Tuesday, 6 October 2015

6th October 2015

Weather: SE force 2, sunshine after showers overnight

Another unseasonably warm day with few birds but with Red Admiral butterflies and Silver Y moths flying in the sunshine. Three Goldcrests were heard around the paddocks and gardens but little else on the ground. Heard and seen going over the island were 2 Skylarks and a Grey Wagtail, while the best of the waders were 5 Bar-tailed Godwits and a Grey Plover. A flock of 27 Canada Geese flew south down the West Kirby shore. We hope for more exciting records in the days to come.

(DB,CJ,CJW, et al)

Monday, 5 October 2015

5th October 2015

Weather: SE force 4/5  rain early
Efforts were made to check the island in the miserable conditions this morning and as expected very little was about in the way of bird life.A single Goldcrest was heard and a Chiffchaff was seen going south along the rocks between the islands, other singles included a Pied Wagtail, a male Blackbird, and a Rock Pipit. Even the flock of Linnets was missing in the rain. Two Razorbills flew low over the sea, while on the shore were 100 Dunlin, 25 Redshanks and 3 Little Egrets. The happiest creatures today were the 2 large frogs seen which were enjoying the first rain for some time (below,CJ)
Ringed: 1 Wren                            [ 517-39 ]
(BSB,CJ,CJW et al)

Sunday, 4 October 2015

4th October 2015

Weather: W 0-1 early on, backing S then SSE by 9am, some mist early giving way to wall to wall sunshine

11 Pale-bellied Brents were present early morning on 'the Whaleback' before relocating to the shore SW of the main island and included a family party including two juveniles.

A few Goldcrests were grounded on the island first thing but only 3 or 4 remained in the blackthorn by mid morning.  The Linnet flocks that have been present around all three islands recently numbered at least 150 today and once again attracted small numbers of other finches including Goldfinches and a couple of Greenfinches.

Golden Plovers (2) were heard as one observer left the mainland and a single bird landed on the beach calling in the mist; with three being seen at Red Rocks LNR (MGT).  Earlier 100 Black-tailed Godwits were seen leaving the estuary and heading towards Gilroy LNR.

Mid morning the first of two Chiffchaffs arrived (both were caught and ringed) and a couple of Reed Buntings were noted as were a few Skylarks and small numbers of Meadow Pipits passed over. 

A single Raven was heard and then found flying high over the Obs heading east.

However, the highlight of the day was the third Great Spotted Woodpecker of the autumn which found its way into the catching box of 'the Newton' Heligoland trap; this is the first ever to be caught and ringed at Hilbre.

Ringing: 2 Chiffchaff, Great Spotted Woodpecker

(DB+ESCA, SRW) [516-39]

Saturday, 3 October 2015

3rd October 2015

Weather: SE force 1,  thick fog
Observers were present from early today even in the fog that enveloped the estuary with visibility down to 50 yards (not recommended to the casual visitor). After a week of Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs there were none at all today, at least not on the main island, but with just 2 Goldcrests calling on Middle, possibly leftovers from yesterday. The best that could be said for this morning is that there were some Meadow Pipits passing and more than usual amount of Robins and a few Pied Wagtails over. A single Brent flew passed the north end and apart from a Little Egret little could be seen on the shore in the foggy conditions. Middle Eye held a flock of about 40 Linnets and later a Chaffinch was noticed associating with them (below,CJ)
Later two small parties of Pintail (4 and 6) flew SW as the tide flooded and five Pale-bellied Brent Geese appeared.

After a really good ringing week today was of course disappointing.
Ringed: 1 Robin            [ 513-38 ]     


Friday, 2 October 2015

2nd October 2015

Weather: SE force 1/2 very misty around the coast

 For the observers it's been a week of Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs, yesterday the Chiffchaffs were in the majority, today Goldcrests (below, SRW) easily had the edge with at least 25 present compared with 9 Chiffchaffs while Meadow Pipits were fewer than yesterday but still a noticeable small passage took place of about 80 mostly in groups of single figures.

'Vis mig' was good all day with four Reed Buntings alighting in the old obs trees, before one found itself in the mist net to be ringed (left,CJ)

Other birds passing over included 2 Grey Wagtails, and 32 alba Wagtails, a couple of  Redpolls, 2 Greenfinches, at least 23 Goldfinch (including a flock of 19 that spent the afternoon in company with the local Linnets around the main island - see below, SRW), 4 Siskin, a couple of single Starlings and a Skylark.
Highlight of the day took place in the afternoon when a Richard's Pipit was briefly heard near the centre of the island down the West Side at c1pm but could not be located and was thought to be 'one that got away'. Fortunately at c1.40pm it flew passed the obs gate along 'Gropper ridge' and landed briefly at the South End, unfortunately it then flew off calling East towards West Kirby/Red Rocks salt marsh. The last Hilbre record was on 15th Oct 2011 (see our blog for that dateand that bird acted in a very similar manner to today's bird.
A Merlin (below,SRW) flew down the west side earlier in the day but also did not stay on the island a flock of about 100 Wigeon flew south down the Dee and a single Teal was on the edge of the East Hoyle tide before drifting up the gutter as the tide flooded.
A Woodpigeon landed on the 'air raid shelter' (below,CJ) and was obviously very exhausted and remained there for some time, how far could it have travelled? It later moved to the Obs roof before heading off late afternoon.

With the sun out, and despite there being  lots of ornithological interest, insects were not forgotten with at least a dozen Red Admiral butterflies being the highlight (see below) as well as Small Tortoishell and Green-veined White and a Devil's Coach Horse beetle.
An even better ringing day than yesterday.
Ringed: 17 Goldcrests, 5 Chiffchaffs, 1 Wren, 1 Robin, 1 Reed Bunting, 1 Dunnock    [ 512-38 ]

Thursday, 1 October 2015

1st October 2015

Weather: SE force 1 , later S 1/2      misty around the coast

It has been remarked upon recently that there has been very little Meadow Pipit passage this autumn and sure enough the start of the new month today was back to form with over 300 counted and probably many more passing south across the shore unseen. A female Blackcap was in overnight with a couple of Chiffchaffs, the odd Goldcrest and a Song Thrush while during the morning several more Chiffchaffs arrived. Passing through were 2 Grey and 1 Pied Wagtail, 2 Skylarks, a Goldfinch and a Starling. Four Pintail flew south off the east side, but just a single Pale-bellied Brent showed itself off the west side tide edge. Just before noon the event of the day occurred when a flock of Long-tailed Tits arrived at the Newton heligoland, 4 were ringed and the 3 others that weren't joined them in the air after the ringed ones were released. Any kind of Tit is a scarce bird at Hilbre and Long-tailed Tit is less than an annual visitor. There have been no Wheatears at Hilbre this week until one was found on the shore west of Middle on the flood tide today (below,CJ).
 It was quite a successful ringing day considering the time of year.

 Ringed: 6 Chiffchaffs, 4 Long-tailed Tits, 2 Goldcrests, 1 Swallow, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Song Thrush. [ 486-37 ] 
(DB,AEH,CJ,AW+1,et al)

Meanwhile just to our East a probable Pallid Harrier was photographed over Hoylake heading South West and therefore sadly 'cut the corner' and missed the island (JET - @turnershbo) 

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

30th September 2015

Weather: Light air, then SE force 2, soon backing to the east.  Misty around the coasts
Part of the group of eleven Teal  (CJ)
The small migrants followed a similar pattern to yesterday with only 2 Goldcrests on the island early, again a number of Wrens continuing to find Hilbre to their liking, and with a few Chiffchaffs dropping in later in the morning. Six Pied and a Grey Wagtail were other visitors as was a single House Martin. The first Chaffinches (2) and Greenfinch of the autumn moved through rapidly and 5 Skylarks emphasised the late autumn feel, as did the 11 Teal off the east side on the flood tide. Between the islands a pair of Peregrines hunted a Wood Pigeon which seemed to disappear but must have gone to ground as shortly afterwards it flew the length of the island. Later a Merlin flew down the west side scattering the Turnstones, meanwhile the male Kestrel continued to do its thing unfazed by the other raptors.
There was no sign of any Wheatears on the island today but a single bird was on rocks at West Kirby Marine Lake as observers retreated to the mainland before the tide.

Meadow Pipit passage (see below) has been poor so far this autumn over the islands so it was nice to catch a new bird today in the potter traps which have been more used to Rock Pipits recently! In the late morning several dozen Meadow Pipits were seen crossing the sands of the east hoyle towards the shore, also a Lapwing which is a scarce bird in the Hilbre area.

Ringed: 3 Wrens, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Linnets, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Meadow Pipit   [ 471-35 ]
(DB,JE,CJ,CJW,PSW, et al)