Monday, 28 July 2014

27th July 2014

Weather: NW 4-5, 6/8 cloud, excellent vis, rain overnight

The rain passed through early on and left a pleasant sunny but blustery day, a slight contrast to the previous week.

The weather brought little in the way of grounded migrants but wader passage was evident with 12 Turnstone appearing (none being colour ringed several were obviously fresh in with their spanking summer plumage dress).  A single Bar-tailed Godwit fed along the shore, small flocks of Dunlin totalling 150 were pushed up as the tide flooded, a couple of groups of Knot flew through and a couple of Whimbrel were calling around the islands over the tide.

Turnstones - on the flooding tide between the islands (SRW)

Again tern numbers were impressive with adult Sandwich Terns feeding youngsters on the East Hoyle sand bank as the tide flooded totalling 350, 52 Little Terns were counted before the tide but only 35 Common Terns were noted.

Butterflies included a Meadow Brown and numerous Green-veined Whites.
Meadow Brown - Heli Paddock, Hilbre (SRW)
Green-veined White - by the 'Air Raid Shelter', Hilbre (SRW)
(SRW et al et al (from over)) 

Saturday, 26 July 2014

26th July 2014

Weather: SE 2-3, 4/8 cloud, slight mist, poor vis, warm and humid

Classic weather for a small drift of migrants did not disappoint with a small drift of 7 early Willow Warblers and a single Sedge Warbler that was caught and ringed in the Obs garden.

Other birds caught included a young Meadow Pipit, Dunnock and Linnet as well as a new Robin (this year's bird).

One of our colour-ringed Turnstones (Green over Yellow) that was ringed in 2007/08 was seen at the North End with other Turnstones today, the first sighting of this bird back from its breeding grounds already.  This bird (or another from the same period) was seen and photographed on passage in Iceland a few years ago and has been seen returning to Hilbre each year since.

A Yellow Wagtail was seen by one visiting birder and was possibly the bird seen the other day.

The Secretary gave two talks about the Obs to visiting birders on the combined RSPB/Wirral Ranger Service visit and showed the group the Sedge Warbler.

As the tide ebbed the good numbers of Sandwich Terns that had been obvious over the tide (450) were supplemented opposite the Obs by 107 Little Terns - the best count of the summer so far.  The sight and sound of these terns feeding up and down the gutter with adults feeding juveniles and landing on the sand banks is an annual mid-late summer occurrence at Hilbre.

Butterflies were again much in evidence around the main island today including this showy Peacock.

Meanwhile the Rock Sea Lavender looks fantastic down the West Side of the main island at the moment.

(SRW, CLW, TGW, CJW (f), GIW, FPW (from over)+3 later, ESCA, DB +3 later) [604-33] photos by SRW

Thursday, 24 July 2014

24th July 2014

Weather: ESE 2-3, 0/8 cloud, mod vid but hazy

Despite the date and the blazing weather mid summer can still produce fantastic rewards on the island and today was one of those days.

A colour ringed Sanderling was noted amongst a small flock of 7 birds and preliminary enquiries revealed it may have been ringed as an adult on Orkney in 2012.  We look forward to full details in due course.

The birding was outshone by the insects today that saw at least 4 Emperor Dragonflies, 12 Migrant Hawker and a Common Darter (as well as an emergence around the island many teneral stage).  However, a stunning influx of butterflies occurred with 'vis mig' counts that included Small White (60), Green-veined White (80), Small Tortoiseshell (25), Peacock (27), Red Admiral (10), Meadow Brown (12), Grayling (5), Common Blue (5), a Painted Lady and a Small Skipper.

The star of the show however was a stunning female Dark Green Fritillary which was found near the Old Obs garden and is the first record for the island.  The photo below is from Freshfield NR by BSB.

Dark Green Fritillary - Freshfields NR (BSB)


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

23rd July 2014

Weather;- ESE force 2, dry with hot sunshine (28 degrees in the estuary in the afternoon !)

A most unusual record for July occurred when a Yellow Wagtail (right) was feeding on the rocks at the north end with 3 Pied Wagtails early morning. The Pied Wagtails were undoubtedly the birds that have been here some time and probably bred on the island, while the Yellow Wagtail seemed to have attached itself to them for a short while this morning, it could not be found later. The first Willow Warbler to be ringed this autumn (left) arrived before midday (although another had been seen on the island 3 weeks ago), also moving through at this time were about 60 Swallows in a loose party and the first 9 Ringed Plovers of the autumn were on the shore, while the Turnstones are now up to fourteen. Seventy Little Terns fed with about 700 of the larger species, mostly Sandwich Terns which are now forming a regular roost on the east hoyle. A juvenile Wren was ringed, quite a surprise as no Wrens have been seen or heard this summer and it was assumed none had bred. As expected in this fine weather insects were thriving and 3 Emperor, a Migrant Hawker and a Southern Hawker were about, one of the Emperors caught itself in the SK heligoland trap, others were patrolling the main pond. Butterflies of 9 species were seen including 5 Graylings by the mast, a single Painted Lady and about 20 Red Admirals arriving in off the sea.
Migrant Hawker


Ringed:- 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Wren.    [ 596-33 ]
(DB,CJ, PGR+3)     photos CJ

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

22nd July 2014

Weather:- SW force 1 , then NNE force 2, sunny and hot
A Whitethroat was still around the obs garden, presumably the bird ringed here about 10 days ago. A female or immature Eider was off the island, also a female Scoter. Little Egrets numbered an impressive 12, and Whimbrel 10, and a good find were 7 Black-tailed Godwits, a typical date for these waders to appear on the east hoyle at Hilbre. Oystercatchers are now building up in numbers and amongst them was a leucistic individual on the reefs south of Middle. Counts were made of 35 Little Terns and 530 of larger species. Turnstones now number 11 back from their the breeding grounds.Three juvenile Dunnocks seen in the garden confirmed that they had bred on the island.

Monday, 21 July 2014

21st July 2014

Weather;- NW force 4/5
A brief early morning visit produced a Gannet, a Whimbrel, 340 Sandwich Tern and 9 Little Tern.
(DB et al)

Sunday, 20 July 2014

20th July 2014

Weather:- NW force 2/3
Counts today of increasing numbers of Whimbrel (10) , Curlew (366). Both male and female Common Scoter stayed close to the island. A female Kestrel was present.
The moth trap was deployed last night with excellent results, especially the 50 Garden tigers caught, although this would be no surprise to those that experienced the huge number of Garden Tiger caterpillars about the island in the spring. See species (right)
(DB et al)