at 1pm.

A nice surprise was another Stonechat which was caught in the Newton Heligoland, a first year bird like yesterday's.

Two more of the Chiffchaffs caught were large birds with wing measurements 
of 66mm and weights of 8.5g & 8.1g respectively and resembled Willow Warbler in appearance.

Sightings included 3 Little Egret, Gannet, Skylark, 30 Swallow and male Peregrine.

(DB, AEH, AO) [844-36]

Monday, 15 September 2014

15th September 2014

Weather: ESE 0-1, backing NE 2-3 by 7am, 8/8 cloud, 6mi vis, light drizzle at 730am

Fifteen Canada Geese were seen over the shore early morning.

However, it was generally another very quiet start to the day with a single Robin caught and ringed and no grounded migrants on the island prior to 8am.  However, a couple of Goldcrests could then be heard around the main island and a single Chiffchaff was calling in the Obs garden before a Willow Warbler found itself in the Old Obs mistnet mid morning.

A single Snipe flew east over the island before another was seen flying up the reef as the tide flooded.

Two Linnet flocks combined over the main island during the afternoon with a count of 68 made; many utilising the wildlife garden pond for a good bathe as usual, perhaps they will pull something else in...

A single Wheatear appeared below the mast as the tide began to flood and remained on the island for the tide and seven Little Egrets were noted.

Over the tide a single Arctic Skua was seen, something of a rarity so far this autumn.

The moth trap was again used overnight and produced mostly lesser yellow underwings but also a few Feathered Ranunculus (see below).

(DB, GB, KMc+SD, NDW et al) [787-35]

Sunday, 14 September 2014

14th September 2014

Weather:  E 2, 8/8 cloud, 5 miles vis, mist around estuary

Despite the favourable winds there were few migrants around with only a couple of Goldcrests on the island at first light. Just before high tide however a Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler dropped in and the Chiffchaff was caught in the Old Obs mistnet.

Good numbers of waders roosted around the island with the Turnstones preferring the ledges on the west side cliffs out of the easterly wind. They were joined by a few Dunlin and Ringed Plover whilst the main wader roost on Middle Eye held the usual of Oystercatchers but included Knot and two Whimbrel.  However, two Snipe were a nice record.

Invertebrates included a female Southern hawker Dragonfly caught in the SK Heligoland and released, after giving the ringer a nip, and four Red Admiral butterflies.

Linnets numbered 52 birds which is noteworthy in recent times.

Ringed Plover - on West Side (PSW)
Dunlin - West Side out of the easterly wind (PSW)
Whimbrel (centre with Redshanks and Oystercatchers) - one of two seen today (PSW)
Oystercatchers (PSW)
Ringing: Chifchaff, Linnet

(DB&ESCA, PSW later) [785-35]

Saturday, 13 September 2014

13th September 2014

Weather: SE 3, 8/8 cloud, poor vis (5miles), slight mist around estuary

A late night bat detection session last night revealed over 20 passes of Pipistrelle Bats - what better way to spend a Friday evening?

Despite the pessimism of some this morning - it was a nice morning again on the island with an early trap round producing a Goldcrest and the first of four Reed Buntings made its presence known by its persistent calling from the blackthorn in the lower trapping areas.

Overhead migration remained a little thin but once again Grey Wagtails were well represented with 12 counted during the morning, a few Swallows passed over a nice flock of 12 House Martins.

5 Wigeon flew around the North End early on and 7 Teal flew in and landed on the edge of the East Hoyle sandbank for a short while.

Grey Wagtail - it has been a good few days for this species passing over the island and today saw several bird grounded briefly (SRW)
 The predicted later arrival of phylloscs  (a feature of the last few days) started at about 840am when 2 Chiffchaffs and a Willow Warbler had found their way into the Old Obs mist net.

With several more Chiffchaffs caught and ringed during the morning, a couple of new Meadow Pipits and a control Robin which was in the Obs garden (we look forward to finding out where this bird was ringed).

Robin - an adult ('4') control ringed elsewhere (JE)

A Raven appeared from over Middle Eye and flew in towards Hilbre before doubling back to Middle where it was joined by a second bird.

Raven - joined a second bird over Middle (SRW)

Pimpla rufipes - an ichneumonid that parasitises Lepidoptera pupae was found on the Obs window during the morning (SRW)

(JE+HVJ, ME+HE, SRW, TGW) [783-35]