Sunday, 31 January 2010
The last visit of the month on a very high tide produced a good total 18 of Red-throated Divers on the sea but not a lot else.
Seven Purple Sandpipiers roosted the high tide in Niffy bay with 100 Turnstones (right), while on Middle where the tide covered so much that the island seemed much smaller, there were 800 Herring Gulls, 4,000 Oystercatchers and many Curlews. About 140 Brents arrived at high water and sat on the sea.
Distractions from the birds were the lifeboat off Hoylake (above) and the airbus wings on the way to Mostyn dock (right).
(JE) photos JE
Thursday, 28 January 2010
Brents were estimated at 150 and 9 Purple Sandpipers were counted, while 4 Blackbirds and 3 Song Thrushes were the main land birds.
Sunday, 24 January 2010
Saturday, 23 January 2010
Friday, 22 January 2010
Four duck species were present: two groups of 4 Teal, 2 and 8 Wigeon, also a single male Pintail and female or immature Goldeneye. Two Lapwings were typical winter wanderers.
(DB,CJW et al)
Thursday, 21 January 2010
Sunday, 17 January 2010
Saturday, 16 January 2010
The Brents were much in evidence today but several medium sized flocks well dispersed made counting difficult (see right), however, a single first winter dark-bellied was found with at least 120 pale-bellied birds. Wildfowl was very much the order of the day with Wigeon (12), Pintail (12), Red-breasted Merganser (9), Common Scoter (100) and a superb count of 39 Scaup - mostly seen on the sea-watch.
Two sea-watches (before and after the tide) produced some excellent counts but nothing out of the 'ordinary'. 62 Red-throated Divers and c40 Great Crested Grebes were good counts at any time of the year and the Scaup was also noteworthy.
Large numbers of birds congregated on the North End of Middle Eye (see below) during high tide and there were several good counts of waders including 5,000 Oystercatchers, 8,000 Knot and 70 Ringed Plover (not all on Middle!)
The Purple Sandpipers were again sheltering out of the wind right outside the sea-watching hide (see below left and right). Please try not to disturb them over high tides by keeping away from the very north west corner, just over high tide.
Passerines were well represented with a single but very vocal Rock Pipit at the North End and thrushes were still very much in evidence, as was their prey with many hundreds of empty snail shells discovered near to rocks which had obviously been used for smashing! At least 10 Song Thrushes remain, as do 6 Blackbirds and 7 Redwings.
However, the highlight of the day was a passage of Skylarks coming from the West (North Wales) and passing eastwards over the island or low over the sea (see left) in small groups throughout the morning totalling 131.
A single Snipe flew around the island and may be one of the birds that has been present on and around the Old and New Ponds for some time now.
PSW, SRW (Photos by PSW)
Friday, 15 January 2010
Sea-watching was hard work with only 2 Great Crested Grebes and 2 Red-breasted Mergansers, but the rewards came later in the day after the tide with a Slavonian Grebe off the North End and another ring-tail Hen Harrier that came 'in off' the sea from the North West.
Waders were the main focus of the day with 10,000 Knot, 3,000 Dunlin and 250 Grey Plover on (or over) the East Hoyle bank and a solitary Peregrine hunted the islands. 12 Purple Sandpipers spent the high tide at the North End.
On the island thrush numbers had decreased only slightly, although they were keeping low because of the weather, with 6 Redwing, 7 Song Thrush and 5 Blackbird counted. 3 Snipe were around the islands including one by the New Pond and 2 Rock Pipits were mainly at the North End.
Wednesday, 13 January 2010
The Purple Sandpipers (left) gathered together near the life boat house enabling us to establish that there are at least 14 still present.
Tuesday, 12 January 2010
Thrushes continue in good numbers with the addition of 4 Redwings on yesterdays species, and a Snipe was again present. A kestrel and 2 Peregrines were the only raptors of the day.
Counts of shorebirds included :- 3,500 Oystercatchers, 300 Grey Plover, 100 Turnstones and 10 Purple Sandpipers.
Monday, 11 January 2010
Sunday, 10 January 2010
The highlight of the day was 10 more White-fronted Geese that passed right over the Bird Observatory garden and a further 1,200 Pink-footed Geese that were all heading towards the sanctuary of the Lancashire mosslands (and probably Martin Mere WWT Reserve).
However, they weren't the only birds around with winter thrushes still in evidence - 8 Song Thrush, 8 Redwing and 5 Blackbirds seen and other passerines included 2 Rock Pipits. Brent Geese increased back to 140 and wildfowl was represented further by 4 Wigeon, 2 Teal and the female Goldeneye off the North End. Up to thirty of these beautiful little sea-duck are residing at West Kirby Marine Lake at the moment (see below hilbre in the background) along with up to 32 Red-breasted Mergansers, 5 Shags, 12 Cormorant, 2 Scaup (drake and duck), 13 Tufted Duck and even 2 drake Pochard!
Saturday, 9 January 2010
Duck were also much in evidence with 10 Scaup, 3 Teal, 2 Wigeon, 2 Mallard and a female Goldeneye.
The Velvet Scoter from yesterday could still be seen but telescopes were needed today to identify it from a greater distance. (Another photo from yesterday below right).
Lapwings went through in parties of 21 and 23 as well as ones and twos, although Skylarks were fewer with only 4 during the morning, and just a single Starling was noted.
Early in the afternoon a flock of 54 Pink-footed Geese (below) passed north east over the obs closely followed by a larger flock of 170 birds heading out of the estuary in the same direction.
Ringed today :- 3 Redwings, 2 Blackbirds, 1 Song Thrush. A Blackbird (right) was retrapped that had gained 10 grams in weight in just 4 days. this represents about 10% of its body weight and seems to suggest that Hilbre is very desirable feeding habitat for thrushes in this very cold weather.
(JE,CJ,CJW +1,RTW,DGW,NDW,SRW,PSW,+CD) [ 19 ] photos CJ and SRW (Woodcock and Velvet Scoter)
Friday, 8 January 2010
Also around the island were single Snipe again near the main (frozen) pond but cold weather movement overhead continued with 113 Lapwing moving in small flocks throughout the day and 8 Skylark.(Redwing below left and Song Thrush below right).
The Eider was still present around the North End and 3 Goosanders passed right over the Obs garden. Then a single female/imm Velvet Scoter (below) was found a hundred yards or so off the North End; it only stayed briefly but was seen well by everyone before it flew off north.
Not to be outdone geese and swans were well represented by 2 Mute Swans, the Brents and a large flock of c55 Canadas (left) that flew down the east side of the island. However, during the afternoon two flocks of White-fronted Geese totalling 58 birds were observed flying passed the islands - quite a rare bird at Hilbre.
DB, CJW, SRW  Photos SRW
Unsurprisingly cold weather movement continued with 114 Lawping and 20 Skylarks on the move.
Unusually high wader counts included 250 Grey Plover, 5,000 Dunlin and 10,000 Knot.
Raptors were much in evidence with Merlin, Kestrel, 2 Peregrines and (possibly the same reappearing) male Sparrowhawk.
Wednesday, 6 January 2010
Two Scaup and a Tufted Duck were off the west side (right), Scaup are a scarce sight in recent years and Tufted always have been, likewise 5 Common Scoter favoured this side of the island.
The Brent were more compact than yesterday enabling a count of 140, while 520 Grey Plover were in contrast to the single Golden Plover seen today.
Footprints of a Grey Heron in the snow was an unusual sight on top of the island (left).
Ringed today:- 2 Song Thrushes, 1 Redwing (right).
(DB,CJW) [ 8 ] photos CJW