Sunday, 26 June 2011
Curlews were in evidence with 68 counted early on then small groups of 3 or 4 were seen throughout the day but other waders were thin on the ground until a Greenshank was heard from the Obs balcony. The resident Shelduck flock has reduced in number to just over twenty birds but a separate flock of 35 were seen heading high north west out of the estuary late morning.
By lunchtime it was a beautiful day weather wise with dark clouds passing over (see above left and right) between bright blue skies (above centre) and rising temperatures (see below) no doubt making it a memorable Regatta for Hoylake Sailing Club's race day and annual visit to the West Hoyle Sandbank (right). By mid afternoon the temperature had risen dramatically, especially with the wind dropping, this produced a brief possible sighting of a Hummingbird Hawk Moth 'whizzing' through the Old Obs garden mid afternoon which was later confirmed in the early evening when one was found in the Obs garden ('Southward') near the Honeysuckle. A fine way to end a lovely June day on Hilbre.
(ESCA, DB, JE, SRW et al) Photos JE (regatta), SRW (others)
Friday, 24 June 2011
Back on Hilbre another school visit, this time Bebington High School, enjoyed a visit to the Obs as part of their day and saw one of two juvenile Dunnocks (second brood) ringed.
(DB, NDW, SRW) [620-39]
Monday, 20 June 2011
Two Common Sandpipers were found (June is a good month for this species at Hilbre), although a touch early for the anticipated first autumn migrants (rather than the last of the spring). Two Sandwich Terns were on the west side of the island.
(JE + Andy Thomas)
Saturday, 18 June 2011
A few terns passed the island as the tide flooded but there were no migrants seen and focus remained on the breeding birds, many of the females of which appear to have gone whilst the males were actively singing again. No doubt some will be having second broods, although the pair of rather late arriving Swallows will only be on their first.
Concerns that it was going to be another 'null day' ringing-wise were allayed when a drake Mallard was caught by hand in the Obs garden (see photos)!
Presumably the same juvenile Kittiwake had changed its preferred roost site to Middle Eye, but sea-watching was also quiet (up until high tide).
[PSW, SRW, TGW] [618-39]
Friday, 17 June 2011
A solitary Little Egret fished the gutter on the rising tide, as did two Black-headed Gulls - something of a scarcity at this time of year, and these were joined by a single Redshank. Later a Whimbrel was heard calling - arriving or returning - that is the question now for these mid-summer waders?
Desperate to cling on to the last bit of "spring" observers had a single House Martin low over the South End and although the threatened rain did not develop beyond a few drops the fronts passing down the estuary brought 8 Swifts 'batting' across the islands.
The sea produced a few Gannets, Common Terns, single Sandwich Tern and a juvenile Kittiwake spent some time roosting on Lion Rock in Niffy Bay.
Friday is clearly the day for photographing rare mammals at Hilbre (see Friday 10th June 2011). Today produced something of a surprise to observers scoping the gulls on the edge of the tide on the East Hoyle sandbank when one observer stated "This looks like a squirrel amongst the gulls!" It was indeed a Grey Squirrel amongst the gulls, who only seemed to take any interest in the little blighter when it dashed about the sand as the tide flooded. It then became disorientated and trapped as the tide flooded behind it (and the gulls) and it made a swim for it (not sure what it would have been identified as had it been seen swimming past the North End!?!). Unfortunately for the squirrel it headed south rather than east back to dry land. After a few attempts he was lost to sight and presumed lost to Davey Jones' Locker... apologies for the very poor (distant) record shots of this rare sighting.
Coverage remains high this June (as with the last few Junes) and this has already brought its rewards with the Blyth's Reed Warbler, Hobby as well as Hummingbird Hawk Moth to name just a few of the diverse highlights from the islands this month.... is it too much to ask for one more goodie before the days start getting shorter...
A Sedge Warbler seen earlier this week (Wednesday 15th June) was another sign that odd birds are still turning up.
(DB et al)
Sunday, 12 June 2011
Breeding birds were again in evidence with the female Mallard making a rare appearance and a rather advanced juvenile Shelduck with adults in the gutter. Four Grey Herons and three Little Egrets were feeding on the edge of the ebbing tide.
A single Swift provided evidence of some migration but this was soon quashed when the forecast rain arrived on queue at 10am and was clearly 'set in' for the day. However, the highlights of the day, other than the earlier skua, were a female Goosander in the east gutter and the immature drake Eider was off the North End over the tide (see left).
(ESCA, DB (from over), JE, CJ, SRW) Photos to follow Lion's Mane jellyfish by JE, Eider by SRW
Saturday, 11 June 2011
Friday, 10 June 2011
A very light south-westerly breeze and sunshine greeted observers making their way out as the tide ebbed first thing this morning. A few nice waders were present on the tide edge including 3 summer plumaged Sanderling, 2 Grey Plover and at least 17 Ringed Plover plus 28 Dunlin (see right).
Two Little Egrets (left) were present on the reef and up to 3 Grey Herons hunted the shallows including a colour-ringed bird (presumably the one that has been seen around the islands for the last three years - its ring now faded - was ringed in Cheshire as a nestling several years ago).
Attention was drawn away from ornithology with a couple of sightings of Rabbit - even providing rare photographic opportunities (top 'in flight' and left nibbling on the Hilbre grass ... it seems that there may now be two of these rare Hilbre mammals. A Four-spotted Chaser dragonfly (below )was present in the paddocks where two juvenile Meadow Pipits were trapped and ringed.
A visit by West Kirby Primary School was lead by the Ranger Service (including a history tour of the island by Matt the Ranger and rock pooling) and the Bird Observatory was able to show them one of the juvenile Meadow Pipits trapped and ringed today.
(DB, SRW et al) [617-39] Photos by SRW
Tuesday, 7 June 2011
Groups of Canada Geese and Greylags (8) were seen and a Swift flew over in front of approaching rain.
Another juvenile Meadow Pipit was ringed.
(DB, CJW et al) [615-39]
Monday, 6 June 2011
Once again focus turned to the breeding birds and a single juvenile Meadow Pipit was caught and ringed. The Swallows were present around the North End and the male Pied Wagtail continued to feed the solitary fledged juvenile in Niffy Bay.
A single Little Egret landed in 'Egret Flash' to feed before the tide but other than that it was very quiet - as one normally expects at this time of year...!
[MGT et al] [614-39]
Sunday, 5 June 2011
Immediately recognised as an 'Acro' in the net, it was extracted and realised that it lacked Reed Warblers usual rusty tones and that its wing projection was particularly short.
Incredible when you consider that the Paddyfield Warbler was trapped on Hilbre on 5th June 2009 (see blog for that date).
Lightning does strike twice!
Saturday, 4 June 2011
Up to 75 Ringed Plovers (right) were around over the high tide period as well as smaller numbers of Dunlin. A male Kestrel hunted over the South End and Middle Eye as evening approached and several Swifts passed over the island heading west to east.
The final sighting of the day was a flock of Canada Geese (25 in total) flew west over the Obs calling (see right). The Hummingbird Hawk Moth made a brief reappearance late afternoon, but with the wind shifting to the east it was having difficulty hovering! However, the change in wind has left observers dreaming of what tomorrow might bring...
Despite the wind direction a single, rather late, Willow Warbler was trapped and ringed mid morning. However, focus was mainly on the breeding birds with a recently fledged juvenile Pied Wagtail being fed by its father in Niffy Bay and several broods of young birds around the islands including at least three broods of Linnets (see juvenile left).
Two broods of recently fledged Blackbirds (confirming our suspicions of two nests) could be seen and three different juveniles were trapped and ringed in the heligoland traps during the day.
Friday, 3 June 2011
Thursday, 2 June 2011
Three Little Egrets appeared after the tide (as usual) and a sea-watch produced 200 Common Scoter, 50 Gannet, 20 Guillemots and a single Arctic Skua.
(DB, AMC + 1)
Wednesday, 1 June 2011
Martins & several Swallows moving through early on. A Spotted Flycatcher was
in the paddocks despite the wind direction and also present were juvenile Blackbird and Meadow Pipit, both recently fledged on the island.
A singing male Blackbird produced hopes of a second brood. An unseasonal Goldcrest gave members the runaround in the Obs garden remaining hidden for long periods before finally giving itself up for viewing and the now regular Wood Pigeon roamed the island. A Wheatear appeared briefly in Middle.
On the shore 2 late Turnstones lingered with several Curlew, 1 Whimbrel and 30
Dunlin. 36 Ringed Plover moved off as the tide came in.
The SW winds picked up as the tide approached prompting a 2 and a half hour
seawatch which produced 300 Gannets, 9 Manx Shearwater, 4 Kittiwake, 1 Fulmar, 4
Guillemot, 50 Common Scoter & 60 Common Tern.
A Little Egret fished the gutter on the ebbing tide.
Not a bad day for June!!!